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tv   U.S. House of Representatives Legislative Business  CSPAN  May 16, 2016 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT

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divided court and looking how this could have gone another way if the president had a nominee that was accepted, you know, prior to this. so do you expect this to just solidify opposition to taking up garland? in a sense, republicans could see this as the status quo working for them in some way. do you feel like that's a possibility? josh: well, i have no idea what republicans will conclude. the truth is, all the democrats and a least a couple of the republicans have concluded that chief judge garland, the most experienced supreme court nominee in american history when you consider his 19 years of service on the federal bench, is somebody who's deserving of a fair hearing and a yes or no vote. it's even republicans who described him as a consensus nominee, and i did take note of something that leader mcconnell said last week. in some ways actually makes the case as strongly as anything
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that i've been able to come up with. senator mcconnell speaking on the floor of the house of -- sorry, the united states senate -- >> back now to the house debating nine bills today, including one dealing with the i.r.s. and identity theft. les o recorded vote or the yeas and nays are ordered or on which the votes incur objection to clause 6 of rule 20. record votes on postponed poned questions will be taken later. mr. young: i move to suspend the rules and pass senate bill 1492. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: an act to direct the administrator of general services on behalf of the archivist of the united states to convey certain property in the state of alaska to the municipality of anchorage, quea. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from, mr. young and the gentleman from indiana, mr. carson, each will control 20
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minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from alaska. mr. young: i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days to include extraneous material. without objection. mr. young: i yield myself such time as i may consume. mr. speaker, for the record, this is the same bill that passed this house twice awe nan mousely and over to the senate and sent it back to us. it would direct the general services administration on behalf of the national archives to convey property to the city of anchorage. the house companion bill passed the house twice and now sent whack to my senator. the national archives determined it no long earl needs the property and shrink its real estate footprint and reduce costs. it will require fair market value based on the independent aprail. the proceeds will be depositted in the treasury.
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this bill is in line with what we have been urging all federal agencies to do, consolidate, reduce their space and sell unneeded properties. the municipality of anchorage requested this land to be made available. the city council passed a resolution thanking the delegation for supporting this legislation. i'm very excited to get this land into the city of anchorage for development purposes. i support passage of this legislation and i thank you and i reserve the rest of my time at this time. . mr. carson: i rise in support of this bill to convey nine acres of property in anchorage, alaska, to the local municipality in exchange for the fair market value. g.s.a. and the archivist, mr. speaker, have come to the conclusion that this is no longer needed by the federal government. a house version of this bill was reported out of committee
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by voice vote and was subsequently passed by the house. selling this property to the city of anchorage, alaska, at its fair market value protects the interest of taxpayers who acquired the property but also allows the federal government, mr. speaker, to shed the costs of maintaining and securing unneeded property. finally, mr. speaker, i encourage g.s.a. to continue using their existing authority and expertise to identify and dispose of other pieces of underutilized federal real estate as appropriate. i urge my colleagues to support this legislation, and i yield back the balance of my time, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from alaska. mr. young: mr. speaker, at this time i have no other requests for -- to speak on this legislation and urge my colleagues to support this legislation and urge the passage of it and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass senate 1492. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no.
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in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio seek recognition? mr. renacci: mr. speaker, i move that the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 2832, the stolen identity refund fraud prevention act of twoucks, as amended. 2016, as amended to -- as
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amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 3832, a bill to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to prevent tax-related identity theft and tax fraud, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from ohio, mr. renacci, and the gentleman from new jersey, mr. pascrell, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from ohio. mr. renacci: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and tend their remarks and include extraneous material on h.r. 3832, currently under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. renacci: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. renacci: mr. speaker, i rise today to urge approval of h.r. 3832, the stolen identity refund fraud prevention act of 2016. i introduced this bipartisan legislation with my friend and colleague, mr. lewis, to combat tax-related identity theft. on a personal note, it has been an honor to work with mr. lewis. he paid me a great compliment when he said i rain passion and truth on the issue of eye
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entity -- identity theft. he's been a legislator that's brought great passion and truth to every endeavor of his historic career. i want to thank him for working on this legislation. tax-related theft involves innocent taxpayers nationwide and robs the treasury of billions of dollars each year. i was grateful for the opportunity last month to testify before the ways and means committee about my experience with tax-related i.d. theft. last year my personal information was stolen and someone used that information to electronically file a fraudulent tax return for my wife and i. that return, which included a fraudulent w.-2 from the house of representatives, claimed a significant refund that went to a bank account outside the u.s. when it comes to i.t. theft, i know the impact on taxpayers across northeast ohio and across the country. i am committed to crack down on the growing theft, and this bill is a first step forward.
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i was glad that two core components were in the path act that passed last december. this bill will help shield taxpayers dollars from fees that include establishing a centralized point of contact at the i.r.s. for i.d. theft victims. this will make it easier for victims to resolve their i.d. tax cases and ensure that the i.r.s. is accountable from handling this from start to finish. and another one would notification of suspected i.d. theft. when an i.r.s. determines there is an unauthorized use of taxpayer identity, the i.r.s. would be advised to notify the taxpayer along with instructions to the taxpayer about filing a police report. the last one i want to mention would require the i.r.s. to submit a study on the feasibility of establishing a program for i.d. theft victims to be able to opt out of electronic filing. this provision would require the i.r.s. to report back to
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congress within 180 days on this issue. i also want to thank my friend, mr. pascrell, for his work on this issue and for his amendments that were incorporated into the bill during this markup last month. mr. speaker, tax-related identity theft is one of the most pressing challenges that we face in the world of tax administration. this complex and evolving threat requires involvement from congress, the i.r.s., state revenue industries and industry stakeholders. while i know this is not best served with a congressional solution, this legislation is an important first step in fighting i.d. theft and better protecting victims. i urge all members to support this bipartisan legislation. thank you, mr. speaker. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio, mr. renacci, reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new jersey. mr. pascrell: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. pascrell: thank you. i want to commend my friend from ohio, mr. renacci, for his
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work on this bill. as he knows, i've been interested in this issue of tax fraud and identity theft for sometime. i am pleased that the bill we are marking up today, h.r. 3832, includes many provisions included in the bill that i put forth, h.r. 3981, the identity theft and tax fraud prevention act. these provisions include having a central point of contact for a victim of eye tentity theft and taxpayer notification of suspected identity theft. in addition, two of my amendments were included in the bill. the first would create a local law enforcement liaison within the criminal investigative division of the i.r.s.. our police and law enforcement officers are out every day keeping our communities safe and tracking down criminals.
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too often coordinating their efforts with the i.r.s. when it comes to identifying identity theft is not as easy as it should be. my amendment helps law enforcement officers do their jobs by creating a local law enforcement liaison at the i.r.s. this position will be asked with sharing -- to share information and responding to local law enforcement when they have information or inquiries about identity theft cases. it's common sense and makes it easier for police officers to go to a single place at the i.r.s. when they want to work a case. the second amendment included in this bill deals with i.r.s. phone scam. this is growing by day. imagine sitting at home, you receive a call from a threatening voice on the other end of the line claiming to be the i.r.s. for too many americans, this experience is all too familiar. these criminals may ask
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unsuspecting citizens for their personal information. the social security number or even bank account information. that's been done. it's very common. and threaten arrest or other penalties if the listeners don't comply. these phone scams have become increasingly aggressive and harmful to taxpayers. my amendment addresses this problem in practical ways. first, it requires the treasury inspector general for tax administration to issue a report identifying potential technological solutions to the phone scam. second, it would have the i.r.s. provide information to callers who may be put on hold when calling in regard -- regarding common identity theft tax scams and how to avoid them. we need to do all we can to make sure taxpayers are informed and armed against these scams. identity theft and tax fraud is
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a growing problem in the united states of america. as technology changes and as criminal syndicates target american citizens, their tax returns, we have an obligation to address this issue. this legislation does not go as far as i'd like and i urge my colleagues to look at h.r. 3831. and i am in support of the taxpayer protection act of 2016 which takes additionle steps to increase funding for taxpayer services and end the use of private debt collectors. so this bill is a step in the right direction. i congratulate its sponsor and a good example of how we can work together across the aisle is commonsense solutions for the american people. thing to is a good
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come. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey reserves. the gentleman from ohio. mr. renacci: i yield two minutes to my friend from pennsylvania, mr. kelly. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized for two minutes. mr. kelly: i strongly support h.r. 3832. mr. renacci and i are good friends and mr. lewis and it's good to see mr. pascrell today. you're right, it's good that we're to help people this is about people. this is policy that concerns people and it works in the right direction. i don't think there's anything quite as unnerving as finding out that somebody has stolen your identity. and i think shakespeare sums it up right in "owe they willo" he says robs me of that which not enriches him and it makes me poor indeed. now, pennsylvania is sixth in population but second when it comes to fraud, tax fraud.
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and this is incredible this could happen. as we sit here today and as mr. pascrell so clearly pointed out and mr. renacci, this is about protecting people from people who wish to do them harm but not only wish to take their tax returns, it robs them of their identity. there's nothing that can be more chilling than losing your identity. as we look at how this goes forward, and i think this phone fraud is one that's particularly interesting. the i.r.s., when the i.r.s. calls on you, it's not on the phone. it's in writing, and i tell stwepts all the time, i also have received those calls saying that, hey, you know what, you need to get in touch with this right now. i say, fine, leave your name and number and i'll get back to you. i'll get back with you. it's funneled by a click, click. there's so much going we put so much information out there on ourselves, this is a piece of legislation that protects people, protects not
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only their returns, but protects their identity. so i'm glad mr. ren acey has done this and mr. pascrell. we stand today with the same purpose and that is to protect the people who sent us here to represent them. i think them and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania yields. the gentleman from ohio reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new jersey. mr. pascrell: i wanted to quickly say what is really happening out there is that seniors are being preyed upon, many seniors. when you hear a threatening phone call, you don't know what to think. and when you're up there in age, as some of us here, mr. kelly, you don't know what to expect and you don't know who to turn to. so this is very important what mr. renacci is putting forth.
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it has good bipartisan support and i hope we can move this very, very quickly and i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from ohio. mr. renacci: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from new york, mr. reed. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. reed: i rise today to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, mr. pascrell, mr. kelly mr. renacci and mr. in a common refreezing rain. they have identified something that we have been working on the committee for quite some time and make sure that we have a tax administration and tax code that respects the privacy of individuals and when that privacy is violated, i cannot speak like my colleague from pennsylvania since i'm a simple country lawyer from new york, but what we need to do is stand on the side of our taxpayers. when tax fraud occurs, real
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people suffer as a result of it. as we have come together to support our simple commonsense reforms and carey in my district reached out to us about a year 1/2 ago and he was a victim and when he went to file his return, he found out he would not be getting that refund because someone had stolen that money from the u.s. government. he needed that money. and after many phone calls and efforts from our office, we were able to get it worked out. but he is representative of millions of americans that found themselves in this situation. so i applaud mr. renacci for developing these commonsense reforms that will have a point of contact at the i.r.s. and when people engage in identity theft, there are real penalties and consequences to that
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behavior. so i strongly support this legislation, mr. speaker. and i urge my colleagues just as has been demonstrated, let's come together as we care deeply about the american taxpayers and victims of this terrible crime. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from new jersey. mr. pascrell: i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the chair recognizes the gentleman from ohio. mr. renacci: i yield myself such time as i may consume. i want to thank my colleague, mr. lewis, for his work with me and this legislation and i want to thank mr. pascrell. as he said, i hope it's a sign of things to come that we can work together on important issues. i urge members to support the stolen identity refund prevention act of 2016 and i yield back. it the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass
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the bill s. 1492 as amended. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 being in the affirmative, the bill is passed and without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table.
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the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> i move the house suspend the rules and pass house concurrent resolution 88 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the concurrent resolution. the clerk: concurrent resolution affirming the tie juan relations act as the cornerstone of the united states-tie juan relation. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from california, mr. royce and the gentleman from new york, mr. engel, each will control 20 minutes.
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mr. royce: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and stepped their remarks and to include any extraneous material into the record. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. royce: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. royce: i rise in strong support of this house concurrent resolution 88 and i would like to recognize mr. chabot for his long standing dedication and support for the people of tie juan. mr. speaker, tie juan has always been a strong -- taiwan has been a strong trend and critical jool eye to the united states. congress has championed a strong relationship like the taiwan relations act and through successive administrations to fulfill their obligations to sell defensive arms to taiwan.
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taiwan is now the united states' ninth largest trading partner and it is in the u.s. interest to have a stable and a prosperous taiwan. it is an exciting time in taiwan. in january, a free and fair election once again demonstrated the strength and vibe bransy of die wan's democratic system and in three days we expect the null elected president to be inaugurated in a peaceful transfer of power from one party to another. the people of taiwan should be proud of their prosperous, free and democratic society and what they have been able to accomplish despite having to face countless challenges outside of their control. mr. speaker, when the u.s. established plementic relations with the peoples republic of china on january 1, 1979, the u.s. congress acted just 100 days later to pass the taiwan
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relations act, which would ensure that the united states maintained a robust and enduring relationship with taiwan. three years later in 1982, president reagan deepened the u.s. commitment to taiwan by issuing the six assurances to taiwan which included treating taiwan as we would treat any one of our allies in making decisions on defensive arms sales, not setting a determination for end and not altering the act. this legislation is especially important when it comes to the six assurances. when the reagan administration delivered the six assurances, it was by way of a verbal agreement and has largely remained as such since 1982. today, by passing this legislation, congress is going on record that the cornerstone of u.s.-taiwan policy is not
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only the taiwan relations act but also the six assurances. this important measure solid files president reagan's commitment to taiwan and urges this administration and the ones that follow to publicly, proactively to take the six assurances into account when handling the relations. i'm proud in the 114th congress, we have already passed legislation which supports taiwan's inclusion in interpol and that we are now also passing a measure which will reassure our friends in taiwan and press the administration to continue to abide by the six assurances. i'm also proud that maintaining a strong relationship with taiwan continues to be a bipartisan issue. i appreciate mr. engel's support on this initiative, the ranking member of the international relations committee.
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and by passing this resolution, we, the united states congress, are yet again taking another step towards strengthening the u.s.-taiwan partnership. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in support of this resolution and i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. engel: let me thank our chairman, mr. ed royce and the gentleman from ohio, mr. chabot. at the end of this week, taiwan will swear in a new president, marking another peaceful, democratic transition in that country. i have had the pleasure of meeting the president-elect several times, as well as the country's outgoing leader. and though they represent different political parties, it's clear they are both fully committed to taiwan's open society and democracy. those values are at the root of
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the close ties between the united states and taiwan. this resolution affirms our commitment to the taiwan relations act and the six assurances. these are the measures that have underpinned our relationship with the taiwan ease people since we normalized relations with the peoples republic of china. as taiwan prepares for this week's political transition, it's vital that the united states send a clear signal that we continue to stand with the people of taiwan on a range of issues from taiwan's defense, to its growing role on the global stage, to its commitment to freedom and democracy. so i'm happy to support this measure. we stand with our partners in taiwan and i wish the people of taiwan well as they swear in a new president this week and it's the first woman president of taiwan. i urge support of this resolution and i reserve.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. royce: i yield four minutes to the gentleman from ohio, mr. chabot. chairman of the small business of this and author measure. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from ohio for four minutes. mr. chabot: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in support of h. con. res. 88. i was one of the organization founders of the taiwan caucus, bipartisan group of people who founded it and i have been the chairman of the foreign affairs committee on asian the pacific and long time friend of taiwan. been there probably a dozen times over the years. and this important legislation reaffirms the taiwan relations act and the six assurances as cornerstones of u.s.-taiwan relations. as a long time supporter, i believe the u.s.-taiwan
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relationship is vital to the security and sustainability, not just of taiwan but of the whole region. taiwan is a close ally, one that truly believes and practices freedom and democracy. we witnessed this firsthand this past january as some of my colleagues have mentioned, when the people of taiwan held democratic national elections resulting in the election of the first female president. i congratulate her in her role as president of taiwan. taiwan elects their people democratically, unlike the p.r.c. unlike the taiwan strait. and as we know china has been bullying taiwan now. china doesn't follow as an example the people of taiwan who democratically elect their leaders. taiwan faces an unrelenting
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threat from china which has nearly 1,600 ballistic missiles aimed at this small island. when i came to congress 20 years ago, we talked about how scary it was that there were 200 or 300 missiles. that has increased over the years to 1,600 missiles aimed at taiwan from china. clo taiwan enjoys defacto independence, china would like to take over taiwan. we absolutely cannot let that happen. china's ultimate goal is the and exation of the island. we have seen the growing hostilities in the east china sea and south china sea over the last couple of years and i believe that it underscores, this legislation underscores the point that the taiwan strait continues to be one of the potential flashpoints on the globe.
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we have seen china we've seen them militarize those islands from japan to vietnam to taiwan to philippines and on and on, that's what the p.r.c. china has been up to. any sort of solution between china and taiwan should be reached in a peaceful and fair manner and only with the agreement of the people of taiwan. mr. speaker, april 10, 2016, marked the 37th anniversary of the enactment of the taiwan relations act, the t.r.a. this act codifies into law an institutional framework and legal basis for continued interaction between the u.s. and taiwan. and it serves to maintain peace and stability in the western pacific. when president ronald reagan agreed to sign the u.s.-china third commune kay in 1982, he was aware of the effect on
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taiwan and fully recognized that taiwan needed to be reassured they would not be abandoned and they will not be abandoned by the united states. in order to reinforce american support for taiwan, the united states issued the six assurances. the six assurances provided a framework for sustaining the unique relationship between the united states and our ally, taiwan. mr. speaker, they are as valid today as they were back in 1982. they rightfully function along th a t.r.a. cornerstone as u.s.-taiwan relations. i ask my colleagues to support this and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from california reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: thank you, mr. speaker. we'll close because we have no other speakers. it's important that the democracies of the world help strengthen freedom, justice and opportunity. that's why the united states and taiwan have been such
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natural partners over the decades. even as we deal with the people's republic of china, we must continue to stand with our friends in taiwan. again, i am delighted that dr. win, the first female president of taiwan, perhaps we will follow suit in november as the first woman president. this resolution reaffirms just how important that relationship is, and as taiwan moves forward with this political transition, that country's people should know they have an enduring friend in the united states. again, i commend mr. chabot for his insight in putting forward this resolution. i thank our chairman. i support this measure and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york yields. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. royce: let me yield three minutes to the gentlelady from florida, ms. ros-lehtinen, chairman emeritus of the foreign affairs committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized for
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three minutes. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the chairman and ranking member for their eadership for their many years. and i want to thank my dear friend steve chabot of ohio for authoring this important legislation of which i am proud to be a co-sponsor. house conresolution 88 reaffirms -- house con this, ion 88 reaffirms guidelines there should be no doubt about the commitment of the united states to our neighbor. in january, taiwan once again demonstrated that it is one of the world's strong and vibrant democracies, a great partner and i congratulate the president-elect on her tremendous election and all of he people of taiwan on their dem on krattic success. -- democratic success.
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they are living proof of what can be achieved with liberty and self-government. principles that undergird both of our nations and form of foundation for our mutual stability, for our security, for our prosperity. as taiwan's neighbor, china, continues raising tensions in the region, it is crucial that the united states provide taiwan with the capability to defend herself against chinese aggression, whether that aggression is political in nature, economic or military. and both china and taiwan must know that our commitment to taiwan has not waivered one bit. taiwan is an essential u.s. ally. it is our friend. it is our partner, and i thank my friend, mr. chain ott of ohio, for authoring this resolution, for reaffirming our commitment to the taiwan relations act, to the six
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assurances and to the taiwanese people here today. the united states will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with taiwan, and i look forward, mr. speaker, mr. chairman and ranking member, to even greater cooperation and friendship with taiwan in the years ahead. so i thank the gentleman for the time, and i thank the chairman for his leadership and mr. chabot for authoring this important bill and i yield back my time, mr. chairman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from florida yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. royce: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from georgia, mr. carter. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for two minutes. mr. carter: i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. speaker, i rise today to support house continuing resolution 88 and its effects on u.s. foreign relations. since 1979, the united states has enjoyed a friendly and productive relationship that's been supported by the passage of the taiwan relations act and six assurances. the taiwan relations act was a
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monumental peace legislation that was directly responsible for fostering the long standing friendship between the united states and taiwan. the six assurances also played a significant role, setting the principles by which the united states would mediate its relationship with taiwan and china. security concerns have increased in the south pacific. our allies in the region have contributed safely to the economic growth of the region. as member of the congressional taiwan caucus, i am continually supportive of efforts to strengthen friendships between our two countries. i'd like to commend congressman chabot, chairman royce and the foreign affairs committee for their leadership on this issue and their continued efforts in championing the close ties we have with taiwan. i encourage all of my colleagues to support this measure so we can continue to ensure a bright future for both taiwan and for the united states. thank you, mr. speaker, i yield back to the gentleman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia yields
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back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. royce: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. royce: as one of the co-authors of this legislation, i really want to thank representative chabot for introducing this measure and for being a longtime champion on taiwan, especially as he was chairman of the asian pacific subcommittee. i want to thank mr. engel as well, for his efforts on this legislation. we have a commitment to democracy and we share that with taiwan. we share this commitment to the rule of law, to human rights. frankly, taiwan serves as an example of what can be built based upon these shared principles and so do we. and i think the six assurances are a critical element of u.s.-taiwan policy, but obviously they are not consistently referenced or referred to as a cornerstone of u.s.-taiwan policy alongside
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the taiwan relations act which is considered that cornerstone, but passage of this house concurrent resolution 88 will put that long-standing verbal agreement onto paper and in turn it will call on the administration and future administrations in unambiguous terms to publicly abide by the assurances offered by president reagan. taiwan is one of america's closest friends, and i urge my friends to join me in supporting house concurrent resolution 88. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california yields back. the question is will the house suspend the rules and agree to house concurrent resolution 88, as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the concurrent resolution is fwred to and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table -- agreed to and without
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objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. without objection, the title is amended. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? mr. royce: i move that the house suspend the rules and pass the bill s. 2143. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: senate 2143, a bill to provide for the authority for the successors and assigns of the starr-camargo bridge company to maintain and operate a toll bridge across the rio grande near rio grande city, texas, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from california, mr. royce, and the gentleman from new york, mr. engel, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. royce: i ask unanimous consent, again, that all members may have five legislative days to revise and and to heir remarks
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include any extraneous material . the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. royce: thank you. mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. royce: mr. speaker, i rise in support of this s. 2143, the starr-camargo bridge act, introduced by senator cornyn, and by representative cuellar of texas. with today's passage, this bill goes to the president's desk for signature. the starr-camargo bridge act grants permanent authority to continue operating and maintaining the international ridge that connects rio grande city, texas, with mexican cities. this bridge is one of 28 vehicle border crossings on the texas-mexico border and one of two privately owned crossing facilities.
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the starr-camargo bridge has had continued growth in commercial traffic since 2009 and it plays an important role in facilitating legitimate trade and travel in the region. this bill, s. 2143, would permanently extend the authority for the starr-camargo bridge company to operate the bridge. it would grant the bridge company the same rights and privileges already granted to this body, to the b&p company in progresso, texas. by granting this authority, we would be incentivizing the starr-camargo bridge company by maintaining and extending the bridges a capacity to keep up with growing trade and commerce along the texas border with mexico. this legislation received the full support of the foreign affairs committee when it was marked up last month. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: mr. speaker, i rise
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in strong support of this measure and i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. engel: thank you, mr. speaker. and let me once again thank our chairman, ed royce, for bringing forward this bipartisan measure and for his continued good leadership on the committee. i also want to thank my good friend from texas, mr. cuellar, who introduced the house version of this legislation, which has already passed the senate. when it comes to our southern neighbor, mexico, lately we've been hearing far too much about building walls. mexico is a critically united t partner to the states. our people shares close ties. a few weeks ago the senate helped build a bridge by confirming a new ambassador to mexico, roberta jacobson. this is long overdue. she is excellent. we're glad to have her on her way to mexico right now. this bill, we're strengthening a bridge between the united states and mexico in the years
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ahead. the starr-camargo bridge connects rio grande, texas, with mexico. the legal authority to operate this bridge will expire in 16 years. that may seem like a long way off, but as a result of that end date we've already started to see a constraint in long-term investments. this bill would eliminate that expiration date. we've done the same thing before. the progresso international bridge once had a sunsetting authorization and congress asked to lift that deadline. this bill does not cost the u.s. taxpayers a penny. but this remains an important conduit for our country for years to come. it sends and important message from those actually responsible for making laws and advancing american foreign policy. mexico is an extremely important partner to the united states and bridges, not barriers, will help that friendship to thrive. i support this measure and i
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reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. royce: i'll continue to reserve, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: thank you, mr. speaker. it's now my pleasure to yield four minutes to the gentleman from -- four minutes to the gentleman from texas, mr. cuellar. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized for four minutes. mr. cuellar: thank you, mr. speaker. and i thank my friend for yielding to me and first of all, i want to thank the chairman, ed royce, for his leadership and his staff on this particular bill and also my friend, also, the ranking member, mr. eliot engel, and his staff, also, for supporting and helping us on this particular bill. . i rise in support of this legislation. mr. speaker, this bill will provide equity in the law and remove a level of uncertainty. in 1962, congress authorized the international bridge company to construct, operate and maintain
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the private toll bridge between the united states and mexico which is the city in my district. congress in drafting this original authorization included a sunset clause of 66 years. congress left a level of uncertainty in the law that did not say what would happen that bridge once 66 years went by. congress authorized private bridges along the u.s.-mexico border before but had not included the sunset on the authorization. this clause while still a number of years away has already begun to create issues for this. due to uncertainty as to what should happen to this bridge should the authorization last, they are nail to get much needed long-term financing to make improvements in long-term maintenance and operation of the bridge. this bill will give the bridge
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permanent status. the bridge plays an important role in our nation's economy. the bridge supports 200 to 300 commercial trucks per day, consisting of construction materials as well as fresh crude and vegetables coming north and machinery, oil and products going south. the bridge supports the crossing of around 4,000 cars a day. goods $531 billion of and services and this trade is only expected to grow in the future. in order for our nation to take full advantage of the trade we must be clear in this uncertainty in the law. by ending the authorization sunset will afford the bridge this opportunity to pursue and finance projects that will
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enhance and expand the capacity of the bridge, supporting facilities and further improve the trade between the united states and mexico. i would like to thank senator cornyn for working with me on taking that lead. and chairman royce and ranking member engel for their support and their staff and would like o thank the leaders locally of starr county for their support on this legislation. with that, i ask my colleagues to support this important bill and i yield the remainder of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from -- the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: thank you, mr. speaker. in closing, i want to emphasize that mexico is a vital partner to the united states in terms of trade security on a wide range
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of regional concerns and need to keep the channels flowing and that includes the physical connections between u.s. and mexico. this would strengthen an important bridge between our countries and signal just how important we consider this friendship. i support this measure and i thank the measure and i thank the gentleman from texan and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. royce: i just want to thank representative cuellar and thank him for his steadfast leadership to ensure that the house's consideration of this legislation that we move forward on this and i thought i would also point out that this bill comes at no cost to the taxpayer , but what it does instead is it incentivizes the private sector to invest and maintain this important commercial border crossing. that's the point here. and while the actual end date is
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some years away, the lack of that permanent authority has already begun to constrain financing, the financing of the long-term improvements that will help make the crossing more efficient and secure. so i thank mr. cuellar again and mr. castro and mr. poe, both members of the committee, who have been strong supporters and mr. engel, helping to maintain that our border structure is maintained and i encourage my colleagues to support this measure and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass senate 2143, those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. . in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table.
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for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? mr. royce: i move the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 1150 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: a bill to amend the international religious freedom act of 1998 to improve the ability of the united states to advance religious freedom globally through advanced diplomacy, training, counterterrorism and foreign assistance efforts and for a stronger response to religious freedom violations and violent extremism worldwide and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from california, mr. royce, and the gentleman from new york, mr. engel, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. royce: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their material on this resolution. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. royce: i ask cruke to place
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into the record, letters exchanged with the chairman of the other committees of jurisdiction on this bill. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. royce: i yield myself such time as i may consume. mr. royce: 18 years after the enactment of the international religious freedom act of 1998, the right to believe and practice one's faith remains under threat around the world. the threats come not just from authoritarian regimes obsessed with control such as north korea, iran or vietnam, which were the focus of that law, but also from lethal terrorist groups. two months ago, this chamber made history by declaring that the so-called islamic state or isis is committing genocide against religious and ethnic minorities. it has committed mass murder, beheadings, rape, torture and
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enslavement and the capture of children. isis dine mites churches. steeries, hoping to erase religious groups that disagree with their brutal world view. boko haram in algiera is responsible for their own deadly persecutions, both also linked to isis in their support for that terrorist movement. these groups have turned religious intolerance into a murderous force of global instability. the right to believe and practice according to the dictates of conscience is a direct challenges to their ideologies. thus religious freedom is not just a human rights issue, frankly, it is a global security issue today.
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however current law which focuses solely on governments of sovereign states, do not address this reality. based on years of oversight and multiple hearings, h.r. 1150, the frank wolf international freedom religious act, updates the act to improve the coordination and effectiveness of u.s. efforts to promote religious liberty around the world and addresses the role of these nonstate actors like isis. introduced by subquestion chairman smith, the bill was amended and agreed to by the foreign affairs committee and has more than 115 bipartisan co-sponsors. it is fitting that this bill is named in honor of our former colleague from virginia, frank wolf, a tireless advocate for human rights and author of the
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international religious freedom act of 1998, which we are amending. by enhancing coordination and confronting nonstate actors and this is a raining, helpful refinement to combat religious persecution. it deserves our unanimous support. >> the gentleman from california reserves. mr. engel: i rise in support of this measure and i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. engel: let me thank my chairman ed royce for bringing this bill forward and i thank my friend congressman smith from new jersey for leadership in authoring this bill. mr. speaker, the freedom of religion has been a bedrock principle of an open and democratic society for centuries. some of the first immigrants
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sailed here because they were fleing religious persecution. this is enshrined in our own founding documents in the universal declaration of human rights and in the charters of democracies all over the world. the freedom to worship or not to worship at all, should be settled business. yet around the world, religious communities endure dries krim nation, persecution and violence. it is amazing when we look at the history that was swirled around religious persecution, the government denies this on its own people and holds its people back and has no place in the 21st century. it is not enough to guarantee religious freedom to our own people. we need to speak out when we see this right under attack around
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the world. for that matter, we have the responsibility to speak out when we see any liberty under attack, whether freedom of the press, the right to organize or the quality of lgbt persons. this legislation would ensure that promoting and sorting religious liberty are an important component of american foreign policy and ensure that our diplomats you understood the importance of this issue and working to advance this freedom on the front lines. we should also continue to fully fund the state department's human rights and democracy fund, which helps address a range of human rights abuses, including threats to religious freedom. together with this legislation, it sends a clear message that protecting human rights is a priority for the united states. so i support this measure. i urge my colleagues to do the same and i want to congratulate my friend, mr. smith, to is just
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so strong on issues like this, so forceful and pushing forward all the way until we finally got this on the floor of the house. i urge my colleagues to support this measure. and i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. royce: yes. i yield 10 minutes to the gentleman from new jersey, mr. smith, chairman of the foreign affairs subcommittee on global health, global human rights and the author of this bill. mr. smith: i thank the chairman for his leadership on this bill for the markup and the very timely recommendations he and staff made to improve it and i thank representative engel working hand and po glove as a good bipartisan effort to protect international religious freedom. as my good friend, chairman royce, noted, 18 years ago, congress had the foresight to
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pass the religious freedom act of 1998. that landmark bill made advancing the right to religious freedom a significant and profoundly serious u.s. foreign policy priority. passage of the international religious freedom act was not easy. there were determined opponents in congress and in the clinton administration. i know, i chaired the congressional hearings in the subcommittee markup. it was no cakewalk. but opposition was overcome by the courage, the tenacity and the vision of frank wolf, hosted by bipartisan coalition of members of congress, ethnic and minority and religious groups. that coalition has re-assembled to support this bill, the frank r. wolf international religious freedom act. i want to thank representative work to oo for her
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combat the savagery. i thank her for her leadership and for being the principal democrat on this bill. let me note that naming this bill after frank wolf, who i consider to be and many of us consider to be the william will erforce of modern times, and promoting human rights 34 years as a member of congress and including and especially religious chair. he serves at baylor, continuing his lifesaving work for religious believers all over the world. he just returned from nigeria and testified at our hearing last week. he was in the embattled states in northern nigeria where boko haram runs free massacring people. he was there on a fact-finding
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mission to promote religious freedom. . . we know that the world is experiencing an unprecedented crisis of international religious freedom, a crisis that continues to create millions -- no, tens of millions of victims, a crisis that undermines liberty, prosperity and peace, a crisis that poses a direct challenge to the u.s. interest in middle east, russia, china, sub-saharan africa and elsewhere in the world. the pew research center notes that over 75% of the world's population today lives in country where severe freedom of religion abuses occur annually. instances of anti-semitism at a seven seven-year high. it's getting worse everywhere, particularly in the middle east but also in yourp and in the united states.
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mr. speaker, ancient christian communities in iraq and syria are on the verge of extinction, extinction, and other religious minorities in the middle east face a constant assault from the islamic state. several weeks ago, this congress passed a resolution sponsored by jeff forten bery, that was followed by a declaration by secretary of state john kerry that said isis has committed and continues to commit genocide, mass atrocities and war crimes against christians, yazidis and other minority faiths. we know it's happening. we are speaking out. in a couple of weeks i'm chairing a hearing on what's next, what we should be doing next to combat this terrible, terrible crisis. in nigeria, the islamic state, the islamic terror group boko haram is believed to have killed over 6,600 people last year alone, mostly christian, but there are muslims as well being targeted.
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according to testimony we received last week, since 2009, he number is about 15,000 year to date since 2009. at one of those hearings a few years ago, mr. speaker, i had a man named habila. i met him in nigeria where a lot of churches had been firebombed, and he told me this story and it was credible and it checked out and he came to congress and testified. boko haram put an ak-47, a terrorist, to his jaw and said, renounce christ or i will kill you, you must become a muslim on the spot. he said, i'm ready to meet my lord, and this terrorist pulled the trigger and blew most of his face away. what courage, what faith for a man, and when he told the story, you could have heard a pen drop. mr. speaker, the bipartisan u.s. commission on international religious freedom just released its 2016 annual report and let me note paraphernalia theycally that it
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was created by chairman wolf as part of the original bill and they have found that the abuses committed by governments and nonstate actors has, quote, deteriorated. the incarceration of prisoners of conscience, they point out, remains widespread. they point out over the past year, the chinese government is just one of many examples has stepped up its persecution of religious groups across the board, and i spoke in mid february at n.y.u. i gave a key note there. in shanghai. and talked about the president of china is in race to the make with north korea to religion absolutely be a serve yent to the communist party. -- it has the become worse. the frank wolf international
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religious freedom act will upgrade the tools so this administration and subsequent ones can do an even better job to try to mitigate and hopefully end religious persecution. t requires the policies be integrated, international security and other u.s. relevant foreign policies. it creates a designated persons list of individual sanctions for participating or directing religious abuses, religious freedom abuses. it expands diplomatic training on international religious freedom for allstate department diplomats. creals a tier system for the reports, not just countries of particular concern of which there are currently 10 but also those on a watch list, those that are bad and perhaps getting worse. it gives the president authority to designate nonstate actors, countries -- in addition to countries and it also requires the ambassador at large to report directly to the secretary of state.
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t also is increasingly clear that religious -- diplomacy is really needed to advance u.s. interests around the world. this had do it. the legislation is backed by the u.s. conference of catholic bishops and the international religious freedom roundtable, a diverse group of individuals from the faith community and i would ask that their statement be put into the record. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. smith: let me thank scott flipsy who worked with frank wolf previously. he worked at the international religion office. our general counsel, janice. thank her for her work on this. and sajet. this is a truly bipartisan piece of legislation and hopefully the senate will favorably receive it. i yield back to my chairman the balance. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. engel: again, mr. speaker,
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in closing, we focus on human rights as part of our foreign policy because it's the right thing to do. the united states is founded on the idea that an individual should be able to live according to his or her own beliefs. that's a value we want to see thriving around the world. advancing human rights is also the smart thing to do. countries with -- countries that don't respect human rights are -- countries that respect human rights play an important role on the international stage. when i talk about congressman smith, when it comes to human rights, he takes a second seat to nobody. all the years i've known him, he's always been fair and onest and i really sincerely commend him and know how heart-felt it is and how much we appreciate his hard work. thank you, mr. smith. when we see government stifling
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religious freedom or any freedom, we have a responsibility to speak out and make it clear that the united states remains a champion for these basic liberties. this bill helps us to live up to that responsibility, and i'm proud to support it. i thank chairman royce, mr. smith and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. royce: yes, i yield two minutes to the gentlelady from virginia, mrs. comstock, our esteemed colleague who ably represents the district formerly served by frank wolf who's honored in the title of this bill, representative barbara comstock is a co-author of this bill with mr. critz smith and i thank them both. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. mrs. comstock: i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. speaker, ask human rights and religious freedom advocates to remain their most steadfast friend who served on capitol hill over the years and representative frank wolf, my predecessor, is always on the short list, as are my colleagues here today.
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so i am honored today to stand in support of a bill i proudly co-sponsored, the frank r. wolf international religious freedom act of 2015, named after the distinguished gentleman who served in this seat, the 10th district of virginia, and as co-chair of the international rights caucus and a man whose deep faith and religious freedom was why he was known here, around the country and around the world as the conscience of the congress. he wrote a book about -- a powerful book, a prisoner of conscious, and how his many trips over the years and how he fought for religious freedom and i hope he doesn't mind i recommend his book to our members year. he leads the 21st century to create a world where religious freedom is recognized by nations across the globe as a fundamental human rights. since leaving congress, mr. wolf has continued to travel to
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the front lines to see firsthand the plight of ethnic minorities in iraq and syria, including christians,ia sdemreedies, kurds and other minority religious groups. as previously mentioned, he's just returned from nigeria. he continues to shine a line every day on the dark places where men and women and children even of faith are victimized, tortured and tragically even killed for their faith. he will not let the world look away, and we thank him for his continued work and his strong and much-needed voice. now this legislation amends his own legislation to continue that mission that mr. wolf so valiantly fought for for three decades here in congress. it will improve the ability of the united states to advance religious freedom globally with stronger and flexible responses to the disturbing and growing denial of basic religious freedoms around the world. as has been said by many, frank lf is the william wilbur
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force of the today. he said most would agree that conscience writes figure prominently in the narrative of america's founding. historically, americans and our corresponding institutions have cognized the conscience is a legion to the state but someone higher. i appreciate the opportunity today to continue that legacy with the passing of this important legislation which will continue his important and vital mission and legacy and that is needed now more than ever for so many of the reasons that my colleagues here highlighted. and i thank you so much for the privilege of addressing and sponsoring -- co-sponsoring this legislation, and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from new york has yielded the balance of his time. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. royce: i yield such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. royce: mr. speaker, i want to thank my colleagues for their contributions to this
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bill and to debate -- and today's debate, especially mr. smith, and congresswoman arbara comstock and mr. engel. the right to believe in one's religion is often called the first freedom. it is one of the founding ideals of our nation but we do not believe that it is only an american value. rather, this is what we believe here. we believe it flows from the inherent dignity of every human person and it deserves protection everywhere. in today's world, those who are most violently opposed to religious freedom also pose the biggest threat to our nation. they also pose the biggest threat to civilization worldwide. thus, the promotion of religious liberty is not some isolated human rights concern.
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no. it is a key component of our national security, and this bill now, authored by mr. smith, this h.r. 1150 contains important updates to the international religious freedom act of 1998 that will enhance the effectiveness of the united states' efforts to promote that liberty around the world. and so it deserves our unanimous support. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 1150, as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table.
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the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i move that the house swebled the rules and pass the bill -- suspend the
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rules and pass the bill as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 1887, a bill to amend certain appropriation acts to repeal the requirement directing the administrator of general services to sell federal property and assets that support the operations of the plum island animal disease center in plum island, new york, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from texas, mr. ratcliffe, and the gentleman from mississippi, mr. thompson, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. ratcliffe: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. ratcliffe: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. ratcliffe: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to enter into the record an exchange of letters between the committee on transportation and infrastructure and the committee on homeland security regarding h.r. 1887.
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the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. ratcliffe: thank you, mr. speaker. today i rise in support of h.r. 1887, which suspends an appropriations provision in order to ensure that all necessary information is accessible before deciding how to move forward with the plum island animal disease center. since 1954, the u.s. department of homeland security, science and technology directorate's plum island animal disease center, has served the nation in defending against accidental or intentional introduction of foreign animal diseases. in 2005 d.h.s. announced that plum island would be moved to a new federal facility in kansas. while d.h.s. will eventually move the research conducted, plum island will continue to operate until the national bio and agro defense facility is fully operationality al and a complete transition has been -- operational and a complete transition has a been -- has been made in 2022 or 2023. the gentleman from new york, representative zeldin,
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introduced h.r. 1887 with strong bipartisan support from the entire long island and connecticut delegations in both the house and the senate to stop the sale of plum island. d.h.s. recently undertook a study on alternatives for the disposition of plum island. as amended, h.r. 1887 suspends the sale of plum island until a thorough review of the analysis of alternatives is conducted by d.h.s. and g.a.o. the bill before us today requires g.a.o. to review the d.h.s. study and report to congress on whether the methodologies d.h.s. uses adequately supports the department's findings. if those methodologies are found lacking, g.a.o. must study possible alternative uses for plum island and possible costs associated for the transition and cleanup of the island. h.r. 1887 delays the sale of plum island until g.a.o.
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reports its findings to congress. allowing for a complete understanding of possible options for plum island once the animal disease center functions are transitioned. this bill ensures consideration of all options for the disposition of the island. i urge all members to join me in supporting this bill and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in support of h.r. 1887 and yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, since 1954, the plum island animal disease center in new york's long island sound has served as the primary laboratory in the united states responsible for research on foreign animal diseases of livestock such as foot and mouth disease and other animal diseases that
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could be accidentally or deliberately introduced into the united states. at plum island, the department of homeland security works with the agriculture research service and animal and plant health inspection service within the u.s. department of agriculture to research and develop new vaccines and tests to respond to animal disease outbreaks. since september 11, 2005, d.h.s. announced plans to develop the national bio and agro defense facility as a state of the art biocontainment laboratory to place the plum island facility and aging if a silt -- facility, an aging facility, at the end of its life cycle. after the process, d.h.s. selected a site in manhattan, adf.as, for nb this brings us to h.r. 1887.
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the focus of this bill is to deal with the question of what to do with plum island once d.h.s. no longer needs it. d.h.s. is currently starting the range of options for disposition of the property, including transferring it to another federal agency, a state or local government, or a nonprofit organization for the purposes of education, research or conservation. in doing so, d.h.s. is expected to assess the full implications of each option, including cost, cleanup and hazard mitigation. h.r. 1887 requires the general accountability office or g.a.o. to assess whether d.h.s.'s forthcoming study is adequate to support its finding. in the event that the study is lacking in a key area, g.a.o. would be required to conduct its own study on that issue or issues. importantly, h.r. 1887
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prohibits the sale of plum island operations until at least 180 days after the required reports in the bill have been submitted to congress. with that, mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. ratcliffe: mr. speaker, i yield five minutes to my distinguished colleague, the gentleman from new york, mr. zeldin. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized for five minutes. mr. zeldin: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you to the gentleman from texas, mr. ratcliffe, mr. thompson as well, for both speaking in favor of this legislation, h.r. 1887. plum island's not for sale. the whole purpose of this legislation is to prevent the sale of plum island by the federal government to the highest bidder. situated at the gateway of long island sound, plum island is treasured by my local community
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. as a critical resource for research, approximately 90% of the land on plum island has been sheltered from development , offering long island a diverse wildlife and ecosystem and critical habitat for migratory birds, marine mammals and rare plants. with a recorded history dating back to the 1700's, plum island is also an essentialal cultural and historical resource as well. since world war ii, plum island has been utilized as a research laboratory. the facility, which has been under federal jurisdiction since 1899, has since grown to become what is known today as the plum island animal disease center. in 2005 the department of homeland security, which currently has jurisdiction over the island, announced that the animal disease center research would be moved to a new federal facility, the bioand agro defense facility in kansas. to offset the location, the cost of the relocation, a law was enacted that called for the
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private sale of plum island to the highest bidder. however, due to the costs associated with the cleanup and closure of plum island, and because of local zoning restrictions, the federal government would receive little compensation for the sale of plum island. allowing for continued research, public access, and permanent preservation of the island, h.r. 1887 will reverse a 2008 law that mandated the sale of plum island. the bill as amended will commission the government accountability office in consultation with the department of homeland security, which currently owns the island, to formulate a comprehensive plan for the future of the island. this plan will include possible alternative uses which could include transfer of ownership to another federal agency, the state or local government, nonprofit or a combination thereof for the purpose of education, research and conservation. just less than three weeks ago, on april 28, 2016, h.r. 1887
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was marked up with an amendment and passed out of the house homeland security committee with unanimous bipartisan support. currently, 24 republicans and democrats in this chamber have signed on as co-sponsors of this bill. i see the gentleman from connecticut, mr. courtney, who is here, who has long been championing this issue, since before i got here. i would especially like to thank house majority leader kevin mccarthy and house homeland committee chairman, michael mccaul, for both taking such a direct personal interest in helping with this effort in the -- in the house. their leadership is very much appreciated. i would also like to thank all the local elected officials, groups, and concerned residents on long island and elsewhere who have moved heaven and earth to raise awareness of this cause and help recruit co-sponsors. i encourage all my colleagues to vote in support of this critical bill. hopefully the senate also passes this long-awaited legislation in ernest, so that
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the president can sign this proposal into law this year. i've had the opportunity to visit plum island. it's a beautiful place, you feel like you're thousands of miles away from long island. you have the history of fort terry, the coast line and the dunes, the waterways, the water hitting the rocks, the seals, you literally feel like you're nowhere near the northeast of the united states. it is a treasure. it's one that should be protected and i am very grateful of this chamber considering this legislation and hopefully passing it unanimously. thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i yield three minutes to the gentleman from connecticut, mr. courtney. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from connecticut is recognized for three minutes. mr. courtney: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to, first of all, thank mr. thompson for his interest and support in this measure, even though he hails from a part of the country which is far away from long island
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sound. but going back to his days on the agriculture committee, he clearly knows the forensics of this legislation and, again, his interest and support is much appreciated. mr. ratcliffe, thank you for bringing this bill out today. again, long island sound maybe is not right on your radar screen, but as congressman zeldin said, you know, it's an incredibly special place, an estuary which separates connecticut from new york, and it is within the new york territory, but frankly it's a very small, densely populated area and the interest level on both sides of long island sound in terms of passage of this legislation is off the charts. i again want to thank mr. zeldin for his efforts. this measure started in 2013 in response to the g.s.a. report that basically signaled that the sale of this island was on the fast track. and it really took persistence up until today's vote on the
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floor to make sure that we stop that process, as mr. zeldin indicated, and send the message that plum island is not for sale. again, because of its unique history, you know, the activity that took place there with the animal disease control center made it unsuitable for residential development and commercial development. but sort of the outcome of that is that this incredible, you know, rich diversity of biology has sprung up there. like the gentleman from long island, i've had the opportunity to visit there. it is like you are in a different world. that is something that we can never take for granted, particularly in a part of the country where, again, there's just tremendous amounts of sea traffic, maritime activity, economic activity, to try and, again, basically preserve this 840-acre parcel with its incredible richness, it's something that really will live
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on for generations and really, i think, will make the 114th congress memorable, certainly in terms of that region for many years to come. like the gentleman from new york, i just want to sarke the external pressure which was brought to bare by municipal officials, by folks from save the sound, that's an umbrella group on both sides of long island sound, the connecticut fund for the environment, is what kept the interest level and the pressure on both delegations to make sure that this didn't get sort of lost in the process and allowed that mandated sale to move forward. i strongly urge pass and of this bill and, again, with the gentleman from new york, i'm determined to make sure that this moves as quickly as possible through the upper chamber and is signed into law by president obama and, again, send a message to all the individuals and groups that are so interested in preserving plum island, that in fact we have taken it off the sort of
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conveyer belt and we're going to make sure that it gets the careful treatment that it deserves. at the end of the day, it's going to basically preserve this for generations to come. with that i yield back, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. ratcliffe: mr. speaker, i have no other speakers. if the gentleman from mississippi has no other speakers, i'm prepared to close once the gentleman does. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. i also have no further speakers and am prepared to close at this time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. mr. speaker, h.r. 1887 has broad bipartisan support. it will ensure that the -- that before d.h.s. disposes of plum island, there's a thorough vetting of all the options. i encourage my colleagues to support this legislation and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas is
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recognized. mr. ratcliffe: thank you, mr. speaker. i once again urge my colleagues to support mr. zeldin's bill, h.r. 1887, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill, h.r. 1887. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and, without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. without objection, the title is amended. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. ratcliffe: mr. speaker, i move that the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 4743, the national cybersecurity preparedness consortium act of 2016, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 4743, a bill to authorize the secretary of
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homeland security to establish a national cybersecurity preparedness consortium, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from, texas, mr. ratcliffe, and the gentleman from mississippi, mr. thompson, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. ratcliffe: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include any extraneous materials on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. ratcliffe: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. ratcliffe: mr. speaker, i rise in support of h.r. 4743, the national cybersecurity preparedness consortium act of 2016, which allows the u.s. department of homeland security to work with the consortium, including the national cybersecurity preparedness consortium, to support efforts to address cybersecurity risks and incidents. this bill allows tfs to engage
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with a con-- d.h.s. to engage ith a consortium, in providing training to state and local first responders in preparing for and responding to cybersecurity risks and incidents. an example of a consortium d.h.s. may work with under this bill is the national cybersecurity preparedness consortium, or ncpc. it provides state and local communities with the tools they need to prevent, detect, respond to and recover from cyberattacks. the consortium also evalue waits communities' cybersecurity posture and provides them with a road map to correct deficiencies in the security of their information systems. based out of the university of texas-san antonio's center for infrastructure assurance and security, the ncpc membership includes the university of arkansas, the university of memphis, norwich university and texas a&m engineering extension
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service. d.h.s.'s responsible for carrying out significant aspects of the federal government's cybersecurity mission. the cybersecurity act, which was recently signed into law, allows d.h.s. to actively share cyberthreat indicators and defensive measures with the private sector by affording liability protections. d.h.s.'s national cybersecurity and communications integration center is responsible for cross-sector coordination to address cybersecurity risks and incidents. h.r. 4743 allows d.h.s. to work with any consortium, including the ncpc, in a number of ack tests, including providing technical assistance, conducting cross-sector cybersecurity training and simulation exercises and helping states and local communities to develop cybersecurity information sharing programs. allowing d.h.s. to work with organizations already supporting state and local cyberpreparedness and response
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will provide additional support to state and local entities. so i urge all members to join me in supporting this bill, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i rise in support of h.r. 4743, the national cybersecurity preparedness consortium act of 2016, and i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, h.r. 4743 allows the department of homeland security to utilize university-based consortiums to help provide cybersecurity training and support to state, local and tribal leaders, including first responders. there is strong bipartisan support for this legislation as introduced by the gentleman from texas, mr. castro. r. 4743 authorizes d.h.s. to
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use consortium to provide state and local governments with university-developed cybertraining and technical assistance, including for the development of cyberinformation sharing that jurisdictions in need can use. recent studies revealed that organizations at the state and local level described their cybersecurity programs as being in the early and middle stages of maturity, and 87% of state and local respondents identified managing cybersecurity risks as one of the most stressful jobs. by partnering with consortium, d.h.s. can make a meaningful impact on raising the levels of cybersecurity on the state, local and tribal levels. importantly, h.r. 4743 requires d.h.s. when selecting a consortium for participation in its cyber efforts to not only
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take into account the prior experience of the institutions that would be conducting cybersecurity training and exercises but also the geographic diversity of the institutions participating in the consortium. the inclusion of geographic diversity should help reach more states and localities. moreover, i'm pleased the bill requires d.h.s. to do outreach to colleges and universities, including historically black colleges and universities, hispanic-serving institutions and other minority-serving institutions about opportunities to provide research-based cybersecurity-related training, exercises and technical assistance. mr. chairman, states and localities need the ability to prevent, detect, respond to and recover from cyberevents if they have any other disaster or emergency situation. for this reason, i support h.r.
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4743 and urge passage. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. ratcliffe: mr. speaker, i yield three minutes to my distinguished friend and colleague from texas, mr. hurd. mr. hurd: i thank the gentleman for his leadership on this issue and for using me some time. i'd also like to thank the ranking member and my colleague from san antonio on this piece of legislation that's so important to our hometown. it's no secret that cyberattacks are on the rise and the unfortunate reality is that everyone is vulnerable. the cost of protecting your network and properly training communities on best practices in a digital world can be burdensome. as we all know, state and local communities in many instances do not possess the same digital resources as the federal government. states and communities need the ability to detect, respond to and recover from cyberevents
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just as they would any other disaster or emergency situation. that's why i'm a proud to be part and an original co-sponsor of h.r. 4743 which would allow d.h.s. to coordinate with a handful of universities that have been leading the way in cyberpreparedness. one of these universities, the university of texas and san antonio, is located in my hometown and serves many of my constituents. another leader in this field is none other than my alma mater, texas a&m university. building upon their great work and the breakthroughs of others across the country will be crucial to protecting our digital infrastructure at all levels. and we will help -- this will help us ensure that our first responders and government entities are adequately prepared for a significant cyberevent. i thank my colleague from texas for the attention to this issue, and i fully support h.r. 4743, the national cybersecurity preparedness consortium act of 2016.
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and i urge my colleagues to support this bill and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i yield four minutes to the gentleman from texas, the author of this bill, mr. castro. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. castro: thank you, mr. speaker. and thank you, ranking member thompson, for yielding me this time and for your support of this legislation. you and your staff have been terrific partners in moving this bill forward. i'd also like to thank my fellow texans, chairman mccaul, congressman hurd, congressman ratcliffe, and also congressman richmond, whose not a texan but a wonderful person here in our body, for all of their work on this issue. every day our nation faces a growing number of potentially debilitating cyberthreats. our retailers, our banks, government agencies, military operations and everyday private american citizens all face these threats.
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we must ensure that our defenses are as strong as possible because of that. i represent san antonio, a national leader in the cybersecurity field. institutions in san antonio do cutting edge cyberwork that keeps our nation safe. for example, the university of texas at san antonio leads the national cybersecurity preparedness consortium, which helps communities across the nation improve their cyberdefenses. it's critical that localities understand the impact cyber teches could have on their ability to function and are prepared to prevent, detect, respond to and recover from harmful cyber incidences. they are educating communities about these cyberthreats and helping them develop the defenses they need to successfully withstand a cyberemergency. this legislation allows consortiums like utsa's to work more closely with d.h.s. to address cybersecurity risks and
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incidents at the state and local level. this collaboration will bolster our cyberpreparedness and keep us one step ahead of cyberattackers. mr. speaker, again, i'd like to thank the homeland security committee's leadership for their partnership on this legislation and also all of the staff, both republican and democrat, who helped bring this to the floor. with that i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. ratcliffe: mr. speaker, i have no other speakers. if the gentleman from mississippi has no other speakers, i'm prepared to close once the gentleman does. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. i also have no further speakers and i am prepared to close if the member from texas is prepared to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. thompson: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. mr. speaker, the inspiration for this bill was important work being done by the national cybersecurity preparedness consortium, a group of five
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universities led by the university of texas-san antonio, that has helped to raise cyberpreparedness at the state and local level by evaluating communities' cybersecurity postures and providing them with the road map to correct deficiencies. while this consortium is making an important contribution to cybersecurity, there's an enormous need for training and technical assistance around the nation. with enactment of h.r. 4743 more institutions will be able to partner with d.h.s. to provide such critical assistance. as such, i urge passage and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. ratcliffe: mr. speaker, i once again urge my colleagues to support h.r. 4743 and yold back the balance of my time -- and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 4743, as amended. those in favor say aye.
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those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. mr. ratcliffe: mr. speaker, i request the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this uestion will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. ratcliffe: mr. speaker, i move the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 4780, the department of homeland security strategy for international programs act, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 4780, a bill to require the secretary of homeland security to develop a comprehensive strategy for department of homeland security operations abroad, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from texas, mr.
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ratcliffe, and the gentleman from mississippi, mr. thompson, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. ratcliffe: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include any extraneous material on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. ratcliffe: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. ratcliffe: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today in support of h.r. 4780, the department of homeland security strategy for international programs act, offered by the ranking member of the committee, the gentleman from mississippi, mr. thompson. this bill would require the secretary of homeland security to submit a report to congress on the department of homeland security international programs, including the vetting and screening of persons seeking to enter the united states. the legislation builds off the recommendations made by the committee on homeland security's bipartisan task force on combating terrorist and foreign fighter travel that
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identified security gaps which allows jihadists to get to and from iraq and syria undetected. specifically, the task force recommended u.s. authorities continue to push the border outward by deploying homeland security initiatives overseas. d.h.s. has established several international programs designed to thoroughly vet and screening such individuals before travel to the united states through its many international programs, d.h.s. personnel overseas effectively extend our nation's borders to increase the security of the united states. . expanding initiatives like the u.s. custom and border protections preclearance program or immigration and custom enforcement's visa security program could help detect and interdict threats before they are bound for the homeland. for example, the preclearance program allows overseas-based c.b.p. officers to screen all
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passengers and luggage before a flight takes off for the united states. c.b.p. currently has 15 preclearance locations in six different countries, including ireland, aruba, the bahamas, bureau immediatea, canada and the ewe -- bermuda,, canada and the united arab emirates. patterns continue to concern immigration and national security officials. as a result, d.h.s. has announced plans to expand preclearance operations. other programs, like i.c.e.'s visa security program, deploy specially trained agents to diplomatic posts worldwide to conduct additional visa security screening and quickly identify potential terrorists or criminal threats before they reach the united states. agents provide an additional level of review for persons of special interest or concern, and w visa applications, conduct investigations with a nexus to u.s. travel and
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security. the program has agents posted at consulates and embassies in more than 25 countries. with additional plans to expand to additional high-risk locations. as the department of homeland security continues to build its international footprint for these and other border security programs, d.h.s. must ensure the expansion of international programs are considered with risk, cost and benefit in mind. this bill would require d.h.s. to report on the specific risk-based goals for these international programs, to ensure that they align with department-wide and government-wide strategic priorities. this additional transparency, including the cost related to international programs, will improve congress' oversight of these activities. additionally, the department will be required to consider how deployment of personnel abroad may impact its domestic capabilities as well as
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identify barriers for the expansion of international programs. while international programs provide tangible national security and travel facilitation benefits, the growing d.h.s. presence overseas should be built upon the foundation of a long-term strategy that guides the department in the deployment of officers and agents in a risk-based manner. i'm confident that the comprehensive strategy required by this bill will help ensure that the department is managing these programs effectively and that congress has the appropriate insight necessary to protect the american taxpayers' investment in our security. i therefore urge all members to join me in supporting this bill and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i rise in support of h.r. 4780rk the department of homeland security -- 4780, the department of homeland security strategy for
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international programs act. mr. speaker, i introduced h.r. 4780 to require the secretary of homeland security to develop a comprehensive strategy for the department's international programs, where personnel and resources are deployed abroad for vetting and screening persons seeking to enter the u.s. in recent years the department has expanded its international footprint through programs such as immigration advisory program, and joint security program, and a visa security program. in fact, presently customs and border protection has approximately 00 employees posted in -- 800 employees posted in 43 countries and immigration and customs enforcement has almost 400 employees in 45 countries. d.h.s. personnel at overseas locations perform vital vetting and passenger prescreening activities to ensure
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individuals traveling to the u.s. do not pose a threat to our nation's security. looking ahead, d.h.s. has nnounced plans to expand the precompleerns program to 10 new locations -- preclearance program to 10 new locations in the coming years and i.c.e. continues to expand its visa security program to additional visa-issuing posts abroad. i strongly support these efforts to push out our borders through expansion of these important homeland security programs. that said, to do it right, d.h.s. needs a comprehensive strategy beau bolster its -- to bolster its present partnerships around the world. my bill requires just that. specifically, it requires d.h.s. to have a three-year strategy that includes risk-based goals, a process to ensure resource allocations align with overall departmental
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strategic priorities, and a common reporting framework for personnel deployed abroad. my bill requires d.h.s. to not only take into account where it currently deemploys resources from those overseas -- deemploys resources from those from deploys resources those overseas programs, but also any impacts of these overseas activities on domestic operations, including with respect to staffing at u.s. ports of entry. after 9/11, the attempted christmas day attack in 2009, as well as other more recent cases, it is imperative that d.h.s. and its federal partners bolster the screening and vetting of travelers before they arrive at our borders. my bill will help ensure that d.h.s. has a sound strategy for its efforts to do so. i urge my colleagues to support h.r. 4780, and i reserve the
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balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. ratcliffe: mr. speaker, i have no other speakers. if the gentleman from mississippi has no other speakers, i'm prepared to close once the gentleman does. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. thompson: mr. speaker, i have no further speakers and am prepared to close. if the member from texas is also prepared to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. thompson: thank you. thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, we face evolving terrorist threats which include individuals attempting to use legitimate forms of travel to the u.s. to inflict harm. the d.h.s. personnel posted abroad perform critical preemptive operations to make sure that travelers coming to our country are thoroughly screened and vetted. h.r. 4780 will help ensure that these important international d.h.s. programs are utilized in a strategic and effective manner to further enhance the
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security of the u.s. before i yield back, i note that h.r. 4780 is a part of a larger legislative package that i am introducing today. among other things, my package would authorize significant expansions of critical c.b.p. and i.c.e. overseas screening and vetting programs, and significant new c.b.p. staffing resources to support overseas program expansion and address domestic staffing shortages at u.s. international airports. with that, i urge my colleagues to support h.r. 4780, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. ratcliffe: mr. speaker, i once again urge my colleagues to support h.r. 4780 and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 4780 as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no.
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in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and, without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from new york seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i move that the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 4407 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 4407, a bill to amend the homeland security act of 2002, to establish in the department of homeland security a board to coordinate and integrate departmental intelligence activities and policy related to counterterrorism and for other purposes.
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the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from new york, mr. katko, and the gentleman from mississippi, mr. thompson, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. katko: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks and include any extraneous material on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. katko: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. katko: thank you, mr. speaker. since the tragic events of 9/11, this body has endeavored to better integrate intelligence and law enforcement agencies to react to new and evolving threats and to reduce duplicative efforts and waste. to a large extent, we have succeeded, in producing a more integrated security apparatus that properly reflects the terrorist threats of the 21st century. however, we must continue to make improvements to counter fast-changing threats like those posed by isis. mr. speaker, we are seeing the greatest convergence of radical
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islamic threats in history with more than 40,000 jihadist fighters travelinging to the battlefields in syria and iraq. furthermore, the united states faces the highest threat level since 9/11 with open counterterrorism investigations in all 50 states in this great country of ours, and more than 80 isis-related arrests in the past two years, including one just up the road from my district, on new year's eve. with the current threat environment in mind, i offer h.r. 4407, the counterterrorism advisory board afpkt 2016. initially established at the end of 2010, this panel brings together the department of homeland security's top cousht terrorism decision makers to respond to threats. however, i led a bipartisan task force which found that the counterterrorism advisory board or ctab had neither been codified nor had its charter been kept pace with today's evolving terrorist threats. that is why we need to pass this bill, to ensure d.h.s. is effectively integrating intelligence operations and
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policy to help fight terrorism and that it is quickly exchanging threat information. this legislation formally establishes a ctab in law and makes it the department's central coordination body for counterterrorism activities. the bill also updates the board's charter to better enable it to confront tomorrow's challenges today and requires the secretary to appoint a coordinator for counterterrorism to oversee the board's activities. it's an important change to the current structure. additionaly, the legislation requires a ctab to advise the secretary on the issuance of terrorism alerts, ensuring that top cousht terrorism and intelligence officials play a key role in deal ofing -- developing these critical notices to the public. finally, h.r. 4407 ensures continued congressional oversight by requiring d.h.s. to report on the status and activities of the ctab so that we can be certain it is meeting its mandate. i would like to thank chairman mccaul for pointing me to lead the bipartisan task force on combating terrorist and foreign
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travel, which formulated roughly 50 recommendations for making our country safer. one of which serves as a basis of this legislation. i also want to thank ranking member thompson and his great staff for all the work we've been doing to get a lot of these bills passed into law. i very much appreciate our bipartisan work together. i'm proud to say we have now acted legislatively on more than half of the task force's findings, largely thanks to the hard work of the other members of the task force and their willingness to reach across the aisle and do what's right for our country. i'll end by urging my colleagues to support this measure and reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. thompson: thank you. mr. speaker, i rise in support of h.r. 4407, the counterterrorism advisory board act of 2016, and yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, h.r. 4407 authorizes within the department of homeland security
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the counterterrorism advisory board or ctab to coordinate and integrate departmental intelligence activities and policy-relate -- policy related to counterterrorism. since 2010, the internal body comprised of top d.h.s. officials has helped to harmanize counterterrorism programs and activities across d.h.s. h.r. 4407 directs the ctab to meet on a regular basis to coordinate and integrate the department's counterterrorism efforts and set forthhe leadership and composition of the board. d.h.s. also requires to report to congress on the board's status and activities. this legislation is the product of the house committee on homeland security's bipartisan task force on terrorist and foreign fighter travel, which learned that the ctab, which
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has operated for six years, was never authorized in law. to ensure that the board remains an sbeg rat part of counterterrorism -- an integral part of counterterrorism policy recommendation and responses across the department, the task force recommended that the board be codified in law. codfication of the board is consistent with the task force's finding that information sharing is critical to preventing foreign fighter travel. i believe that ctab should be a permanent fixture in the department to help inform the counterterrorism decision making of future departmental secretaries. as such, i support this legislation which tackles an important task force recommendation and finding and commend the gentleman from new york, mr. katko, for introducing it, as well as making it here for the bill today. with that i reserve the balance of my time. .

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