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tv   U.S. House Morning Hour  CSPAN  May 18, 2016 11:32pm-1:35am EDT

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opposition? the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. dent: i seek time in opposition but i don't oppose the amendment. on the v.a. claims' backlog we have fully funded the president's request and i wanted to say that and we have no objection to the amendment and prepared to support it. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from california. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion the chair the ayes have it and the amendment s adopted. page 34 line 16 information technology systems 4 billion. office of inspector general $14
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million shall remain available until september 0, 2018. 528truction major projects, million. construction, minor projects, $372 million to remain available ntil september 30, 2021. grants for construction of state extended care facilities $80 million. grants for cemeteries, $45 million. section 201, any appropriations for compensation and pensions may be transferred. section 202, amounts under the medical services accounts may be transferred. section 203, appropriations available for salaries and expenses shall be available for services authorized. section 204, no appropriation shall be available for the
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purchase of any site for or toward the construction of any new hospital. section 20 , no appropriation shall be available for examination of any persons except any laws. section 206 appropriations for compensation and pensions shall be available for prior year accrued obligations. section 207, appropriations shall be available to pay prior year obligations for corresponding appropriations accounts. section 208, secretary shall reimburse the accounts for the cost of administration of the insurance programs. section 209, amounts deducted from enhanced use proceeds. section 210 including transfer of funds, funds available for salaries shall also be available to reimburse the resolution
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management, $47 million. section 211, no funds shall be available for medical services under chapter 17 of title 38 united states code for a nonservice connected disbuilt. section 212 including transfer of funds leasing activities may be deposited into the construction major projects and construction minor projects accounts. section 213, amounts are available for furnishing recreation alpha silts. section 214, including of transfer funds sums depositted to the collections fund may be transferable. section 215, the secretary may enter agreements with indian tribes which are part of the alaskan. section 216, sums deposited to
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the department capital asset fund may be transferred to the construction major projects. section 217, none of the funds may be used to implement prohibitting the networks from conducting outreach to enroll new veterans. section 218 rnings 30 days the secretary shall submit to the committees of both houses a report on the financial status of the department. section 219 amounts made available may be transferred to or from the information technology systems account. the chair: the clerk will suspend. the gentleman from texas seek recognition? clrk the clerk: amounts for medical services and information chnology systems up to $274,731,may be transferred. section 221 including transfer
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of funds and medical facilities ,000. $280,280 section 222 including transfer of funds from deposited from the medical care collections shall also be available for the transfer to the joint department of defense, department of veterans affairs demonstration fund. section 223 including transfer of funds amounts available for medical services a minimum of $50 million shall be transferred. section 224, the secretary shall notify the committees on appropriations of both houses of congress of all bid savings that total $5 million. section 225, none of the funds for construction major projects may be used for a project in excess. section 226, $40 million may be
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obligated from the compliance account. section 227, the secretary shall provide written notification to the committee 50 days prior to organizational changes. section 228, the secretary shall provide to the committees on appropriations of both houses noifings of any single national outreach marketing campaign in which obligations exceed $2 million. section 229 including transfer of funds, the secretary may transfer any discretionary appropriations or any iscretionary unobligated balances. section 20 including transfer of funds amounts under the board of veterans appeals, accounts may be transferred. section 2 1, the secretary may not reprogram funds in such instance will exceed $5 million. section 232, rescission of
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funds, $30 million are rescinded. section 233, rescission of funds $266 are rescinded. section 234, amounts are reduced. for veterans health administration and prosthetic 004,000 $4, >> and the suicide hotline provided assistance. section 236, the secretary shall treat the marriage and family therapist as qualified to serve as a therapist regardless of requirements accomplished by the accreditation. nonof the funds may be used by the secretary to pay a performance award section title 5 united states code.
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section 238, none of the funds may be used to relocate hospital-based services with respect to a health care facility that is the subject of an environmental impact statement. title 3, related agencies, salaries and expenses. 5,100 and necessary expenses of the american for purposes authorized by section 2109 of title 36 united states code. united states court of appeals for veterans claims salaries and xpenses $30 million. departments of defense, civil her00.y expenses $70,8 and 64 million. administrative provisions ction 031 arlington county
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virginia for the relocation of the federally at arlington national cemetery. section 302, amounts shall be available to support activities at the army national army cemeteries. tle 4, jore seas contingency department of defense military, $18 million to remain available until september 30 -- the chair: the clerk will suspend. does any member seek recognition? the gentleman from south carolina seek recognition?
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>> parliamentary inquiry, mr. chairman. where are we? the chair: page 65, line 1. mr. mulvaney: i have an amendment at the desk. i have four consecutive amendments. mr. dent: i reserve a point of order. the chair: the gentleman will state. mr. mulvaney: title 5, military construction, army. the chair: amendment number one? mulvaney one? mr. mulvaney: is it possible with the approval of the gentleman controlling the time for the majority to combine amendments 1, 2, 3 and 4 into a single amendment? the chair: by unanimous consent mr. dent: we haven't seen any of the amendments yet.
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the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. mulvaney. strike lines 1-11. the chair: the gentleman from south carolina. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from south carolina. he gentleman will suspend. copies will remain available. they are distributing now. the gentleman from pennsylvania. oint of order is reserved. the gentleman from south carolina will suspend until the copies are distributed. mr. mulvaney: thank you, mr. hairman.
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the chair: the gentleman from south carolina may proceed. mr. mulvaney: i have four consecutive amendments that are all very closely intertwined and there are four. i offered them originally as one and i will argue them at one time. they get rid of the o.c.o. budget. that's it. title 4 of this bill is the
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o.c.o. budget and my amendment is simply to be done with this thing. it has turned into a slush fund. that's not me saying that but by folks saying this is what this is. it may have started with the best of intentions or necessity and a good thing but we all know what it is now, which is a place to hide money and a way to get around spending caps. hat's it. we admit we abuse it. we admit there's money in the oco budget that has nothing to do with overseas contingency operations. we admit there's money in the oco budget that has nothing to do with fighting overseas. we admit we do it.
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why? because we can. and because it's difficult to vote against the troops. that's not the right way to appropriate money. in fact, john mccain, a man with whom i usually disagree on many, many things, has said this is not the way to appropriate money for milcon v.a., for d.o.d., for anything that has to do with defense, this is not the proper way to do it. in fact, mr. chairman, as we look at the individual sections, it gets even worse. in this first section, dealing with the army, we're appropriating $18.9 million for no one knows what. no indication whatsoever as to what we are spending the money on. it says we are going to go and appropriate $18.9 million to remain available until september 30, 2021, for projects outside the united states. period. that's it. $19 million with absolutely no indication of where it's being spent. in fact, we don't even have to spend it next year.
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we can spend it over the next five years as long as it's outside of the united states we are approving its expenditure. you can go down to the next line, same is true of $59.8 million for the marine corps construction, $5 million for military construction defense wide. no indication of how this money is being spent. no limitation on when it is spent other than we have to spend it in five years. no indication on where it's going to be spent other than it has on outside of the united states. that's it. it's hard for me to imagine an example of a less accountable, less transparent way for us to spend money in this country. so i've been spending time on this for the last couple of years, i've always thought it was a bad way to operate. every year we get a couple more
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adherents to that belief, a couple more votes every single year, a couple more folks waking up to the fact that, listen, we need to spend money on defense of this nation, it's one of the few things we are affirmatively charged with in the constitution but this is not they to do it. we can't lie to people back home about how much we're spend, about what the deficit is going to be or where they're spending their money. let's stop doing it this way and start doing it properly. that means, mr. chairman, i encourage support for this amendment i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from pennsylvania seek time in opposition? mr. dent: yes, i do, mr. chairman. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. dent: i rise in opposition to the gentleman's amendment from south carolina. for a few reasons. the oco money in this bill totals $172 million. he's correct it's about $18.9 million for the army. much of this money is going to support counterterrorism efforts and the european reassurance
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initiative. we're going to be using this money for obviously infrastructure, prepositioning of assets, and given the very real threats we're facing in europe from vladimir putin, we need to make sure that we are reassuring our allies in eastern europe, this subcommittee recently visited eastern europe, poe lan, lithuania, germany, where we heard from general breedlove, supreme commander of nato, talking about the need for this initiative. i think it's imperative that we reassure our allies in eastern europe who are staring down -- who are facing a very real threat from vladimir putin's aggression in ukraine and we're deeply concerned that his expansionist ambitions may move into the baltics. so this is an extremely important -- this oco funding. i urge my colleagues to reject any reduction in the oco funding for the men and women of the
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american army. with that, i reserve the plans of my time. -- the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. does the gentleman still reserve point of order. mr. dent: i drop my point of order. >> it's hard to argue with that. -- mr. mulvaney: i'm a little hard pressed as to how $17 million is going to do all those thing he is listed but face it, we have to take the gentleman's word for it. as much as i trust the gentleman, why isn't that in the document? -- dock wrumet? why doesn't it say for this counterterrorism program or that prepositioning asset. it doesn't. we have no idea what the money is for. none whatsoever. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you to the gentleman from pennsylvania. i appreciate the opportunity to have my say and i yield back the
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balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. dent: i'd like to point out, where the money is going to be spent is in the report and in many of the budget documents. the information is available where the money will be spent. i want to share that. at this time i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. all time for debate having expired, the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from south carolina. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair the noes have it. mr. mulvaney: i request the yeas and nays. the chair: pursuant to clause 6, rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment of the gentleman will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from -- clerk will read. e clerk: page 65, line 12, military construction, navy and arine corps, $59,89,000.
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the chair: the gentleman from south carolina are is recognized. mr. mulvaney: i've had my say, going to go through the motions of the next three, i ask for approval of the amendment. the chair: is the gentleman offering mulvaney number two. mr. mulvaney: yes. clip amendment offered by mr. mulvaney, strike lines 12 through 20. the chair: the gentleman from south carolina and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from south carolina. mr. mulvaney: i have had my say, i move approval. i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. dent: i oppose the amendment, this money, i guess would strike oco funding for the navy. the money for the navy will be jibouti for runway and other development. i oppose the amendment. i reserve. mr. mulvaney: i yield back.
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mr. dent: i yield back. the chair: those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek time? mr. bishop: i want to associate myself with the gentleman from pennsylvania in opposition to the amendment. yield back. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from south carolina. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair the noes have it. mr. mulvaney: i ask for the yeas and nays. the chair: further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman will be postponed. the chloric will read. the clerk: page 65 line 21, military construction, air force, $88,291,000 to remain available until september 30, 2021. the chair: clerk will suspend. mr. mulvaney: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. mulvaney of south carolina.
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strike line one through line 63. the chair: the chair recognizes south leman from carolina. mr. mulvaney: move approval, reserve the balance. mr. dent: i do oppose the amendment. this funding i believe for the air force, this is going ton , rected toward bulgaria iceland, poland, lithuania, estonia, again i oppose the amendment it's very important to our allies. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the gentleman from south carolina. mr. mulvaney: yield. the chair: the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. dent: yield back. the chair: all time for debate having closed, the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from south carolina. those in favor say aye those opposed, no. mr. mulvaney: i ask for the yeas and nays. -- postponed.
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the clerk: $5 million to remain available until september 30, 2021. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman rise? mr. mulvaney: amendment number four at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report. the clerk: amendment number four you have offered by the gentleman from south carolina. the chair: the gentleman from south carolina and a member opposed each control five minutes. mr. dent: i oppose, reserve. mr. mulvaney: yield. mr. dent: i yield. e chair: all time for debate having yielded, those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the noes have it. mr. mulvaney: the yeas and nays please. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedingsing on the amendment by the gentleman from south carolina will be postponed. clerk will read.
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the clerk: page 66, line 12rks title 5, general provision, section 501, no appropriation shall remain available beyond the current fiscal year unless expressly so provided. section 502. none of the funds may be used for any program not in clines with any federal law relating to risk assess. . section 503. all departments and agencies are encouraged to expand use of e commerce technology. section 504. all reports shall be submitted to the subcommittee on military construction and veterans afairs and gentlemanned agencies. section 505. none of the funds may be transferred except pursuant to transfer authority provided. the chair: section 506, none of the funds may be used far project named for an individual
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serving as a member, delegate, or resident commissioner. section 507. any agency receiving funds shall post on the public web any report required. section 508. none of the funds may be used to maintain a computer network unless such network blocks the viewing of pornography. section 509. none of the funds may be used by any agency to pay for first class travel. section 510. none of the funds may be used to execute a contract for goods or construction serb vises where the contractors has not complied with executive order number 129-89. section 511. none of the funds may be used to lease or purchase light duty vehicles. none of the funds may be used to construct any facility to house any individual detained at united states naval station guantanamo bay, cuba. section 513. unobligated balances shall be available for necessary expenses to prevent, prepare for, and
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respond to zika virus. spend regular ducks account. the amount by which the allocation of new budget authority made by the committee exceeds the amount of proposed new budget authority is zero dollars. the chair: prurp does -- for what purpose does the gentleman rise? >> i'd like to seek time to engage in a colloquy with the gentleman from ohio. the chair: does the gentleman wish to strike the last word in mr. dent: i wish to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. dent: i'd like to yield to the gentleman from ohio, mr.s we trup. .s we trup: i'd like to -- >> i share the v.a.'s goal of increasing efficiency and purchasing power however i'm concerned there's a reliance on single source. here's why. single work contracts are too limbed and will reduce choices
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for surgeons. mr. wenstrup: i know they have a comfort for what tools work best. surgical residents learn when they have more options and techniques in front of them. often when surgeons are restricted, they practice elsewhere. i'm concerned limiting surgeons' options will reduce morale and i think the last thing v.a. needs is to lose more providers. i also know patients have different needs. every surgery case is unique. so i'd just like to be assured that surgeons will have flexibility, which means more choice an better care for veterans and for our patients. unfortunately, in my efforts to get this assurance, i get conflicting information from various sources within the v.a. multiyear single award contracts are irreparable if we get them wrong. and i'd like to work with you,
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mr. chairman, an the authorizing committee, to conduct oversight on this issue to ensure we do get this right because we can't lose more surgeons and can't compromise care for our veterans. i thank you for this time and yield back. mr. dent: reclaiming my time, i understand the gentleman's sincere desire to provide better care to our veterans as it relates to the single source issue, single source contracts, obviously has a great deal of expertise and i'd like to work with the gentleman to get more information about the issue and work with you but also again, i also commend you to be with the authorizers who have a great deal of say on this matter as well. i pledge to you, my commitment to work with you to try to get to a better place on this atter. the chair: the gentleman from pennsylvania yields back. nyone seek time?
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for what purpose does -- any member seek time? to offer an amendment? for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 2 ratcliffe of texas. mr. ratcliffe: i thank chairman dent and ranking member bishop for their hard work on behalf of service members and veterans. the amendment that i'm offering today with my colleagues will
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prohibit any fund made available in this act from being used to propose, plan for or execute a new or additional round of base alignment enclosure or brac. my district is home to the red river army depot which has supported american armed forces since 1941. while it has endured challenges, it has remaped dedicated, we build it as if our lives depend on it. they employ 5,000 people in northeast texas, it's acritical component of our national defense. it acts as a insurance policy one comparable of bolstering production that can't be duplicated. so the need for this amendment
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is clear. in a fiscal environment where every penny is scrute needed, we have to ensure that taxpayer dollars truly address our need and another round of brac won't help us achieve this goal. n addition to jeopardizing our readiness. brac is expensive. the last round of brac in 2005 cost the american taxpayers a whopping $35.1 billion and the pected savings haven't materialized and the savings have been revised downward at 7 %. it's especially important that we do everything possible to ensure that our military is prepared for the call of duty. the amendment that i have introduced today does just that and i urge my colleagues to do
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that on behalf of the american people. i yield to the chairman. he chair: jabts. yield to the chairman. mr. dent: i have no objection to the gentleman's amendment and i'm prepared to accept it. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. anyone claiming time in opposition. all time over for debate, the question is on the amendment offered, those in favor say aye. , those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. mr. blumenauer: i have an amendment at the desk. the clerk: amendment number 3 offered by mr. blumenauer of oregon. the chair: the gentleman from oregon and a member op oatsed each will control five minutes. mr. blumenauer: i would yield myself three minutes. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. blumenauer: one of the great oncerns we have is how the two
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million young americans who were sent to iraq and afghanistan re-integrate back into society and return with many of them with wounds visible and inadvice ifble. we find more than 20% of those 2.8 million americans suffer from ptsd and depression. suicide rates among veterans are roughly 50% higher than among civilians and another study ound the death rate for opioid overdoses is nearly double the national average. i hear from veterans that i talk to is that an overwhelming number of them say medical marijuana has helped them deal with ptsd and pain particularly as an alternative to opioids and
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i would argue that veterans be allowed access to this as a treatment if it is legal in their state. 24 states and the district of columbia and guam have passed laws that provide for legal access of medical marijuana to treat such conditions arranging from chronic pain and brain injury and the symptoms associated with chemo. 4 states allow physicians to prescribe medical marijuana. as a result of these laws, more than two million patients now use medical marijuana. unfortunately, the department of veteran affairs specifically prohibits its medical providers from completing forms brought to their patients seeking recommendations regarding a veteran's participation in a state medical marijuana program.
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what this means is that those parets who want to pursue medical marijuana have to go ahead and hire a physician out of their own pocket, not dealing with the medical professional of their choice. their v.a. doctor who knows them the best. i think that is unfortunate and we have an amendment co-sponsored by dr. heck, sam farr, tom reed and others that would prohibit these funds from being made available to the v.a. to implement this prohibition. it is the right thing for our veterans to treat them et quitbly and have access to the doctor who knows them the best and i would respectfully request that we approve this amendment to eliminate this unjustified prohibition and i reserve.
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the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. any member claiming time in opposition? mr. dent: i rise reluctantly to my friend in opposition. he is very sincere and thoughtful member of this body. i understand that the country is evolving on this issue, as many states and including my own have moved forward on medical marijuana. as a member of this house, i'm a bit uncomfortable in trying to dictate policy on marijuana without guidance from the food and drug administration, national institutes of health and other medical officials. he reluctantly rise in opposition. i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from oregon. mr. blumenauer: i'm going to clause when you have exhausted your speakers.
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the chair: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for five minutes. mr. bishop: the amendment offered by mr. blumenauer, last year in georgia, governor deal signed legislation that immediately allowed the use of medical marijuana. georgia became the 36th state to legalize marijuana ex tracts to treat illnesses. i believe we should not limit the administration from providing optimal pain care to our veterans. if medical marijuana is legal in the state, then the v.a. should be able to allow the veteran to make his or her own choice. i believe the policy guidance related to medical marijuana, v.h.a. directive, on medical marijuana has become outdated. the l be supporting to
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eterans to use medical marijuana. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from oregon. the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. dent: as i said, i reluctantly oppose the amendment and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from oregon. nobody enauer: there is that i have no more respect for than i have than the chairman of the subcommittee. but i take modest exception. this amendment does not dictate treatment options. it's not interfering. it's not superimposing anybody's judgment about the merits of marijuana. it simply enables v.a. doctors and patients to interact with state legal marijuana systems, systems that this congress has
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repeatedly supported through amendment votes, just like everybody else. we should not be limiting the treatment options available to our veterans. i fail to understand what the basis is to force in the state of pennsylvania veterans who feel that they need to avail themselves to medical marijuana, like any other citizen in pennsylvania or in oregon, has a right to do, but force them to not use the doctor that knows them best, instead to go to somebody else, hire them out of their own pocket and be engaging with somebody who doesn't know their full range of activity. this isn't engaging the veterans administration -- there's no marijuana on premises. it simply allows the doctor to be able to deal with the veteran as a patient to be able to
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counsel and potentially prescribe them like any other person in any other state where it's legal. these people are suffering from ptsd, chronic pain, conditions that medical marijuana is legally entitled to treat and which veterans that i have met with, literally from coast to coast say have transformed their lives and what we are doing now, they are dying at a higher rate than the average member in the population. the suicide rate is high, the opioids addiction rate is almost twice as high as the average citizen. this is unconscionable. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. all time debate has expired. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the amendment -- the gentleman from oregon.
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mr. blumenauer: i request a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6, rule 18, further proceedings on he vote will be postponed. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. fleming of louisiana at the end of the bill add the following new section, section, none of the fund made available by this act may be used to modify a military installation including construction or modification of a facility on a litary installation to accompany jailen children. the chair: the chair recognizes the gentleman from louisiana. mr. fleming: this would be used to modify for the purpose of housing unaccompanied jailen children. they are for training and
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equipping soldiers. the use of d.o.d. facilities undermines the readiness of our armed forces which we know to be extreme at this point. this follows from a provision included in the national defense authorization act passed out of the house armed services committee which being hosted. a stand-alone bill has been introduced by judge carter of texas and has 61 co-sponsors. under recent agreements, the d.o.d. has provided housing to unaccompanied alienable children space, ities to provide service trailers and outdoor housing. it is inappropriate for scares defense dollars meant to go to the readiness of our sold years
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to be used for nondefense purposes especially in our nation's history. take for example, the army air defense and the training site where unaccompanied minors were housed. they were used by h.h.s. and resources had to ensure that h.h.s. contractors and the minors did not gain access to fire ive areas and live raining ranges. the texas national guard was unable to have a stand up facility because the base was being considered for hosting these minors. our bases are in serious need of upgrading and resources are scarce.
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this jeopardizes the readiness of our armed forces. following on the prohibition in this house in the ndaa, i ask that my colleagues support my amendment. i reserve. the chair: any member claiming time in opposition? the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. dent: i rise in opposition to the gentleman's amendment. there are no projects in the united states, or in the f.y. 2017 request for this purpose in the u.s. , ere are funds, $33 million for the naval station at fwauntaun moe bay, cuba, at the request of southern command to deal with various issues of people obviously that we're interdicting on the seas or that are arriving in cuba. but the point is, i don't want to preclude the department of defense from dealing with an emergency situation, should one arise in the u.s. so that's why i must oppose my friend's amendment. at this time i'd like to yield
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time to my distinguished colleague and ranking member, mr. bishop of georgia. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. bishop: i thank the gentleman for yielding. we have an opportunity and obligation to help children who come across our boarder to escape the problems of their homeland. the challenges of poverty and violence continue to grow and it's a moral obligation and one that i support to not allow the use of military installations for temporary housing only exacerbates the problem. this is temporary. why would we prohibit the use of bases only until adjudication of a migrant's cases, for example. is my colleague suggesting we immediately send migrant children back to the country they fled without due process? should we send them back to violence? that's not what the united states stands for. that's not what the united states should stand for. it's not consistent with our country's christian values. i urge a no vote on this
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amendment and yield back the alance of my time. mr. dent: i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from louisiana. in fleming: how much time do i have? the chair: the gentleman from uisiana has two minutes, the gentleman from pennsylvania has three. mr. fleming: i thank my colleagues for their statements but i have to disagree. this is about military readiness, which we're at a low, low point. we're get regular ports, having hear frgs engenerals, commanders in the field, generals at the pentagon, telling us that they're screeching for every little penny they can find in readiness. in fact, just the other night on fox news they talked about an f-18, marine f-18 that they had to go aboard a ship and -- a museum -- a ship museum just to find a part to put on that in
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order for it to go into service. look, if it's important to provide facilities for unaccompanied alien children, then the appropriations committee should appropriate those dollars. but they should not take them from the vital military facilities, they shouldn't take scarce dollars away from our readiness and as a result of that, i again urge my colleagues to support this and i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from louisiana reserves. the gentleman from louisiana. mr. fleming: i yield back. the chair: -- mr. dent: i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from louisiana. mr. fleming: i urge support of this. we need to protect our soldier, sailor, airmen, as well as marines. we need to make sure they're safe out there, that every dollar is put into readiness and to protect them and should not be diverted in this way. again, i urge support of this amendment. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. all time for debate having
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ended, the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from louisiana. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes visit. mr. fleming: i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from louisiana will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from kale seek recognition? >> i have an amendment at the desk. the clerk: the -- chip the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. huffman of california. at the end they have bill insert the follow, none of the funds made available by this act may be used for section 8-d-2 national cemetery directive of november 20, 2005. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 734, the gentleman from california and a member opposed will each control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. huffman: i yield myself such time as i may consume. i'm pleased to offer this amendment to the 2017 milcon
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spending bill and stand with my colleague, reuben gallego of arizona, who offered a standalone bill on the same subject along with our colleague from minnesota keith ellison. we remember the tragic shooting the emanuel after can emethodist episcopal church and how it reopened a painful but necessary conversation about symbols like the confederate flag that stand for racism and division. rightfully, people from other states called on states to end the display of the confederate battle flag on public property. the confederate battle flag has no place, no place on government property, especially not at v.a. cemeteries, a place where families and loved ones go to pay respect to our nation's veterans. over 150 years ago, slavery was
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abolished. why in the year 2016 are we still condoning displays of this hateful symbol on our sacred national cemetery? symbols like the confederate battle flag have meaning. they're not just neutral his porical symbols of pride. they represent slavery or presentation, lynching, and hate. to continue to allow national policy condoning the display of this symbol on federal property is wrong and it's disrespectful to what our country stands for and what our veterans fight for. it's pastime, mr. speaker, to end the public promotion of this cruel, racist legacy of the confederacy so let us move forward in a direction of reconciliation, unity and justice. symbols matter. even general robert e. lee recognized that symbols of the confederacy are symbols of treason which is why he asked they not appear at his funeral. the united states house of
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representatives in 2016 should be at least as forward looking s robert e. lee was in 1869. the chair: the gentleman from california is under recognition. mr. dent: reserve a point of order. the chair: the gentleman from california is recognized for his amendment. mr. huffman: my point is that the house of representatives in 2016 should be at least as forward looking as general robert e. lee was in 1869. let us do the right thing tonight in this house and let's do it together on a bipartisan basis. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from california reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from south carolina seek reck snigs? >> i have an amendment to the amendment. i reserve a point of order. the chair: the gentleman will send his amendment to the desk.
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the chair: the gentleman -- who seeks time in opposition? to the amendment offered by the gentleman from california.
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the gentleman from california ay proceed on his amendment. >> i yield back and request an aye vote. the chair: the gentleman yields back. any other member claiming time in opposition? he gentleman from alabama? all time for debate having offered, the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from california, those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair the noes have it. >> request a recorded vote. the chair: further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from california will be postponed.
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for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? >> i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. would the gentleman send the amendment to the desk. the chair: clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. fitzpatrick of pennsylvania.
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at the end of the bill, before the short title, insert the following, none of the funds made available in this act may be used to procure the birth control known as essure. the chair: the gentleman from pennsylvania and a member opposed each will control five minutes. mr. fitzpatrick: i want to thank mr. fitzpatrick: i thank the gentleman for considering all ideas. i thank mr. dent for that. i rise in support of an amendment that is common sense. what this amendment would do if a medical device is under review by the f.d.a. over concerns of its harmful impacts on women, it shouldn't be spending taxpayer dollars to offer to our veterans.
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the permanent sterilization device. it was approved by the f.d.a. in 2002. however, since it was first approved, this device has caused harm to tens of thousands of women. f.d.a. data shows it caused the death of four women and 300 fetal deaths. tens of thousands of women have reported other symptoms which are debilitating. 25,000 women have shared their stories to share theirs shorse. e-shorel themselves the sisters. for many, they were told that this device was safe. but that proved to be wrong. we don't need another study. their pain and they have been ignored by the doctors and
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device manufacturer. i rise as a voice for these women and their stories are real and pain is real and fight is real. working with them over the last year, we have been able to call for yet another review of this flawed device and this request was made by democrats and republic caps. yet the product remains available, sometimes adepress i havely pushed and as it relates to the appropriations bill, it remains on the list. we know this device has harmed female veterans and i want to give a quote from a veteran, this is a quote, i live in massive chronic pain. i cannot do the things i used to do with my children and husband. each day that i live with this ffering, i deprow and more
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disgusted and had a device forced upon us that would are you yine my libes. this amendment is not about women's reproductive decisions, but about protecting our female veterans by a device that has harmed women. we should not allow the department of vet rap affairs to implant this device in our nation's veterans. the chair: the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. dent: mr. chairman, i have to rise in opposition to this amendment and i want to commend mr. fitzpatrick for his diligence. i know he feels very sincerely about this particular amendment, hear of disturbing to adverse consequences of any drug or device, but we rely on the
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f.d.a. to be the safety arbiter in these cases. the v.a. follows the approval of drugs and devices. if anyone wants to go to the source on this, that individual should work through the agricultural subcommittee which has jurisdiction. but i believe it's not the proper role for congress to act as doctors in this case substituting what appears to be anecdotal. we shouldn't influence the marketing of birth control devices by targeting one particular manufacturer. i do understand my very good friend and colleague's sincere desire based on his constituents, but we should let
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the medical experts determine the safety of a particular device in this case and i have to rise in opposition and i would yield to mr. bishop. mr. bishop: i thank the gentleman for yielding. i join my colleague in opposing this amendment. why is the gentleman getting involved in the contraseppings choices of women veterans? it is the policy of the v.a. to rovide elective sterilization, procedures and surgeries to reverse elective sterilization to veterans. i don't see my colleague calling for a ban of funding vastectomies or getting tubes
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tied. both of these procedures are allowed. if a woman is seeking permanent birth control, why is congress going to mandate she undergo a surgical procedure. it is important that family planning is the most effective way to prevent abortion and unwanted presenting nan cyst. access. n have this is an effective way to support women and improving their own health and that of their families. why would anyone insist on government interference in providing health care to women? this amendment shows the partisan approach on issues affecting women and families. i urge my colleagues to vote no and i reserve. i yield back.
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i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. dent: just in closing, i would say this is about a dangerous medical device and there are many women who have called on the f.d.a. toll withdraw the device on the market. there are other options and i appreciate the time on the interior tonight and with that, i yield. the chair: all time having ended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. mendment is not adopted. for what purpose does the gentleman from seek recognition? mr. grayson: i have an amendment at the desk. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. grayson at the end of the bill insert the following,
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section none of the fund made available by -- mr. grayson: i ask that the reading be waived by unanimous consent. the chair: without objection. the gentleman from florida andal member opposed each will be recognized. expandyson: my amendment the list of pares where te federal government contracting due to serious miscontracting and i hopthis will remain uncontroversial and i reserve the ball aps of my time. the chair: any member seeking time in opposition? the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. dent:oint of order. i'm sorry. i would like to speak in opposition. i have no objection to the gentleman's amendment. i have no objection to the gentleman's amendment. he offered it in the past and i
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urge adoption and i yield back. mr. grayson: i thank the chair and i yield the balance of my time. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from florida. those in for say aye. those opposed, . in the opinion of the chair, the amendment is adopted. buse bows i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report th amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. boustany of louisiana, insert the following, section, arch, none of the funds made available by this act may be ed to pay any bonus or award under chapter 45 to any employee of the chief business oice of the office of veterans affrs who is responsibluntil the percentage of emergency medic claims processed within 0 days reaches 90%. c, the veteran one, the total
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number of emergency medical claims and the total number of bill claimed. emergency medical claims pending for more than 0 days. three, the number of veterans with unpaid claims under consideration in each veterans integrated service network. four, the percent of claims processed within 0 days. the chair: the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. dent: i reserve a point of order. mr. boustany: our veterans have put their lives on the lines to protect our country and we towed to take care of them. sips the passage of the accountability act of 2014, the v.a. has demonstrated little progress in addressing the processing backlog thus hurting
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our veterans. when i pressured them for statistics last year, the v.a. was processing only 14% of the claims within 30 days in any home region, 14%. and since that time, the v.a. has loosened their timely processing goal from 30 days to 45 days, making it impossible to measure real progress. despite this change in internal procedure, not a single visn has reached a processing rate. when the claims are not paid on time, the bill gets passed onto the veteran and in many cases threatening their personal credit rating and this is unacceptable. while the v.a. claims it is making progress, it is taking constant pressure from my office, providers and veterans' groups to get this agency to pay
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attention and try to do their job. american veterans should never have to worry about calling an ambulance or taking a trip to the emergency room. they should be focused on their health and recovery. my amendment is very simple, it prevents the v.a. from granting bonuses to is emergency processing staff unless it reaches 90%. mr. chairman, no business in my home state of louisiana would ever think about rewarding employees after such a poor performance. we must demand the highest standard and i encourage my colleagues to hold the v.a. accountable and i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? mr. dent: it proposes to change
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existing law and constitutes legislation in an appropriation bill and accordingly violates clause 2 of rule 21, the rule states that an amendment to a general appropriation bill shall not be in order if changing existing law. the amendment gives affirmative direction in effect. so i would ask for a ruling from the chair. the chair: does the gentleman from louisiana wish to speak to the point of order? mr. boustany: i respect the gentleman's call and i would hope the gentleman of the subcommittee as well as my colleagues in the house would work with us to solve this problem once and for all. this isn't acceptable and their credit rating is -- the chair: the gentleman's remarks need to be con find to
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the point of order. mr. boustany: i understand the rule. the chair: does the gentleman wish to withdraw his amendment? mr. boustany: no. give us a ruling on the point of the order. the chair: the secretary of veteran affairs. this amendment constitutes legislation. the point of order is sustained and the amendment is not in order. which member seeks time? oes any member seek time?
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>> parliamentary inquiry. the chair: state your inquiry. mr. boustany: right here it says waives all points ofed off -- of order against clarification of the bill. can i seek a clarification on this? yeah, clause 2 e of rule 21. the chair: the point of order st sustained was not under
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clause -e. mr. boustany: ok. thank you. does any member seek time. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will reminority amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. gohmert of texas. at the end of the bill, before the short title, insert thele to foe -- following. none of the funds made available in this act may be used to maintain, employ or enter into an agreement with any group, that ing political party, supported slavery or to its name
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displayed. mr. bishop: i reserve a point of order. the chair: the point of order is reserved. pursuant to house resolution 746, the gentleman from texas and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the gentleman from texas. mr. gohmert: thank you, mr. speaker. should be pretty straightforward. my friends on the other side of the aisle continue to push forward amendments that seem to make it -- seems to want to leave the appearance that the republican party still wants to fact that -- fight that it's never had. the republican party opposed slavery. the republican party and everybody that i know of in this chamber on this side of the aisle has never supported slavery. has never supported anything that reeks of slavery.
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daniel webster, john quincy adams, all of those early leaders in this country had it very right. it's an abomination. it kept god from blessing this country as he would ultimately, and i'm surprised that anyone would wish to reserve a point of der to try to prevent this amendment from going forward. anything, as my friends across the aisle have repeatedly pointed out that reminds people of slavery is repugnant and is abhorrent and i would think that that's something we could all agree on. if it's an organization that supported slavery, then why would we want to give that organization any more credence
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and cause those who may have lived through the vestiges, the civil rights problems that lasted after slavery, it's time to put this to an end and let he dream of dr. king finally come to fruition. with that, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: does the gentleman nsist on his point of order. mr. bishop: i insist on a point of order because it seeks to change existing law and violates clause 2 of rule 21. the rule states in pertinent part, an amendment to a general appropriation bill shall not be in order if changing existing law. the amendment requires a new determination. i ask for a ruling from the chair. the chair: does any member wish
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to speak to the point of order in opposition? mr. gohmert: i would address the point of order thus. it really doesn't require any new act or law or activity. the thing should speak for itself. unless my friend across the aisle has some concerns that some organization he wants to protect has supported slavery and he's seeking to protect that, but otherwise, the law will speak for itself as does his amendment. the chair: any further comments? the chair is prepared to rule. the chair finds this amendment requires a new determination on whether an organization embraced a form of slavery. it therefore violates clause 2 of rule 2 1. mr. gohmert: mr. speaker, i
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ppeal the ruling of the chair.
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mr. gohmert: mr. speaker, given the hour and there aren't that many of us here on the floor at this time and that it would require a quorum and would require under the rules an immediate vote, what i'll do is withdraw my amendment at this time, i'm assured that we will still be taking up limitation amendments in the morning, and i can offer it at that time without dragging all our friends out of their place of repose at this time. the chair: the appeal is
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withdrawn. the amendment has been ruled out of order. the appeal has been withdrawn. for what purpose does the gentleman -- never mind. is any member seeking the ttention of the chair?
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does any member seek the ttention of the chair? for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? mr. dent: i move that the committee do now rise. the chair: the question is on the motion that the committee rise. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the motion is adopted, accordingly the committee rises. the speaker pro tempore: mr. chairman. the chair: mr. speaker, the committee of the whole house on the state of the union having had under consideration h.r. 4974 directs me to report it has come to no resolution thereon.
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the speaker pro tempore: the chair of the committee of the whole house on the state of the union reports that the committee has had under consideration h.r. 4974 and has come to no esolution thereon. the chair lays before the house the following personal requests. the clerk: leave of absence requested for mr. swalwell of california for today and the balance of the week. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the request is granted. for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? >> i move that the house adjourn.
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the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it this motion is >> today, the house passed two bills. the house also voted for the 2017 defense programs bill. debate on theegan military construction and veterans affairs spending bill. they will continue work on that legislation when they began gaveling tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. eastern. you can watch it here on c-span. ♪ announcer: c-span's "washington
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journal." live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. thursday morning, reid ribble joins us to discuss the ongoing fight against isis, and whether the u.s. should be arming libya and an effort to help defeat the terrorist organization. alsoessman rebel will discuss other issues before congress, and his thoughts on the 2016 election. then, congressman gene green will be on to discuss public health issues like zika and the opioid crisis, as well as the future of the 2010 health care law. "washingtonatch journal," beginning live at 7:00 a.m. eastern thursday morning. join the discussion. hill hearing, the acting deputy epa administrator responded to allegations of sexual misconduct and theft by epa employees. members of the house oversight committee questioned the epa's
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disciplinary policies and rules for administrative leave. congressman jason chaffetz chairs this one hour and 45 minute hearing. >> without objection, the chair is authorized to declare a recess at any time. we will continue to highlight this as long as it takes, because to me that epa is one of the most toxic places in the federal government to work. if you don't get rid of the toxicity of the employees, we are doing a great disservice to the country. most of them are goodhearted battles of their are the epa not being addressed.
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i look forward to talking about this. donenspector general has good-quality work, he and his team. again, we will continue to do this until the epa actually takes care of this problem. today, the committee is exploring numerous cases of misconduct at the epa. as the committee of government oversight informed -- it is our duty to exploit -- explore the problems in the federal workforce. we have explored misconduct at the aba before. like i said, we will continue to do so until there is actually a change. beal was a senior epa under gina mccarthy, be in they claimed to
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cia. this person ended up going to jail. i have serious questions about her ability to administrate. now that she has a larger office, problems continue to persist. unfortunately, mr. beale's fraud is not isolated. the head of epa's office of hamas security -- the head of the office of homeland security lengthy history of sexual harassment. fortleblowers placed blame toxic culture squarely on susan hedman, who resigned under duress in the wake of the flint
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water crisis. remarking on the situation, an epa union representative testified. there is a serious lack of accountability or transparency at the epa when the manager is the problem, end quote. these incidents represent a systemic cultural problem and failure at the epa. recently, the inspector general's office released details on investigations of more than 60 cases of misconduct closed in the last several moths. many of these cases have disturbing details. i recognize this is cspan, and it is an early hour, but parents, be forewarned. there is not a subject for kids at any hour. at one case, a convicted child molester was on the payroll for many years, even after they learned of this offense. what is so terrible about the
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situation, what you cannot explain or justify is, the epa noses person is a convicted child molester, and yet, they put him in a position to interact with the public. he was out there, literally, interacting with the public. this person was found to have police sirens placed on their personal vehicle, on their personal car, lights and sirens, handcuffs, a counterfeit badge. it was not until a probation violation that it was highlighted and dealt with. in another case, an epa employee was found to have stolen and pawned thousands of dollars of u office equipment and yet, was not fired. she admitted to taking equipment shop, and she is not fired. mr. my berg actually oversaw this person.
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not directly, but was in his team. it is unbelievable. this person was not fired. after her felony conviction, she is still employed at the epa to this day. we have got a lot of good, hard-working people who want and need jobs, who will serve this country honorably. why in the world is somebody convicted of a felony conviction still enjoying the employment and being paid by the united states taxpayers? we have pages and pages of similar cases. one has to wonder if the epa's culture and lack of accountability is a conjuring factor to tragedies like the fli nt drinking water crisis. the status quo cannot continue and the committee will continue to investigate the epa until cultural changes and managers are held accountable. people are going to make mistakes, we understand that. you cannot mistakes.
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these are patterns of behavior that are unforgivable. actofficial personnel file requires the federal agency to record any adverse findings from results in an investigation into a separate personal file. i hope this helps, so these employees cannot just toggle from one agency to the other without having their information shared with others. the bill prevents an employee facing disciplinary action from sibley jumping ship to another agency that would not be aware of their negative disciplinary records. forave another case here somebody was -- there were devices and cards that were used excessively. a one case -- in one trip, person spent $18,000 -- $18,000 on one air card traveling and no restitution. no paying back the government.
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we have the devices, we have is $4500 in personal international calls while on leave. what was the punishment for that? counseling. counseling was the punishment. so, we have got a lot to talk about. the inspector general has done a good job on this edit look look forward to a good, fruitful hearing. with that, and recognize the ranking member, mr. cummings. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank you for holding today's hearing examining employee conduct at the environmental protection agency. am encouraged by th eee epa's response. it has vastly improved. i like you, want to be effective and efficient.
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i do want to constantly hold hearings and hear about these problems. at some point, we should be able to get them resolved. employ misconduct is rare. but as this committee has seen , cases have taken far too long. the committee's hearing in april 2015, a little over a year ago. i asked the epa and the ig to work together to improve quarter nation in employee -- improve coordination in employee misconduct matter so we could be effective and efficient in getting things done, as opposed to going around in a circle. i directed my staff to work directly with the epa and ig to help develop new protocols to improve disciplinary processes. as a result, the epa and the ig
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are coordinating their efforts, as they never did before. but as i often say, we can always do better. they are holding biweekly meetings to share information about investigations. we can do even better. they are communicating more frequently about administrative actions. they are sharing reports of investigations with agency managers and senior officials at epa headquarters, but we can always do better. developedd ig have expedited procedures for certain cases. the outcomes from improve coordination are indeed promising. nd ig have stated that the new procedures have decreased the time it takes to take action. testimony, we credit a
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new information sharing process with contributing to epa taking action more quickly after the ig complete an investigation. s sullivan from 11 fro the ig's office agrees -- and i would like to thank you for doing such a great job. "misconducte, cases are being addressed faster and more consistently by the epa management," but ladies and gentlemen, we can always do better. as i said, serious misconduct is rare, but we have to take it seriously. there are only 14 open reports from the ig. for an epa workforce of some 15,000, that is less than 1/10 of 1%, but we can do better.
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this committee has also expressed concern about excessive use of administrative leave. that has been a major concern. in february, the agency issued a new policy on administrative leave. under the new policy, an epa employee may not, may not be placed on administrative leave for more than 10 days without approval from the assistant administrator of the office of administration and resources management. this policy introduces a check that addresses are concerned about overuse of administrative leave and the need for stronger oversight. the chairman indicated that the hearing today will focus on approximately 20 old cases that have been closed by the ig some years ago. as mr. sullivan states in his testimony, "it is important to note that most of the misconduct occurred at least two years ago." in some of these cases, the
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misconduct is in fact, agree just. requiresehavior appropriate agency response. but none of these cases are currently pending. they are all closed. i am going to be clear. wrong withanything looking back because i think you sometimes have to look back so you can look effectively and efficiently move forward. we can learn from things that have happened. so, i do have a problem with that. according to the epa and ig, all of these cases exceeded the improve coordination process the between the epa an dig. i hope you, mr. sullivan, will address the difference you have seen and the impact -- and of course, i am sure you have your recommendations. mr. sullivan states that the new coronation process should serve "a besti quote, practices model for the federal government." so, i am extremely pleased to hear that. it shows what we can do if we
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work hard with the agencies and investigators to improve their procedures. this type of work does not always get the big headlines, but it makes a real difference. it also shows that this committee -- it shows what we can do through nuts and bolts oversight. while i am encouraged by the progress that has been made, i believe there are still challenges that we must and can and shall address. for instance, long investigation times in some cases, might suggest a need for more resources for the ig. there are other cases that risk questions about when employees are required to report criminal convictions. mr. chairman, as we proceed, i hope we can adjust these challenges together in a truly bipartisan way, like we have done over the past year, within but from the agency and the ig
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and the other stakeholders. it is a fact that if we concentrate and try to get the ig and the agencies to work more closely together, i think we can get the kind of results that we are after and again, we can be more effective and efficient. with that, i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. we hold the record open for five legislative days. we now recognize our witnesses. please welcome mr. stanley my berg, the acting administrator for the environmental protective agency. we also have the office of the inspector general at the united states environmental protection agency. he is accompanied by mr. allen williams, the deputy assistant for investigations, whose investigations might be required for specificity during questioning. we want to thank you all for be ing here.
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we are going to swear in mr. williams as well. all lenses are to be sworn in before they testify. if the three of you would rise and raise your right hand. you solemnly swear that your testimony you are about to give will be the whole truth and nothing but the truth? let the record reflect that all witnesses answered in the affirmative. you have testified here before. drill.yink you know the try to keep your verbal comments to five minutes, that we give you latitude. you are now recognized for five minutes. >> chairman, ranking member cummings, and ranking members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify about the environmental protection agency's efforts to address employee misconduct.
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i have had the privilege of working at the epa for nearly 40 years, holding positions at washington, d.c., our regional offices in atlanta and dallas, as well as research tranquil park. park.earch triangle the agency ing to october 2014, i have been honored to serve as the acting deputy administrator, discharging the duties of the chief operator for the agency. each day, i am reminded of the excellent work epa employees do on behalf of the american people. and sciencesers and sciences in the field, to our technical experts and lawyers here at headquarters. i am proud to be a part of the agency and its mission to protect human health and the environment. in all work places, there are employees who engage in misconduct and unfortunately, the epa is no exception.
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when such instances occur, we are committed to holding our employees accountable. we have and will continue to work with the powers given to us by congress and the administrative tools at our disposal to ensure improper conduct is met with appropriate penalties. and transversely, excellence is recognized accordingly. the i must stress that the isolated misconduct of a few does not reflect or overshadow the dedication and hard work of over 15,000 epa employees, who commit themselves every day to the important work of the agency. since my appearance before the committee last spring, we have made multiple positive changes to the management policy and procedures. epa has taken measures to support the supervisors, who carry substantial responsibilities in ensuring misconduct is addressed promptly and appropriately. we have updated the first line supervisor's tool kit and
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organized focus groups to make sure we understand their lead in an overall effort to make sure that we can take fair, legal, and effective disciplinary actions for the betterment of the agency as a whole. in addition, earlier this year, as was noted in the ranking advised comments, we administrative leave. agency demands additional investigation and review and limits the time period to 10 days, unless the employee poses a danger to the agency or the employee is. finally, gina mccarthy issued an agencywide elevation memo, encouraging staff to raise issues of concern to managers and instructing managers to be receptive to these concerns. it is our hope that this directive, in conjunction with providing training and tools to our employees, will help our first line the providers to
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address misconduct quickly and effectively when issues arise. in addition to our own work, the epa's office of inspector general plays a critical role in addressing misconduct and helping the agency operate at our best. as a result of the work of this committee and especially ranking member cummings, we have improved our working relationship with the office of inspector general. it has enabled us to take more efficient administrative action. we now meet by weekly to discuss the status of pending oig investigations into employee misconduct and have agreed-upon procedures and timelines for effective information sharing. these meetings have been approved by bilateral communication and it contributes to the epa taking action more quickly upon the completion of the investigations. that helps reduce the need for additional fact-finding by the . administration and itsng, the epa
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employees have spent five decades working to safeguard public health and the environment for the people of this country. i am proud of what we a college everyday. on the rare occasion when misconduct occurs, we must address it appropriately. i look forward to discussing the progress the epa has made. thank you for the opportunity and a look forward to answering any questions you may have. >> mr. sullivan, you are now recognized. >> good morning, mr. chairman and members of the committee. that sinceto report i testified in april of 2015, the internal adjudication process has improved at the suggestion of both the chairman and the ranking member. the agencies now meet by weekly about pending misconduct cases and their adjudication. these cases are being addressed faster and more consistently by management. i believe this process can serve
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as a best practices model. many allegations lodged against the epa employees are investigated by the iog and are some ultimately determined to be unsupported. these investigations often unclear an individual. our job is to collect and present the facts in a clear and unbiased manner. we are just as proud of our work when the case is clear and employee, as they are when they lead to a criminal conviction. i would like to discuss significant cases. in 2014, the special agency investigated a contractor who had previously worked for the epa for the past 25 years, stating he was addicted to pornography. he admitted to looking at it on his government issued computer over the past 18 years. in the last year he watched at least once or twice each day. he used commercial software to scrub his computer. he also access pornographic sites using search engines from a foreign nation.
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the contractor was fired by his company and the iog was successful in recovering $22,000 in repayments. ofe iog made epa aware tha the network for abilities that allowed him to avoid detection. made awaree iog was that a special investigator may have been involved in a ponzi scheme. this was a four level pyramid scheme involving getting tables. new members would pay a $5,000 gift. the investigation determined that the special agent had made a false statement on a financial disclosure form. she conceal the fact that she had received $2500 in cash. in 2015, the special agent retired. she subsequently pleaded guilty to one felony count of making false statements and was sentenced to one year of probation in order to pay
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$8,000. in 2013, a special agent in the atlanta office proactively check the list of epa property reported lost or stolen. ons serach resulted in a hit the epa digital camera pawned in georgia. the subsequent investigation revealed that an employee pawned cameras, resulting a loss of $3100. u.s. attorney declined federal prosecution. inever, we were successful presenting the case to a local prosecutor. the employee pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years. this was a felony conviction. appeal, the deputy administrator downgraded the suspension to 30 days. the oig dallas field office was
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informed that a civilian employee was cited by the dallas police for improper use of emergency lights on his personal vehicle, while also being a registered sex offender. it previously been convicted in 1997 for indecent acts with a minor. he also possessed an imitation badge, which was displayed by the employee to the police officer. u.s. attorney declined to prosecute the employee for position of the imitation badges. employedhen suspension for 60 days. they arrested the same employee for violation of probation. he was arrested on a violation of probation charge. the iog also had information that the employee may have viewed child bernanke of the on his computer. examination of this computer revealed no evidence of this. the employee was terminated from his employment. subsequently, the protection board overturned the termination
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and ordered he be rehired. in 2015, the employee, agreed to a settlement in which he agreed to resign. in closing, i would like to say that we in the oig pledge we continue to work closely with the epa, the department of justice, and congress. we appreciate your continued interest in the work of the oig. i will be happy to answer any questions. >> i now recognize myself for five minutes. let's go back to that most recent case with the child molester. conclude that part about the merit systems protection board. i mean, based on the brief evidence that you shared with us, the scenario of the case. what were the other considerations that he got in order to resign from the epa? >> he received a cash settlement of $55,000, i believe.
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>> the american people paid him $55,000 to walk away? >> yes. iog is notw, the part of those negotiations. >> i am not blaming you. you are the ones who highlighted this. it is hard to hold you personally responsible for that, but i mean, we had to pay $55,000 to this person? >> mr. chairman, in this particular case, which i am generally aware of, the case, as mr. sullivan noted, was one where we had proposed removal and took removal action but it was reversed. >> how do you lose that case? >> it was a complicated case and i am not going to go into all of the details, but the marriage of protection board found the basis for removal was not sustained. so, they reversed it. just prettyt is stunning. what needs to change?
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you both are close to the situation. what needs to change? how do we need to change the their systems protection board? we are not protecting the american people on taxpayers and we are not protecting the employees that have to sit by this freak of a pervert. how do we protect the employees and the american taxpayers? what we need to do at the merit systems protection board? we share your desire to protect our own employees from any adverse action by any other employee. that is a clear area of agreement. >> how is it this person can operate in this atmosphere for so long. in the case of dallas, how is it -- mr. sullivan, you have look at this closely. how is it that this goes undetected for so long? it was not in our system. >> did not go undetected. it was just not reported to the iog. in 1999, our investigation
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revealed that the management at region six in dallas found out about his conviction and at that time, he was stopped again by the police fo r using lights and sirens -- i don't know about the sirens, but i do know about the lights. he was told never to do that again, but it was never brought to our attention in 1999. >> what was his position back in 1999? >> he was an enforcement officer doing civil inspections. >> his job would be to do what? >> to go out to a site and determine if there were any environmental violations. >> so, we put them out there interacting with the public. how does this happen? hasou know that this person to register as a sex offender, why do you put them in a position to have to interact with the public? >> mr. chairman, i don't believe
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there is any particular rule that says if an employee is convicted with a crime in general they have to then report that to the agency. >> should that be the case? should they have to report, ongoing? >> mr. chairman, i think that is an important issue. >> i'm just asking your personal opinion. we believe that if you are convicted of a felony -- >> mr. chairman, in my official capacity i can't say. >> as somebody who is convicted as a sex offender, is there an internal policy that prevents those perverts from interacting with the public? >> we have asked that question and we don't believe we have the authority to institute a policy to that effect. we are not different from other agencies in that regard. but it is an important issue and we agree with you. >> somebody on this panel better
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sponsor a bill to get rid of perverts interacting with the public because this is not acceptable. i cannot imagine. somebody comes with the authority of the epa badge, and then they have got sirens or lights on their car, and they are a registered sex offender. i mean, can you see the disconnect, why people would be outraged if they showed up at your place of work? some mom with your young child and suddenly you encounter this person, how do you stand for that? >> mr. chairman, certified badge law enforcement officials have special responsibilities, even more so than normal epa employees. >> i can't believe he lost decades. let's get the merit protection board up here. my time has expired. i now recognize ms. watson coleman for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman and
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thank you gentlemen. all of these cases we are discussing were either resolved in 2014 or 2015. these are old cases, right? since then, we have had changes in our policies and practices at the epa that would at least, address allegations of misconduct that come before, in terms of resolving them, and as well as the administratively policy. is that not correct? >> yes, congresswoman. that is correct. in the last year we made considerable progress moving forward. i would agree with the ranking member that we can always do better, but we have made considerable progress with having better communication and clear policies on the use of administrative leave. >> can you explain briefly what specifically has changed. you informed the ranking file
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and the supervisors. what is the process for holding them accountable, aside from just interacting with the interaction -- we discussed with all of our employees the importance of first-line supervisors and their conduct and discipline cases. usedde sure this cannot be when the admin said it lead had been less administrative lead had been curtailed. it has been tremendously important because we referred cases to the inspector general when we have evidence of misconduct and ask the inspector general to investigate. it is helpful to have the interaction so that we can be clear when we get the information as quickly as possible, we can move upon it. >> are you feeling that this interaction is helping to create
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a better environment? >> yes. investigation,an do you do an investigation in addition to your findings, do you make any recommendations back to the epa about the employee that is been investigated? investigationsof for the epa, we do not make recommendations and our investigative reports. our evaluators make recommendations as a part of their job. that is a different part of the ig. we would report the facts and just the facts. we would not make a remake -- a recommendation. >> you report the facts to the epa, plus the auditing? >> it depends. if we saw a systematic problem or a problem that was crosscutting, for example in the biel investigation, there was some safeguards that were not
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being followed. -- we reported that to our auditors and they did an audit. normally, we just report the facts concerning the specific allegations. >> do you feel we sufficiently moved in the right direction with epa holding people accountable and developing the kind of information sharing system and accountability system negate these kind of cases in the future? i am talking about the one whether or not the individual was a convicted sex offender should be hired and if so under what conditions. >> otherwise in the past year, by meeting biweekly, we have streamlined the process. we have broken down some
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barriers. we have touched each other as human beings addressing a problem. i would to make it crystal clear, our role, we just report the facts. we have nothing to do with the disciplinary process here >> i have one quick question. are there other things that should be happening? either on the epa side as the manager? or from your observation as the ig, looking into the organization? are those things in the works? >> i will say one thing we have in the works, additional employee relations. make sure they have good information on cases that may have come up similar to the ones they might face. most of our first-line supervisors, a conduct and discipline case is a very rare thing. we want to make sure they have a contact for whatever action.
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>> anything to say to that in two seconds? >> yes ma'am, we do not have enough agents to do investigations. we have gone from three and 65 -- 365. i am always trying to play catch-up. am hoping you have less cases to investigate. >> mr. mica is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. good to hold this hearing and review some of the conduct of some of the employees of epa. responsibility in that .gency to carry out i had the opportunity to chair civil-service on the subcommittee on this panel a couple of years ago.

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