tv US House of Representatives Special Orders CSPAN June 8, 2016 7:00pm-9:01pm EDT
back in the day, back in 1817, it might have been hard. in the name of getting the business done, the law of the and you could sign your name in order to get that important business done. you couldn't buy stamps, you had to have a mechanisms. , we do that still here today. in these cynical times, mr. speaker, i would tell you that i hear most often from folks that they think one of two things is going on with the franking privilege. number one, that we're involved in some sort of incumbent protection plan. self-promotion here in this institution, self-glorification by sending your name out on the front of all the mail that goes out the door. if not that, i hear the second criticism, which is, rob, why do members of congress get free
mail? free mail. the postal service is in dire straits, free mail for all members of congress. well, it's not free mail. for every letter that goes out the door that says rob woodall up at the top, i get a bill. i get a bill from the united states postal service for what a stamp would have cost had i put it on that letter. for every piece of mail that goes out the door, with rob woodall written up at the top, i get a bill. from the postal service. for whatever the bulk rate would have been for the large amounts of mail that i send out the door. it's not free mail for members of congress. i wanted to disspell that myth. i get all the emails that i know so many of my colleagues do that say, go and serve one term in congress and get your pension for life, nonsense, not true. i do get the emails that come in, talk about the special health care privileges that congress has, that nobody else can have access to, come on down, join the obamacare exchange, you can have the same health care privileges i have. all of the myths that go on out there, the myth of free mail
continues still today. it's not free mail. we just don't put a stamp on it. why don't we end this confusion once and for all? i'd like to tell you this was my brilliant idea. small idea, but my brilliant idea. not true. we actually went down this road in the 1800's. i hold here, mr. speaker, you can't read it, it's an article from "the new york times." march 3, 1875. it says this. by a vote of 113-65 the house has concurred in the senate amendment to the postal appropriations bill partially restoring the franking privilege. the precise extent of this restoration is an allowance of free transmission through the mails on a congressional frank of the congressional record, agriculture reports, and fees and all public documents now printed or authorized to be printed. "the new york times," as they're still known for today, goes on to editorialize just a bit.
so far as our observation goes, there has never been any demand for the restoration of the franking nuisance, except on the part of congressmen, the new men especially, long for a taste of the sweets of privilege. "new york times," 1875. the sweets of privilege is how they describe the signing of one's name to a constituent response. so you can tell your constituents how it is that you feel about the war in iraq. so you can tell folks how it is that you feel about the f.c.c.'s new regulations. so that you can respond to that young eagle scout applicant who wants to get the citizenship of the nation merit badge. we knew in the 1800's that something just didn't seem right about not using stamps like everybody else did. we knew that something didn't feel quite right for several years -- right. for several years we abolished the franking privilege and then we brought it back.
i don't have any problem finding stamps, mr. speaker. if anybody in this institution has problemsfight finding stamps, i have several local -- problems finding stamps, i have several locations here by the capitol. you can send a staffer down, pick up stamps in bulk. for me, i have to go -- i'm in the building up on the seventh floor, so i've got to go all the way down to the basement in order to buy my stamps. it's about seven floors, seven floors away. they don't do that anywhere else in washington, d.c. they don't do that. if you're at the i.r.s. and you need to send out a tax form, you don't sign your name at the top of the letter. if you work over at the department of agriculture and you need to send out a newsletter, you don't sign your name at the top because everybody else in government uses what's called penalty mail. it's the same stamp up at the top of a corn that any business person would use, any -- corner that any business person would use, any bulk house mail would use. it's called penalty mail. subject of limitations imposed by section 3024 and 3027 of
this title may be transmitted as penalty mail, official mail of officers of the government of the united states. the smithsonian institution, the pan american union, the panamerican santarian bureau, the united states employment service, and the system of employment offices operated by it in conformity with the provisions of section 49 and 49-c. understand we have a special section in the united states code that deals with how mail gets out the door. because it's very difficult, we've only been doing it for a couple of hundred years. it requires some special attention from the united states code, so we have a special section of the code that allows officers of the government of the united states, the smithsonian institute, the panamerican union, the pan american sanitary bureau, -- panamerican sanitary bureau and the united states employment service some special dispensation so they can get mail out the door.
but was that good enough for congress? the answer's no. congress has yet another special exception beyond the special exception. you see here, as i highlighted in section a, officers of the government of the united states of congress, bers because what we have is our special signature program. madam speaker, we've got big things we've got to solve in this country. big things we've got to solve. and you can't solve those big things when folks believe that you're not telling them the truth about the little things. you've got to build trust with one another. you've got to build trust with one another, not just here in this institution, but with our constituency back home. when people see what they think is free mail going out the door, it undermines that trust. i refer now to the house manual, mr. speaker. postal expenses incurred only when the frank is insufficient.
such as certified registered -- certified, registered, insured foreign mail and nfls are reimburse -- envelopes are reimbursable. postage may not be used in lieu of the frank. i got to capitol hill, mr. speaker, and i thought, you know what, i know what the like not to be on capitol hill, i'm going to go get a bulk mail permit. they said, no, rob, you can't get a bulk mail permit to send out mail on capitol hill. i said, well, most of what i do isn't bulk mail, i'll go buy stamps to send that out. they said, no, rob, you can't buy stamps to send out mail, you have to sign your card, you have to put your signature on it, we have to have a special congressional mail privilege for you. tammy duckworth and i, one republican, one democrat, say, we can do better than that. it's an election year. you know what happens in an election year? the law of the land is you can't send out mail anymore. if i have a town hall meeting
that's going on next week, i couldn't send out an invitation last month to invite to you come meet your congressman. i couldn't send out a newsletter last month to tell you what we were doing with the national defense authorization act. i couldn't send out a newsletter last month to tell you about an employment and jobs fair program that was going on, because the law of the land so recognizes this privilege as something that incumbents use to boost their election prospects that it's banned in the 90 days before any election. so i ask you, if this practice is so offensive that we ban it within 90 days before any election, why don't we just do away with it altogether? if it is so offensive that it must be banned for 180 days out of the year, why don't we do away with it for the other 180 days too? i don't need my name on the front of every letter that goes
out the door. i don't smeed someone to protect me from the -- need someone to protect me from the challenges of buying stamps. but i have rules in place that taj from being used in lieu of the -- postage from being used in lieu of the frank. i serve on the budget committee, mr. speaker. i want to balance the federal budget. we're not going to do it with this bill. i'm the lead sponsor of the fair tax. it's the most fundamental reconstruction of our tax code that has happened since the income tax came into being in the early 1900's'. it's the most prominently co-sponsored piece of fundamental tax reform legislation in this body. those are serious pieces of legislation. this is something minor. this is around the edges. but the national taxpayers union has seen fit to say, repealing the so-called franking privilege is a simple reform to introduce pay as you go budgeting. it's absolutely right. public citizen -- said public
itizen hardly supports the legislation to reign in the abuse of taxpayer-funded franked mail. i want to do the big things together. i want to do the things that matter together. when silly things like this undermine the sacred trust that we have with our constituents, they need to go. our colleagues who served in this body in the 1870's knew it. they abolished it. but they just couldn't let it go and they brought it back. even "the new york times" says, where was the outcry for free congressional mail? why was it brought back yet again? i tried to get this done on my own. i want to say to my colleagues, i didn't want to waste your time in this way. i tried to go to the chief administrative office and see if i could just get an exception, so i didn't have to send out this mail. i tried to go through the house administration committee to see if there was some sort of
dispensation so that you could opt out of this system. i tried to go through the speaker's office to see if my m.r.a. could be spent in a different way so i didn't have to perpetuate this, again, practice that is apparently so hideous it is outlawed 180 days .ut of the year but i couldn't get any of those things done. now it's come to us to pass that simple line of code. it's a bipartisan bill. rob woodall, tammy duckworth, a host of other co-sponsors. i invite you to join me to abolish the franking privilege. you're welcome to use our #stopthefrank any time you feel like you can move that forward. we're not going to re-establish trust overnight. but one little accountability act a time, we can do it. let's do it today. let's show up again and do another one and the next day and do another one and we're going wake up a year from now
or a month from now or a week from now and we're going to find out that we've really made a difference together. mr. speaker, i'm grateful to you for the time and if i could yield to my friend from the rules committee, i'd be happy to do it. ms. foxx: thank you. i thank my colleague from georgia. i wonder if you would yield me a minute. mr. woodall: be happy to yield my friend a minute. ms. foxx: thank you. mr. speaker, i frequently hear from employers who are struggling to find employees with the right experience in technical skills to meet work force needs. passage of the bipartisan work force innovation and opportunity act was an important step for the millions of americans who are looking for work and for the employers who have five million-plus job opportunities that remain unfilled due to the skills act. skills gap. however, great jobs are still going unfilled. americans are still missing out
on rewarding careers and many businesses are still suffering. for example, in the a.e.d. foundation's 2016 work force survey report, more than 50% of equipment distributors indicated that the skills gap hindered company growth and increased costs and inefficiencies while nearly 75% said the lack of skilled technicians made it difficult to meet customer demand. it's imperative, mr. speaker, that the department of labor so ize regulations, congress strengthens the act. i appreciate very much my friend from georgia and my colleague on the rules committee for yielding me one minute in order to discuss this important issue to so many of us. mr. woodall: i'm happy to do it. if my colleagues don't know you
are used to seeing the gentlelady from california leading on the education and work force committee, all day today she's been leading on the rules committee, chairing those actions going on up there. i had hoped she was here to file a rule, to tell us that process had been moved right along, but we'll have to wait for that. mr. speaker, i appreciate you giving me the time tonight and i yield back the balance. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2015, the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. green, for 30 minutes. mr. green: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on the subject of my special order. that subject, mr. speaker, will be flooding in the state of texas.
the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. green: thank you, mr. speaker. i and a good many of my colleagues will speak tonight about circumstances that are occurring in texas more often than we would care to see and in a sense, mr. speaker, this is a continuation of a mission of mercy that we embarked upon earlier this year, when we were having flooding in houston, texas. these flds we are having across the length and breadth of our state are causing a lot of property damage. that's worthy of consideration and it's worthy of being addressed on the house of -- on the floor of the house of representatives. but we also have a good many lives that have been lost across the length and breadth of our state. these are of paramount importance to us. so while we make some references to property damages, there will be some things said about
possible solutions, i believe that we will say a good deal about the lives that have been lost. at at this time i'm honored to be to the recognize and ask a dear friend, mr. blake farenthold from texas' 22nd district, for his comments. his district has experienced some flooding. i'm honored to have him appear and tell us what's happening to his constituents. mr. farenthold: thank you very much, mr. green. it's an honor an privilege to be here. a little over a year ago there were some horrible floods just outside the district i represent in women behr lee, texas, that took the lives of some people vacationing there. in fact, some of the bodies of the young children who perished in that flood have yet to be
recover. my prayers and the prayers of the nation go to the families, the survivor, and for the repose of the soul this is a passed. there's been a lot of flooding in texas over the last year or so. just as recently as last week, i represent wharton, texas, the river in wharton rose just a few months after they got earlier repairs. all the shoot rock ebb stalled, and sure enough, another flood comes. fortunately the floods of last week and the previous weeks did not result in loss of life in the district that i represent. thank the lord for that i'll tell you in the past 14 months another county i represent, bastrop, is experiencing the worst flooding it's seen in 34 years. tost dealing with $2.5 million in damage to infrastructure and
20 roads remain closed today. of the 100-plus homes damaged past 14 months, more than half were determined to be unlivable and four families still remain in temporary housing. earlier in wharton county, more than 1,000 people were evacuated and 150 homes flooded. it's really been tough. i was driving through, visited with the emergency management folks in wharton you look at the fields of grain, i posted on instagram a picture of my low field, amber waves of flooded grain, cotton fields under water as well. i think in addition to the property damage, our farmers in texas may suffer from an overabundance of water. as i grew up in a farming family, our plaint was it either rained too much, thai too little, or at the wrong time. but these floods have been horrible in texas. i do want to thank the folks from fema the federal emergency management, for their quick
response. what it has told us is, we are taking way too much time for projects to stem the flooding, levees and the like, to get approved by the army corps of engineers and the other federal agencies. the funding for it is difficult to come by. we end up spending all this money with fema, when if some of that were redirected to preventive maintenance or preventing these floods we might save lives and certainly cey property as well. i think it's something that this congress should look at in preventing problems rather than just reacting to them. i also want to commend the first responders and emergency management personnel throughout texas who have done so much. and i also want to offer my thoughts an prayers to those brave servicemen who per herbed in texas in the training exercises as well. it's been a tough few months here back in texas. but you know what? we are texan, we will survive. we will mourn those we lost and
we will rebuild and we will continue to reflect that which is the greatest of the american spirit, perseverance through adversity. i thank you, mr. green, for the opportunity to speak and yield back my time. mr. green: thank you, mr. farenthold. i want to also thank you for the unity that is engendered by your being here tonight. it's important for people to know that this is not a time for democrats or a time for republicans. this is a time for texans to come together and to talk about some of the concerns that we have and to remember those who have lost their lives in these floods. at this time, i'm honored to recognize a neighbor who is from the 22nd congressional district of texas. he is south of me and of course i speak of the honorable pete olson. we are honored to have you with us tonight and we welcome your commentary about some of the concerns in your district and indeed aoss the state.
mr. olson: thank you, my friend and neighbor to the east, mr. green, for holding this very special order about floods we've had in texas. it's been a rough year. in texas 22. memorial day, we had the 100 year flood. lost one life. drove into a flooded small creek, died in her vehicle. tax day, 2016. lots of street flooding. d my pickup truck out on the street. but two weeks ago, the 500 year flood. the brazos river, it cuts through the heart of my district. it first sit simonton, a small town in the northwest part of
the county. every home except for 12 left, almost all the homes have been flooded. next, richmond and rosenberg. two days after simonton work they too had mandatory evacuations. homes north of the railroad track flooded. then came my hometown of sugar land. canceled our memorial day celebrations because our park was flooded. loods in other towns, across brazoria county they had places flooding as well. luckily, god willing, we have lost no lives these past couple of weeks but i saw the greatest in texans this past week. i put 500 miles on my pickup truck in eight days.
i saw at our fort bend emergency command operation center people from all over the region had taken pizza, chick-fil-a, doughnuts, kolaches, make sure these people working 24-7, 365 were fed. i saw an old fashioned cattle drive. our sheriff, troy nells and other sheriffs on a cattle drive to bring some cattle down flooded 98, away from the threat of floods. but the best , my friend, was two days ago. my wife and i drove over the river and went down tores.berg, texas, terry high school. there was a recovery center giving out goods to people in eed. church. arted by the
every single day they said, we need more rooms, have to have more space, and they got it. we were assigned to stuffing small bags with one piece of toilet paper, a toothbrush, some toothpaste, some shampoo, some soap and a razor. we were supervised by three young ladies. rachel, isabella, and leila. they were a true team of texans. i called rachel the skipper because man, she was in charge. i called isabella the executive officer, because she was number two, making sure everything worked well. leila was the weapons officer, don't mess with leila. i failed the inspection the first two times, couldn't get the bag closed. they got on my back and made sure i closed that bag so people
could have all they needed in times of crisis. and that's what makes texas so great, my friend. neighbor not waiting for d.c. but neighbors helping neighbors in need. those ladies know what the bible says, love thy neighbor more than thyself. thank you, my friend. mr. green: thank you not only for what you said tonight but for what you've been doing in your district to help those in times of need. it's greatly appreciated by your constituents and i appreciate you coming to the floor tonight to let people know we are standing together and we are going to work together and we will get through this, but it won't hurt if we can get a little bit of help. thank you very much. at this time, i'm honored to have another colleague who has a district that is in houston and of course he has been in congress for many year, i consider him a very dear friend, the honorable green gene from
he -- the honorable gene green from the 29th district of houston, texas. mr. green: thank you to my colleague and name sake from houston, congressman al green. i appreciate his effort both on the legislation we're co-sponsoring but also setting up these special orders and it's great to have bipartisan support. we found out in houston, it doesn't matter if you're a democrat or republican if your house gets flooded, your car gets flooded, in some cases the lives of your family and your neighbors are in jeopardy, as texans we work together and i've watched this over the years because we have had some terrible floods over the years, whether it was trorm allison in 2001, hurricane ike -- tropical storm allison in 2001, hurricane ike in 2008, or what we're seing now in 2016 -- 2015, memorial
day flooding that included more than 11 inches of rain and $2 billion in damages. in april of this year, 2016, we experienced what we called the devastating tax day flooding that claimed lives and caused hundreds of millions of $s in damage. in the last three weeks, just before memorial day, we also have seen historic rainfalls and subsequent flooding. the rain in the houston areas has cease bud downstream in brazoria county, as my colleague from fort bend, just southwest of houston, the flooding has continued. an estimated 200,000 residents, nearly 2/3 of the population of brazoria county, have been affected by flooding. i stand before this body while soviet texas is under water. once again, i stand with my houston colleagues and ask the house of representatives to give our constituents the resources we need to protect lives and property in the future. i've worked with my colleague al preept $311 5025,
million to pleat our biosystem. these projects are not imaginary, they're ideas that would help and these projects are in the process, would save lives. these are projects that the corps of engineers has said they have approved. we just don't have the money to complete them. and in houston area, we have a number of biosystems that actually start in congress olson's, con mank green eeks congressman mccaul's district but runs through to my area, because i have the eastern side of harris county, where buffalo bayou and the houston ship channel, we're downstream from those and we see that flooding ourselves. i ask the house to bring our bill to the throor and help mitigate the suffering of these thousands of texans. earlier this month, our office received early notification that the united states is entering hurricane season as of june 1. once again, the problem could be
expanded. like i said earlier in, 2001, tropical storm allison hit the texas gulf coast and devastated my area of east and north houston. in 2011, hurricane ike caused city wide flooding an hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and came other our district in east harris county. now we face another hurricane season with the possibility of extended damage and no protection for our vulnerable citizens. houstonians continue to suffer the effects of mother nature. we have the ability to help them. and the president has declared a houston disaster area a number of times. and again work hurricane season upon us, we would like to see that congress responds and act on h.r. 5025 as the best option now. again, these are flood control prompts that have been approved, we just don't have the money. of course in houston, harris county, we have a flood control district that we pay our property tax to.
they have to come up with the match from the federal funding. it's not all federal funding taking care of our problems. it's actually local folks also paying up to be able to keep our houses and homes from flooding and our neighbors from drowning or our families. again, i ask my colleagues to support 5025 and i want to thank my colleague, al green, for his leadership on this and will continue to ask our colleagues to help even through this hurricane season that opportunity end until typically the end of october. again, i'll thank you for yielding to me. mr. green: thank you for mr. green: thank you for coming to the floor. i know a good many of your constituents. you and i are often in each other's districts. i know that they are exceedingly pleased that you have taken up this cause and my hope is that you and i will continue to, with this mission of mercy, if you will, such that we will bring to fruition some solutions for the problems that we encounter, not only in
houston, but also across the length and breadth of our state. i'm honored at this time, mr. speaker, to have the member of congress from the 20th congressional district, the honorable mr. castro, who is in congress not as a -- he's been here now into his second term. but he's done an outstanding job since he arrived in congress and we are honored to hear from him about some of his concerns and about his constituents. i yield to the gentleman. mr. castro: thank you, congressman green, for yielding me this time. and for organizing tonight's discussion on the devastation our state has seen in recent weeks and months. i know that your city, houston, has experienced truly horrific flooding and destruction. and i offer my condolences to you and to the entire houston community. these storms have been severe and deadly. we all mourn the loss of nine soldiers training at fort hood whose lives were taken way too soon in flood waters last week.
six other people across texas have also died as a result of the storms as well. my prayers are with the families and loved ones of all those whose lives were claimed by this terrible flooding. some of the most destructive weather that my hometown, san antonio, experienced was back in april, when three hail storms struck our city. the insurance council of texas estimates that those storms caused more than $2 billion in damage and the council projects $1.93 billion in losses from auto and homeowner claims. it's not unusual for san antonio to get a foot of rain by early june each year. but rainfall totals are already double that amount so far in 2016. all of this precipitation is a major economic hit to our city and it poses a real threat to people's well-being. i urge folks in san antonio and across texas to educate
themselves on storm and flood safety. i also encourage texans who have questions about what help the federal governmencan provide during this trying time to reach out to their members of congress. you see, a number of us here on the house floor tonight -- you see a number of us here on the house floor tonight drawing attention to this issue, specifically the flooding in texas. we're deeply concerned and we're here to offer any assistance we can. i would also say, congressman green, that in addition to what has been the tragic loss of life and the obvious property destruction brought by these floods, there's also an untold cost in the flooding. i grew up in a few enableds in san antonio where we didn't have sidewalks, for example. often in lower income areas or middle -- even in middle income areas, older parts of the city that don't have sidewalks and don't have the proper infrastructure to deal with even midlevel flooding,
people's basements or garages will flood, ruining a lot of property and these are folks who oftentimes are renters or don't have insurance and so there's really no recourse for them. they end up just paying the price. and so it really speaks to the importance of the work that we do, the states do, and the local governments in making sure that infrastructure is properly built, that it's built across cities and counties, and that flooding is prevented everywhere it can be. with that i yield back, congressman. mr. green: thank you very much. i greatly appreciate your sharing time with us on the floor tonight. you have spoken very eloquently about some of the concerns that go beyond the visible property damages. things happen, but there are some other things that are happening that we don't always uncover. and when these things happen to poor people, the damages can
exceed far more than the eye can see and i'm grateful that you've called some of these things to our attention. thank you very much. at this time i'm going to call upon another colleague, all of these are dear friends. these are persons who have come to the floor tonight, quite frankly, not in a bipartisan effort, but more in a nonpartisan effort. there's no partisanship associated with what we do. we work together on these issues and i'm honored to have the honorable randy weber here. he's from the 14th congressional district, he's one of my neighbors as well. i welcome you and i yield to you, my dear friend. mr. weber: i thank my good friend, congressman green from houston, thank you. i appreciate that. you are the consummate gentleman and i appreciate you lining this up and helping us to draw attention to it. thank you for yielding me time. mr. speaker, all the recent rains in texas have devastated parts of up to 31 counties in our beloved state.
governor abbott has declared them a disaster area. i happen to represent the lower half of a county from the city of albin going south and it has been the recipient of a lot of flooding. on monday i toured the emergency management office command center in the county seat, i was privileged to meet with county judge and others as i was introduced to those county first responders working night and day to take care of our citizens, our citizens' animals and their livestock and their property, as much as we could. i was also privileged, mr. speaker, to go up in -- in a texas d.p.s. helicopter with two of our great department of public safety part-times. wow. what devastation in my county. i have pictures on my iphone.
it's unbelievable the flooded areas. the devastation and destruction is astounding. waters from the rivers and creeks and bayous are out of their banks and wreaking havoc in our area. mr. speaker, i want my constituents to know that our office is already on the ground in the area, already working to ensure that fema is in gear and that our constituents are taken care of. i'd like to give a shoutout to my great staff, ms. armstrong, ms. galvon, and mr. web who have been on the ground there at the emergency management center monitoring this almost night and day, and interfacing with the county to provide them any assistance needed. we've assured the county that anything we can do, as my good friend was saying, from our end to assist, we'd be glad to do that. and let me just add that we too mourn the loss of the fort hood
soldiers and our thoughts and prayers go out to them and their families. mr. speaker, we will bounce back from this. our county first responders are on top of the situation and our county folks are resilient and i have to say that about houston constituents as well. our texas people. i've seen -- i've lived on the gulf coast of texas almost 63 years. in fact, it will be 63 years this july 2 coming up. i've seen nothing quite of this magnitude in flooding in our area, but i've seen a lot of hurricanes, a lot of disasters. texans are a resilient people. they're going to need our help, they're going to need our prayers, they're going to need some time to heal and get back to business as usual. but i want to say again, thank you to my good friend al green from houston for setting this up in a very bipartisan way. and we just appreciate that. i thank my good friend and, mr.
speaker, with that i yield back. thank you. mr. green: i thank the member, the honorable mr. weber. i especially thank you for signing on early to the legislation that congressman green called to our attention, that's gene green, i appreciate it greatly. and we look forward to working with you. thank you for the outstanding effort. we appreciate you. mr. weber: thank you, congressman. mr. green: thank you. mr. speaker, you heard one of our members mention that we were having 100-year and 500-year floods. this is debatable, i suppose, whether they are 100-year floods or 500-year floods. but there is one fact that is beyond dispute. it is beyond reproach. and the fact is this. we are having billion-dollar floods. billion-dollar floods, mr. speaker. in houston, texas. within the last year, a little more than a year now, but within a 12-month period of time houston, texas, has been
eclared a disaster area twice. twice. over the last 20 years, billions of dollars spent and we've had four to five days of flooding each year over the last 20 years. this flooding is causing great harm to property, there are people who have just moved back into their homes, mr. speaker, and they find themselves now being evicted by flood waters again, watts that are they cannot extricate themselves from -- waters that they cannot ex tre interest -- extricate themselves from, their homes are stationary and fixed, they have to cope with these floods and life after the floods and we're here tonight to let the country know that we in houston, texas, are tough, we're texas tough, but there is something that we can do to help the people in houston, texas. i don't want to talk about that right now, to be quite candid with you. after losing the lives of our
military persons in fort hood, texas, i believe it's very important for us to make some special reference to them. these are people who have served this country, who were prepared to live and die for the country. they are persons who were in training and they were among the filest that we have -- finest that we have. and i regret that we have lost them. all lives are precious. all lives are special. i came to the floor earlier and i recited the names of persons who had lost their lives. some 16 persons in the memorial day flood and the tax day flood. and this time i believe it's necessary and appropriate to mention the persons who lost their lives in fort hood. nine shoulders -- soldiers. mr. speaker, we had a staff sergeant to lose i had life, taff sergeant miguel angel
colon vasquez. 38 years of age. mr. speaker, he served with honor, he received five army commendations. three army good conduct medals, two career -- korean defense service medals, the army service ribbon, the north atlantic treaty organization medal, and other honors as well. pecialist ying ming sun, age 25, from california, received the defense service medal, the global war on terrorism medal, the korean defense service medal, the army service ribbon, the overseas service ribbon. specialist christine faith armstrong, age 27, from california.
received the national defense service medal, global war on terrorism medal, korean defense service medal, army service ribbon, and the overseas service ribbon. private first class brandon austin banner, 22 years of age. national defense service medal, global war on terrorism medal, korean defense service medal, army service ribbon, overseas service ribbon, marksmanship qualification badge, -- badge. private first class zackary nathaniel fuller. age 23. floridian, received the national defense medal, global war on terrorism medal, army service ribbon. -- te isiah lee de leo --
de leon. received the global war on terrorism medal, army service gates.private edie age 20. north carolina. received the national defense medal, global war on terrorism medal, army service ribbon. private tashina james, age 21. received the national defense service medal, global war on terrorism medal, army service ribbon. and finally, cadet mitchell alexander winny, age 21. was majoring in engineering and management at west point. mr. speaker, i'm grateful for the time and i would like to close with this, if you will
allow. all of these people were meeting the measure of life that ruth called to our attention. some measured their lives by days and years, others by heart throbs, passions and tears. but the surest measure under god's sun is what the others in your lifetime have you done. these were persons who were committed to doing for others in this great country and they were committed to doing it to the extent that unfortunately, with all of their honors, they lost their lives in circumstances from which they could not extricate themselves. under adverse weather conditions. i believe they're worthy of a moment of silence. they're worthy of much more, to be quite an did with you. i believe tonight this house should recognize all of them and all of those who have lost their lives with a moment of silence and i shall ask that we engage
in such at this time. mr. green: thank you, mr. speaker. i would have the families of all of them know that they may be gone physically, but they will never be forgotten. we want the record to show that they served their country with distinction and with honor. i believe i have another colleague who may have arrived. has not arrived. i will now yield back the balance of my time as i see my time is up a, mr. speaker, and i thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess subject to the call of he chair.
for ground level ozone for eight years. the chamber also joined with senators for a joint meeting to hear a speech from india's prime minister, we'll show that to you again at 8:00 eastern here on c-span. lawmakers return thursday to begin work on a bill that aims to help puerto rico with its debt issues. also this week, debate on 2017 spending for the legislative branch, which includes $3.5 billion for house operations, cap toll police and -- capitol police and the library of congress. follow the house live here on c-span when members gavel back in thursday at 10:00 a.m. eastern for morning speeches and noon for legislative work. >> c-span's "washington journal," live every day with news and policy issues that impact you.
emanuel cleaver examines efforts by republican members of the financial services committee to make changes to the dodd-frank legislation regulating wall street. he'll also discuss proposed rules from the consumer financial protection bureau that would change the lending practices of payday lending firms. also, india -- indiana congressman messer talks about his bill which would attempt to stop recent guidelines from the obama administration on transgender access to bathrooms and locker rooms. be sure to watch c-span's "washington journal" beginning live at 7:00 a.m. eastern thursday morning. join the discussion. >> this is an amazing sort of family story, if you think about it. where terrible cruelty was perpetrated. the empire is increased. there are great love affairs. but the also a family where fathers kill their sons, where wives have their husbands overthrown and murdered, where
sons collude in the murder of fathers. it's a family unlike any other. >> sunday night on q&a, simon sebag discusses his book "the romanovs" 1613 to 1918, about the dine city that ruled russia for over 300 years. >> all the girls and all the children basically were wearing their own bizarre bulletproof vest. not bulletproof vests but vests sewn with the romanov diamonds. hundreds and hundreds of diamonds had been sound into their underwear so -- sune into their underwear so they could have money in case they needed to escape or buy their way out. they'd spend months sewing these diamonds in. when the bullets came, tragically, this made their excuse and agony much longer because the bullets bounced off diamonds. the hardest substance known to man. and they didn't die. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a.
>> madam secretary, we proudly give 72 of our delegate votes to the next president of the united states. >> tonight on c-span, indian prime minister modi addresses a joint session of congress, transportation secretary anthony fox testifies at a senate hearing about surface transportation infrastructure.
ater a senate hearing on the h-2-b temporary visa working program. >> today, indian p.m. modi addressed a joint session of congress. he emphasized india's shared values with the u.s. and cooperation in promoting stability in asia. he's the fifth indian prime minister to speak to congress. this is an hour. sergeant at arms: mr. speaker, the prime minister of the republic of india.
prime minister modi: mr. speaker, mr. vice president, distinguished members of the u.s. congress, ladies and gentlemen, i am deeply honored the invitation to address this joint meeting of the u.s. congress. thank you, mr. speaker, for opening the doors of this magnificent capitol. this temple of democracy has other ed and empowered
r. speaker, modern india is in its 70th year. for my government, the constitution is its real holy book. and in that holy book, freedom faith, speech and franchise and equality of all citizens, egardless of background, are enshrined as fundamental ights. 800 million of my countrymen of exercise the freedom franchise once every five
years. but all the 1.25 billion of our itizens have freedom from fear , a freedom they exercise every moment of their lives. stinguished members, engagement between our two democracies has been visible in the manner in which our thinkers impacted one another and shaped the course of our societies. thoreau's idea of civil disobedience influenced our political thoughts.
the impact of the u.s. constitution on him was reflected in his drafting of the indian constitution some three decades later. our independence was ignited by the same idealism that fueled your struggle for freedom. no wonder then that former atal inister of india bihari vaipayee called india and the u.s. natural allies. no wonder that the shared ideals and common philosophy of freedom shaped the bedrock of
our ties. to wonder then that the president obama has called our ties the defining partnership of the 21st century. mr. speaker, more than 15 years prime minister vaipayee stood here and gave a call to step out of the shadow of esitation of the past. the pages of our friendship since then tell a remarkable story. today our relationship has of come the hesitations
history. , and , candor convergence define our conversations. through the cycle of elections and transitions of administrations the intensity of our engagements has only grown. and in this exciting journey e u.s. congress has acted as its compass. turn ve helped us barriers into bridges of partnership.
in the fall of 2008, when the congress passed the india-u.s. civil nuclear cooperation agreement, it changed the very colors of leaves of our elationship. we thank you for being there when the partnership needed you the most. you have also stood by us in times of sorrow. india will never forget the solidarity shown by the u.s. congress when terrorists from across our border attacked umbai in november of 2008.
development partnership even when the meeting ground was more legitimated. norman borlaug brought the green revolution and food security to my country. the excellence of american universities nurtured institutes of -- institutions much technology and management n india. and i could go on. fast forward to the present. the embrace of our partnership extends to the totality of
human endeavor. from the depths of the oceans o the vastness of the space. our science and technology collaboration continues to help us in cracking the age old problems in the fields of public health, education, food, and agriculture. ties of commerce and investment are flourishing. we trade more with the u.s. han with any other nation. and the flow of goods, services, and capital between us generates jobs in both of our societies.
as if trade, so is defense. india exercises with the united states more than we do with any other partner. defense purchases have moved $10 billion ero to in less than a decade. our cooperations are secures our cities and citizens from terrorists and protects our critical infrastructure from cyberthreats. civil nuclear cooperation, as i told president obama yesterday,
is a reality. mr. speaker, our people to people links our strong, and there is a close cultural connect between our societies. siri, you have family you have siri, siri tells us that india's ancient heritage of million ver 30 ractitioners in the u.s. it is estimated that more than to bend for yoga throw a curveball.
-- strength. they are also the pride of india. they symbolize the best of both our societies. r. speaker, my understanding of your great country began long before i entered public office. long before assuming office, i aveled coast to coast, covering 29 -- covering more than 29 states of america. i realized then that the real
strength of the u.s. was in the dreams of its people and the boldness of their ambitions. today, mr. speaker, a similar spirit an mates india. -- annie mates india. -- animates india. are 00 million youth especially impatient. india is undergoing a profound social and economic change. a billion of its citizens are already politically empowered. my dream is to economically empower them through many social and economic transformations.
75th so by 2022, the anniversary of india's independence. my to-do list is long and ambitious, but you will understand. it includes a vibrant rural onomy with a robust farm sector. a roof over each head and electricity to all households. to skill millions hundred uth, build smart cities, have a broadband for a billion, and connect our illages to the digital world.
rail, ate a 21st century road and port infrastructure. these are not just aspirations, hey are goals to be reached in a finite time frame. and to be achieved with a light carbon footprint with greater mphasis on renewables. mr. speaker, in every sector of india's forward march, i see the u.s. as an indispenseable
partner. many of you also believe that a stronger and prosperous india is in america's strategic nterest. let us work together to convert shared ideals into practical cooperation. there can be no doubt that in advancing this relationship, as nations stand to gain the u.s. businesses search for new areas of economic growth, markets for their goods, a pool of skilled resources and a
global location to produce and manufacture, india could be their ideal partner. india's strong economy and growth rate of 7.6% per annum, is creating a new opportunity for our mutual prosperity. transformative american technologies in india and growing investment by indian companies in the united states both have a positive impact on the lives of our citizens. today, for their global research and development centers, india is the destination of choice for the u.s. companies. looking eastward from india, across the pacific, the
innovation strength of our two countries comes together in alifornia. here, the innovative genius of america and india's intellectual creativity are working to shape new industries of the future. mr. speaker, the 21st century has brought with it great also nities, but it comes with its own set of hallenges. but while some parts of the world are islands of growing economic prosperity, others are mired in conflicts. in asia, the absence of an
agreed security architecture creates uncertainty. threats of terror are expanding, and new challenges e emerging in cyber and outer space. and global institutions , seem ed in 20th century unable to cope with new challenges or take on new responsibilities. multiple rld of transitions and economic opportunities, growing uncertainties and political mplexities, existing threats and new challenges, our engagement can make a -- rence by promoting
cooperation, not dominance. connect, not isolation. inclusive, not exclusive mechanisms. , and t for global commons above all, adherence to international rules and norms. india is already assuming her responsibilities in securing the indian ocean region. a strong india-u.s. partnership can anchor peace, prosperity and stability from asia to africa and from the indian cean to the pacific.
it can also help ensure security of the sea leans of commerce and freedom of avigation on seas. -- sea lanes of commerce and freedom of navigation on seas. but the effectiveness of our cooperation would increase if international institutions framed with the mindset of the 20th century were to reflect he realities of today. mr. speaker, before arriving in washington, d.c., i had visited erat in western afghanistan to inaugurate afghan-india friendship dam built with indian assistance.
i was also there on the christmas day last year to dedicate to that proud nation its parliament, a testimony to our democratic ties. afghans naturally recognize at the sacrifices of america have helped create a better ife. but your contribution in keeping the region safe and secure is deeply appreciated by even beyond. and india, too, has made an enormous contribution and sacrifices to support our friendship with afghan people. a commitment to rebuild a
peaceful and stable and prosperous afghanistan is our shared objective. yet, distinguished members, not just in afghanistan but elsewhere in south asia and lobally, terrorism remains the biggest threat. in the territory stretching from west of india's border to africa, it may go by different ames, from laskhar-e-taiba, to taliban to isis, but its philosophy is common -- of hate, murder and violence. is ugh its shadow spreading across the world, it is incubated in india's
neighborhood. i commend the members of the u.s. congress for sending a clear message to those who preach and practice terrorism for political gains. refusing to reward them is the first step towards holding them accountable for their actions. the fight against terrorism has to be fought at many levels, and the traditional tools of military, intelligence or diplomacy alone, would not be
able to win this fight. mr. speaker, we have both lost civilians and soldiers in combating terrorism. the need of the hour is for us to deepen our security cooperation and base it on a policy that isolates those who harbor, support and sponsor errorists. that does not distinguish between good and bad terrorists and that delinks religion from terrorism. also, for us to succeed, those who believe in humanity must come together to fight for it
as one and speak against this menace in one voice. terrorism must be delegitimized . mr. speaker, the benefits of our partnership extends not just to the nations and regions that need it most. on our own, and by combining our capacities, we are also responding to our global challenges, including when disaster strikes and where humanitarian relief is needed. far from our shores, we have
evacuated thousands from yemen, americans and indians and others. nearer home, we are the first responders during nepal's earthquake, in the maldives water crisis and most recently during landslides in sri lanka. large lso one of the contributors to u.n. peacekeeping operations. often, india and the u.s. have combined their strengths in science and technology and innovation to help fight hunger, poverty, disease and illiteracy in different parts
of the world. the success of our partnership is also opening up new opportunities for learning, security and development from asia to africa. and the protection of environment and caring for the planet is central for our shared vision of a just world. for us in india, to live in harmony with mother earth is a part of our ancient belief. and to take from nature only what is most essential is a art of our indian culture. our partnership, therefore, aims to balance
responsibilities with capabilities. and it also focuses on new ways to increase the availability nd use of renewable energy. strong u.s. support for our initiative to form an international solar alliance is one such effort. we are working together not just for better futures for ourselves but for the whole world. we have also been the goal of our efforts in g-20, east asia summit, and climate change summits.
, as we deepen our partnership, there will be times when we will have differing perspectives. but since our interests and the autonomy rge, if decisionmaking and diversity in our perspectives can only add values to our partnership. so, as we embark on a new journey, and seek new goals, let us focus not just on
matters routine but also transformation of ideas. ideas which can focus not just n creating wealth but also creating value for our societies. not just on immediate gains but also long-term benefits. not just on sharing best practices, but also shaping partnerships and not just on building a bright future for our people, but in being a bridge to a more united, humane, and pros pus world.
-- prosperous world. and important for the success of this journey would be a need to view it with new eyes and new sensitivityities. when we do this, we will of ize the full promise this extraordinary relationship. . speaker, in my final thoughts and words let me emphasize that our relationship is primed for a momentous future. the constraints of the past are behind us and foundations of he future are firmly in place. n the lines of walt whitman,
come alive every day with news and policy that impacts you. correspondent previews of the meeting taking place thursday between president obama and senator bernie sanders. then, missouri representative emanuel cleaver examines efforts by republican members of the financial services committee to make changes to the dodd frank regulation for wall street. protectiono review bureau roles to change the lending practices of payday lending firms.
attemptbill which would to stop recent guidelines from the obama administration on transgender access to bathrooms and locker rooms. be sure to watch c-span's washington journal. join the discussion. our c-span campaign bus from winners of this years student camp coalition. blair high school, 41 students were presented with awards in front of classmates, teachers, parents, and local elected officials for 14 videos. including a winning documentary. students one $3000 for their documentary.
they also stopped in washington, d.c., where some students received honorable mentions for their videos and received $250 each. some won $750. a special thanks to our cable partner, comcast cable. and you can view all the winning studentcam.org. secretary of transportation fiveny foxx discusses hundred billion dollars for surface transportation infrastructure and research over the next five years. commerce two-hour committee hearing.
>> thank you for joining us to act, for a long-term highway bill in more than a decade. after more than 36 extensions, it provides improvements to our infrastructure and spurs economic growth. the fast act was a bipartisan achievement, sending us back to work for the american people. the committee's work helped to enhance safety, reform regulatory structures to read with reforms covering everything from railroads to cars, research, and technology, this legislation was a true team
andrt to reduce congestion, increase our supply chain. each member of the committee contributed to the success of the fast act. senators formed a bipartisan team to fix amtrak regulation programs. the other streamlined process for rail projects, and senator cantwell made improvements to freight transportation. others made a significant contributions. campaigns -- contains many provisions to improve highway traffic safety and promote greater consumer awareness and responsibility for vehicle safety. law ileased that the introduced incentivizes employees to blow the whistle when manufacturers sit on important safety information.
other provisions in the bill also saw to address the lack of in handling recent recalls by creating strong incentives for the agency to get its house in order. the recall over the gm issue, there were serious lapses, including questions about the agency's ability to investigate safety problems. they have madeat some progress in reforms, called for by the inspector general. clearly, there is more work to be done, however. and you can expect continued pressure from this committee to increase agency efficiency. i am also proud of the impaired driving things we have enacted. the state will provide 24/7 sobriety programs, maintaining a grant for stronger interlock laws. i am pleased the department is
listening to the implementation of highway safety grants. there needs to be increased cooperation and flexibilities of the states contact other their own unique highway safety challenges. as i noted, the fast act includes a new title that reforms amtrak to improve its finances, overhauls the railroad rehabilitation act to make it more success -- accessible, and raises the bar on rail safety. formmend of the department its thoughtful approach, and its expedition action to meet the deadline set in law. while some of the riff program reforms are tied up, i hope the department can nonetheless take quick action to increase the transparency of the program, and provide stakeholders of greater certainty concerning eligibility and program terms. on rail safety, i look forward to implementing the fast act,
including the distribution of model action plans and risk data state to state. many people died at railroad crossings, i strongly encourage us to provide states of comprehensive strategies to reduce railroad crossing accident risks. i expect this will entail collaboration across the department. and the more effective uses of funds. i also look forward to actions about my amendment on passenger -- cameras on passenger trains, is the long-standing -- this to increase rail safety. in addition to new safety measures, fast act divided 199 million in state funding and
commuter railroads to employ deployment of this court and safety technology. i think it is also important to know, this builds on freight planning efforts from authorizations to ensure that freight planning is truly -- railroads and ports bring goods to our shores and across the country. recognizing our transportation system is a network, it considers the whole supply chain. we will ensure we achieve by capturing and analyzing performance metrics. our economic competitiveness is dependent on our ability to compete with foreign competitors. it is more expensive because our transportation is more expensive, and our competitors would win. mr. secretary, i would like to close by thinking you in the department for your commitment to meeting the deadlines set in the fast act. the committee understands this competence of legislation
includes many reforms and mandates, and we greatly fareciate your efforts bus to help this legislation deliver for the american people. to beis much more work done over the next four and a half years, and this committee will conduct rigorous oversight to ensure the success of these vital transportation programs. but we really are off to a good start. -- fast act, as it lamented implemented, i would like to thank you personally for your continued partnership and improving all aspects of our nations transportation network. it is been great to work with you and your team. then i think we have achieved some very meaningful and long-lasting results. they give mr. secretary, it is great to have you here. at the moment i will flip it to our ranking member, the senator from florida. >> thank you for having the secretary here. what thel echo
chairman has said, with regards to the fast act that we refer to as the highway bill. but it has a lot of other things in it, other than highways, including the $11 billion to improve freight across all types of transportation. and, an additional $8 billion to repair the nations passenger rail network. all are going to distribute a lot of this money through these grants. the economic engine of purringtry to keep along, we have to keep the engine of transportation going. now mr. secretary, one area we have to do better is vehicle safety. over the last couple of years, we have seen this saga play out.
on the takata airbag recall. and it is unbelievable. it is up now in excess, just in this country, of 70 million vehicles being recalled because of defective takata airbags that have killed over a score of people, and have injured hundreds. and so part of the work of this committee has released a report just last week that assessed the auto maker's progress in recalling and replacing defective takata air bag inflators and i would like to insert in the record the 14 companies that we wrote seeking this information and i will tell about that information that we received a little later.