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

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economic growth, and improve nutritional outcutler comes, especially for women and children, build resilience among vulnerable populations, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote, the yeas are 369, the nays are 53. 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and without objection is laid on the table. the unfinished business is the vote on the motion of the the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. murphy to pass h.r. 2646 as amended on which the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 2646 a bill to make available needed psychiatric and supportive services for individuals with mental illness and families with mental health crises and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill as amended.
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this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this ote, the yeas are 420 --
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 421. the nays are two. 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, --
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 422. the nays are two. 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table.
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the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i present a privileged report for printing under the rule. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: report to accompany h.r. 5634, a bill making appropriations for the department of homeland security for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2017, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: referred to the union calendar and ordered printed. clause 1 of rule 21, points of rder are reserved.
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-- pursuant to clause 1 of rule 21, points of order are reserved. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from florida seek recognition? ms. ros-lehtinen: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that the committees on fornseforne affairs and judiciary will be discharged from s. 2845 and ask for its immediate consideration in the house. -- foreign affairs and judiciary will be discharged from s. 2845 and ask for its immediate consideration in the house. is speaker pro tempore: there objection to consideration of the bill? without objection, the bill is read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table.
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for what purpose does the gentlelady from florida seek recognition? ms. ros-lehtinen: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that the committee on foreign affairs be discharged from further consideration of house resolution 8066 and ask for its immediate consideration in the house. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the resolution. the clerk: house resolution 806, resolution expressing condolences for the killing of the british member of parliament, m.p. joe cox. the speaker pro tempore: is there objection to the consideration of the resolution? without objection, the resolution is agreed to and the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table.
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the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from utah seek recognition? chiefs chiefs i ask unanimous consent that -- mr. chaffetz: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on h.r. 4361. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. chaffetz: pursuant to house resolution 803 and rule 18, the chair declares the house in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for h.r. 4361. the chair appoints the gentleman from illinois, mr. hultgren, to preside over the ommittee of the whole. the chair: the house is in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for the consideration of h.r. 4361 which the clerk will report by title. the clerk: a bill to amend section 3554 of title 44, united states code, to provide for enhanced security of federal information systems, . d for other purposes
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the chair: pursuant to the rule, the bill is considered as read the first time. the gentleman from utah, mr. chaffetz, and the gentleman from maryland, mr. cummings, each will control 30 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from utah. mr. chaffetz: mr. chairman, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. chaffetz: mr. chairman, thank you. we're here to consider h.r. 436 1, the government reform and improvement act of 2016, as amended. the bill combines seven good government bills, each of which have been reported by the committee on oversight and government reform, and i look forward to hearing from some of the bills' sponsors as we move this package today. broadly speaking, these bills address three key issues -- enhancing federal information technology security, modernizing the federal work force and addressing federal regulatory burdens. the first topic, enhancing i.t. security, is the first title of the bill and is championed by representative gary palmer. also, the sponsor of the underlying bill that is under consideration now.
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specifically, title 1 of the bill addresses the federal labor relations authority determination that was based on an incorrect interpretation of the federal information security management act, or what's referred to as fisma. it delays agencies from implementing timely and necessary cybersecurity protections, like blocking access to potentially dangerous websites, until the agencies first negotiate with unions over the changes. the second topic, the federal work force modernization, is covered by titles 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the legislation. title 2 includes the text of h.r. 901, a bill introduced by representative mark meadows of north carolina. it requires the office of management and budget to issue guidelines to prohibit access to explicit websites from federal government computers unless such access is necessary for investigative purposes. it's kind of ridiculous we have to legislate this, but it is
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such a pervasive problem and this is a vital bill that's in that package. we have heard numerous examples of this problem. one individual, for instance, mr. chairman, was at the e.p.a., the environmental protection agency, and was identified by the inspector general there. this person was watching two to six hours per day of explicit material. otherwise known as pornography, on the clock and paid for by the american taxpayer. title 3 includes the text of h.r. 3023, a bill introduced by representative ken buck, to lengthen the probationary period for two years after training is completed. currently, the federal employees have a probationary period of one year which often does not give managers sufficient time to perform on-the-job performance. tim walberg s by and will modernize the senior
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executive service. the elite administrators within the federal government. specifically, the bill will increase the probationary members for members for two years and make members subject to the same suspension authorities for misconduct that are already applied to other civil service employees. additionally, agencies will be able to remove the s.e.s. employees for, quote, such cause as would promote the efficiency of the service, end quote. so what we're trying to do is provide more efficiency and this is an appropriate bill. title 5 includes the text of h.r. 3023, a bill introduced by representative dennis ross of florida, to require of office of personnel management to release the report by agencies. official time is when federal employees perform representational work for a union in lieu of normally assigned work. we have more specificity for congress to understand what is happening here. the third topic by regulatory
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burdens, title 6 and title 7. title 6 includes the text of h.r. 4612, a bill introduced by representative tim walberg of michigan, to prohibit agencies from proposing or finalizing rules in the period between the day of a presidential election and the inauguration of a new president. the provision will address the recurring problem where sitting presidents from both parties rush through the regulations at the end of the term, which have been -- have come to known as midnight regulations. to counter the problem of midnight regulations, every president since ronald reagan who has taken over from the opposite party has issued an immediate regulatory moratorium to pause the regulatory process until it can be reviewed. rather than forcing incoming presidents to handle a torrent of regulations by an outgoing president, the presidents will advance regulations they deem appropriate. mr. chairman, title 7 includes
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the text of h.r. 4921, a bill introduced by representative mark walker, also of north carolina, to require the internal revenue service to mirror what the agency requires of taxpayers in its own record keeping requirement. imagine that, the i.r.s. has to live under the same standards they make the american people live under. specifically, the i.r.s. requires taxpayers to keep their tax year information for three years after filing. this bill does the same. a lot of good bills wrapped into this package. i urge our members to support it. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from utah reserves. the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. cummings: thank you very much, mr. chairman. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. cummings: i rise in strong opposition to this legislation, which is yet another republican assault on federal employees and the obama administration. some members claim this is good -- a good government bill.
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that is simply not true. this legislation is a mish mash of several bills -- mishmash of several bills that would damage employee rights, weaken public health and safety and do little, if anything, to advance government reform. although there are many troublesome provisions, i will focus on the more harmful parts of the legislation. first, this bill would allow agency heads to fire senior executives with little notice. a senior executive would be allowed to appeal an agency decision only after removal. the agency's decision would be deemed final if an administrative law judge fails to issue a decision within 21 days. this could bind an executive to an agency's decision by default rather than by judgment on the merits of his or her case. that is simply unfair.
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almost identical provisions were included in a law enacted in 2014, affecting the department of veterans affairs, and not surprisingly, they are being challenged on constitutional grounds in the federal circuit court of appeals. the department of justice has acknowledged some of the constitutional infermities by choosing not to defend some of these provisions. this bill also would lengthen the probationary period for federal employees from one year to two years. by this extended probationary period, these workers essentially would be at-will employees. they would have minimal due process rights if they are unfairly fired and they would have minimal appeal rights if unwarranted disciplinary action is taken against them. i understand that this legislation is intended to
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provide agencies with more authority to root out so-called bad apples from the federal work force. however, i do not believe the solution to getting rid of a few bad apples will attack the due process rights of millions of hardworking, dedicated federal employees who serve the american people honorably every ingle day. these provisions would endanger whistleblowers and employees would be vulnerable. history has shown why these due process protections are so necessary. i would like to read from a report issued by the merit system's protection board in 2015 and i quote. due process is there for the whistleblower, the employee who
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belongs to the wrong political party, the reserveist whose periods of military service are nconvenient to his boss, the scapegoat and the person who has been misjudged based on faulty information. due process is a constitutional requirement and a small price to pay to ensure the american people receive a merit-based civil service rather than a corrupt flawed system, end of quote. congress put in place these due process protections to eliminate the system. now by trying to move federal employees back to being at-will employees, our republican colleagues would be returning us to that broken and dangerous system. another misguided provision in this bill would block the president from finalizing significant regulations during
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the last months of his term even if those regulations have been in the works for an extended period of time. blocking agencies from finalizing rules they had been working on for years just because it's the end of a president's term is not good policy and it certainly is not good government. i would like to place into the record a letter from the american association for justice dated february, 2016. and the letter states -- thank you, mr. speaker. the letter states and i quote, this misguided bill would jeopardize critical public protections by blocking regulations based on timing alone. it presumes the regulations which are proposed or finalized during the so-called midnight rulemaking period are rushed and inadequately vetted.
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yet many of the regulations that this moratorium would apply to had been in the regulatory process for years, end of quote. contrary to what our republican colleagues believe, the president is the president until january, 2017, according to the constitution. just as republicans are wrong for blocking the president's supreme court nominee in the last year of his term, this provision is also wrong. it is awfully wrong where it is attempting to curtail the authority of the president of the united states to protect the interests of the american people. and so i urge my colleagues to join me in opposing h.r. 4361 and i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from maryland request will be covered under general leave. the gentleman from maryland reserves. the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. chaffetz: i recognize mr. gary palmer, who is the sponsor
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of the bill under consideration today and i yield him five minutes. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. palmer: the federal government's most important responsibility is to protect this nation and our citizens particularly when it comes to defending against cyberattacks. in june and july of last year, 2015, the office of personnel management announced the biggest data breach in history. personal identifiable information of 22 million americans was compromised including background investigation and fingerprint data. the national security impact of the o.p.m. data breach will resonate for decades. under the fisma, the head of each agency is responsible for securing its information systems from unauthorized access and other threats posed to our nation's security and economic vitality. but under a mistaken
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interpretation of fisma, the federal relations authority determined that federal employee unions can block agencies from taking action to implement cybersecurity protections against direct risk until the agencies first negotiate on them. mr. speaker, the security of americans' data is nonnegotiable and shouldn't be eligible for bargaining. securing the data is more important than the convenience of a few federal employees in using government computers for personal use. just doesn't have the responsibility to secure the networks but has the authority to do so and without having to go through collective bargaining. the next time a federal agency acts in securing the data, the head of the agency should be confident that the action will not be challenged because the agency did not engage in
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bargaining over cybersecurity. i believe this is an important step that we can take to empower federal agencies to act quickly to secure agency networks and protect americans from cyberattacks. i urge my colleagues to support this bill. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from utah reserves. the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. cummings: i yield three minutes to the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. cartwright. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. cartwright: thank you to the ranking member from maryland. i rise today in opposition to this attempt by republicans to undermine due process protections and an attempt to prevent the president from finalizing rules during his last months in office and attempt to override collective bargaining rights for federal employees. in fact, this bill, h.r. 4631 eliminates the ability of agencies to issue rules toward
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the end of a president's term, assuming some kind of shoddy rulemaking to finalize the rule before the president's term is up. this kind of assumption is wrong. nothing shoddy is going on. the end of term rules related to routine matters or were issued in response to deadlines outside of the agency's control. this is nothing more than an effort to reverse the will of the american people when they re-elected president obama in 2012 by impairing the ability of our government to function in the last months of his term. additionally, h.r. 4631 is like christmas in july for those opposed to the labor rights of our fellow americans, including anti-family provisions and provisions of dubious constitutionality. this bill exempts from collective bargaining requirements any action taken by an agency head to limit,
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restrict or prohibit access to the webite that the agency had determined that presents a security risk to the agency's i.t. system. in practice, this would erode collective bargaining rights by excluding any impact or implementation of such an action from collective bargaining requirements such as reasonable accommodation to allow an employee to communicate with family members or schools. it also subjects the members of our senior executive service to the political whims of presidents by stripping them of their ability to appeal their termination after a decision by an administrative law judge. the department of justice has declined to defend the constitutionality of similar provisions before the court of appeals in the federal circuit. h.r. 4361 should have no place in our american law.
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i urge my colleagues to keep it that way. and i thank you, mr. speaker, and i yield back to mr. cummings of maryland. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from maryland reserves. and the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. chaffetz: mr. chairman, mr. walberg of michigan is been working to make this bill a reality and i would like to yield him through minutes to discuss the bill. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for three minutes. mr. walberg: i thank the chairman and thank you, mr. speaker. i'm not sure what bill my friends on the other side are talking about, but i'm glad to be talking about a great bill that my friend from alabama, mr. palmer, has introduced. i appreciate his work on the oversight and government reform committee to craft h.r. 4361, the government reform and improvement act of 2016. it includes a series of good
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government reforms that will provide more accountability and transparency to federal bureaucracy that is sorely lacking each. i'm proud the legislation includes two of my bills, the senior executive service accountability act and the midnight rule relief act. the s.e.s. accountability act brings much needed reform and gives agencies commonsense tools to hold senior leaders more accountable for their tax-funded work. specifically, the bill ensures employee performance is measured, eliminates loopholes that allow republic friday manneded officials and expedites the removal process for individuals who have been found to have engaged in misconduct. to be clear, there are many in the federal work force, including senior executives, who are hardworking public servants.
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we thank them for their hard work. however, as we have seen repeatedly in hearings before our committee, there are also bad actors who have grossly abused their position and the senior executive service accountability act is an important step to holding these bad actors accountable and restoring public trust. the underlying bill includes the midnight rule relief act and establishes a moratorium period between the presidential election and the inauguration on regulations that result in major costs or price increases for consumers and small businesses. pushing costly regulations at the last minute has been an issue with previous strayings of both political parties -- administration of both political parties. it will hold the current and future outgoing administrations in check to ensure small businesses in michigan and across the country aren't faced
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with a surprise onslaught of excessive regulations that stifle wages, job creation and economic growth. i want to again commend the work of mr. palmer and the oversight committee for their great work to ensure a more accountable and transparent federal government. i urge my colleagues to support h.r. 4361. thank you and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from utah reserves. the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. cummings: i yield two minutes to the gentlelady from michigan, mrs. lawrence. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized for two minutes. mrs. lawrence: i rise in strong opposition to h.r. 4361. clearly my colleagues on the other side have good intentions but they need to be informed and corrected in understanding. i served 30 years as a federal employee and during that time, i served as an e.e. investigator, which i looked at actions that
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were made against federal employees that were not in compliance. i understand the undue burden that this legislation will put on federal workers and labor organizations. continues and combined proposals attacking federal employees many of which hinder the performance of one of our nation's largest work force. when we consider this legislation in committee. i offered an amendment to strike the provisions in title 3 of required each employing agency to make an affirmative decision in writing near the end of an employee's probation area period stating that the individual's performance is successful, which the office of personnel management considers the best practice in managing the
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performance of employees. mr. speaker, instead of debating legislation that would undermine due process provisions, we should be looking at how we can protect our citizens through common sense gun control legislation and maintain access to affordable health care for all of our americans. mr. speaker, i yield back. the chair: the gentlewoman from michigan yield back. the gentleman from maryland reserves. the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. chaffetz: i would like to recognize, -- mr. walker and i'm glad he is joining us here today and yield him three minutes. mr. walker: thank you to my distinguished colleague from alabama for working diligently on this piece of legislation. i rise in support of my bill h.r. 4921, the ditto act of the it is not just about ensuring that the i.r.s. properly maintains its records but
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holding the government and the powerful to the same standards that they hold american citizens. if the i.r.s. requires american citizens to maintain their tax records, then the i.r.s. has to maintain any record for at least three years. currently, the i.r.s. recommends american citizens maintain tax records for the just in case. essentially, the the i.r.s. says that we have to hold onto our information for years at a time in the event the i.r.s. may request information to audit us, investigate us or take some similar action. however, current investigations and congressional hearings showed that the i.r.s. does not hold itself to the same standards, and they do not properly maintain their own records. this unequal enforcement of the law is part of a bigger problem. continued in recent events as we've seen recently point to
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the fact that government agencies, such as the i.r.s., attempt to play by different rules than the rest of us. the ditto act is another step to ensure that government bureaucrats are held to the same standards as all americans. if the i.r.s. insists that we maintain our records, then the i.r.s. should have to play by the same rules and be held similarly accountable for the same information. that's why i introduced this simple piece of legislation. this bill provides a level playing field. it tells american citizens that its government is operating under the same set of rules that it requires all of us to operate under. i hope my colleagues will join me and support this effort. with that i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from north carolina yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from utah reserves. the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. cummings: i yield three minutes to the gentlewoman from the virgin islands, ms. plaskett. the chair: the gentlewoman from the virgin islands is recognized for three minutes. ms. plaskett: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in opposition to h.r.
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4361, which is yet another republican attack on federal work force and labor organizations. this bill is essentially an attempt to micromanage the government. the bill is a collection of measures that undermine due process protections, prevent the obama administration from finalizing rules during its last two months in office and override collective bargaining rights for federal employees. the bill would bar most regulations from being finalized by virtually every federal department or agency during the last two months of the obama administration, regardless of when they were proposed or how long they have een in the rulemaking process. dditionally, h.r. 4361 exempts any agency action limiting access to any website the agency determines presents a current or possible future security weakness to its information systems.
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the bill's language is unnecessary because current law already authorizes federal agencies to ensure that, quote, all personnel are held accountable for complying with agencywide information security programs, end quote. in practice, this provision could allow agencies to cut off federal employee's ability to communicate with childcare providers or get information on a weather emergency in the event their child school closes early. the provision could also be selectively invoke to block access to official website of federal unions. under current law, there is no right to bargain over the substance of agency information systems' decisions, only over appropriate arrangement in the event they create an adverse impact on employees. in addition, agencies can take any action without bargaining and advance if there is an
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emergency. agencies currently have broad authority in this area, making any additional limitations on employee's ability to have a voice in their working environment unnecessary. further burdening federal workers, h.r. 4361 would extend the probationary period for newly hired general schedule employees from one year to two years, for positions requiring formal training, the two-year time period would only commence after the required formal training. this is unnecessary. as the current one-year probationary period allows sufficient time for them to assess and determine whether an employee is suitable for most positions and capable of performing its duties. in a statement of administration policy, the president's senior advisors stated they would recommend he veto this bill. as i said before, this bill is essentially an attempt to micromanage the government, which is not this body's purpose and we should get on to the business of what congress
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is supposed to do. i yield back. the chair: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from maryland reserves. the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. chaffetz: thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to yield three minutes to the gentleman from colorado, mr. buck. the chair: the gentleman from colorado is recognized for three minutes. mr. bucshon: thank you. and thank you for the -- mr. buck: thank you. and thank you for the opportunity to speak on this important legislation. our federal government relies on the contributions of civil servants to run federal agencies and faithfully execute our laws. we place significant responsibility into the hands of these executive branch employees. others still are placed in senior management roles where the impacts of their performance are felt throughout the agency. and we expect federal employees to run the government efficiently and fairly and we should treat them the same way and that's what this bill does. when a typical employee is hired for the civil service, he begins with a probationary time during which time the employee can be relieved of his duties
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if he fails to perform well. after the probationary period, the employee receives greater protection from being fired even if he's underperforming. this bill extends the probationary period of employees in both the competitive civil service and senior executive service from one year to two years. if the employee requires training or licensing, the probationary period begins when training and licensing are complete. this extended probationary period gives us time to assess the skills of government employees. if an employee isn't up to the task, he or she has been assigned its unfair to everyone else working hard and competently in that agency to retain the underperforming individual. moreover, the morale of federal agencies depend on strong teams with strong employees. anyone who has run an office knows that one bad apple can drag the whole team down. that's why this bill is so important. we need strong teams working in the federal government, and our current federal employees deserve competent team members. only then will our bureaucracy be more efficient and better
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able to serve the american taxpayer. because ultimately taxpayers pay the salary of our federal employees. for the sake of the taxpayer, we must create a culture of accountability and fairness in our federal hiring practices. i urge my colleagues to support this commonsense legislation, and i reserve -- i yield to the chair. the chair: the gentleman from colorado yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from utah reserves. the gentleman from maryland. mr. cummings: the gentleman reserves. the chair: the gentleman from alabama is recognized. >> i yield three minutes to the gentleman from georgia, mr. hice. the chair: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for three minutes. mr. hice: thank you, mr. speaker. i commend my colleague from alabama for introducing this legislation containing a number of bills from the oversight and government reform committee. h.r. 4361 contains several excellent provisions to increase transparency, to enhance oversight and restore good governance. one of the areas in particular
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of importance to me is language requiring the office of personnel management to submit to congress reports on the use of official time by federal employees. for those who are unfamiliar with official time, it's the practice by which federal employees are paid by taxpayers to conduct union business while on the clock instead of performing the normal activities and duties of the agency for which they work. official time allows federal employees who are with the unions to collectively bargain with their agency, arbitrate grievances and even organize or carry out internal union activities, all while being paid by the taxpayer. and it's staggering to me how much official time is used. over three million man-hours each year is spent on activities that have nothing to do with government business. from 1998 to 2012, which is the last period of time that we have of relyable data, the use
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of -- reliable data, the use of official time has grown over a million man-hours per year while the number of federal employees represented by unions have actually decreased during that period of time. in fact, there are several federal agencies that have many employees that do nothing but union activity business in spite of the fact they were hired for something else. for example, the v.a., the i.r.s. have over 200 employees each who operate exclusively on official time. many of these employees are extremely well-paid. the department of transportation, for example, has 35 employees with an $138,000 who of give 100% of their time for union activity rather than that for which they were hired. for a point of reference, mr. chairman, the mean household income in my district is year. mately $62,000 a
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official time essentially means that american taxpayers are being forced to subsidize union activity of federal employees. federal employee union members pay union dues and the taxpayers should not be required to foot the bill. there's an unfortunate lack of reporting on this issue, and it is ultimately unclear exactly how much official time is being used by federal employees and we're sometimes here in congress forced to rely upon year-old g.a.o. reports and existing foia request. and that is why the o.p.m. reporting required under this legislation is critical. firstly, i'm opposed to official time altogether, but at least we can agree that reporting is necessary for all of us. i urge support of h.r. 4361. i yield back.
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the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from alabama reserves. the gentleman from maryland. mr. cummings: continue to reserve. the chair: the gentleman from maryland reserves. the gentleman from alabama. mr. palmer: mr. chairman, at this time i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the gentleman from florida, mr. ross. the chair: the gentleman from florida is recognized for two minutes. mr. ross: thank you. i want to thank my colleague for this legislation, for this opportunity. mr. speaker, today i rise in support of h.r. 4361, the government reform and improvement act of 2016, and in support of my legislation included in this package that requires the office of personnel management to submit an annual report to congress detailing the use of official time by federal employees. official time is defined as any period of time used by a federal employee to perform representational or consultative functions and during which the employee would otherwise be in a duty status. essentially, this allows federal employees to perform union activities during their official work day. as a former chair of the subcommittee on the federal work force, i learned firsthand that o.p.m. has little use of official time. o.p.m. last reported of the use
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of official time in the year 2012, four years ago. my bill would require o.p.m. to require a report to congress on the use of official time outlining specific types of activities for which time was granted. for example, in 2012, federal employees spent roughly 3.4 llion hours conducting union business. and the taxpayers have a vested right to know. at a time when our country is more than $19 trillion in debt, we need tone sure we are better accounting for the use of taxpayer dollars. this legislation will bring greater transparency to the activities unions officials are conducting while being paid by the american taxpayer. i want to thank chairman chaffetz and my colleague from georgia, mr. hice, for their support on the committee. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. cummings: i yield three minutes to the gentlewoman from texas, ms. jackson lee.
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the chair: the gentlewoman from texas is recognized for three minutes. ms. jackson lee: mr. chairman, thank you so very much. and to the manager of the bill the floor, my good friend representing the majority, i cite an one of us can example where a federal employee is not engaged in serving this nation. over the last couple of months, our focus has been on the transportation security officers, and as i travel back to washington, and as i interacted with my constituents, many were concerned about airport travel and the enhancement of security. i saw t.s.a. workers, government workers on the front lines. we see them all the time serving this nation from homeland security to certainly those who are working in the health areas, now as we face the epidemic of zika. many places federal employees stand in the gap by serving us. we look forward to young people, bright young people
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graduating from college and seeking service in the federal army, if you will, of civilian workers serving their nation. i can only say that this legislation, h.r. 4361, disappoints me because first of all title 3 would double the probationary period for federal employees, unlike the private sector, from one to two years. federal employees will be at-will. they wouldn't have benefits. they wouldn't be protected, and that is not certainly an enticing recruitment for young, bright college graduates. another form of the lack of due process in title 4 would allow senior executive agencies to be removed almost immediately with only minimal appeal rights. executives would have only seven days to file an appeal. mr. chairman, what are we saying to those who we call upon for the front lines of serving in america? our e.p.a. employees, our forest rangers, they are all over and we're saying that kind of experience is to be discarded.
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it sadly disturbs me. i sit on the judiciary committee, i never heard this, and i wonder how title 6 would reduce in the end of a president's term his right or her right to be able to argue for regulations that would enhance the american people. let me say to you that we're facing another uphill battle because right now we're trying to pass no fly, no buy and to close the loophole to save lives. it's interesting how we're dealing with a bill that takes away due process rights, but yet we cannot find a compromise whose opposition is based upon we're denying an individual due process. well, i tell you i'm looking forward to us being able to vote on the gun legislation of no buy -- no fly, no buy. i know it very well because i had a no fly for foreign terrorists. we work on these issues in homeland security, and so if i look at an employment bill that is taking away due process rights, i'm asking for us to come back, give them their
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rights by not supporting this legislation and as well giving our rights to the minority to vote on legitimate bills that will save lives. no fly, no buy and closing the gun show loopholes. i have seen the blood, the death that has come about from gun violence. it's time to vote to save lives. i yield back. the chair: the gentlewoman's time has expired. the gentleman from maryland reserves. the gentleman from alabama is recognized. the gentleman from alabama reserves. the gentleman from maryland. mr. cummings: i yield two minutes to the gentlelady from the district of columbia, ms. norton. the chair: the gentlelady is ecognized for two minutes. ms. norton: would want to move forward with this bill. i will have amendments to strike portions of this bill later. i just want to speak to a couple of them. the extension of the
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probationary period, for example. that may not raise constitutional issues but g.a.o. report was done and indicated that the problem was not with the length of the probationary period but with the use of the probationary period and that supervisors simply weren't using it and many of them didn't know when the probationary period was. why would we want to lengthen the probationary period? i'm not sure who it helps. does it help the employee? does it help the agency? in any case, depending as i do do n objective source, as i -- on an objective source, this is unnecessary. the downgrading of the s.e.s. is an absolutely bad way to deal with somebody who is not making it as a manager but was good enough to be promoted to the s.e.s. we have invested millions of dollars in an employee by the time that employee gets to be a
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top s.e.s. employee and gets promoted to management. won't be the first time somebody has been an excellent employee but when he got to managing whole divisions, was not good. of that employee instead of demetting that employee as is now done? finally this bill is replete with due process problems. for example, it expedites the removal and appeal prosssess and takes it away entirely in some instances. it wreaks of constitutional. proprieties. it should not be passed. you'll find members on our side who are want it ising to improve the process and willing to do so. i reserve. the chair: the gentlelady yields back, the gentleman from maryland reserves, the gentleman from alabama. >> i have no further speakers
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and we'll close. the chair: the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. cummings: yield myself such time as i may consume. how much time do we have? the chair: the gentleman has 11 1/2 minutes remaining. mr. cummings: i cannot emphasize enough how damaging and constitutionally defective this legislation is. as ms. jackson lee was speaking, mr. speaker, i could not help but think about the young lady that i met at n.i.h. a few years ago when the government was shut down. and i was talking to her, asking her about her job, and one of the thing she is said was that she was very, very upset and i said, are you upset you're going to possibly lose money? r upset that you're going to have problems? i mean -- she said, no, i'm not so much upset about losing my
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job. i can always find a job. she said the thing i'm upset about is as the government shuts down that means that there are all kinds of research that is going to be stopped and i won't be able to, we won't be able to see the breakthroughs that i thought we'd be able to see. my point is, is that there are so many federal employees just like the ones who work for us, who come to work every day and have dedicated their lives to giving to the public. in other words, it is about the business of feeding their souls. so often what happens i've noticed, is we have a way of not treating them right all the time. and i have been a fierce defender of the public employee and federal employee. because i realize that they are the back bone of this nation. yet when we look at the negative
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consequences of this legislation, they are truly terrible. this bill would reduce due process protections for new federal employees and senior executives. enable whistleblower retaliation. whistleblower retaliation is something that our committee has fought, tried to make clear that we would not tolerate under any circumstances, and i'm pleased to say that that has always been something that both sides of the aisle has been adamant about and we should be. the th legislation would bar the president from issuing rules to protect health and safety during his last months in office. and whether it was president obama or any other president, i want a president to serve out every second of his term. and i want him to be able, or her, to be able to accomplish the things that the american people elected them to do right
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down to the very last second. another thing it does, it erodes collective bargaining rights, requires duplicative and burdensome report big the office of personnel management and agency. imposes unnecessary guidelines regarding computer usage and requires the i.r.s. to establish an arbitrary recordkeeping system. i'd like to remind our colleagues that the federal circuit court of appeals has been said it's reviewing the constitutionality of nearly identical provisions in the the veterans access, choice, and accountability act enacted in 2014. the department of justice has decided not to defend the constitutionality of some of these provisions before the federal circuit court. before i conclude, i want to underscore my disapproval of this bill's unjustified
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interference with president obama's authority to issue regulations that are critical to ensuring the safety of the american people. i'd like to quote from a mr 1, 2016, letter sent to the oversight commission, committee, in opposition to title 6 and it says, and i quote, taking the claims of a midnight regulation, critics -- at face value, there's simply no principled basis for allowing regulatory measures to be rushed through the process without adequate vetting while at the same time preventing agencies finalizing and implementing public projections falsely claiming they did not receive adequate consideration. the administration ends on january 20, 2017. it is incumbent on them to do their constitutional duty to
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implement the laws of the congress until that date. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from alabama is ecognized. >> mr. chairman, first of all i want to thank my colleagues who have spoken in support of this legislation and say this. mr. palmer: this is sensible and responsible legislation to increase federal agencies' ability to protect data systems and thus increase the protections offered to every federal employee. this bill also increases accountability for federal employees and it requires the i.r.s. to adhere to the same recordkeeping requirements that it imposes on every taxpayer. finally, mr. chairman this bill would end the practice of subjecting americans to a barrage of regulations imposed by an outgoing administration that can no longer be held accountable. with that, mr. chairman, i urge adoption of the bill and i yield back the balance of my time.
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the chair: the gentleman from alabama yields back. all time for yen debate has expired. pursuant to the rule the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. in lieu of the amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the committee on government and oversight reform printed in the bill, it shall be in order to consider as an original bill an amendment in the nature of a substitute consist og they have text of rule committee print 114-59. that amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be considered as read. no amendment to that amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be in order except those printed in the house report 114-666. each such amendment may be offered only in the order printed in the report by a member designated in the report, shall be considered as read, shall be debatable for the time specified in the report equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to amendment and shall not be subject to a demand for division of the question. it is now in order to consider amendment number 1 printed in house report 114-666.
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for what purpose does the gentleman from alabama seek recognition? mr. palmer: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 1 printed in house report 114-666, offered by mr. palm over alabama. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 803, the gentleman from alabama, mr. palmer and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from alabama. mr. palmer: thank you, mr. chairman. this amendment makes technical changes to the bill to reflect the text of h.r. 4612, the midnight rule relief act of 2016, as it was reported out of committee. mr. chairman, my manager's amendment simply makes a few technical and conforming changes to this important legislation. the amendment corrects a technical error in the language of title 6. it also fixes references to several other sections within the bill to reflect the obvious intent of the bill text. mr. chairman, i support this amendment and urge my colleagues to vote in favor of it. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves.
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for what purpose does the gentleman -- >> i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: does the gentleman rise in opposition? mr. cummings: yes. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. cummings: we have reviewed the amendment and find it only makes technical changes to the bill so i will not oppose it, however, it does nothing to improve the bill, which i will continue to oppose. with that, i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from maryland yields back this egentleman from alabama is recognized. mr. palmer: i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from alabama yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from alabama. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair the ayes have it. he amendment is agreed to. it is now in order to consider amendment number 2 printed in house report 114-666. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? mr. posey: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 2
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printed in house report 114-666, offered by mr. posey of florida. the chair: pursuant to the rule the gentleman from florida, mr. posey, and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida. mr. posey: i ask unanimous consent that amendment number 2 in house report 114-666 be modified by the form i have placed at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the modification. the clerk: modification offered by mr. posey to the amendment offered by mr. posey. page 1, line 3, strike other than the head of the agency. page 1, beginning on line 6, strike within the agency. the chair: is there objection to the modification? without objection the modification is granted. is approved. is agreed to. the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. posey: thank you, mr. chairman. i rise in support of a genuine opportunity for us to learn from the failures of former executive officials. this amendment will codify a practice of security, accountability, good government, which is already a policy at
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many of our federal agencies today. quite simply, it will prohibit federal employees from using private, unsecure email servers to conduct official government business in the future this would ensure that the time and taxpayer money invested in the security of sensitive information will not be undermined by carelessness or misunderstandings. by passing this amendment, we will significantly improve the security of our government i.t. it only takes one individual, one click of the mouse, on an insecure or unsecure system to open the door to bad actors who seek to harm our nation. by restricting the use of unsecure i.t. systems, we will empower federal employees to hold each other accountable and take special care to conduct official business responsibly. i urge support of the amendment and reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from maryland rise? mr. cummings: i claim time in
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opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. cummings: thank you, mr. chairman. i will not oppose it. it's not clear what this amendment does or what it is intended to do. i agree that there are -- that there should be accountability for i.t. security but we have had no hearings or other discussion on this issue. the federal information security management act already ensure this is a senior agency personnel take responsibility for ensuring the agency's systems are secure. unfortunately, the amendment does nothing to address the larger, underlying problem with the bill, which would trample on federal employees' due process protections and block the president from issuing critical regulatory protections at the end of his term. with that, i yield back. . the chair: the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. posey: it's vital that the
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former secretary of state's use of an unsecure email server does not send a message to other federal employees this is acceptable. this is matter of handling sensitive information and conducting government business that's appropriate. we cannot let another top executive completely trample the trust of the american people and potentially endanger american lives by mishandling sensitive intelligence. this amendment is really simple. it's a responsible step towards protecting federal i.t. systems and ensuring americans of the transparency and security that they want and that they deserve. i urge passage of the amendment and yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is on the amendment, as modified -- the amendment, as modified, offered by the gentleman from florida. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. the amendment, as modified, is agreed to.
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it's now in order to consider amendment number 3 printed in house report 114-666. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from the district of columbia seek recognition? ms. norton: mr. speaker, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 3 printed in house report 114-666 offered by ms. norton of the district of columbia. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 803, the gentlewoman from the district of columbia, ms. norton, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from the district of columbia. ms. norton: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. norton: my amendment would trike sections 402, 405-b, 406, 407 and 408. while some reforms to the senior executive service may well be necessary, these sections go too far because they roll back significant due process rights for federal employees and raise potentialal
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constitutional issues. section 402 which lengthens the probationary period from one year to two years is unnecessary. there is no evidence to indicate that such provision will help agencies deal with poor performance in the workplace. in fact, a federal 2015 report found that agencies already using probationary periods uld be using them more effectively. of the 4,500 employees dismissed in 2013, the majority were dismissed during the probationary period. instead of extending this period, we should be looking at ways to improve its use by agencies and increasing congressional oversight to ensure that the federal work force is operating at its best. section 405 is similarly problematic. this section would allow an agency to remove an s.e.s. employee from civil service entirely for poor performance. under current law, poor
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performing employees instead are initially downgraded to a g.s. position, a level at which they could perform very well. even if they were poor performers at the s.e.s. section, they would not have been promoted in the first place if they have not achieved good records. but may not be good managers. this section also shortens the notice period from 30 days to 15, making it extremely difficult for affected employees to exercise their due process rights. section 406 represents a serious constitutional issue by giving agencies the authority to place an s.e.s. employee on mandatory leave, forcing these employees to use their own accrued leave. this violates basic constitutional principles as it is likely taking of a vested property right and or it is a
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suspension that triggers due process rights. this mandatory leave provision has little chance of withstanding constitutional scrutiny and should be struck. section 407 further references an attack on federal employee's due process rights. this provision exat the indicts the removal of the a-- expedites the removal and the appeals process and adopts provisions of other federal law that is currently being challenged in the federal circuit. in a statement of administrative policy in opposition to this bill, the white house has said that the president will veto it if it comes across his desk, at least in part because of this section would raise significant constitutional concerns under the appointments clause and the due process clause. it's unlikely this section could withstand constitutional scrutiny and also should be struck now. section 408 requires reassignment of s.e.s. employees to different
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geographically lowcations which is arbitrary, inflexible and ignores the needs of individual agencies. this provision is unnecessary given that the president signed an executive order in november, 2015, that would strengthen the senior executive service by requiring agency heads to develop a two-year plan for increasing the mobility of s.e.s. employees. we may need reform legislation to deal with poor performers, mr. speaker, but we cannot do so by rolling back due process rights and protections for federal employees who, unlike private employees, are protected by the constitution of the united states. i urge my colleagues to vote in favor of my amendment. i reserve. the chair: the gentlewoman from the district of columbia reserves the balance of her time. for what purpose does the gentleman from alabama seek recognition? mr. palmer: mr. chairman, i rise to claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman from alabama is recognized for five minutes. mr. palmer: thank you, mr. chairman. i rise in opposition to the proposed amendment from the
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gentlewoman from the district of columbia. her amendment would eliminate provisions in the government reform and improvement act that would deal with holding members of the senior executive service, or s.e.s., accountable. it would strike section 402 of the bill which extends the probationary period from one to two years. extending the probationary period allows federal agencies to ensure that senior executives they hire are suitable for the job they hold. after the probationary period ends, it becomes much harder to remove an s.e.s. employee not suited for the position. it is in the best interest for the american people that members fert s.e.s. become vullly -- members of the s.e.s. become fully vetted. and the national defense authorization act established a two-year probationary period for new civilian hires at the department of defense. this good government reform is already in place at one of the
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largest federal agencies, and we should extend it to the rest of the federal government as well. the amendment in question would also strip provisions that allow s.e.s. appointees to be removed for such causes as would promote the efficiency of the service and be suspended without pay for less than two weeks for misconduct. these ruleslready apply to the vast majority of the federal civil service, and they should apply to s.e.s. appointees as well. in addition, the gentlewoman's amendment would eliminate a portion of the bill that gives agency heads authority to place on mandatory annual leave s.e.s. appointees facing removal for misconduct and prohibits the accumulation of additional leave during this period. it would also eliminate a provision that gives agency heads the authority to seek removal or transfer of senior executives based on poor performance or misconduct, and that would provide an expedited appeal process for the agrieved
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employee. the american people deserve an accountable senior executive service that plays by the same rules as other federal civil service workers. they also deserve an s.e.s. staff for highly qualified employees who can be efficient and effective in their jobs. mr. chairman, i urge my colleagues to reject the gentlewoman's amendment, and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from alabama reserves the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from the district of columbia is recognized. she has one minute remaining. ms. norton: mr. speaker, i remind the gentleman that s.e.s. employees already have fewer rights than other employees because they are management and that we have invested millions of dollars in them which gotten them into the s.e.s.'s very competitive service anyways. so the off with your head approach punishes american people who have fine employees at the s.e.s. level but, for
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example, to -- to indicate one of my amendments might downgrade rather than getting rid of them. there are other provisions here that would doubtly -- would doubtlessly not survive constitutional scrutiny. i urge the adoption of my amendment. the chair: does the gentlewoman yield back the balance of her time? ms. norton: i yield back. the chair: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her time. mr. palmer: i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman is the only one with time remaining. mr. palmer: mr. chairman, i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from the district of columbia. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the amendment is not agreed to. ms. norton: i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from the district of columbia will be postponed. the chair understands that amendment number 4 will not be offered. it's not in order to consider
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amendment number 5 printed in house report 114-666. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from new jersey eek recognition? mrs. watson coleman: mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 5 printed in house report 114-666 offered by mrs. watson coleman of new jersey. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 803, the gentlewoman from new jersey, mrs. watson coleman, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from new jersey. mrs. watson coleman: thank you, mr. chairman. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentlewoman is recognized. mrs. watson coleman: i rise to offer an amendment that would exempt from the bill's moratorium any rule that an agency has included in its regulatory plan for at least a year. some proponents have said that the moratorium on rulemaking is intended to address rules that have been rushed through the process. my amendment would address that concern by keeping in place a
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proposed moratorium on the rules that have truly been rushed. however, it would allow rules that have been under consideration for at least a year to move forward. during the time between election day and inauguration day, the executive branch cannot take a break from fulfilling its constitutional and statutory responsibilities. just as this congress will meet to pass legislation in november and december of this year, the executive branch must be allowed to continue doing its job of implementing crucial regulations to protect the environment and our constituents' health and safety. for example, the pipeline and hazardous material safety administration has been working to implement crucial pipeline safety regulations since 2011 with extensive input from numerous groups. just last month, this congress passed the pipes act, which included provisions reflecting
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our bipartisan concern that these pipeline safety rules need to be implemented soon to protect our constituents from the dangers of pipeline leaks. yet, without my amendment, certain pipeline safety rules could have to be delayed until the new administration. even though these rules have been under consideration for years, leaving the public safety at risk. in order to ensure important rules, like these, can be finalized, i urge my colleagues to adopt my amendment and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman from new jersey reserves the balance of her time. for what purpose does the gentleman from alabama seek recognition? mr. palmer: mr. chairman, i rise to claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman from alabama is recognized for five minutes. mr. palmer: thank you, mr. chairman. the amendment fundamentally misunderstands the purpose of this bill. it creates a loophole in the moratorium period for midnight regulations. the bill establishes a regulation moratorium period between election day and the start of a new president's term to allow a new administration
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to start with a clean slate. this amendment would undermine that principle by allowing outgoing presidents to simply put a marker down a year before their end of the term to circumvent the moratorium entirely. further, pushing regulations out the door at the last minute reduces the effectiveness of regulatory review at the office of information and regulatory affairs. regardless of whether the public is aware that an agency is working on the regulation. the unified regulatory agenda, while very important for notice and transparency, does not provide details on the regulation or the expected impact on the economy and small businesses. simply notifying the public that an agency is considering regulating in a particular area is insufficient to ensure the regulatory analysis at the agency and at oira has been thoroughly evaluated. agencies can simply wait until the start of the next president's term to issue regulations giving everyone more time to make sure they have gotten it right. i oppose this amendment and i
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urge my colleagues to vote against it. i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from beal reserves. the gentlewoman from new jersey is recognized. mrs. watson coleman: mr. chairman, i yield a minute of my time to the gentleman from maryland. the chair: the gentleman from maryland is recognized for one minute. mr. cummings: may i inquire how much time we have? the chair: the gentleman has three minutes remaining. mr. cummings: i support this amendment offered by one of the freshman stars of the oversight committee, representative bonnie watson coleman. this amendment would exempt from the bill rule makings that agencies have -- rulemakings that agencies have included in their regulatory plans for a year or more. agencies are required to submit to o.m.b. twice a year plans for rule makings to pursue. o.m.b. publishes those plans twice a year as part of what's called the union fid agenda. this amendment would still block any rule an agency tries to rush
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through the process. this amendment would not, however, block rules that have been through the proper procedures just because they happen to be finalized during the last months of the administration. this amendment allowings the focus to be on true so-called midnight regulations. if those rules are duly the target of this bill, then the house should adopt this amendment. i yield back to the gentlelady. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentlewoman from new jersey reserves. the gentleman from alabama is recognized. mr. palmer: i yield back the balance of my time -- i reserve, i'm sorry. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentlelady is recognized. mrs. watson coleman: thank you, mr. chairman. the balance of my time is? i yield myself the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman is recognized for two minutes. mrs. watson coleman: it is unfortunate that yet again some refuse to accept that a president's term is a full four
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years long. passing this legislation would unnecessarily impose new restrictions on the ability of presidents to finish the work of their administration. adopting my amendment would help ensure that well-vetted, necessary regulations to protect health and safety are not blocked. while not undermining the stated purpose of this bill. accordingly, i urge my colleagues to adopt it and i yield back. the chair: the gentlewoman from new jersey yields back. the gentleman from alabama is recognized. mr. palmer: i yield the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from new jersey. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair the noes have it. the amendment is not agreed to. the gentlewoman from new jersey. mrs. watson coleman: i request a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment of the gentlewoman from new jersey will be postponed. the question is on the motion
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that the committee rise. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is adopted. accordingly the committee rises. the speaker pro tempore: mr. chairman. the chair: madam speaker, the committee of the whole house on the state of the union, having had under consideration h.r. 4361 directs me to report it has come to no resolution thereon. the speaker pro tempore: the chair of the committee of the whole house on the state of the union reports that that committee has had under consideration h.l. 4361 and has come to no resolution thereon.
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the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on house resolution 5485 and that i may include tabular material on the same. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. pursuant to house resolution 794 and rule 18, the chair declares the house in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for the consideration of h.r. 5485. the chair appoints the gentlewoman from wyoming, mrs. lummis, to preside over the ommittee of the whole.
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the chair: the house is in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for the consideration of h.r. 5485 which the clerk will report by title. the clerk: a bill making appropriations for financial services and general government for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2017, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the bill is considered read the first time. the gentleman from florida, mr. crenshaw, and the gentleman from new york, mr. serrano, each will control 30 minutes. the chair recognizes the entleman from florida. mr. crenshaw: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. crenshaw: i'm pleased to present to the house the fiscal year 2017 financial services and general government appropriations bill. as you know, this bill funds a
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diverse group of agencies and activities including financial regulators, tax collection the white house, the federal court the district of columbia, the general services administration and the small business administration. this bill is the product of eight hearings that we've had and the result of nearly 2,000 requests by members from both sides of the aisle. the bill provides 21.-- provides $21.7 billion for fiscal year 2017, $1.5 billion less than last year, or 6.5% reduction. it's $2.7 billion or 11% below the request. the subcommittee allocation is a significant reduction compared to 2016, but nonetheless the allocation is sufficient to fund vital federal programs as well as the one-time set-asides for the expenses of the presidential transition. now among the priorities of this
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bill are law enforcement and the administration of justice. funding for the high intensity drug trafficking areas and the drug-free communities, programs are record high levels. the funding for the treasury's office of terrorism and financial intelligence, that is the agency that enforces our sanction programs, they receive substantial increase and in addition there's a healthy amount of funding for both the federal and the d.c. judicial branches of government and the supervision of offenders an defendants that live in our communities. another priority for the bill is supporting small businesses. as you know, small businesses are the back bone of our economy. they create jobs, they grow the economy. and this bill provides $15 million for the s.b.a. business loan program. at supports $28.5 billion of
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7-a lending and $7.5 billion of so-called 504 lending. the bill also provides a record high amount of funding for s.b.a. grant programs like veterans and women. it funds the alcohol and tobacco tax and trade bureau, the treasury's community development, financial institutions fund program and for the first time this year, we include, make sure that individuals with disabilities are having access to the capital financial services. now in order to fund these programs at these high levels, we had to reduce funding in other areas. we cut funding for nearly two dozen agencies and programs that can operate with a little bit less like the office of management and budget and the federal communications commission. but the brunt of these reductions is borne by the internal revenue service and the general service administration.
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after all, those are the two agency this is a receive most of the money under this appropriations bill and they both have recent histories of inappropriate behavior. while the bill reduces g.s.a. funding to -- for new construction by $1.1 billion, we provide a sizable amount for repairs and alterations to the existing federal inventory. in addition, we continue to push g.s.a. to develop an accurate inventory of federal property. and we designate funding for the g.s.a. to use their existing space a little more efficiently. now it's been three years and three commissioners since we first discovered that the i.r.s. had betrayed the trust of the american people by singling out individuals and groups of individuals, subjecting them to additional scrutiny based on their political philosophy, sometimes bullying them and intimidating them. and you would think that maybe they'd turn over a new leaf, but
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no. after these three year they still have made a series of embarrassing management decisions, basically at the expense of the consumer. so to remedy this, the bill includes numerous provisions to reform the i.r.s., reduces their fund big $236 million below the current level, but within their overall funding, we set aside $290 million to make sure that they improve customer service, that they put the taxpayer first, and that they also work on cybersecurity and fraud prevention. now to increase transparency and oversight of agency the bill makes the consumer financial protection bureau and the office of financial research subject to he appropriations process. cfpb's leadership, we changed that from a single director to a
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five-member commission. we also required the federal communications commission to make public any proposed rules they have 21 days before they actually vote on the rules. to prevent agency overreach, the bill gives businesses the opportunity to change their business model, to change their operations, prior to being designates as too big to fail or the so-called systemiccally important financial institution. cfpbquire further study of rules on predispute arbitration nd payday pending. we require problems to be resolved before the net neutrality order. we keep financing for manufactured housing affordable. now in addition, the committee still has some strong concerns that the f.c.c. seems to be prolonging their pattern of regulatory overreach with its
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recent set top box proposal so if we also include language that requires the f.c.c. to stop and study this controversial rule before they can proceed any further. the telecommunications industry is more competitive than ever, more innovative than ever and yet the commission has been more active than ever in trying to exert regulatory control other market innovation. so in return the f.c.c.'s focus toward mission critical work and away from politically charged rule makings, this bill requires the f.c.c. to do less, with less. now to give low income families the option of selecting a school that best meets their educational needs, the bill includes the text of the scholarships for opportunity and results act, the so-called soars act that passed the house last month. we also include two other bill this is a passed the house, one extends the bankruptcy code to large financial institutions and the other one establishes a
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small business advocate within the securities and exchange commission. so i want to thank chairman rogers, i want to thank ranking member lowey for their leadership and support in advancing this bill. i want to thank the members of the committee for their hard work. certainly want to thank our staff, our hard working staff for all the work they've done. and i especially want to say a word about the ranking member, mr. serrano. as many of you know, i've decided to retire at the end of this term, leave this esteemed body, and the last four years as chair of the subcommittee has been very interesting and it's been made even more pleasurable by my association with the ranking member, mr. serrano. he has the unique perspective of having chaired this subcommittee as well as serving as ranking member. i have a feeling he enjoyed being the chairman more than he enjoys tpwheg ranking member, but nevertheless, he's been a
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great partner to work with. i'm not sure that everything in this bill is to his liking, but i can tell you that his input has made this a better bill. so with that, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from new york, mr. serrano is recognized. mr. serrano: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: you are recognized. mr. serrano: first of all, let me also say it's been a pleasure working with you. the big difference between being chair and ranking member, i'll tell you a secret, you get to speak first. other than that, we have the same headaches to deal with. but i want to tell you what a pleasure it's been and the best sense of our democracy, whatever i say here today is about the ill not about you. our relationship, we'd probably have a different bill anyway. don't tell your leadership i
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said that. before i begin to address the substance of this bill, let me say that this is not what we should be considering on the floor today. the american people have spoken loud and clear. it is long pastime for this house to act to reduce gun violence. how many more tragedies must be en-- must we endure before we do something in this congress? how many more columbines? how many more newtowns? how many more virginia techs? how many more orlandos? enough is enough. time for this house to reject the n.r.a. and enact strong gun laws and as soon as possible. . before recess democrats stood in the well of the house and asked these questions. the republicans ignored us. upon their return this week, republicans tried to provide themselves with political cover . suffice it to say what they are proposing is not really enough. americans are asking us to take
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effective action and instead we're here debating another underfunded and a bipartisan appropriations bill. this would be laughable if it were not so sad. the other side of the aisle can no longer look the american people in the face and tell them that effective action to reduce gun violence is not necessary. that is the first of many reasons why i rise in strong opposition to the bill before us today. while i truly appreciate the efforts of chairman crenshaw and chairman rogers to listen to the concerns of our side, which includes our leader, mrs. lowey, and to accommodate us when they could, their efforts have been overwhelmed by the allocation and the large number of partisan riders that are part of this bill today. this bill is not the largest bill in the appropriations lineup, but it touches upon many years that are crucial to
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the american people. from consumer protection to financial markets regulation to economic opportunity to taxpayer information, this bill touches the lives of almost every person living in our nation. and sadly, this bill does a great disservice to many of them. there are some good portions of this bill that i will highlight briefly. the community development financial institutions fund received a substantial increase above last year. the small business administration is also well-funded, and our federal judiciary will have the resources that it needs. but in a bill with more than 30 agencies, both large and small, that is a pretty short list. the reason it is so short is the inadequate allocation that this subcommittee received. this bill is $1.5 billion less , a 6% st year's bill
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cut. the reason is many agencies, large and small, have been severely cut. the i.r.s. is cut $236 million from last year's funding levels. from 2010 to 2015, budget cuts have forced the i.r.s. to cut its work force by 18,000 employees. these cuts hurt more than the i.r.s. since it means our deficit will increase because more taxes won't get collected. more tax cheats won't face punishment, and more honest taxpayers won't be able to get their questions answered by the i.r.s. the securities and exchange commission is funded at $226 billion below the president's request and $50 million below last year. the s.e.c. is our cop on the beat for wall street, and chronically underfunding our primary enforcement for the
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financial markets invites more wrongdoing. it's also problematic that the majority has sought to rescind the use of the s.e.c.'s reserve fund, which is dedicated to i.t. upgrades. however, funding levels are not the only problem with this bill. the majority has chosen to include dozens of highly partisan riders in this bill. the sheer number and variety of these riders injects partisanship into the appropriations process in a way that i have not seen during my 26 years in congress. each rider caters to a different special interest group that supports the other party. from the koch brothers to anti-choice activists to big corporations to the tea party, each category has a rider to help them. unfortunately, the rest of the american people are seemingly out of luck. let me highlight a few of the low lights rather than helping
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preserve an open internet, something that is crucially important to america consoupers and businesses. it bill prevents the f.c.c. from amending the neutrality rule until the final disposition of three pending lawsuits on this issue. the i.r.s. has prevented from reforming the 501-c-4 process that caused so much convution and controversy. they are also prevented from enforcing the individual mandate of the affordable care act, a move that c.b.o. says will result in the loss of revenue and which the rule provided a special waiver just to include. the f.c.c. is prevented from requiring public corporations to disclose their political contributions. there are multiple riders permitting women's health decisions by and in the district of columbia and in the federal health care exchanges
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set up by the affordable care act. there is also numerous riders to try to hamstring the president's efforts to conduct foreign policy with regard to cuba. and there are riders attempting to roll back dodd-frank and the effort of the consumer financial protection bureau to protect americans. this list just scratches the surface. we oppose all of these riders and many others that i don't have time to mention today. these riders have no business in the appropriations process. they highlight other primary goal of this process has changed from funding our government to scoring political points, and i think that this bill is a sad demonstration of that problem. the real loser in all of this is not republicans or democrats but the american people. this bill underfunds critical priorities for working families. this bill is loaded down with riders geared toward special nterests but will truly harm
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taxpayers, consumers and investors and businesses. before i conclude, let me just mention that much what has been added to the bill has no basis in reality. the majority knows that there is a veto threat by our president on the bill as currently constructed. absence serious changes to the overall funding level and the removal of these excessive riders, this is not a bill that will ever be signed into law. i hope that one day the majority accepts that reality and comes to the table to negotiate in good faith, but as it currently stands, this simply is not a bill that i can support. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida, mr. crenshaw. mr. crenshaw: madam chair, i'd like to yield such time as he might consume to the chairman of the full appropriations committee, the gentleman from
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kentucky, mr. rogers. mr. rogers: i thank the gentleman for yielding, mr. chairman. this bill is a bill that we all can support. it provides $21.7 billion for financial services and treasury programs, the federal judiciary and small business. this total is $1.5 billion below current levels and $2.7 billion below what was requested by the president. within this allocation, the bill prioritizes funding where it will be best used and makes policy reforms that improve efficiency and accountability. to start with, the bill takes steps to address issues at the i.r.s. both cutting overall funding and including funding limitations to prevent the i.r.s. from continuing their recent history of bad behavior. in total, the i.r.s. is
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provided with $10.9 billion. that's $236 million below current levels. this holds the agent's budget below fiscal 2008 levels, forcing the agency to streamline and focus on its core duties. taxpayer services, however, are maintained at $2.1 billion, an additional $290 million is directed to improve customer service, fraud prevention and cybersecurity. the bill also includes policy items to correct recent transgressions including prohibiting funding for a regulation related to the tax-exempt status of 501-c-4 organizations, which could limit the first amendment rights of citizens and prohibiting funds for bonuses unless conduct and tax compliance is considered. the bill also includes
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provisions throughout designed to make the government work better for the taxpayer. this includes increasing oversight by bringing the cfpb and the office of financial research under the annual congressional appropriations process and changing the leadership of cfpb from one director to a five-member panel. the bill also peels back red tape across the government. this includes prohibiting the f.c.c. from implementing the net neutrality order until court cases are resolved. requiring the f.c.c. to refrain from continued activity on the set-top box rule until a study is completed and prohibiting the s.e.c. from requiring the disclosure of political contributions on s.e.c. filings. the bill invests funding in
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programs that will protect main street americans, helping them grow small businesses and making their communities safer. the bill increases funding for federal courts as well as for important and effective anti-drug programs like the drug-free communities and high intensity drug trafficking areas programs. the bill also includes $883 million for the small business administration, including full funding for veterans' programs and increasing funding above he president's request for women business centers. the bill includes the s.e.c. small business advocate act to help small businesses address the unique issues they face due to their size. madam speaker, i want to thank the financial services subcommittee and the hardworking staff, the ranking member, mr. serrano, and particularly the chairman, mr.
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crenshaw. this will be his last bill at the helm of this subcommittee and one of his last appropriations bills in congress. over his tenure on the committee, he's been a faithful hepard of taxpayer -- shepherd of taxpayer dollars, a dedicated servant to his district and to the nation. his presence will be deeply missed by the appropriations committee and the entire house, ut this final bill of chairman crenshaw is certainly a high note to go out on, but we want to thank this florida gentleman and great leader in this body for the great tenure he's had here and the great record he's built, especially this bill which will be the last he will shepherd through. this bill improves the way the government runs, makes responsible use of federal
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funding and invests in the right priorities and i urge my colleagues to support this bill. yield back. the chair: the gentleman from florida reserves. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. serrano: madam speaker, i yield five minutes to the gentlewoman and our ranking member, nita lowey from new york, that wonderful state. the chair: the gentlewoman from new york is recognized. mrs. lowey: thank you, madam speaker. before i begin, i'd like to thank chairman crenshaw, ranking member serrano and chairman rogers for their efforts, and i also want to send my sincerest best wishes to my friend, chairman crenshaw, and your willingness to work across the aisle, respect for this institution and the appropriations committee will be missed. i know we wish you continued success in whatever work you
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choose to pursue, but you will be missed here. good luck to you. democrats remain eager to support appropriation bills that invests appropriately and are free of poison pill riders. we have seen time and again that bills making irresponsible cuts to critical priorities are loaded with divisive and ideological riders cannot be enacted because democrats will not support them and republicans cannot enact them on their own. unfortunately, the bill before us is an example of this dilemma. it is already loaded with poison pill riders and surely will have more when we complete florida consideration. cut of 6% billion, a om current levels, and 11%
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below the president's request, it's no surprise which agencies would be subject to impractical and inadequate funding levels. this bill would slash i.r.s.'s resources by $237 million, allowing more tax cheats to go undetected and preventing law-abiding americans from receiving assistance. . similarly, funding the s.e.c. at $226 million below the request would thwart its ability to protect investors. this is particularly egregious because the s.e.c. is fee-funded , and meeting the commission's needed would not cost taxpayers a dime. i offered an amendment at full committee markup tt

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