tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 15, 2016 2:00am-4:01am EDT
most support a longer-term appointment for the under secretary of health and we are not in favor of the board of directors. congress must continue to be the rongest advocate. we agree to establish an expert body to develop recommendations for v.a. care, eligibility, and benefit design. the commission recommends that v.a. revised its regulations to provide health care eligibility for those other than honorable discharge. the commission believes that the adjudication assess in determining characterization of discharges takes far too long and is very strictly interpreted, preventing veterans from getting the care they need sooner rather than later. instead, moa recommends congress direct the v.a. to provide more
information on the current scope of the problem, what is the potential cost, and what the impact would be if this recommendation was implemented. in conclusion, moa appreciates the senate and house committees unwavering leadership and focus on improving health care for our veterans. i would like to just share a quote from one of our veterans in the field. who articulates what our perspective is on v.a. health care. "i will tell you that are v.a. has a very solid reputation and despite what is heard in the national press, i know from personal experience and from experiences i have heard from others who use the v.a. interim, we are very fortunate. the v.a. medical center works well and the staff is committed to its mission. when i walked through the v.a. medical center in durham, i am
struck with two things. the first is how complex it must be to manage such a facility. facescond is when i see of people who have nowhere else to go, the v.a. is there for them. believes this v.a. medical center is the rule rather than .he exception it is our view that we must leverage these best actresses across the system and our veterans and their families deserve no less. i thank you for this opportunity and look forward to your questions. >> thank you. welcome back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to thank you for the opportunity to present our views on the final report. our friende to echo renée on their willingness to involve us in the process.
the vfw believes the commission has made some meaningful suggestions on how to improve the health care that the v.a. provides veterans. tourge congress and the v.a. consider the recommendations we have supported and the ones that we oppose. we strongly support the commission recommendation to improve the v.a. clinical field process. due to the lack of systemwide processes, veterans have experienced vast differences, often delaying the care they have earned and deserve. members have first-hand experience. we believe it must be reformed to ensure veterans receive an appropriate response to their grievances. this includes the ability to
provide evidence to support their appeals, which may businesses do not permit. we also support amending the current health care eligibility recommendations to ensure access to the life-saving care they need and deserve. they also support the commission recommendations to establish high-performance, integrated, community-based networks which leverage the capabilities of the private sector and the public sector to meet the needs of veterans in each community. the vfw is glad to see the commission agrees that v.a. must remain the coordinator of care for veterans and must develop systems and processes to help veterans make informed health care decision. doing so is vital to ensure veterans receive high-quality and coordinated care rather than fragmented care which leads to lower quality and threatens
patient safety. we oppose the proposal to give veterans a list of primary care providers and hope they are able to find one. veterans in need of primary care must be offered the opportunity to discuss their preferences and health care conditions with a nurse navigator who can help them find a provider who fits their preferences and clinical needs. we also oppose the commission recommendation to establish a to determineard when and where veterans receive their health care. the v.a. needs strong leadership, not more bureaucracy. we do agree that an exemplary undersecretary of health should continue to lead the v.a. regardless of political changes in congress and in the white house. theinstead of precluding
president from replacing an undersecretary for health, congress and v.a. must find ways to make the position so attractive to executives with experience running successful health care systems. that is why we were pleased when dr. shelton accepted the nomination. he is not the typical person who has occupied that role. he is the first noncareer v.a. employee to be confirmed as undersecretary for health since dr. ken kaiser, who led the largest and most successful health care transformation in the v.a. history. ensures and v.a. must that the position of undersecretary for health attracts more candidates like ,r. kaiser and dr. shelton noncareer v.a. employees who seek to protect the status quo. the vfw also supports most of the commission recommendation.
we agree that waving budgetary rules and improving the v.a. enhanced use will enable the v.a. to expand access. however, the vfw cannot support a skip process. congress who has failed to remove these properties. the reason congress has failed to act is the same reason it .ould fail to act local pressure from the veterans community. the solution is to develop a better communication plan with the impact of veterans and develop a replacement plan that ensures veterans do not experience a lapse in access to care. veterans fear losing v.a. care. no commission or board will fix that. mr. chairman, thank you for the opportunity to testify. i would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
>> last, but certainly not least. >> thank you very much for allowing us to be here today. material has already been covered. my disinterest colleagues to my a couple of things we considered to be really important. the first has to do with recommendation number 17 and the administration's concurrence with it. we understand their position. it is really up to the congress at the first opportunity to get emergency appropriation so we can move ahead to those people who have been ot h who are other than honorable discharge. most of them as a result of administrative procedures. never had access to counsel or a full record of court-martial.
rather, they would seem to no longer be useful. thatve a long history with because that happened to many people at the end of the vietnam war. , kidss it was going on who were enlisted at 18 and got sent to vietnam at 19 and came home, they were on a three-year enlistment. the military service did not want them when they came home. they did not want to be there. and they copped an attitude because of experience in vietnam. they got in trouble, sign here and you can go home. so they did. that has ruined many of their lives. unfortunately, that pattern is .till going on today from fort carson to bases in texas to write here, where people were being unfairly as othert and labeled
than honorable, simply because there is someone in the officer corps who has taken an active dislike to them. we have been concerned about this since our inception. many of us have been active in discharge upgrade services before. and we continue to be concerned with this thing. it has become more difficult over the years to get discharges upgraded, even with an objective person looking at it agrees absence the discharge should be upgraded and they should have their benefits restored. we have filed several class-action suits against dod and we certainly were assisted by former senator and secretary .f defense chuck hagel's memo
that has opened the door. with the lawsuit present, instead of a success rate of 4%, it has gone up to 45% before the army board. in terms of separation, the secretary of the navy has issued a directive that has helped dramatically in marines who should have their eligibility people. as well as navy what we need is for secretary fanning and the secretary of the air force to do the same thing. is to make needed sure we have the money at it into the budget as these things take hold. who is a group of people are most at risk for suicide, particularly the younger ones. the older ones have already done so.
so it is something that the aa, toe of the final bp thatsure that the final -- would be a huge step. i will stress that the leadership of this committee, on so many issues, we greatly you and your efforts.s' on,last thing i will touch instead of going into detail, is the procurement recommendation. if the 8-0 supreme court decision handed out at the end everybody in this room knows how rare it is to have an 8-0 supreme court decision.
they were absolutely clear about what must be done. the question is whether the v.a. does it. instead of concentrating on rearranging the structure, we need to look at what they are doing and how they are doing, including the excessive alliance on the delegated authority or the federal supply schedule. i will close it there. once again, idp appreciate, on behalf of all of us, the sound leadership from this committee. thank you. >> thank you very much. we appreciate your input and your time. added at the end of your testimony, you said, what do we do? addressing the appeals process and appeals reform in terms of the veterans administration. i will answer that question for you.
my good friend senator blumenthal has introduced a version of his veterans appeal bill. chairman miller of the house introduced one. we passed a demonstration project in the committee of the proposal by senator sullivan. administration have been working for about three on and appeals reform bill. the question is, what do we do? we have got to get everyone who has an interest in getting this done getting their heads together. let's get it done. that is how it is going to get done. i'm going to make a suggestion. the 445,000 pending appeals that we have right now backlogged, we should not do anything to reform the appeals process in the future until we tell these people how in the world we will give them an answer.
i am serious as a heart attack about that. one of the things we need to do, we need to make sure we are reforming it so it does not happen again. we do not need them being in a black hole. dog hope -- i do not have a in this fight. my desire is to fix it. i'm not squaring a bill around and saying it is my way or the highway. i would be glad to work with the ranking member, mr. secretary, dennis mcdonald, all of your organizations. chairman miller in the house. let's find a way to find the 80% we agree on and make a deal rather than always worrying about 20%. when we do it, we have to make sure -- that the people who have already been left behind in the appeals process get an answer to the question they ask, which is the same one you do. i think that is the answer to
your question. thank you. did i correctly hear you say that you were opposed to recommendations 1, 9, and 17? thee are opposed to external primary care provider in recommendation 100 we are opposed to recommendation nine and support recommendation 17. >> i got two out of three right. that is pretty good. what is your organization's position on the veterans first bill? >> we support many of the provisions but strongly oppose the pay for that has been offered for the bill and 30,000 messages from our members to congress have also echoed that. >> i heard that in the testimony, the reference to do not take away any benefits. i would like to make a suggestion to all of you. when we are trying to address the concerns that all of you bring to us to improve the benefits to our veterans and make the v.a. work better, we
have to pay for improvements in the future. that does not mean we want to take money out of richard blumenthal's pocket or out of my pocket as a veteran or anybody. but it may mean, from time to time, just as we have to do with social security and other things , we have to reform eligibility in the future to pay for eligibility in the present. it is very difficult for us to rightorward if, out of field, we get an objection that does not give us fair warning and a chance to explain ourselves, which is what happened on veterans first in that situation. i just want to memorialize for the public, i sit here is the chairman and we are ready anytime, anyplace, anywhere, someone things we are taking away something. we are never going to intentionally do that. we also want to take a holistic approach and want to look at where we are putting the money for the future. is that fair to say? ares long as we
memorializing, i feel that there should be no requirement as to pay for when we are talking about the -- benefits for veterans. that is simply a matter of principle. majority has a somewhat different position, but there is no requirement in law or policy so far as i know that we could not go to the floor and ask for a budget point of order. i think it would pass. i am prepared to support that effort. and i will continue looking for other pay for's, if that is a requirement, outside of veteran programs. i believe that the veterans first bill is a dramatic and historic step forward and any additional funds required to
support it should come from non-veterans programs. you and i have worked together very collegially in formulating this bill and i hope that we can continue to do it so that before it passes, we will find alternatives. and i really do appreciate your leadership, mr. chairman. you and i have spent many hours in seeking to address this dilemma. i know you have done it in good faith. pass inl will hopefully an even better form than what we have right now. >> i appreciate those comments and subscribe to them. my point i'm trying to take is this -- if you see us doing something that you perceive, there might be a benefit challenge to, come to us first.
let's see if we can first of all make sure we understand what change we are making and work together to get it changed. a lot of times, one little cog in the machine can stop everything else from happening because we did not address it and talk about it. i agree with everything you said. charge right now requires us to put a pay for on the floor. ,ince we have the requirement we have to decide we have a battle. >> and meet that requirement .utside the v.a. precisely. i think both of these points needs to be addressed in terms of let's get this deal done and let's get it worked out. let's make sure we do not leave behind a 445,000 that are waiting and let's make sure we have differences on benefits. we talk about it first before we declare war on each other and it
ends up slowing us down. with that said, i am going to go to my distinguished ranking member, senator blumenthal. .> thank you, mr. chairman i want to ask about the board of directors. i apologize. i was not in the room for some of your testimony, but i have read it and i have taken from that testimony that there seemed ,o be very broad reservations perhaps opposition to the idea for veryd of directors understandable and well-merited reasons. you have made the point that it is additional bureaucracy and that, in fact, it diminishes accountability. mr. fontes, you made this point. have i correctly interpreted your views?
>> yes, sir. >> in terms of the other recommendations, it's -- if each could give me what you regard as the most important recommendations that you have words, i -- in other understand you have opposed some. in terms of your finding merit in these recommendations, and i don't want to put you on the spot here, but just to kind of cut through really excellent testimony that you have offered, very complete an excellent, but in terms of what you regard as the most important of the recommendations. >> i will go ahead and take that . , think the modernization
recommendation number seven, of the i.t. system, is so inclusive of everything regarding disparities that exist. it has been well documented with the scheduling system and so many other parts of what today is, modernize health care. without that, there cannot be, within the integrated network, that clears access between the ommunity provider and the v.a. i think that one is probably the largest one that impacts on so many other things. and we trye resolved to tackle that one first and foremost, many of the other issues would be automatically resolved. >> thank you. >> i would like to add that, in terms of -- i think this report is -- it has been clear to us that the report has been
provided in whole. if you start piece mailing it, you are not going to get the results of the recommendations going forward. for the sake of answering a question, i think, from our perspective, nothing can really have without an investment in leadership and the human capital management system. echo thed like to point of some of these recommendations that have been mentioned. i want to say that recommendation number one, although we do not support exactly how it is written, the need to reform the way the v.a. purchases care and how you integrate the private sector into the care model is vitally important. that is what is discussed when the secretary was testifying.
the v.a., the choice program is due to expire. there is an urgent need in reforming how the v.a. reimburses. that is finally important. expands, how the v.a. and develops its capital infrastructure is also vitally important, number six. no matter how many providers you are going to hire, you need somewhere to put them. the way it is done now really needs to be reformed. commentsd echo the the my partner that commission is vitally important to every other recommendation as we look at integrating the network of care that expands beyond the v.a., integrating better human capital management programs, that ties back to i.t. and ensuring that the i.t. infrastructure to handle those
changes and meet the needs of the v.a. is vitally important in the success of transforming the v.a. >> i will conclude by just saying stable leadership. the v.a. needs to find a way, congress needs to find a way, we need to find a way to performers top serve our veterans. stable leadership. leadershipinuity of --a problem, whether student whether through statute or practice, particularly for the undersecretary level on up it is something that is really difficult because when people come in for a relatively short. and i believe political appointees serve on average one year and nine months,
historically, whether it is the democratic or republican administration, that continuity hurts all of the agency's effectiveness. frankly, we cannot afford to have those types of lapses, particularly in the health care delivery system. >> i appreciate your comments. i know this session is not the last we will have on these issues. the recommendations that i believe you have identified are all either on their way or seen as feasible by the v.a. i think we have a lot of consensus here. one of the criticisms made of the commission report am i am not sure who made it. is that it fails to take account
of the actions already underway , reforms already ongoing. i think that your support and the commissions support for the work that is underway indicates that we are all putting our shoulders in the same wheel here . again, i thank you for your leadership. i want to finish by saying thank , for theour support appeals process reforms that i .ntroduced earlier today we can disagree on the details, but there is no question that the present system is broken. vsopresident thinks so, the 's think so, our veterans things so, congress should think so and should act. i very much respect that the
chairman is looking at all the options available -- and i am wedded to any- single solution. i am more than happy to be persuaded that there are better paths to the same goal. i think we should be able to reach a consensus on appeals reform sooner rather than later. because time is not on our side. time is not on the veteran side when there is delay on appeals of these claims. know,o state what you all these claims do not seek handouts -- hand-ups. they seek benefits that were service thath
caused these claims to be made. our nation has to do the job. thank you. >> thank you. they were bragging about you pretty good. >> he is a 24-7 guy working for a veterans. we areof our vso's, going to count on you helping us move forward. we have lots of things that are this close. it is a matter of us making up our mind. we are going to get it done. i appreciate very much you taking the long time that we had to wait. it was great testimony. it is going to end up people -- benefiting people. with that said, this hearing will stand adjourned. [captions copyright national
>> thursday, the heads of the u.s. armed forces testify about the long-term budget deals in the military. the senate armed services committee is considering military edginess under budget caps. watch live at 9:30 eastern on c-span 3. >> coming up on c-span, house republicans speak about a proposed resolution to impeach the irs commissioner. then a memorial service for diedessman mark takai, who in july. later, proposed rule changes for the 115th congress. >> c-span's "washington journal," live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. thursday morning, we are talking with members of congress about key issues before the house national resources committee. guests include the progress --
democratic representative that "-- debbie dingell from michigan, bruce robinson, a republican from arkansas, rob , and raulm utah grijalva. join the discussion. >> hillary clinton is back on the campaign trail thursday after taking a few days off to treat pneumonia. wednesday afternoon, she released additional medical information. she released a doctor's letter describing mild pneumonia. hillary clinton's campaign released a letter ascribing her treatment for mild bacterial and an overall picture of good health. it goes on to say the remainder of her complete physical exam was normal and she is an excellent mental health.
the article mentioned that donald trump just past his health during a taping of the top garage show. by fallujah of hillary clinton campaigning in north carolina thursday at 2:00 p.m. eastern on c-span 3. donald trump was inflamed, michigan today. he stopped at a flint church to thank volunteers the flint pastor chastises trump for politicizing the event. donald trump was chastised by a flint minister. the exchange occurred as trump was trying to do more outreach to african-american voters and attempted to link flint economic decline to hillary clinton. a writer interrupted mr. trump, , "i invited you here to thank us for what we have done,
not to give a political speech." you can read the rest of the story in the detroit news. from politico, leaked e-mails show colin powell unloading on clinton, run so -- rumsfeld, and trump. a rare window into the former secretary of state's unvarnished and scathing thoughts on hillary clinton, donald trump, and political adversaries who served with him in the george w. bush administration. you can read some of those exchanges between secretary morel and condoleezza rice on campaign 2016 can be found by following along on our website. isjoining us on the phone nick gas, deputy editor for breaking news at politico. his work available online at politico.com. you have had a busy day. >> it has been a busy couple of
a few days here at politico. increasingly every single day with this election approaching. some of thek about eight stories you have written so far today. hillary clinton back on the campaign trail tomorrow. she will be in north carolina. in washington dc for a couple of days. a number of events that we will be covering. what can we expect? >> what is most important for hillary clinton is that she gets on the trail tomorrow and shows that she is healthy, that she is able to be transparent about what happened and discuss her plan to improve the lives of americans and defeat donald is thend why don't trump wrong choice. i think that her campaign feels that a return to normal will hopefully improve the sort of swollen that we have seen her sustained in recent polls.
>> the clinton campaign looking ahead to next week, when the former secretary of state will be in new york, working the start of the u.n. general assembly. they announced a number of bilateral meetings, including a session with the egyptian president, the ukrainian president, and getting a quick response from the trump campaign. >> it was announced earlier today that she would be meeting with the president of egypt and the president of ukraine and possibly others. that would be happening next week. all to sort of potentially give the former secretary of state more credibility going forward, showing she is already speaking with these dignitaries and that she is reminding voters that she already has the experience of doing so. on the other hand, it carries the consequence of the trump campaign being able to point out that it is another reminder of
her failed leadership and experience as secretary of state , as they characterized it. she is counting on more people to see that experience aspect about than every detail her legacy as secretary of state. byand the specific example the trump campaign was hillary clinton's recent, calling it a failed reset with russia. i never thought i would say dr.'s and a presidential candidate in the same sentence, but we are talking about his syndicated program today. donald trump was in new york, taking the program that will air tomorrow. what did he tell dr. oz? >> it is unclear exactly what he told dr. oz. people were atew the taping. he talked about his weight and
how he would like to lose some pounds. he is 6'3". 236. other people saying that his weight is 267. would be overweight at 236 and obese at 267. for someone who is 70 years old, might not be the most reliable indicator of health. donald trump also said other things, according to other reports, where he would talk about his main exercises, moving his hands while he is speaking. he did not seem to say that he had the greatest diet. he said he liked eating fast food because he knows what is in it. were reports that donald trump was going to
release detailed information about his health records. clearly, that is not the case, at least based on your reporting. >> that would not be -- it still could be the case that they are going to be putting out some form of health records. it is almost as if expectations became overblown and when it was initially reported he would be show,ing on the dr. oz dr. ahs said he was going to be asking him a series of questions while also saying he was going to ask donald trump. it turned out that donald trump did give him a couple of pieces of paper with his medical information today. if -- exactly everything they have talked about. we will see how it looks on the show tomorrow. the trumpclear that campaign has been saying for days now they are going to be putting out more details and .edical information
it is unclear whether that will satisfy the media. a lot of people want more information from hillary clinton's campaign. hillary clinton's campaign said they will be providing that in recent days. about theask you story about the new york attorney general who was on cbs that hising, denying investigation into the donald j. trump foundation is politically motivated. the trump campaign saying he is a hillary clinton supporter and this is coming before the election. where does that stand? >> it is possible that they already are. political hit job, i think was the word or something to that effect. basically saying that donald trump, this investigation saying that donald trump and the
foundation did not act in good donation to the campaign that we paid the fine for. tit-for-tat political move that the campaigns can fight over. it minimizes the concerns of both campaigns because they are looking at individual apples toons and not apples. they are looking at apples and oranges, essentially. will let you get back to work. thank you very much for your time. >> thank you. >> republican members of congress speak about a resolution to impeach irs commissioner john coffee than. it was part of a special order of speeches at the conclusion of the legislative day.
politico, gop negotiators have reached a deal to postpone the irs impeachment. >> under the announced policy of january 6, 2015, the chair recognizes the derailment from ohio, for 30 minutes. >> i think the speaker. he should no longer hold office. he should no longer be the commissioner of the internal revenue service. i enjoyed by my colleagues to talk about why the should have been -- should happen. internal pregnant -- revenue service targeted our fellow citizens for their political beliefs. .hey did it and they got caught maybe most importantly, thinking commissioner,ent
the targeting continues. you do not have to take my word. can say what the district of columbia stated. decision from the opinion. the irs has admitted to the inspector general, the district , that applications for exemption by some of the plaintiffs have never been processed. they are still targeting conservative groups. i -- they say it again right here. it is absurd to suggest the effect of the irs is unlawful conduct, which delays the processing of plaintiff has beenons, eradicated, when two of the plaintiff applications remain pending. here is the takeaway. they are still doing it. here is the standard. the standard for removing
someone from office. gross negligence, breach of public trust. mr. koskinen has certainly had those things take place under his tenure at the irs. here are the facts. 2014, john koskinen and his chief counsel is on notice. they wait for months before they tell congress and the american people. during that four months, they learn in february, we have missing e-mails. they wait until june before they tell congress and the american people during that four-month timeframe. kate -- tapes are destroyed. most importantly, they are destroyed with orders to preserve all documents and
subpoenas to get those documents are in place. think about that. you have missing e-mails. the backup tapes are destroyed for months before you try to tell congress and those tapes contain potentially 24,000 e-mails. that is why he should no longer that is why it is important that we take this boat sometime and remove him from office. the standard he certainly beats based on that pattern and the court told us that the targeting continues. last thing i will say before turning it over to my colleagues . no private citizen can get away with that same scenario. anyone of us, any one of them. three quarters of a million to represent. get those folks in the fourth district of ohio, anyone of those folks are audited the irs and they discover they are missing documents that are
critical to that audit, they wait for months to tell the irs they are missing those documents. during that time, the backup tapes get destroyed? what is going to happen to them? they are definitely getting fined and they are probably going to jail. somehow, when it happens to john koskinen, it is ok. it is not ok. it is not ok in this country. manyis what plagues so americans today. there are two standards in this country. one for we, the people, and a different one for the politically connected. one for a regular folk and a different one if your name is koskinen or -- clinton. that is not how it is supposed to work in this nation, where we are supposed to be treated equally under the law. with that, i yield to my good friend, the gentleman from louisiana.
>> thank you so much for having this special order tonight. a good friend, congressman jordan, laid out the facts of this case. there are many other detailed facts that we do not have time to get into. just to give you the example of what my constituents are saying to me, they are over-the-top what congressman jordan was talking about. there seem to be two standards in america. there is one standard for the elite. there is one standard for the high up officials in washington. then there is the standard for everyone else. we see this played out all the time. there are some very notable groups and people who support our effort to begin impeachment of john koskinen. i will give you some examples. the national review editorial put to partisan political ends constitutes an
unbearable assault on american democracy and underlines -- undermines the institutions of government itself. , theirl street journal editorial board, "the u.s. attorney has refused to honor contempt charge against ms. lerner for attempting to testify. they have closed the investigation into the irs .argeting without prosecutions abuses of power with conservatives as the targets. it appears that the liberal be agreeing with this. i have had a number of media outlets out there asked me, why would you want to impeach the head of the irs? what is wrong with him? yet you have heard how we learned that he deceived
congress, refused to respond to subpoenas, destroyed or evidence was destroyed in his tenure. either he did it or someone did it under his authority. congress about that as well. it is very clear there has been wrongdoing. while he has come to talk to members, they want to do it off-line and without being sworn in. he has shown no interest in doing it. the new york post editorial board, "if you responded to an irs audit, you would be looking at huge penalties and maybe prison time. george will, congress should impeach the irs commissioner or risk becoming obsolete.
why it is a sign that congress , you see,ally work the american people have given up on congress. congress is the legislative branch which is a coequal branch of government. it should be a check on it -- the executive branch and the judicial branch, for that matter. yet congress has shriveled up and atrophied so much. the american people have given not doingress anything about corruption at high levels of government. and then americans for tax reform. why congress should impeach john koskinen. since then, he has failed to reform the irs with the agency becoming increasingly politicized. under him, the agency destroyed several sources of ms. lerner's e-mails while the unit -- he gave numerous false statements to congress under oath. it is very clear, very notable people, patriots, and people of
statute, people who are well respected in america, agree with the policy that we should move forward. finally, before i yield, there has been bullying on this matter. freedom works, for instance. very clearly, the american people say by as much as a 66% net positive, that john koskinen should lose his job. i think it is very clear. before i yield, i would just say that we are not sure what votes we are going to have tomorrow on the subject. any vote short of impeachment of the irs commissioner would be a and against impeachment against showing mr. koskinen the door and getting someone who will do right by our leadership
in the internal revenue service, a very important agency and one that has been so much abused. americans have been abused through its institutions. i would be happy to yield back. >> i thank the general and for his hard work on this issue and for bringing the motion forward to get this issue in front of congress and recognize the fine german from the state of arizona . >> i think the german from ohio. under the obama administration, the irs has consistently proven that it cannot be trusted to serve the best interest of the american people. unelected bureaucrats like lois lerner and john koskinen have weaponize the agency and used it as a tool to blatantly target americans for having different political beliefs rather than cleaning house and restoring the trust of the american people. john koskinen has continued the pattern of criminal behavior and lawlessness within the irs. on his watch, more than 24,000
e-mails and backup tapes providing criminal evidence were erased. he failed to comply with a congressional subpoena, failed to testify truthfully in front of congress for different times while under oath and is now the ringleader for the cover-up to the targeting of innocent americans by this rogue agency. a founding father specifically empowered the house of representatives with the authority to hold these active branch in check when it violates the trust of the american people . more importantly, when it violates the law. the only way we can change the climate of corruption in washington, d.c., is to make an example of bureaucratic lawlessness. we can start right now by removing john koskinen from his job. just you watch. the house of representatives take action to fire john koskinen. i guarantee that the rest of the obama administration and future administrations will get that message. it is beyond outrageous that not
a single irs employee has been brought to justice for targeting innocent americans. the house has an obligation to pursue all constitutional options on the table to remove john koskinen, including impeachment. cos can and and accountability are within our reach. my colleagues and i will not yield in our efforts to hold the agency accountable until we get it done. with that, i yield back to the gentleman from ohio. mr. frank's is recognized. >> i certainly think the gentleman. commissioner john koskinen took over the irs in the wake of the iris conservative targeting scandal, extensively to reform the agency internally. instead, he continued his predecessor's legacy of stonewalling justice.
after lois lerner, director of , organization unit invoked the fifth amendment, the committee oversight and government reform issued a subpoena for irs documents, eating all of lois lerner's e-mails. chief technology officer also issued a preservation order instructing the employees not to destroy any e-mails, backup tapes, or anything relevant to the investigation. but mr. speaker, despite a congressional subpoena and a do not destroy order, the irs inspector general found the agency had erased 422 backup tapes containing as many as 24,000 e-mails. all the while, commissioner john koskinen knowingly and deliberately kept congress in the dark. commissioner cost can was clearly aware that the e-mails were lost, but he knowingly and
deliver the withheld that information congress and from lost theand still investigation. he testified under oath four times, saying he would turn over all of learners e-mails, making that they of the fact had been lost. he provided false testimony and swore under oath that the information in the bulk of the backup tapes was unrecoverable. the inspector general found that 700 of those e-mails had not recoverableand were . mr. speaker, john koskinen then failed to protect citizens against the same type of discrimination. there were no significant measures that have been implemented under his watch to ensure that civil service -- servants at the irs do not continue in the future to unlawfully targets americans based on the political or
religious views. this entire matter is counter to everything a republican like ours was meant to be. in a constitutional republic like the usa, we are fundamentally predicated on the rule of law. there are very few things that break faith with the american people or that undermine their trust in their government more than witnesses those given the sacred responsibility to enforce tax collection and according to the law, using the federal government power of taxation unlawfully to economically destroyed and deliberately oppress american citizens based on their religious or political views. such a to radical use -- tyrannical use of power by commissioner john koskinen and will loom large in their shameful legacy. it is something that goes to the very heart of this republic. there are so many lying out in arlington national cemetery.
the united states congress has a duty to impeach commissioner john koskinen. the impeachment is a political check that, as alexander hamilton wrote, protects the public against abuse or violation of public trust and commissioner john koskinen, appointed by barack obama, has unequivocally violated public trust. a taxpayer would never get away with treating an irs opponent the way officials have treated this congressional investigation. the congress of the united states owes it to the american , ande, future generations our constitution, to hold the perpetrators of this to radical abuse of power accountable, and to make sure this never happens again. i yield back. >> thank you. i now recognize another hard-working member from the great state of kansas, mr. hill. >> thank you, mr. speaker. it is a pleasure to be here
tonight. tomorrow, this house will have a chance to redeem itself or at least remain relevant for now. hopefully, we will be voting on something of great consequence for change. make no mistake. this is not just a vote to remove one man from office. it is a vote for or against the rule of law itself. maintaining our internal system of checks and balances. it will be a vote for or against accountability for public officials and transparency in our government. for months myself and other house freedom caucus members have been pushing for this accountability. those who might oppose this measure most likely believe they are doing the right thing by defending the i.r.s.. in fact, they are defending a toxic status kuo in which our
nation's most powerful agency, the i.r.s. can legitimately be used to thwart one's political enemies. it gains power in one branch of government and uses the resources in that branch of government to depress the power of all other branches of our government. this is something we would expect to see in an emergent democracy, not the greatest republic in the history of man. let's take a look at how this came about. during president obama's re-election campaign the i.r.s. prolonged applications for nonprofit status from hundreds of conservative organizations and in some cases as we heard this evening, indefinitely. many were never able to recover from this denial. others were effectively neutralized for the duration to have 2012 election. this of course is a matter of fact and not of opinion. eventually the practice was exposed and mrs. learner was
removed from her position although i might note she retained her full retirement pension from tax payers. john koskinen was reported as commissioner. he would act in the best from of all of us and not abuse its power ever again but after lerner refused to even the before congress, the i.r.s. casually mentioned some of her emails had gone missing despite the subpoenas to preserve them. again, casually mentioned. the i.r.s. had erased 422 backup takes containing as many as 24,000 emails. if every email was 1 pain, that would be eight feet worth of erased emails. when the commissioner told congress under oath that many emails had been accidentally destroyed, he was lying.
when the commissioner told congress under oath that his agency would provide investigators with all of the remainingemails he was lying. when he told congress under oath that the i.r.s. would comply with any request and assist our investigation into the practice of unfairly targeting organizations fir their first amendment beliefs, he was lying. when he and his boss, the president of the united states told the american people, turned kay cred trust of all public officials, he would reform the i.r.s.. he was not telling the truth. the commissioner blatantly lied under oath on multiple occasions because he thought he could get away with it like so many other administration officials. he believed he was above the law and beyond reproach. tomorrow we have a chance to
prove mr. koskinen's audacious a sumpings wrongs. lied under oath. some have called this effort petty, even some who believe more officials more deservi of removal, perhaps they are right. we have someone whose violations of the law cannot be disputed and i would hope in light of the indisputeable evidence could move beyond the division and encourage my fellow members to vote for accountability, vote for the rule of law and vote for a government that is checking of its own power. i thank you, leadership, congressman from ohio, and a true friend. this is a very serious issue and not a political issue, but an issue of principal and rule of
law and i yield back. mr. jordan: i now recognize the gentleman from arizona, a third gentleman from arizona, mr. chweikert. mr. schweikert: thank you, congressman jordan. and mr. speaker, i actually wanted to touch on something that is a little bit different. look, we have all seen the documents and heard the documents this evening on the bad acts. now i want to walk you through why we must do this. and i understand for a lot of our brothers and sisters in this body, this is uncomfortable. this is something that hasn't been done in a very long time. let me walk through sort of a line of logic, because you can't be a member of congress and go home and do town halls and talk to reporters and say i'm going
to defend the constitution and defend our article 1 authority and then not stand up and defend it. so let's do a linear line of logic here. if tomorrow, one of you became a c.e.o., 15 years ago, this body passed sarbanes oxley that said if you are in the leadership and someone commits bad acts in your organization, you accept the responsibility because you accepted that position of leadership. these are the things that we require from the real world outside this body. anyone here ever been a real estate broker, had a securities license, if bad acts happen underneath your license, what happens? you lost your license. you were removed from that position. but somehow these rules, this
concept of responsibility that this very body has put out on he rest of this country, the rest of the private sector, is ot willing or is uncomfortable in demanding the very same status of responsibility, the very same status of ethics that we require from a real estate broker, to corporate executives, but we aren't going to require it from the head of one of the most powerful democracies in this nation? and this is to all my brothers and sisters in the body, i accept it is uncomfortable doing something you have not done before. that does not mean it isn't the right thing to do. you've heard the argument made. the facts are crisp and clear.
now it's time to make that decision, are you willing to defend the article 1 position that this body holds in the constitution? are you willing to defend the constitution? are you willing to let our representation to the american people continue to be trampled on by this administration? mr. jordan, thank you for let ming me have a the mic. mr. jordan: i recognize the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. perry. mr. perry: thank you for the leadership. ladies and gentlemen, mr. speaker, what we are talking about, heard all the facts and i don't want to belabor them, protective orders and subpoenas and a preservation from his own agency, the commissioner disregarded that and did what he wanted to do in contravention to
what any of us would do. two standards of justice. lois lerner for or hillary clinton. one for them and one for all the rest of us, one for all the people out there in the real world. my business, when we got a letter from the i.r.s., provide something from four years ago, we would go to the accountant and said we submitted this stuff. well, you have to save your records for seven years. when you see something from the i.r.s., your heart stops. lois' heart t -- stopped? you go to the judge without talking to the police and say, we don't need to involve the police. that's what happened here folks. two standards of justice. one for all of us working people
out there and one for the connected. mr. speaker, ladies and gentlemen, the facts are very clear. it is our duty, our requirement under the constitution to provide justice. and mr. koskinen will have his day, his day in court. his due justice. he will have his day but the people who have been agriefed by this agency will have their justice and it has been denied. i call for the actions we are talking about. and i yield back. mr. jordan: right on target. i recognize the gentleman from ohio, mr. davidson. mr. davidson: thank you for the opportunity to address this body , mr. jordan, mr. chairman. it's an honor to be here tonight but a sad time to be talking
about on this topic. as the newest guy here i'm thinking about a lot of things. those who are thinking about this at home, this i.r.s. scandal has been going on since 2010, the first evidence of targeting. six years, a lot of people say why are you guys looking into this. why has it taken so long to look into it? congress has looked into it since 2013 and been here for a long time. and what we see here is a frustration with the system that in our own body is having a hard time working. we would like to see this go through the judiciary committee and go through a different standard process, but that process has continued to stall, delay and not happen. and i think we owe it to people that september us here to do what we said we would do which
is to support and defend this constitution. if we can have people come and give inaccurate testimony. if we can have subpoenas ignored. if we can have evidence destroyed, then as george will wrote, we are at risk of being completely irrelevant. and this is the dilemma. this isn't js the i.r.s. that has done this, but this is the email scandal from the state department. and i remember the shock of the cnn anchor saying the blackberries are destroyed. these things are going on. i serve on the science committee where orders to report data breaches have occurred over and over. and inaccurate testimony is given. subpoenas are being ignored by attorneys germ for evidence involving cases they are taking
that are intended to stifle scientific research. when congress is acting, the word is on the street. you can ignore these requests and don't have to respond to subpoenas. you can destroy evidence and always give inaccurate testimony. nothing is going to happen. it's time we do take action and consider a course that keeps our i.r.s. commissioner accountable and sets an example that when congress takes action, it should e taken seriously. mr. jordan spks the gentleman's time has -- mr. jordan: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? the gentleman is recognized. >> mr. speaker, we're facing an extremely important decision right now to if and -- examine and way the decisions of an
individual and determine whether or not we're going to hold that individual accountable. mr. hice: when john koskinen entered the public arena, he became accountable to the public. that's what we're now facing. here's an individual, mr. speaker, who routinely showed disrespect and contempt for this institution, who lied before our committees, who did not give us the evidence we needed to fulfill the investigations we destroyed and evidence on a massive scale. we must hold him accountable for this. here's an institution, the i.r.s., that has the power to destroy lives and to ruin businesses and we know for a fact that even just a couple of weeks ago, the u.s. court of appeals for the d.c. circuit determined that the i.r.s. has been targeting conservatives and conservative organizations on multiple fronts and they cannot confirm that that has ceased at all and so i just -- we cannot
let him get out of this with just a whimper. it's time for this house to do its job and hold him accountable. i thank the gentleman from ohio for holding this special order and i hope my colleagues will join in the impeachment proceed offings john koskinen. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expyred. does the gentleman from ohio have a motion? mr. jordan: i move that the house do now adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn. >> mike debonis covers congress for "the washington post." here to talk about the irs commission ir impeachment resolution set for floor debate. who and what are behind this effort, mike debonis? >> sure, the resolution that is coming up was filed by two house republicans. john fleming and
tim hughescamp, members of the freedom house caucus. they have been frustrated by the -- not only the allegations against the internal revenue service but by the failure of the -- what they allege, the failure of the current commissioner to comply with congressional subpoenas, provide testimony to congressional committees and otherwise restore trust in the agency. and they have also been frustrated by the fact that the chairman of the relevant committees, particularly judiciary committee chairman bob goodlatt hasn't moved forward with a formal impeachment proceeding. they've filed this privileged resolution that short circuits that process and brings it directly to the floor. >> one of your current articles on "washington post".com has the headline impeachment showdown begins as house conservatives take aim at irs commissioner. is it possible this is a showdown not only with the administration but with house republican leadership?. >> that's absolutely the case. don't think this is a fight that speaker ryan or other members of the house republican leadership
are particularly relishing at his point. i think that certainly there are conservatives who are very upset with the irs and not only the way that they handled their scrutiny of conservative political groups but also the way that they handled congressional inquiries into it. but i think that there is somewhat widespread -- i would say skepticism over whether impeachment is the right remedy to what's gone on. no one has been particularly vocal about saying that this is a bad idea, but you have heard speaker ryan, the majority leader kevin mccarthy both say theywanted this process to regular order, which is code word for saying the relevant committee should take action rather than short-sircircuiting that process and taking it to the floor.
>> they're getting together for a special meeting. what do you expect to happen? >> a classic house republican family conversation as they like to put it. they get together behind closed doors and mr. fleming and mr. hugheskamp are going to be able to make their case for doing this. and i would expect that, you know, we would hear from probably chairman goodlatte, probably from other folks, speaker ryan is expected to be in the room. and they are going to sort of make their cases to -- in terms of what is the best way forward on this. and we'll see later in the day how exactly that shakes out. >> the irs commissioner john koskinen has made a couple of visits to capitol hill meeting with members. what has he been saying in his defense? >> he has actually gone and spoken to some of his most pointed critics.
he went into the republican study committee meeting. and basically his message has been this. even if you think i've done terrible things and deserve to lose my job, you should follow the usual impeachment process, and you should not be engaging in the short-circuiting of the process. you should, you know, the judiciary committee should have full-on impeachment hearings. i should be given an opportunity to formally present a defense. i should be granted due process, and then it should be up to the judiciary committee to vote articles of impeachment and send them to the floor and if the house sees fit, send those to the senate for a trial. that's not the process we're in right now. >> is the only option here an impeachment for john koskinen? are there other methods of discipline that congress can ete out? >> yes. there has been some discussion
of a censure. in fact, the oversight and government reform committee passed a censure resolution through the committee earlier this week. t has not gone to the floor. that is an option if that's what leadership feels that the conference is coalescing behind. but there are other options as well. i mean, to discuss the vote we're going to have tomorrow, you know, there are a number of ways that could be, you know, disposed of short of voting it down or voting it up. you know, it could be perhaps even likely will be a motion to send it back to the judiciary committee. in other words, say, hey, we are going to follow the regular rocess here. and the committee determines that impeachment is warranted, we'll continue. there could also be a motion to table, which would basically kill this effort ntirely.
>> this impeachment issue, another ingredient in that bubbling issue of issues to get done before september 30th, what can you tell us in terms of an update on where we are on some sort of government funding measure to take us past september 30th. >> not a lot seems to have changed ut wardly in the last 24 hours or so. harry reid, the democratic leader in the senate told reporters there were still multiple issues to be resolved. ne of the, shall we say, the hairiest issues is whether funds in the zika package are going to go to an affiliate of planned parenthood in puerto rico. apparently there is no resolution there, but if past is prologue, a quick resolution if, at least in the senate, if these negotiators find some common ground. the senate tomorrow is going to clear the water resources development bill, and leader mcconnell has made every indication he wants to go quickly to the cr, the funding
package after that. >> thanks for the update. >> thank you. >> the house will not vote to impeach koskinen on friday after they reesmed a deal to postpone he vote. they will hold a meeting next wednesday. the house is back in at 9:30 a.m. live eastern on c-span. >> c-span, created by america's cable television companies and brought to you as a public service by your cable or atellite provider.
>> first-term congressman mark takai of hawaii died on july 20 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. he was 49. colleagues, friends and family members took part in a memorial service to honor his life at the u.s. capitol. speakers included minority leader nancy pelosi, speaker paul ryan, vice president biden and congressman tokai's wife. this is 40 minutes.
>> please remain standing for the invocation. >> it is a delight to have them as a part of our church. our family, a great delight and privilege to have called mark my friend and brother. it is an honor to lead us all in prior as -- prayer as we give thanks to mark as we pray. romans eight: 38, i'm convinced that neither death nor life, angels nor rulers, and present nor things to come, power, depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of god. in christ jesus, our lord. almighty and everlasting father, we give you thanks for the chance together today and
gratitude for the life of your servant and for the difference you made to your world. we thank you for his warm and inspiration, his friendship and example, we ask that you would fill each of us with that same light of christ that we will bring your transformation to each of our communities. most merciful god whose wisdom is beyond our understanding, so surround sammy, matthew, kayla and all of his family with your love that they may not be overwhelmed by the loss but have confidence in your goodness and strength to meet in days to come. make the hope of heaven be the most beautiful reality to them and to us all this day. lord of all, we praise you and to adjust with infinite mercy and justice. and love everything you have made. in your mercy, through the darkness of death, it has become
the dawn of new life and the sorrow of parking into the joy of heaven. these things we ask in the name of the father, the son, and the holy spirit, amen. please be seated. >> to sammy, tokai, speaker ryan, leader pelosi, colleagues in congress, i'm honored to join you to remember a man who committed his life to serving others and who embodied the spirit. he was one of the best colleagues i've ever known. through his time in the legislature and his service in the national guard, he was a father and husband and member of
congress, he was truly a happy warrior. he never complained. he understood what an honor it was to serve the people of hawaii. because of his joyful determination, his humility and skill, he became an effective legislator for hawaii in his short time in congress. he is a person who advocated for the department of defense, for service members, veterans and the environment. he did it all with passion and without any trace of the toxicity that has become all too common in washington. beyond his public service, he as a loving husband and father and he raises two amazing children. i know that they continue to grieve but i hope they are comforted by their faith in god and the knowledge that mark was one of hawaii's great statesman. he was well loved, respected and that he is missed.
mark was a soldier in every sense of the word. full of dignity, honor, respect and determination. his life was cut short but it was a life well lived. we love you, mark. aloha. >> good afternoon and aloha. mark's spirit is with us. to sammy, matthew, kayla, eric, naomi, gary and the entire toke i ohana.
which is all of us. it is a privilege to be with you today and recall what a wonderful person mark was. i worked and newmark for over 20 years -- knew mark for over 20 years. when we both served in congress, i consider him to be one of my closest allies and i refer to him as my younger brother. i have many memories of ark. when that i would like to share with you occurred last year when the two of us went to selma, alabama along with dozens of our colleagues from both the house and senate to commemorate the 50th anniversary of bloody sunday, that historic march led by reverend dr. martin luther king jr.. and that march, in 1965, some of you may still remember the pictures that appeared in the new york times the following day. it showed dr. king wearing a white carnation lay. -- lei. he had become friends with
reference abraham akaka who was the brother of our calling. they had become friends. reverend akaka sent the lay to the marchers to stand in -- lei to the marchers to stand in solidarity and peace with the marchers. here we were, last year, mark decides that we should commemorate that and to carry ut that tradition of aloha and love that a simplified to march in 1965. he wanted to make sure that very single comic from the . use and senate had fresh lei colleague from the house and senate had fresh lay. over 100 were ordered in the world to be flown into alabama. they were not there. we had absolutely no idea where they were in transit from the west coast to where we were. i look at mark and said, you are
the national guard guy, you know logistics. i'm sure you can take care of his. for next day or so, he tried to figure out where these were. sure enough, he got it done and if they arrived just in ime. we have pictures of him opening up the boxes. one very special lei was presented to john lewis who was one of the original marchers. ohn got a carnation lei which leiery similar to the white dr. king wore 50 years ago. as we marched across the bridge holding hands with our first american president, barack obama, it was a moment. mark did everything with a lot
of joy, determination and aloha. i know how much mark admired dr. martin luther king. i want to close with a quote from dr. king. it is from a speech he gave the 1967. let us begin. let's rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful struggle for a new world. this is a calling of the sons of god. our brothers wait eagerly for our response. shall we say the odds are two great? -- too great? shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? will our message be that the forces of american life against our arrival? we send our deepest regrets. will there be another message of
longing, hope, solidarity with their yearnings of commitment to the cause, whatever the cost? the choice is ours. then we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history. we are at a crucial moment. we know that mark would have wanted us to do the right thing. >> aloha. thank you all for gathering here today. your presence is truly a testament to mark's life, his character and heart. during my first appointment to
iraq, there was a big sign at one of the main gates from our camp that most of the convoy and patrol went out of that read in big letters, is today the day? a reminder every day that our time could come at any moment. a reminder that none of us really knows how much time we have. mark lived his life in this. -- shirt making the most of all of his 49 years and dedicating his life in the service of others. as a father and a son, a husband, brother, colleague, soldier and friend, mark's life was truly driven by his love for the people of hawaii and our country, positively impacting countless lives along the way. i had the good fortune of knowing mark for over a decade. he was there when i was sworn in
as a state representative in hawaii. we served together. he was the chair and i was the vice chair. mark was standing by my side and i enlisted in the hawaii ational guard. we were deployed together. we served here in congress together. just over a year ago, he was there to celebrate with my family and friends at my wedding. it has been to these last several weeks that a reflection that mark has been there for and milestonerker in my life. what is incredible is i can't tell you how mystical i have spoken to who have said the exact same thing about marx presence in their own lives. -- mark presence and their lives. i've had many conversations with people both here and what -- in washington sharing their own testimony about how their lies -- lives are positively impacted. i've heard from many of my fellow national guard soldiers who served under mark's command.
i've heard about a deep respect or his leadership, what he taught them, how he mentored them, how seriously he took his job as a leader of soldiers taking care of them. our lives, our community, our state and our country are absolutely better off with mark's service. we will forever miss you, your laugh face, your ready of aloha, his impact ill forever live on. mahalo.
aloha to all of you. mahalo for sharing mark with us. we are gathered here today in the old house chamber where incoln served beneath the same clock lincoln heard ticking. bennie the gates of the muse of history in the presence of the vice president of the united states. for almost two centuries, cleo and her clock reminded the men and women that our time is short and that history is atching. mark tokai service to the congress defined what it means to meet the challenge. facing bravely to the judgment of history, earning a worthy place in the honorable heritage of our democracy and using his time well. as a family has said, mark lived his dream.
in his service to america and hawaii, congressman tokai embodied our nation's highest ideals. in his fight against cancer, he showed the courage and strength that defined the wonderful person he was. all of us are heartbroken by the death of our colleague and friend, mark takai. his passing is a tragedy and i speak for all of our colleagues when i say that. everyone who had the privilege of knowing mark knew how devoted he was to his family, his wife, his children. i know we are deeply grateful to the family for sharing him with our country for so many years. in the military, the state legislature of hawaii and in the united states congress. especially knowing that that service often took him to the
other side of the world from heir home in hawaii. i had the privilege of bringing mark on a congressional delegation to asia. i wish you all could have seen the dignity and diplomacy with which he engaged in discussion on our national security, economic interest and human rights. that special grace, we think his parents, naomi and eric. in burma, cambodia, korea, japan, he upheld our values and beautifully was received, especially in japan. we think the ambassador for oining us today. bringing the leis to the 50th anniversary of selma, you heard
the center tell the store. he is brand-new in congress and only a few weeks really sworn in and he had the idea that others must have thought, why did i not think of that. bringing leis -- i guess the lei to selma is or diplomacy to asia, strength to the congress or joy to us all, mark was recognized as a unique and true leader. that is why, mr. vice president, we are all very grateful to you for embracing mark in life. we will never forget that. and for honoring us with your resence today. i hope it is a comfort to mark's family that so many people mourn your loss and are praying for you at the same time. we will all be family for as long as the future holds. mahalo for sharing him with us. aloha for the future. thank you.
>> aloha. when i think of mark tokai, the first thing that comes to mind is a lighter moment. just a few months after i became speaker, he made sure to give me an aloha shirt. [laughter] he was determined to convince me to allow it to be acceptable dress code on the house floor. [laughter] he really made a heck of a pitch, i can tell you. nd far moment, i indulged the thought, because if we would let him have the aloha shirt on the floor than the wisconsinites could have their cheese heads. [laughter] i think that symbolizes his distinct qualities. a zest for life. pride in his heritage. and his persuasive gift. he was a dear colleague. he was someone i got to know
next to me on an exercise bike every thursday morning. not everyone receive such an outpouring of when they ass. that was the kind of man or tokai was. you can feel his absence now -- precisely because he was such a presence in so many lives. i wish there was a way we could capture his spirit and save it for the future. anyway, there is, all these great memories he left us. he said he was proud to serve the people of hawaii. well, all of us were very proud to have known him, to have served with him, and you have alled him our friend and our colleague. we will be praying for him, for you sammy, for your children, nd for your extended family. i also thank god for bringing him into our lives for such a hort but sweet time. mahalo, mark. aloha.
ice president biden: when fate defies fear, when honor scorns compromise with death, this is heroism. he could have been talking about your husband, your dad, your son. apologize for being late. the leader of burma was in the oval office and i had to be there. but i want to say that i didn't know mark well. ut i knew him. i didn't have to know him a long time, sammy, but i knew him.
it is obvious by the way everybody spoke before i met him that he was a beloved son, loyal and decent father and husband, a congressman who had an enormous, normous amount of potential, and a lieutenant colonel in the hawaii national guard. everything about him was not unlike his political idol and ine as well. the guy who looked over me when i got here as a 29-year-old kid was a guy named ai. y ino
danny befriended my boys when i got here. my wife and daughter were killed right after i was elected in an accident. and danny -- i would bring them to work a lot. they were only 4 and 5 years old. and danny would come over and he would just take them. he would take them back to his office. danny had the same demonstrable courage on the battlefield and the moral courage in the political arena that your son had. that your dad had, that your husband had. i spoke to the caucus, the democratic caucus in baltimore, he retreat we had. and mark had just been diagnosed not unlike my son. with a diagnosis that was, he
knew and you knew essentially as a death sentence. and the caucus paid tribute to him. and i acknowledged him. nd went up and hugged him. you know what he said to me? he said, i'm so sorry, mr. vice president. i'm so sorry about beau. i'm so sorry about your son. he had just come from hopkins. he was not unaware what his rospects were. he said, i don't want my kids to have to worry about me. i don't want anybody to feel orry for me.
well, his dignity was alpable. paul, nancy and i, we have been around here a long time. you've seen many, many congressmen come and go. ood women and men. certain people, when they arrive, they just have this hing about them. there is just a presence. it not just optimistic or utgoing. but he carried himself with dignity. nancy has heard me say before, and especially my mother, who nancy knew. joey, look at me.
when she wanted to make a point, she would say "look at me." just remember, you are defined by your courage and you're redeemed by your loyalty. the women and men who served under mark, colleagues he served with, and my guess is everyone he knew knew this is a man of ourage who valued loyalty. nd i say to kids, there's nothing easy about this, to state the obvious. i know you will appreciate this memorial service, but i know it's hard. when we stand up and we talk about mark, it brings back the moment. it takes courage for you to be here. but i say to the kids, matthew and kaila, the rest of your life, your dad is with you.
i promise you. every important decision you make in your life, you are going to ask yourself what would he do? what would he want me to do? nd just by answering the question, you are going to be replicating who he was. as long as you guys are around, your dad is going to be with you. grandparents and your mom. i mean that sincerely. that is not hyperbole. that is not an exaggeration. you are bone of his bone, blood of his blood. and the only thing i have observed is deep in your broken hearts, the way to get through it is just hang onto each other. hold each other tight.
because you know that's what he would want you to do. you know what he wants you to do. and the best way to honor his memory, in my humble opinion, is to do what he wants you to o. i'm told there is an old hawaiian proverb that says the ide recedes but leaves behind seashells on the sand for every joy the passes something beautiful remains. e remains. he remains with this incredible amily. and a country full of hope and possibilities. because women and men like mark who believe so deeply and gave so much.
ammy, i know there's nothing that can ease that broken heart right now, but i promise you the day will come when mark's memory brings a smile to your lip a four brings a tear to your eye. my prayer for you and your family is that they come sooner rather than later. but i promise you. i promise you it will come. just hang onto each other. god love you all. and may god protect our roops.
>> in life, we often make plans for ourselves. but as often happens, we find ourselves on a different journey than what we had planned. our journey will never be the same, but our lives have all been made better having known mark. he was a wonderful husband, father, son, and brother. we will miss his smile, his laugh, his calls from d.c. to say hello even though it was only 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. here, just so that he could talk to us before the kids went to sleep. he was always on the go and said sleep was overrated.
he worked hard and he truly loved representing the people of hawaii. mark loved being a congressman and tried to spread aloha spirit, not only through his attire, but through his actions as well. and in this spirit, i would like to take the opportunity to express our warmest aloha to you. our hawaii delegation has always been a part of our aloha. thank you for your love and support. you have all made such wonderful tributes to mark and have stood by his side for many, many years. we love you all. vice president biden, it is such an honor to have you here today. i know earlier this year, mark himself was able to express to
you how he felt and the admiration for the work you're doing. so thank you so much. to speaker ryan and leader pelosi, thank you for the opportunity to remember mark here in d.c. leader pelosi, you've been one of mark's biggest supporters from the very beginning and we thank you for all you have done, especially for our children. i would also like to make a special thank you to tammy duckworth for opening up her home to us when the entire family came to visit, as well as mike honda for his home and his car, which we borrowed to drive to church. and also a special thank you to our dear friend michael peric for all you've done, for all the support you gave mark from the very start, and especially for what you've done for our children.