tv U.S. House of Representatives Morning Hour CSPAN September 22, 2016 10:00am-12:01pm EDT
i have to leave it at that because the house is about to come in for its morning session. of course, we will bring you up to the house for live coverage here on c-span. the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the chair lays before the house a communication from the speaker. the clerk: the speaker's rooms, washington, d.c. september 22, 2016. i hereby appoint the honorable daniel webster to act as speaker pro tempore on this day. signed, paul d. ryan, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the order of the house of january 5, 2016, the chair now recognizes members
from a list submitted by the majority and minority leader leaders for morning hour debate. the chair will alternate recognition between the parties with each party limited to one hour and each member other than the majority and minority leaders and minority whip limited to five minutes, but in no event shall debate continue beyond 11:50 a.m. the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois, mr. quigley. for five minutes. mr. quigley: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i rise today and ask you to consider where we were before the affordable care act. premiums were rising three times faster than wages and eating up much more americans' hard-earned paychecks. millions more families were drowning in medical debt. americans had to pay for critical preventive services like flu shots, yearly checkups, and birth control, and many young 20-somethings
went without insurance. your suffering child could be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. the so-called doughnut hole or gap in medicare part d coverage was forcing many seniors to choose between buying food or ving life -- buying life saving prescription pills. women were charged more than men for coverage simply for being women. and insurance companies could set annual or lifetime dollar caps on benefits sticking the american families with the remainder of the bill. thankfully in the six years since the a.c.a. was enacted, 20 million americans have insurance for the first time in their lives. the uninsured rate is the lowest it has been in american history. currently at 8.6%. the a.c.a. has helped 105 million americans, including 39.5 million women and nearly 28 million children by preventing health care plans from capping benefits.
we have also seen that the marketplace is working better in states where elected officials collaborated to implement the a.c.a. rather than trying to undermine it. in states that chose to expand medicaid, insurance rates are an estimated 7% lower. in contrast, governors and legislatures in 19 states have blocked medicaid expansion even as millions of their lowest income residents go without insurance coverage. unfortunately, over the past few years it has been popular around here to say that a.c.a. is a failure. that it is socialized medicine and that it has driven down the quality of american health care. that we need to repeal and replace it because obamacare isn't working. this mindset is all wrong because i'm happy to report that a.c.a. is working. however, faster progress has been prevented due to obstruction and politics. since being signed into law in
2010, my colleagues across the aisle have voted to repeal all or parts of the a.c.a. over 60 times. this has prevented funding needed for implementation and necessary fixes to the law. it is time once and for all for congress to accept the a.c.a. as the law of the land and begin working to improve the law not to repeal it. i understand there are challenges as the law continues to take deeper roots throughout the health care industry, as they prepared for a.c.a., some insurance companies set prices too low and they are now adjusting them in response, but i want to remind everyone that the insurance marketplace was dynamic before the a.c.a. and will continue to be dynamic. a.c.a. calls for a more innovative approach to health care and many insurance companies have adapted so they can focus on coordinated care and care management for example. when insurance companies were still able to discriminate based on pre-existing
conditions, they excluded or undervalued, spencive patients. the same people who had the most health care needs. now that actual data is available, the market is undergoing a natural correction to bring prices in line with costs. and it is important to note that shopping on the marketplace has proven to help all consumers find the best price for coverage. according to the department of health and human services, almost half of returning health care.com consumers switched plans and saved an average of $42 per month. i understand that challenges with the a.c.a. remain. that is why h.h.s. is taking steps to address these problems. and congress has a duty to look for policy solutions that improve everyone's access to the best care available and to make that care affordable. there are real ways that congress can provide stability to the health care marketplace. and i urge my colleagues to bring some of these solutions to the floor. i was proud to vote for the
a.c.a., and when the majority is ready to get serious, i will be proud to vote for commence improvements and reforms to the law. the american public has spoken and they will not return to the days before health care reform. it is time for congress to listen to the american people. thank you, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from michigan, mr. upton, for five minutes. mr. upton: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i rise today to acknowledge the fact that september is suicide prevention month. suicide prevention awareness month. this gives all of us a chance to come together to promote awareness about the issue of suicide prevention and how we can all help others talk about suicide. for many families in communities across the contry, loved ones of -- country, loved ones are gone far too soon because of suicide. suicidal thoughts and actions certainly know no bounds.
they affect people of all ages, race, section, religions. the statistics are startling. -- ide has become the 24ird third leading cause of death among young people and the 10th leading cause of death here in the u.s. each year more than 40,000 americans die by suicide. more than 100 per day on average. a week and a half ago i was in kalamazoo for the suicide prevention walk. a beautiful young woman by the name of kate stood before a crowd of more 100 and read a stirring poem which i will insert into the record that she had written about being bullied and as a result how she harbored thoughts about suicide. hearing her deeply personal story certainly broke everyone's heart. it really did. as the father of two young kids, two young adults, my thoughts quickly turned to them and their school experience,
bullying is a very serious problem in our schools and can lead to depression, psychlogical issues, and of course suicide. when she finished, i followed up with her and told her that she's not alone. anyone carg suicide or having suicidal thoughts should know the same. they are not alone. and there is always help and options available. in our communities we got to do more to stop bullying the minute it rears its ugly head. we should do more to reach out to those vulnerable to suicide all thoughts and tendencies, particularly young people, as they grapple with the pressures of growing up, we should also do more to treat mental health issues that can lead to suicide. here in the house we recently were able to pass a very strong bipartisan piece of legislation sponsored by dr. tim murphy, a member of the energy and commerce committee, to do just
that. we voted to give a much needed upgrade to our mental health system and deliver real reforms that are going to make a difference for folks suffering from mental health illnesses. in july, it was advanced through our committee 53-0. and then on the house floor by a 422-2 vote. this landmark vote marks the most significant reform to our nation's mental health programs in decades. and i was proud to shepherd this important piece of legislation and now work with the senate to get it done. suicide prevention is deeply personal to me. i don't talk about it often, but my uncle, my daughter's all ge roommate, my sons committed suicide. left an impression on our life. suicide is not an issue that
can linger in the shadows. we got to confront it. and the underlying issues behind it together. at this point, mr. speaker, i would like to insert kate's message of hope, inspiration in the congressional record and it could be found on our website upton.house.govw that, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. mcgovern, for five minutes. mr. mcgovern: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. mcgovern: mr. speaker, i recently had the opportunity to visit and volunteer at the philadelphia region's largest unger relief center. it's a member of the feeding america network food banks aims to drive hunger out of local communities with an eye toward eradicating hunger all together. each week fill abundance serves 90,000 people in the
philadelphia area through partnerships with agencies and food distribution programs. incredibly last year alone they distributed almost 30 million pounds of food to neighbors suffering from hunger and food insecurity in nine counties. i was impressed by the innovative strategies they employ to feed hungry people in its region. the community kitchen equips those looking to re-enter the work force with valuable life and kitchen skills while providing meals to those in need. it also opened the nation's first nonprofit grocery store called fair and square in chester, which is a city that faced a serious economic down turn due to the loss of manufacturing jobs. fair and scare provides affordable and healthy food to the community as well as discounts to those who qualify. food banks across our country like fill abundance and places like the food bank of western massachusetts and others, in my
congressional district, do incredible work to reduce hunger in surrounding communities. they employ innovative strategies to fight hunger and increase access to nutritious food for our most vulnerable neighbors. but the truth of the matter is, we know that food banks and other charitable organizations can't do it alone. some in congress have proposed cuts and other restrictions to our federal anti-hunger nutrition programs. and we often hear from them that charities not government should be responsible for eradicating hunger. mr. speaker, i agree that food banks and food pantries and other organizations are incredible on the ground partners in our effort to end hunger. they are often the first line of defense in emergency situations. but charities cannot do everything. that's just a fact. charities do face limitations. many are small and only open on limited schedules. most are run with the support of dedicated volunteers. some of whom have other
full-time jobs. often these charities operate out of small places like basements or closets at houses of worship. importantly they rely on donations from members of the community as a primary source of food to distribute. our charities are doing an incredible job on the frontlines, but ending hunger will take a strong partnership between these organizations and federal, state, and local governments. for our part the federal government must continue to invest in our pre-eminent food and nutrition programs like snap, wick, and the emergency food assistance program known name a few. t fap is especially important to our food banks as they rely on this sunneding to serve those in need. we know that strong federal investments in these critical safety net programs reduce hunger, improve the diets of low-income households, and save billions of dollars in health care costs. so the next time any of my
colleagues tries to score political points by demonizing our federal anti-hunger programs, i ask you to think about these programs and the impact they are having on constituents in each of our districts. i urge you to visit your local food banks and charities and see all the incredible work that they are doing to reduce hunger in our communities. ask these organizations how the federal anti-poverty programs support their efforts to bring food to those most in need. and i urge all my colleagues to remember this fact. today in the united states of america the richest country in the history of the world, over 42 million of our fellow citizens are hungry. they are kids, they are senior citizens, they are people who can't find work, and they are many, many people who are in fact working. they defy stereotypes. but all of them are our brothers and sisters. and we should care and we should absolutely do more than we're doing right now to end hunger in america. the federal government working with charities and local
partners has within our grasp the power to end hunger now, what we lack is the political l let's at long last create the political will and guarantee that in our country no one ever has to struggle with food insecurity or hunger. we can end hunger now. i yield back the balance of my time. . the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from nebraska, mr. smith, for five minute. dr. smith: thank you, mr. speaker. today i rise in memory of former congressman bill barrett. he passed away earlier this week in his hometown of lexington, nebraska. mr. barrett devoted his life to service. from his speakership in the state legislature to the years he spent in congress, he was known for being true to his word and bringing people together. serving nebraskans was his top priority. and his dedication to the third district and our state set a lasting example for me and all who have sought to fill his shoes.
mr. barrett was an influential leader and a champion of agriculture. the third district is now the top producing agriculture district in the country and owe much of that to mr. barrett's tireless work. his former staff have recounted how he would always ask, does this help the third district? he was a true statesman who sought to serve others rather than himself. he sought and worked so hard representing the 60-plus counties of the third district for the 10 years that he served. i extends my condolences to mr. barrett's wife and tremendous teammate, elsie, and their family. i'd like to request a moment of silence. the speaker pro tempore: a moment of silence has been requested. all stand. thank you very much. dr. smith: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentlelady from california, ms. speier,
or five minutes. without objection. ms. speier: mr. speaker, this is a sage grouse. i found out that the sage grouse have poor eye sight. so they often collide with barbed wire fences and other obstructions that are difficult to see. and these collisions are often fatal. but the sage grouse looks like a keen-eyed hawk compared to congress. that's because the sage grouse recently collided with the national defense authorization act and the near-sighted bird won. hopefully this time it won't be fatal. we're supposed to vote to send the ndaa to the president this week. but a disagreement between the house and the senate republicans about the sage grouse got, gg all over the deal. that's -- got egg all over the
deal. that's right. a bill that authorizes over $600 billion in spending on war time operations, weapons acquisition, service member benefits and many other provisions critical to the defense of our country, was taken down by a bird. but unlike the plane that landed in the hudson river, congress doesn't seem to have a captain scully to rescue it from bird-induced mayhem. don't get me wrong. the ndaa has many problems. it redirects billions in critical funding toward programs the defense department does not want, it side steps the bipartisan budget act compromise by requiring supplemental funding just to keep the pentagon running, it contains a myriad of poison pill riders from allowing contractors to engage in discrimination against the lgbtq employees, to releasing tens of thousands of handguns into our communities with no background checks. all these reasons are why i voted against the bill in
committee and on the house floor. nonetheless, the conference report is a compromise between the senate and the house on complex issues ranging from funding operations against isis to military health care reform. compromise on everything but this pesky bird. house republicans stubbornly refuse to remove language that would prohibit the -- prohibit the sage grouse from being placed on the endangered species list. despite the fact that no one is trying to list it. placing an animal on the endangered species list is a scientific decision, not within the per view of congress -- purview of congress, and the administration has promised not to list the bird. anyway, thanks to a compromise conservation plan. so, the provision that is holding up the entire bill, not only blatantly, prior -- blatantly prioritizes politics over national security policy, it's legally meaningless. i think speaker ryan put it best earlier this month when he
said that playing politics over the ndaa is, quote, shameless and it threatens more than five dengeds of bipartisan cooperation -- decades of bipartisan cooperation to enact a national defense bill for our troops. the men and women who defend our country deserve better, unquote. well, mr. speaker, then your party is chicken for prioritizing talking points over national security. the sage grouse is such an important issue to house republicans that it makes you wonder what they will do next to contain the serious -- this serious national security threat. perhaps we'll soon hear calls to build a wall on the canadian border to prevent sage grouse from sending their chicks across the border, even though some, i assume, are good hatchlings. we may hear about a plan from keeping sainlgrouse from entering the country altogether until we find out what's going on. maybe the republicans will ban sage grouse mating dances as breeding ground for, well, if not terrorism, then at least more sage grouse. seriously, colleagues, is this really what our constituents
are most concerned about? it's time to focus on passing a bill that provides accountability on defense spending to taxpayers. and is in line with the bipartisan budget act. our inability to overcome this pointless provision is just further evidence that this congress is for, or in this case against, the birds. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentlelady from florida, ms. ros-lehtinen, for five minutes. mr. ross: mr. speaker, -- ms. ros-lehtinen: mr. speaker, this week world leaders are gathering in new york for the united nations general assembly and throughout this whole process, we are remimeded yet again of just how broken the u.n. system really is. nowhere is this more evident than at the u.n. human rights council. what a misnoemer. this body that is supposed to promote and defend human rights worldwide has become a tool used by human rights abusers
and the office that provides support to the council, the office of the high commissioner r human rights, ohchr, is no better, as it is overrun with an anti-israel bias and an ty israel agenda. we see this -- and an anti-israel agenda. we see this play out each time the council meets for its bash israel day, yippee. a day dedicated to permanent agenda item seven, the only agenda item of the council devoted to a single country. israel. this year marks the 10th anniversary of the council and in those 10 years, mr. speaker, they have there have been over -- there have been over 70 resolutions condemning israel and about 65 resolutions for all of the other countries combined. 70 on israel, 65 for every other country. countries like china, russia,
vietnam, saudi arabia, venezuela and cuba use the council as a way to detract attention from their abuses and play upon the natural anti-israel bias at the council and the ohchr. so tomorrow when the council meets to discuss agenda item seven, it will be another bash israel day that the administration failed to prevent, it will be another example of how this administration's influence fails to protect our friend and ally, the democratic jewish state of israel. instead of continuing to legitimatize the sham of a body, congress must withhold all contributions and participation at the council and to the ohchr and call for the disillusion of the council. and the administration must press the high commissioner to denounce agenda item seven and work against the inherent
anti-israel bias of the council and the office of the high commissioner of human rights. earlier this year, aidian professor michael link was -- canadian professor michael link was appointed for the palestinian territories. despite his obvious bias and conflicts of interest, which we now know he lied about in his paperwork, this election was so egregious that canada's foreign minister from professor link's home country urged the u.n. to reconsider his appointment. the administration should echo those calls, but instead it has been silent. the administration should also lead an opposition to the upcoming re-election next week of jean seeingler as an advisor to the council -- jean ziegler as an advisor to the council. ziegler is an avout defender of dictators and apologists for islamic extremist groups and had no business being elected
the first time around, let alone being re-elected. the obama administration had an opportunity to block his candidacy, while serving as the coordinator for the western european and others group. this year at the council. but failed to do so. and now it looks as if ziegler's re-election is a done deal, thanks to the administration's failure to act. the administration, mr. speaker, continues to argue that only by being engaged and only by being full members of the u.n. can it advance our interests and protect israel. yet next month unesco is set to adopt a resolution that seeks to whitewash the jewish and christian religious and historical ties to jerusalem. and while we might not be voting members of the full unesco body, this administration is an active member of unesco's executive committee, where this resolution was first approved. where was our influence then?
we can't even prevent a resolution that wipes away jewish and christian ties to jerusalem, despite these being historical facts. it is very apparent that either the administration has no influence at the u.n., or the administration has no desire to upset the entrenched and damaged status quo. that is why it is up to congress, mr. speaker, to force the change at the u.n. and i urge all of my colleagues to take a long, hard look at the human rights council as a representation of all that is wrong and bad with the u.n. and to make reforming the u.n. a priority going forward. it will be up to us. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentlelady from ohio, ms. kaptur, for five minutes. ms. kaptur: i rise to engage in a colloquy with my very able colleague from florida, congressman dennis ross.
and perhaps as we begin, we can welcome into our midst the very able ambassador from hungary to he united states, ms. reika. i'd like to yield the gentleman such time as he may consume. mr. ross: thank you, my good friend from ohio, ms. kaptur, for yielding. i do wish to say hello to our good friend from hungary. and i'm grateful, quite frankly, to have this opportunity, mr. speaker, as i ride today to recognize the -- rise today to recognize the 60th anniversary of the hung earn revolution and freedom fight -- hungarian revolution and freedom fight. 60 years ago hungary stood tall and said, enough is enough. hungarian schoolchildren and college students took up arms against the government and its soviet policies. on october 23, 1956, approximately 20,000 protesters convened next to the statue of the general, a national hero of hungary. despite orders to disband,
protesters tore down a bronze statue of stalin. the following morning power was consolidated, a new multiparty government was formed. the revolution spread like wildfire throughout the countryside. on november 1, the prime minister announced hungary's withdrawal from the warsaw pact . the ussr sent troops across the hungarian border. unfortunately, thousands of hungarian civilians were killed. the months that followed, the revolution, more than 20,000 hungarians were imprisoned, 229 were executed and many were flee. to many hungarians, named 56ers, because of the year this happened, sought new lives in the united states with the flee many help of hungarian americans, many of whom live in my good friend, ms. kaptur's', district. my only parents were married in the hungarian catholic church, also located in ms. kaptur's district.
i'm honored to sponsor this resolution with my good friend from ohio in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the 1956 hungarian revolution. i'd like to thank my hungarian american caucus co-chair, ms. kaptur, andy harris and david joyce with that i yield back to my good friend from ohio and thank you. ms. kaptur: i thank the gentleman for organizing this event this morning. and wish to also say that the 1956 hungarian revolution was a break point his to -- break point, historical event, that marked a turning point in the cold war. it took great courage by those who participated during that unforgettable period as freedom fighters in budapest and across the country stood tall in opposition to the communist-installed hungarian's people's false government and its soviet imposed oppression. you can see the bullet holes and the tank markings in some of the old, old buildings in
that country and we know over 2,500 hungarians died, 20,000 were imprisoned and over 200,000 more fled as refugees. congressman ross referenced certain individuals in my own region, some of those refugees came to ohio, including men like reverend martin hernadi who ministered his sbare life in ohio -- his entire life in ohio, serving the hungarian die passas pra -- diaspora. in october and november, 1956, the country at the heart of the european continent underwent three weeks of political turmoil that shook the region and exposed the ideological fissures behind the iron curtain. in the movie "torn from the flag," i recommend to all of our colleagues it gives people -- colleagues, it gives people living today a sense what have happened during that fateful period. during the 60th anniversary of the 1956 revolution and its freedom fight, we commemorate tens of thousands of hungarians
who took to the streets to protest the heavyhanded invasion by the soviet union, they're heroism is legendary -- their heroism is legendary and it made a difference in world history. they showed a united front and one that called upon their government to promote democratic ideals and unification. this moment was encapsulated by a reporter from the news agency who said we're going to die for hungary and for europe. in the years since the 1956 revolution, hungary has made progress toward democratic reforms and since become a member of the european union and nato. and its award of nobel prizes in every single scientific and cultural field is a testimony to the talent and the abilities of the people of that country. so like you, congressman ross, as co-chair of the hungarian caucus, i remain dedicated to continuing channels of cooperation to further these
efforts and to ensure the principles of the 1956 revolution are fully realized. i think the partnership for peace initiative between our respective militaries is a foundation stone to build our continuing relationship forward and support the revolution recognizing this important moment in world history in the 20th crentry. i say long live liberty and long live hungary. i thank the gentleman. all the members of our hungarian caucus. again thank the ambassador from hungary for being here with us today and all of our colleagues for listening. we yield back our remaining ime. search the chair recognizes the gentleman from tennessee, mr. fleischmann, for five minutes. i fleischmann: mr. speaker, rise today to remember the life and work of father patrick ryan. father ryan, pastor of saints
in and paul parish chattanooga from 1872 to 1878 was a shepherd who gave his life in ministering to his flock. in chattanooga from he died a martyr's death in the yellow fever epidemic of 1878 when he was only 33 years old. perhaps his most notable accomplishment in the chattanooga community was the opening of notre dame academy under the direction of the dominican sisters, which is the oldest private school in the city. the school had been in operation for little more than two years when it had to be onverted into a hospital and orphannage because of the yellow fever scourge in the city. although many people left the city as the disease spread, father ryan and jonathan w. backman, pastor of the first
presbyterian church were among the 1,800 people remaining in the city. they were good friends and when father ryan was stricken, he was visited by dr. backman. father ryan was described by an eyewitness as going from house to house in the worst infected section of the city to find what he could do for the sick and needy. he continued ministering to his flock after he, himself, had contracted the dreaded disease to within 48 hours of his death. in 1901, when the chattanooga council of the knights of columbus was organized, it was named the father patrick ryan council in honor of the priest who, by his high ideals, devotion to duty, his spirit of sacrifice for his congregation and the city, seemed to exemplify the aims and purposes
of the new order. several letters have been written in support of the cause of beautification and cannonization of father patrick ryan. including the know torial act of bishop of knoxville, most reverend richard sticta. the letter naming reverend j. vid carters as episcopal delegate. d a letter naming deacon rigortano as a postulator for the cause. i believe it is most appropriate to honor a man who sacrificed himself to provide comfort to the people of chattanooga who were afflicted with the yellow fever so long ago. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentlelady from california, ms. lee, for five minutes. ms. lee: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to speak about a
crises in our communities and our country. i have watched in horror day after day as people of color are shot by the police officers sworn to protect them. we all know that the vast majority of law enforcement officers are committed to serving their communities and many do incredible work despite dangerous and sometimes life threatening conditions. i commend all those speaking out and working against the injustices of some. tragically as we have witnessed in dallas and baton rouge, innocent police officers have been the victims of violence as well. however these tragedies do not change the underlying reality that our criminal justice system is broken. since michael brown was shot in ferguson two years ago, 2,195 people have been killed by police in our nation. as the mother of two black men and grandmother of five black grandchildren, i worry that someone i love could become number 2,196.
each time we lose a precious life to fear, distress, prejudice, the list of things that will get you killed as a black person in america gets a little longer. today i want to spend a little time going through that list. you can get killed for going to buy a bag of skittles like trayvon martin. or you can get killed for riding on new year's day, for instance in the subway in the bay area, like oscar grant. this is a subway card. or maybe you can get killed for selling cigarettes like eric gardner. or you can get killed for selling these like alton sterling, this is a c.d. you can also be killed for reaching for your wallet like mr. castillo. it doesn't matter if your child, if your black boy, you can be killed by playing with a
toy gun. that's a toy gun. that's what happened to at that mere rice. he was 12. that's what happened to tyree king last week. he was 13. or you can be killed for a missing front license plate like samuel debow. and heaven help if you're driving a car, you can be killed for not signaling a lane change like sandra blum. or for having a broken brake light, like walter scott. or for breaking down on a highway, liketarians. -- like terrence. should niff this warrant a death sentence? is the america you want to live in? in 2016 when you're black too often you are seen as a threat first, person second. when my boys were young hi tough conversation was them how toint act with police. i talked to them black boys don't get the benefit of the
doubt. i told them to some it doesn't matter who you are it matters what you look like. i shouldn't have had to have these conversations with them. this is america. parents shouldn't have to live in fear that one day they will have the same call that michael brown's mother got, that sandra bland's mother got, that oscar grant's mother got. we need action here on the floor of congress and in communities across our country. enough is enough. we cannot stay silent while these murders continue unchecked. we must act now. that's why today members of the congressional black caucus will march to the department of justice to demand action because black lives do matter. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from west virginia, mr. jenkins, for five minutes. mr. jenkins: thank you, mr. speaker. opioid and drug addiction are wreaking havoc in communities and states across the nation. hospitals and first responders
are stretched to their limit. families and friends are trying to get their loved ones the help they so desperately need. the disease of addiction has become all too common in our states, our neighborhoods. but it is still hidden behind a stigma, a fear of asking for help. that is why we're marking this week as prescription drug and opioid epidemic awareness week. to spread the word and encourage those struggling with addiction to get the help that they need. my district in west virginia has some of the highest drug overdose rates in the nation, but i want to highlight how our cities and counties are fighting back. on august 15, my hometown of huntington faced a true crisis as call after call came in of people who had overdosed on heroin. it has become far too common in
huntington for responders to go out on a few calls a day for people who have overdosed. but this august day was unlike any other. within a few hours, 28 people overdosed likely from just a batch of heroin. 28 people in five hours in a city of less than 50,000 people . our first responders, e.m.t.'s, and police carry an opioid reversing drug and rushed to their aid. time and time again they brought people back from the brink of death. without the tireless work of the first responders and our health care workers, huntington would have lost many more lives. possibly the most victimized of all the victims of the drug crisis is a newborn baby having to suffer through withdrawal
after birth from exposure during pregnancy. along with a group of passionate health care professionals and community leaders, a facility called lily's place was opened. for more than a year now, over 100 newborn babies have received the care they need to get through the effects of withdrawal. another story of a community coming together to combat the drug crisis is from mercer county. mercer county fellowship home focuses on treating men suffering from substance abuse. working to make them productive members of our society again. a current resident said that thanks to the help he received there, he now has the confidence to stay employed and to further his education. the director of mercer county fellowship, jim mcclan han said it best when he told me open
yachts are ruining and taking lives. but we're giving people the opportunities so that no one person or family has to continue living life scared and feeling as if they don't count or matter. centers like the mercer county fellowship home offer these -- those addicted to drugs and opioids a chance to change their lives and their communities. these are just three examples of how our cities and towns are making a difference. sometimes it's our first responders saving lives of those who have overdosed. giving them an opportunity to get the help they need. or a caring group of health care professionals and community leaders developing a new model of care so drug exposed babies have the best chance for a healthy start in life. other times the help comes in
the form of a welcoming group of people who are committed to recovery. we can stop the opioid epidemic and heal our cities, towns, and states. in these tough times we must come together and find solutions. here in the house we have shown what we can do working together. we passed cara with an overwhelming bipartisan support. there is hope in west virginia and there is hope in the united states. there is help available for those in need. together we can make a difference. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york, mr. hanna, for five minutes. mr. speaker, i rise today to congratulate the young men of the maine end well
little league team on their outstanding victory at the little league world series championship game. with an ending score of 2-1, the maine endwell little league team triumphed over south korea to become the first american team to win the overall title since 2011. the first new york team to win the title since 1964. . the game was played in williamsport, pennsylvania, with a reported 23,000 people in attendance. it was a perfect ending to maine endwell's undefeated season of 24-0. mr. speaker, it is with great pride that i recognize the maine endwell team today, the 2016 little league world champions. on behalf of the united states congress and the 22nd congress allege district of new york -- congressional district of new york, i congratulate each of you for a job well done. billy, members, jude,
jay don, james, ryan, jack, michael, jordan, brody, connor and justin, congratulations to each of you and all of you. the coaches, scott rush, joe hopko and joe mancini, congratulations again from a grateful community and a grateful country. mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from tennessee, mr. cohen, for five minutes. mr. cohen: thank you. mr. speaker, this is an historic week in the united states as we dedicate and open the african-american museum. it starts with the story of african-americans being brought to this country as slaves from africa. not citizens, but property. and considered such until they were freed, some through the emancipation proclamation in
, others through an amendment to the constitution. even after that, they weren't really considered full citizens, as it was jim crow segregation, and that continued for over 100 years. today we see african-americans are still threatened. i woke up tuesday morning to the shocking video of mr. crutcher being shot while his , nds were up and on a car following apparent instructions from police, and was shot to death. it's one of the most shocking videos i've seen. there is no way to defend what happened. at best, it was gross negligence. at worst, it was murder. this has been happening too often in the united states. i support police.
my first job out of law school was an attorney for the police department. and i worked 3 1/2 years for the police. i understand their sponsor and i support them -- their importance and i support them. but police who are not well trained are doing a disservice to their profession and to the united states. this morning, former congressman joe scar bro, a republican member of this house, said two things are necessary, in light of the shootings, and particularly the crutcher shooting in tulsa, oklahoma. one is body cameras and cameras on all police vehicles so we can see as we did in oklahoma exactly what occurred. and secondly is independent prosecutors. prosecutors from outside the from outside the jurisdiction to see to it that justice is served. there is a bill in this congress that lacy clay and myself and every member of the black caucus and
nearly 90 members of this house are co-sponsors of. and that's a bill that would require police training towards racial sensitivity and understanding of different cultures and independent prosecutors for states to determine how they would set it up, but a requirement for states to have independent prosecutors and law enforcement -- in law enforcement killings of american citizens. this is necessary for people to believe and to know that justice is indeed blind and justice is being meeted out. there is no way to look at tulsa, but to see it was either inadequate training or there was racial profiling and ensensitivity that ended in the death of mr. crutcher. it's so sad, as we open the african-american museum, to see that african-americans are still not being treated the same as others in our nation. it's not a mere coincidence that every shooting by a police
has an ideoed african-american victim and nobody can say that mr. crutcher was resisting arrest or possibly had a gun or brandished a pistol. none of those things occurred. he was following instructions. i ask my republican colleagues, none of whom are sponsors of my bill, to consider coming on to the bill. the bill's important for justice in america. it's important for people to know there's justice. and in this week, as we look to the african-american museum opening, and the recognition of rights that people have and the understanding they're human beings and part of america who built america, literally built america as slaves and biment this building, that we need to go -- built this building, that we need to go forward and see to it that justice is color blind and justice is mmbing eted out -- is meted out. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. ribble, for five minutes.
mr. ribble: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to talk about embarrassment. next week the congress of the united states will once again have to refer on and go back to funding our federal government for the ad hoc continuing resolution. federal law requires that the congress of the united states to pass a budget each year, requires the congress of the united states to pass 12 appropriations bills each year. by september 30. which is coming up next week. i came to congress in 2011, mr. speaker. since then, we have passed zero regular order appropriations out of the 72 required by law. zero. and yet we've been able to find some way to pass 20 short-term continuing resolutions appropriations bills that have no reforms to spending, no reforms to policy. and we've passed five
2,000-page omnibus spending bill. somehow we were able to do those things, but we weren't able to pass 12 simple appropriations bills to proper manage the taxpayers' money. i've heard it said that the americans are disappointed with congress. in fact, i'm a little surprised that we have an 1% approval rating right now. maybe we've got a lot of family members or some folks back home aren't paying attention to what's going on here. we wonder why under the 3.8 trillion the at that -- $3. trillion taxpayer dollars that we have received here in the congress of the united states each year are not being managed correctly by the only body that can actually manage it. why in the world aren't they fixing this problem and passing their spending bills in regular order in front of the american people where they can see it and do it instead of these ad oc spending bills? mr. speaker, each year that
i've been in congress, i've authored a bill that would change our broken system and begin to fix this system that doesn't work. i would propose to you that zero out of 72 is not a very good batting record. it's called the biannual budgeting and enhancement oversight act. today it has 237 co-sponsors, the majority of this house. when i introduced the bill last year, i introduced it with 108 original co-sponsors that signed on with me when we introduced it. that represents, by the way, mr. speaker, 50% of the whole house of representatives. it represents 63% of the elected republican leadership in this house. it represents 29% of the minority party, 50 democrats have joined with republicans and said, we need to fix this broken system. 72% of the majority party support this reform. 68% of committee chairmen
support this reform. 67% of subcommittee chairmen support this reform. 65% of the republican steering committee, the leadership of this house of representatives, support this reform. the budget committee, 56% support the reform am it was also referred -- reform. it was also referred to the rules committee. yet, there's been no vote on this in the house. 237 co-sponsors, represent 168 million american people. whose voices have been squashed and been silent -- silenced by our lack of inaction. mr. speaker, i started by saying i want to talk about embarrassment. i am embarrassed for the congress of the united states. i'm proud of the effort that's been done here and i'm proud of the people and members of congress that have stood up to finally fix this broken system,
enough's enough. i'm proud of senator enzi over -- and senator inwho have over in the senate trying to advance the same types of reforms there. but i'm embarrassed for the congress of the united states. i'm embarrassed for our leadership. i'm embarrassed because we haven't been able to do what's right, even though the majority of us agree that this is better than what we have. this is a step forward. i want to tell you, mr. speaker, what i'm more than embarrassed about. i'm disappointed. because the only people in the country that can fix this is the congress of the united states. 1974 when the budget act was put in place, the congress of the united states has failed to pass its budget and its appropriations bills required y law every single year for 42 years. they've not been able to do it on time, even once. some people would argue that this isn't the best fix, may not be the perfect fix.
but i will tell you right now, mr. speaker, it is better than zero out of 72. for sure. i call on the speaker of the house to bring this bill to the floor and let 168 million americans finally be heard. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida, mr. curbelo, for ive minutes. mr. curbelo: mr. speaker, in the coming weeks the sovereign people of colombia will decide in a historic referendum whether to approve or reject the agreement reached between the colombian government and the terrorist revolutionary armed forces of colombia, commonly known as farc. i have made it a priority to hear from stakeholders on either side of this issue and i remain concerned about the
impact the deal could have on colombia, as well as its broader effects on the region. especially given the drastic increase in coca production in recent years. my concerns are shared by many americans of colombian descent who call florida home and who i am proud to represent in this body. throughout the process, the farc has demanledsed immunity, impunity and political legitimacy. but we cannot ignore the thousands viciously murdered by this terrorist organization. people who were innocent victims and who demand justice that goes beyond specialtry bunals that offer relatively -- tri-- special tribunals that offer relatively minor punishment. farc recruited children to serve its corrupt cause. american citizens were kidnapped and victimized by them. it is hard to believe that the farc was an honest partner in the peace process and allowing them to participate in the political process has been viewed as a generous and
perhaps dangerous concession. the colombian people will be voting on the deal next month after more than half a century of war. this is a decision exclusively for the colombian people to make. however, those of us who cherish the u.s.-colombia relationship, who care deeply for colombia and its future, and who are privileged to represent many in our country's colombian american community must be sincere and with respect express our concerns while at the same time renewing our commitment to the strong partnership between our two nations. mr. speaker, i rise today to discuss one of the most serious issues facing the united states . the staggering federal deficit, which is expected to be 1/3 larger this year. according to the congressional budget office, our federal 590 et deficit will be $
billion. future projections don't appear to be optimistic either, with o.m.b. reports stating that the deficit will rise to $4.-- 4.6% of g.d.p. by 2026. for a comparison, the average deficit as a share of g.d.p. from 1966 to 2015 was 2.%. these figures make it abundantly clear that congress must work toward solutions that will address our nation's deficit and get our fiscal house back in order. every day families in south florida sit around the dinner table and make tough decisions on how they'll spend their money. they stick to their budgets and their government should be no different. last october i was proud to support a two-year bipartisan budget agreement that implemented new caps on discretionary spending for both fiscal years 2016 and 2017. too often enormous sums are wasted due to unpredictable budget cycles and government shutdown threats. with the adoption of this
two-year budget, congress was able to reduce wasteful government spending by providing certainty to agencies as they plan for the future. the budget also contain -- contains real reforms to entitle am programs, which is the largest -- entitlement programs, which is the largest percentage of national debt. it's important we protect programs like social security, medicare and medicaid, the invaluable safety net for those who need the help, while working to implement reforms to make these programs solvent for future generations. mr. speaker, i will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to advance solutions that will reduce our federal deficit. it is our duty as elected officials to leave our children and grandchildren with the same economic opportunities as my generation and that is my main priority in congress. mr. speaker, i rise to recognize the house republicans' better way agenda to reform the way congress does
business by promoting solutions that will benefit americans cross the country. i'm proud to have supported two bills including two education bills expected to pass the house this week. the strengthening career and technical education for the 21st century act which i'm an original co-sponsor provides students with the tools to succeed in a variety of fields by simply filing the process of applying for federal funds. this legislation also increases transparency. ensuring effective programs that allow students, teachers, and parents to attain their goals. this year i had the opportunity to serve on the poverty opportunity and upward mobility task force and suggested that we focus on the most vulnerable in our communities -- at risk youth. i proud the betterway genda included a plan to reduce poverty for children and proud to introduce the bipartisan supporting youth opportunity and preventing delinquency act. this legislation sets kids up for long-term success by giving
state and local leaders the flexibility to better meet the specific needs of at-risk children in their communities. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. murphy, for five minutes. ask rphy: mr. speaker, i unanimous consent to include a letter in the record that i'm going to read some excerpts of. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. murphy: to my colleagues and mr. speaker, this includes a letter that we're sending to majority leader mcconnell and minority leader reid in the snant. we're asking the senate to pass the helping families of mental health crisis act before the district work period break. delays in enacting this into law will contribute to more crime, violence, and homelessness and the daily deaths of 959 americans as a result of mental illness. we know that that's a cret cal shortage of qualified
providers. there's only 9,000 child psychologists. african-americans are half as likely to receive psychiatric care, hispanics with a mental disorder fewer one in 11 see a specialist. 55% of counties in america do not have a practicing psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker. the average time between john set of sim testimonies and psychosis is 80 weeks. there is a nationwide shortage of 100,000 psychiatric beds, which means people are often going to jail or released without team. there is no monitoring or enforcement of a person with eating disorder cannot get coverage fundraise their treatment of the the federal government spends about $130 billion annually by 112 agencies across eight separate departments. the g.a.o. exposed these have no coordination and do not require evidence-based practices. in terms of violence, those with untreated psychosis are 15 times more likely to be violent when not in treatment. with regard to jail, over 50%
of those in jail have a mental illness. mentally ill inmates cost taxpayers three times miles per hour than those without a mental illness. illness with mental re six times more likely to be be the victim of specsual violence. -- sexual violence. serious mental illness is worse for someone's health than chronic heavy smoking and those with serious mental illness tend to die 10 to 20 years prematurely. 350 million americans will die this year as a direct result or indirect result of mental illness. this year over 25050,000 have died. on h.r. 2464, is the most transformational crisis mental health reform bill in 50 years. it passed the house with near unanimous support on july 16, 2016, with a vote of 422-2. reforms the federal government approach to mental health by establishing the critically important leadership position
of assistant secretary for mental health and substance abuse disorders who must be a doctor who will bring accountability, effectiveness, and coordination to the federal government's programs and develop a national strategy to increase the mental health work force. increases the number of psychiatrists, psychologist, cycle trick nurses. -- psychiatric nurses. it provides funding for mental health to increase access to underserved areas. requires oversight and enforcement of parity laws. the helping families in mental health crisis act has been endorsed by more than 40 professional organizations, 77 newspapers, and has 207 bipartisan co-sponsors. we write with a vital request the senate take up and pass this act. fix our nation's mental health system and that must take priority over scheduling any partisan divide. we respectfully ask that the senate advance this bill to provide treatment before tragedy and desperately needed
and fully deserved help. along these lines, mr. speaker, i ask my colleagues also contact my office to co-sign this letter to plead with the senate, to please move this bill quickly. so that we don't have to see more tragedy. so we can provide treatment. so we can relieve americans of this terrible scourge of mental illness without treatment. with quick and lifesaving action. because where there is no help, there is no hope. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. conaway, for five minutes. mr. conaway: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i rise today in support of a simple yet important piece of border security legislation that i hope is a sign into law shortly. this legislation will help secure our borders, save taxpayers dollars, and help the n and women who served our nation honorably continue to
serve and protect america in a much needed technologically advance positions. my legislation makes a simple fix to allow the customs and border patrol nation honorably commissioner t wave the polygraph requirements for soon-to-be veterans seeking employment as u.a.v. pilots within the department of homeland security who come from the department of defense with a current security clearance. the d.o.d. typically invests a significant amount of training and career development resources in these men and women and to lose their talent to a lapse in interdepartmental communication is a detriment to our country. under the current system when soon-to-be veterans are u.a.v. pilots wish to avide for a position at d.h.s., they are placed on a wait list until more money and time is used to determine if these veterans meet d.h.s. security guidelines. despite having already passed similar security background checks before by the department of defense. this creates a near impassable bottleneck where the veterans can be stuck for months or years waiting on redundant procedures. forcing most who drop their application and go elsewhere to find employment. the result of this bureaucratic
inefficiency is that veterans who have valuable skills that can help protect our nation and in whom we have invested millions of dollars in training are lost to other jobs. this leaves d.h.s. border protection positions unfilled and our borders more vulnerable. the country's security, veterans, and taxpayers all lose in this equation. the legislation works to solve key -- three key problems by creating job opportunities for veterans, securing the borders, and saving taxpayer dollars. it's just plain common sense and i urge full consideration and adoption of this measure. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from minnesota, mr. emmer, for five minutes. mr. speaker, i rise today to congratulate who are mel foods' c.e.o. on his upcoming retirement. hormel is a recognized minnesota leader in food
processing. the company started in austin, minnesota, in 1891 and best known for giving us the famous canned ham, spam. jeffrey's career at hormel foods has spanned nearly three decades. from starting out as a corporate attorney in 1989 to eventually becoming c.e.o. in 2005, jeffrey has played a crucial role in hormel's success. jeffrey encouraged the focus on new product innovation and under his leadership hormel has continued to grow and thrive. during his time with the company he has been recognized as one of the word's best c.e.o.'s by barron's a true tribute to his work ethic and excellence. while he is retiring as c.e.o., jeffrey's leadership will go on as he will continue to serve as chairman of the board. congratulations on your retirement, jeffrey. and thank you for alt work you have done for hormel foods so that it remains a leading company in the food industry both in minnesota and our great
contry. -- country. mr. speaker, i rise today to celebrate minnesota's very own inoka ramsay community college which has recently been named one of the top 10 community colleges in the united states. this placement has made the community college a contender for the 2017 aspen prize for community college excellence. it is no surprise to me that the soul minnesota contender to be recognized has been chosen for this prestigious award given their stellar reputation throughout our community. this fine higher learning institution is well-known for affordable tuition, high success rate of students who graduate, as well as high achievement rates for students of every ethnicity and background. a good education can open doors and life. thank you for handing our students the key. good luck in the competition
and congratulations on your success. mr. speaker, i rise today to celebrate joy and matthew molitor from minnesota's sixth district who received an angels in adoption award this year. their adoption story began in 2011. while on a trip to haiti they decided to adopt two young children, wilson and katherine. for the next 3 1/2 years they visited haiti 15 times while patiently waiting to take their children home. in 2015, they received the devastating news that their paperwork was no longer valid and that the haitian government was no longer allowing simple adoptions. this did not stop them. for the next four months joy walked from one government agency to the next despite the unstable political environment in the contry. she was determined not to leave haiti without her chirp. as a result of her resolve, she
eventually obtained visas for her children and they were able to go home to minnesota together. joy and matthew are the perfect xample of the lengths one will go because of a parents' love. i'm proud to recognize them today. thank you joy and matthew and congratulations on your angels in adoption award. mr. speaker, september is childhood cancer awareness month. this is the time to bring awareness to this heartless disease and demands and challenges of the families affected. childhood cancer is an especially important topic in our office. my deputy chief of staff, robert's daughter, was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a cancer that affects the eyes when she was two months old. she has survived her cancer and is a happy, growing little girl. abigail and her parents are fortunate. they like all families dealing with childhood cancer had many a sleepless night.
no parent should ever have to watch a child fight a life threatening disease. unfortunately, that is not the case for many. every year in the united states there will be more than 15,000 children diagnosed with cancer. statistics show that 80% of childhood cancer cases are diagnosed only after the disease has already metastasized and spread. this makes research absolutely necessary. that's why we must spread the word and raise awareness. all children deserve a future and it is vital we do everything in our power to help give them that chance. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: members are reminded to direct their remarks to the chair and not to a perceived viewing audience. the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida, mr. posey, for five minutes. mr. posey: thank you, mr. speaker. it is indeed an honor and pleasure to recognize the lifetime achievements of
richard k. "dick" blake who is retiring after 40 years of service on the rockledge city council. he is the longest serving elected official on florida's east coast and a true servant heart leader. the grandson of freed slaves, he was one of 10 children in rockledge florida. he attended cocoa's african-american monroe high school where he became an all star athlete and model student. after graduating in rockledge f a&m university, he returned to monroe high school to coach basketball and football and also teach biology and math. while coaching during the era of segregated education, he gained statewide notoriety as his basketball teams dominated the interscholastic athletic association. in fact, dick helped pave the way for integration in brevard
county by arranging exhibition basketball games which helped foster race relations by bringing children, families, and communities together under the spirit of sports competition. in so doing he touched the lives of so many talented players and students. in 1966 dick became the first black assistant principal at the high school and later became the principal, serving in that position for 22 years. a staunch believer in the power of education, dick earned a bachelor of science degree from the university, a master of science degree from columbia university, and a master of science degree from florida a&m university. n july, 2011, the city of rock named a park in honor of his accomplishments, as an athlete and sports official, educator and school administrator, elected community servanted a leader in civil rights and
racial equality issues. i served with dick in local government in many volunteer efforts over the years and he's someone i and literally thousands and thousands of others greatly admire. over the course of his life, he's witnessed injustice, but dick has always remained positive. dick's the type of person that if he encountered lemons, he made lemonade. i ask my colleagues to join me in saluting dick blake's' achievements and his service to our -- blake's achievements and his service to our community and our country. may god continue to bless dick blake and the united states of america. thank you, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair likewises the gentleman from georgia, mr. carter, for five minutes. mr. carter: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. speaker, i rise today to recognize october, 2016, as american pharmacist month. during the month of october, we
recognize the pharmacists across america who worked each day to guarantee that americans have access to important and often life-saving medications. as the only pharmacist in congress, i'm proud to recognize the work that pharmacists across america are doing to ensure our nation's health. every day pharmacists council patients on prescription -- counsel patients on prescriptions and over the counter d medications, helping to relieve parents' pain and provide vaccines for a number of illnesses. further, pharmacists are considered one of the top three most trusted professionals in america. during this month, as well as throughout the year, i encourage everyone to visit your pharmacist, ask questions about your prescriptions, receive advice, about preventive -- advice about preventive care and simply get to know the person who provides your medicine and helps to keep you healthy. to my fellow pharmacists, thank you for what you do. please know your work is appreciated. and you are an important part of keeping our nation healthy. it is an honor to be your voice
in the united states congress. mr. speaker, i yield back. mr. speaker, i rise today to recognize the remarkable jack davis, a beloved and brilliant cartoonist from st. simon's island. mr. davis' passion for cartoons began at the age of 12 when he read his first cartoon magazine. as his talent in drawing cartoons flourished, he created astonishing artwork for the university of georgia. depicting action-packed football scenes in a very unique style. nationally he may be best known for his work with "mad" magazine and the star character , alfred e. newman. executives at the magazine say there wasn't anything that jack couldn't do. in addition, mr. davis designed for other companies, including dreamwork, espn, paramount pictures, indianapolis speedway, and the varsity drive inn in atlanta. it is an honor to recognize mr. jack davis and i could not speak more highly of his talent.
missed by the be first district of georgia, the bulldog nation, and everyone who knew of him in his ar -- and his ar tick -- artistic gift. mr. speaker, missed by the first i rise today to congratulate the university of georgia, as well as its impressive students, faculty and staff. on september 12, u.s. news and world report ranked it the 18th best university in america. this is clearly not an easy feat. it continues to work tirelessly to provide the best education for its undergraduate students and it's hard work is being noticed. one example of their commitment to its students involves its emphasis on experience-based learning. it is the nation's largest public university to include this type of learning in its overall curriculum. from internships and study abroad options to research projects, the opportunities at this great university are endless. they have also struggled its faculty -- faculty and course
options by adding faculty members and expanding course selection by 300 classes in high-can he manned subject. congratulations to the university on these accomplishments and go dogs. mr. speaker, i rise today to congratulate mr. matt kuchar of st. simon's island, georgia. mr. kuchar competed in the 2016 rio olympics and won a bronze medal in the men's individual golf competition. he completed his fantastic olympic week at 13 under par with a final round of 63, describing it as the round of his life. this great week does not come simply by chance for mr. kuchar. he's worked tirelessly over the past years to improve his game and has consistently been near the lead in many important tournaments. in 1997, he began his stellar career as an all-american at georgia tech. then in 2000 he turned to the professional ranks. in his 16 years as a pro, he
has had 12 professional wins, including important tournaments such as the 2012 players championship, the 2013 memorial tournament, and the 2014 r.b.c. heritage. mr. kuchar's smile and personality is an inspiration to all golfers. notoriously one of the nicest players on the professional circuit. it's an honor to recognize him today. mr. kuchar, you've made georgia's first congressional district very, very notoriously nicest proud. mr. speaker, i yield. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from arkansas, mr. hill, for ive minutes. mr. hill: mr. speaker, i rise today to recognize the important collaboration that's taking place in central arkansas. the venture center in downtown little rock has been working with the publicly traded financial services company,
fidelity information systems, r f.i.s., to launch the v.c. fintech accelerator, a program that will bring innovators and entrepreneurs from across the world to little rock. where they will have formation tufpbletes for their early stage organization -- opportunities for their early stage organization and they'll work through a curriculum designed to engender createtivity, development and potential. through this program, we were able to invest in the future of our state. and ensure that our economy and our business environment in central arkansas will continue to thrive and expand. recently i had the opportunity to visit the venture center with my colleague from missouri, representative wagner. and was impressed with the success of the center's accelerator program. it's providing a 12-week rigorous program to assist finance ien in -- fintech startups. 10 companies were chosen to participate in this first
accelerator program. and it will relaunch in 2017. this fintech sand box is producing transformational opportunities for both f.i.s., the innovative entrepreneurs in little rock, and for future consumers of these is service -- of these services. while this exciting program has only been active for a short time, it is already proving that it has the ability to assist in our efforts to grow the technology economy across our region. little rock's storied history in the evolution of frment i. -- f.i.s. makes it a perfect site for this accelerator. and i greatly appreciate the choice of little rock as the location to implement this source of future economic growth. i'm grateful for the foresighted leadership at f.i.s., our chamber of commerce leadership team and all those involved in making this program a success for central arkansas. yield back.
the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from louisiana, mr. graves, for ive minutes. mr. graves: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, on august 20 of this year, it was a saturday, i was in denham springs, louisiana. i was gutting a home, ripping out sheet rock, tearing up floors, throwing out furniture, throwing out photo albums, appliances and family heir looms -- heirlooms. mr. speaker, i did it in a home and literally stripped out every foot of sheet rock in the house, from the floor to the ceiling, ripped out all the floors, everything in the house gutted down to the studs. this was a house where a woman who recently retired in june or july of this year, recently retired, was living. she'd been living there since the early 1970's.
never has she had even a single foot of water in her house, a single inch of water in her house. yet on the floods that we had in south louisiana, around august 11, this home received over six feet of water in it. the entire home, everything. outside the house we stacked up piles of debris from six to eight feet high. i call it debris, but in reality, it was memories. it was that woman's life. it was piled up in the street, everything that she owned was thrown out. mr. speaker, we had a storm that was a 1,000-year event. we experienced over 31 inches of rain in some of the peak areas, in 36 hours. to translate that to snow, you're talking about 25 feet of snow. 25 feet of snow, to my friends from the north. that's what we experienced the equivalent of in 36 hours. this is -- equivalence of in 36 hours.
a 1,000-year storm. this happened in south louisiana. it happened in south louisiana last month. but this could happen anywhere. whether it's a snow storm, it's a blizzard, it's a tsunami, it's an earthquake, it's a tornado or it's a terrorist attack. it could happen anywhere in this country. historically when these events have happened, these catastrophic events, the country has stepped up to provide assistance, whether it's september 11, hurricane sandy, hurricane katrina or other disasters. the nation has stepped up wh crossed over into catastrophic territory. in this instance we've had over 100,000 homes and businesses flooded. over 100,000, so that story i told about the home that we went in and stripped and gutted, one of many homes we worked in. you can multiply that same exact scenario tens of thousands of times over. in this particular case, this house is probably worth $
150,000 maybe. it's probably going to cost them $80,000 to rebuild the house, to get it back. it's going to cost them $30,000 to replace the car that they lost. going to cost them $20,000 to replace their clothes and contents of the house. and because this home is in a flood plane, at the time when it was built, it was not, but now it is, it's going to probably cost them about $100,000 to elevate that concrete slab and lift it up to the higher base foot elevation. do the math. you're talking about $200,000, over $200,000, just to get themselves back to where they were the day before these storms. i'm going to say it again, mr. speaker. this is happening in south louisiana. and while the water has receded, their lives remain upside down. hundreds of thousands of households. this is a parochial issue to me. it's my hometown. it's my community, it's my neighbors, it's my relatives. but the next disaster, whether it's next week, next year, next
month, next decade, it's going to be in your town. the going to be at your home, the going to be your relatives, your neighbors. and the american people need to know that when we have a catastrophic disaster like this, that the country is there to offer a hand up. let me lay out this financial scenario. i talked about the $200,000. for this one homeowner. not including the other business owners and others that are affected by this disaster. because of h.u.d. rules and some of the rules put in place by the mortgage companies, folks are going to have to make a decision on whether they're going to have their home foreclosured upon or they're going to try to get out of this financial predicament that they're in by the beginning of november. the beginning of november. a $2.6 billion budget request has been made to offer a hand up to these people. they rescued themselves, sheltered themselves, cooked for themselves and gutted their own homes. now is the time for america to
offer a hands up. just like we've done in the past and just like we need to let other americans know we're going to do for them in the event of a crisis like this. mr. speaker, lastly, i want to say this, this was somewhat unique in that the interstate held six feet of water back. the federal interstate. therefore further inundating people. the project and other flood control projects, the federal government failed to construct after 30 years, and coastal land loss also contributed to this flood disaster. now is the time for us to act. november, december time frames are too late. this needs to be part of our negotiations right now, to offer certainty and to assure americans in the future that we are going to be there to offer them a hands up. . yield back . the speaker pro tempore: purs
>> we will remain live on capitol hill now for a hearing onboarder security being held by the justice department. we join it in process. >> with workers during employment disputes. i'd like to know why this document has not been made ublic? >> the document you're talking about having been revised? if it contains sensitive law enforcement information with respect to our procedures, our approaches to apprehension or things like that, that is something we would not disclose to the public. i'll tell you, congresswoman,
we have involved nongovernmental organizations, representatives from law enforcement, in the drafting of so many of our policies with respect to detention. with respect to reform on family centers. i've got an advisor committee on the very -- that very issue. i will take a look at that and see specifically why it is that we have not released it. and certainly get back to you on that. >> i find it curious you're saying it could be law enforcement sensitive because a document was made public for so many years, since 1996. >> that's very unfortunate. i have made it a point to be careful with respect to our law enforcement sensitive information. that is not something i agree with necessarily because we shouldn't be disclosing certain rocedures. >> the interagency working group created by president obama's executive action on immigration was charged not
only with developing more effective policies but upholding the value of transparency. and this would seem to fall right into the ideal of being i would have to say i'm truly puzzled by this lack of transparency on this particular guidance, especially when it's a change in the negative in terms of reducing the information available to people. also if they -- if you won't publicly release this new version of the operating instructions, are there alternative ways of allowing advocates to fully understand how isis policy in this area has changed? ms. saldana: absolutely. there's ways to communicate with the general public and immigrants in particular. and we will look at that with respect to this particular document.
you have given me an opportunity to talk about my community relations officer and our office of community engagement that we just stood up recently for that very reason you're talking about. i want an open line of communication. not only with law enforcement, sheriffs, police chiefs, but also with members of the community. chambers of commerce. immigrant advocates. i have personally met and so has my senior advisor who is actually here, with a number of groups across the country to try to explain our policies and why we go about our business and the way we do. we're not trying to hide our policies. i think many of them are published and in the public domain. and in fact rather than hide i'm trying to inform folks where our priorities are. who should be concerned, and that's top of the list is criminals and gang members and the like. and who is not a priority
within our system. i am with you on transparency and open communication. i wish i could get out to more places, but i have a ball and chain that leaves me in washington, often. i do have now a community relation officer either in route or already onboard in every one of our areas of responsibility, 25 of them across the country, with the exception of hawaii. ms. chu: at the very least can the advocates have meetings with your top administrators so they can explain how isis policy in this area has changed? ms. saldana: we'll communicate on that policy with them. that will be included. along with things like where we apprehend people. sensitive locations. as we try to deal with the advocate community on? ms. chu: i yield back. >> the chair now recognizes the gentleman from california, chairman issa.
mr. issa: director, thank you for your openness and candor on a number of subjects. i have one more. policy of releasing removable criminal aliens under underpriority enforcement program and the use of prosecutorial discretion has led to some tragic consequences . no one doubts we have had multiple and they general make national news for obvious reasons. but reports indicate that 83% of aliens released nationwide between 2012 and 2016 were convicted felons and 30% of hem committed serious felony offenses such as rape, child molestation, and attempted murder. after the release from i.c.e. again, 30% committed additional felonies after their release. given the danger of recidivism by these individuals or another way of putting it, director, consider that in your
discretion you have been wrong 30% of the time and people have died, people have been raped, people have been molested, isn't it time to change that discretion to make it less permissive? ms. saldana: i'm not sure where that is coming from, congressman, with respect to we have been wrong 30% of the time. if you're talking about total releases, that's one number. as i explained earlier 2/3 of those releases are not at our discretion. only about 37% are. in those cases we take very good care in review files to ensure there is a basis for that release. the women and men of i.c.e. do not want to see a single immigrant go back and commit a criminal act. we're doing the best we can. are we perfect? we're not. i have to admit that. mr. issa: under rodriguez urrently if you do not foresee
finishing the adjudication of a case after six months, you are owe bloged to release a nonlegal immigrant. someone who came here illegally who you are attempting to deport, when you release them they generally disappear and unless you catch them again they don't show up, isn't that correct? ms. saldana: many times. mr. issa: for this committee, the committee of jurisdiction, to change the law, even to change the constitution if needed, isn't this a problem that currently either you do not have the tools to adjudicate a case within six months, or the courts are not available to you for a expeditious six months and you are being forced to release knowingly people who entered the country illegally, are appropriate for deportation, often violent criminals, and yet you are forced to release them under current supreme court decision and ninth circuit, right? ms. saldana: that's true. mr. issa: if we look at both
sides of the aisle here and we were to look prospectively into the next congress, isn't the most important tool we would give you a pair of tools, one, the ability to adjudicate cases in less than six months so that you do not come up against mandatory release and sufficient assets to ensure that you never have to release somebody simply because you don't have the capacity to hold them? ms. saldana: that certainly would be helpful. if i can add to that point, i would love to sit with anybody who is looking at this issue in particular to assist in any way i can, but with respect to those people that we're required to release under the supreme court decision, many of them, probably the majority, are because we can't get travel documents. and that's why from the country to which they need to be repatriated, and that's why we're working so hard to try -- with those foreign governments to change that. mr. issa: let me do a final question in my remaining one
minute and leave you plenty of time for an answer. i also serve on foreign affairs and my colleague, mr. chabot, and i serve together. wouldn't it be at a bare minimum appropriate to provide the department of state the insistence on your behalf through the secretary johnson that, in fact, there be an outcome, meaning visas granted by the state department should be withheld by countries who refuse to take back the individuals who have committed crimes, done other wrong things, and for which we want to return them to their home contry, isn't that the quid pro quo that should exist where secretary johnson should be able to get the secretary of state to use his authority to effectively stop granting visas, at least reduce them, to countries that are not cooperating, isn't that a back and forth the next administration will have to
deal with? ms. saldana: i think so. the secretary's very much aware of that. he has taken under advisement how he should exercise that. mr. issa: has he made that request to the secretary of state? ms. saldana: as i said earlier i believe he has one seriously under consideration. i don't know that the letter has actually been exchanged. i do know he is aware of it. >> the gentleman from california yield back. the chair now recognizes the gentlelady from california. >> i'd like to make a -- request for unanimous consent that the statements of the lutheran immigration refugee service, the national immigration law center, human rights, the immigration reform movement, immigration assistance, and the american immigration council be placed in the record. ms. saldana: without objection. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from florida, mr. deutch. mr. deutch: thank you, mr. chairman. thanks for being here. i want to go back to something
that the chairman had asked initially when he asked about the 34,000 beds that congress says must be filled. and the reliance on private facilities to fill those beds. as you are aware and our homeland security appropriations bill, congress requires the detention, foolishly, i believe requires the detngs of 34,000 people each day with no regard for actual need. and this requirement referred to detention bed mandate, it costs more than $2 billion per year. or $5.5 million per day. the cost of holding someone in detention is approximately $159 per day per person. when in many instances there are other ways that the person can be monitored at significantly less money, lower cost to the taxpayer. i wanted to go back. i have serious concerns about the contracts between i.c.e. and private detention companies that mandate that a fix number of people be locked up at
specific centers. the g.a.o. has raised concerns about both the cost and practice of lockup quotas. and groups like detention watch network and others have spoken out against them. the lack of quota provisions obligated i.c.e. pay for a minimum of immigration detention beds at specific facilities, referred to as guaranteed, under these contracts i.c.e. pays for these beds even if they are not used to ensure that -- these private companies receive a profit. after july 14, 2015, oversight hearing with secretary johnson i submitted several questions for the record on guaranteed minimum detention beds contained in contracts, and the secretary responded and confirmed that contracts between i.c.e. and private detention companies contain this guaranteed minimum of detention beds. these contractual provisions contating the quotas are entrenching the national prevention bed at the local
level and encourage local i.c.e. officials to keep people in deengs. over the summer a report was released described very disturbing statement from an i.c.e. official at headquarters who described that bond rates are -- bonds rates are determine determined in different areas based on bed space. rates are lower when there are fewer beds available. it is extremely troubling that bond rates are being set for people based on the available of detention bed space in a locality instead of whether or not that person is a flight risk and whether or not they are violent. i have a few questions. does this describe how bond rates are set? would it be accurate -- that statement was incorrect? could you elaborate? ms. saldana: bonds are set either by a court or in those cases where i.c.e. has discretion we look at the facts
and circumstances of the case and set the bond amount at a number that will ensure that person's appearance for their day in court. that is the instruction that's out there in writing to our lawyers. that's the way it's exercised. mr. deutch: so the statement in the report that the i.c.e. officials have bond rates determined based on bed space is absolutely inaccurate? ms. saldana: it's inaccurate. mr. deutch: do you ooh gree that congress requiring that these beds be filled takes away the discretion of law enforcement? in way we don't do, congress doesn't do, to any other law enforcement agency? ms. saldana: i have the ultimate responsibility for detention an detention centers, sir. the way i cop true that mandate, the mandate is to have those beds available. the mandate is not to spend x
amount of money. i am not going to put somebody in a detention bed that doesn't need to be there. neither am i going to deny to release someone because detention space is not available if they need to be detained. mr. deutch: i understand what you would do, but when these contracts are entered into with private detention facilities, does the detention mandate come into play? do those contracts guarantee to these private operators that certain beds will be paid for on a regular basis? ms. saldana: we have to anticipate there are a certain number of beds available. 34,000 is the number that's obviously part of that mandate of available beds. so we have to have that available. whether those beds are used or not. that's the way the statute's written. mr. deutch: you would agree with mekong getting involved to mandate there are a certain number of beds that are filled, which is the way it's interpreted by my colleagues here who put that misguided policy into law, having that in
there takes away the discretion of the i.c.e. officials and in fact winds up guaranteeing profits for these private detention facilities? ms. saldana: that's not why we engage in these contracts with them. and do i not put someone in a detention bed because i need to fill one. mr. deutch: i know that's not why you engage. but the private companies come to you and say we have to have x number of beds paid for. congress says it. and congress says that there has to be billions of dollars spent every year in order to ensure that. we're going to calculate our fees based on what congress says has to be done regardless whether you believe that those beds should be filled or not, whether the person is determined to be a flight risk or not. ms. saldana: i'm sorry. lost your question there. what was your question? sorry? >> it was a description of the way these private detention facilities negotiate these contracts based upon the $2 billion a year that congress
says has to be spent in large part for the benefit and primarily some would argue for the benefit of these private detention companies. ms. saldana: they don't dictate to us what terms of the contract are. we let out a proposal that specify the terms of the contract. is a 34,000 -- 34,000 useful tool because that's how much money we have, in order to set the number. that bed is not going to be filled unless it need tofpblet we're not going to release anyone who should be in a bed because -- mr. deutch: it's not your determination. it's a determination made by congress that says we're going to spend $2 million a year to make beds available as determined by my colleagues though those beds should be filled. it's not -- for everyone who has looked at this, to take away the discretion of i.c.e. officials is to decide what should be done here and to say that congress is imposing it so that these private companies
can come to you and say, look, congress has to spend the money, $2 billion. here's the number that we need in order to build this doesn't seem like the right approach. thank you. >> the gentleman reluctantly yields back. the chair would now recognize the gentleman from arizona, mr. franks. mr. franks: thank you, mr. chairman. director, thank you for being here. if i can i want to take up where chairman issa left off. i thought his questions were very profound because i.c.e. suggested in court records that, quote many of the criminals they release are traffic violators or other nonviolent offenders. . issa's comments there show that the percentage of criminals released by i.c.e. nationwide from 2012 to 2016 was 83%. is that right? that's an enormous figure
because from my perspective the first purpose of the federal government is to defend and protect its citizens. and that seems like prima facie evidence that we're failing at least in this area, even if the efforts -- if 83% of those we're releasing from 2012 to 2016 were felons, that's a big deal. i don't know about the 30% recidivism. is that -- do you think that's approximately correct? the 30%? ms. saldana: i haven't done the math, sir. if you have, i am not going to quibble. mr. franks: i won't press the point. if 83% of those that we're releasing are convicted felons, then there is something desperately wrong in the system somewhere. i guess just in the reoffenses we're showing statistics of around 130 murders or attempted
murders since 2010. and according to a letter i.c.e. provided in february to senator chuck grassley, that's their number. but i.c.e. has insisted that reoffenders were isolated examples. these aren't isolated examples. these murders and numbers are staggering. i guess the next question occurs, what is i.c.e. specifically doing now to prevent the release of these serious criminals on to america's streets? ms. saldana: as i mentioned earlier, sir, i shared the same concern as you did. when i first arrived in this job back now almost two years ago, this was of great concern to me. we need to be very careful in those releases. setting aside the fact that about 2/3 of those releases are required upon us by either -- we have -- i have
a committee at headquarters that reviews these criminal releases to make sure the field office directors and supervisors in the field have taken into account very carefully all the facts and circumstances of that case and have made a decision based on facts not feelings but based on facts that that person does not present a threat to the community. mixed into the numbers that you're talking about are some of these people -- 2/3 of them who are not being released by i.c.e. i assure you, no one at homeland security or at i.c.e. takes that release of someone with a criminal conviction more seriously than we do. mr. franks: the original question is, what are we doing now to ameliorate the fact that 83% of the people releasing are felons and probably 30% of them are recommitting? i know you probably just don't know. ms. saldana: i do know. we have given specific training and instruction to the field of
things to look for with respect to any decision on a release that's discretionary. it is based on the entire file. it's not based on a feeling that someone is good or bad. it's based on the file and facts and circumstances. i have -- once that decision is made locally, we review the decision at headquarters to make sure that it is a well reasoned decision and not just based on someone who has been careless. as i said earlier, sir, i fall on my sword where we have not used our best judgment and discretion. i wish we were 100% perfect. mr. franks: i understand. it sounds like you are making an effort but there's 130 people, americans who have died because we made the wrong decision there. let me quickly shift gears. about 140 nations refused to take back. some of the citizens that come over here. i think we have gotten a letter is it gam peaa -- gambia?
are there any others? is that the extent of our commitment there? are we sending letters to any other country that's saying if your people come here and break our laws or cross our borders illegally, we're going to send them back and we're going to stop giving you visas, is there any other country besides gambia we're doing that? ms. saldana: the one we're talking about is where the secretary communicates with the secretary of state. mr. franks: any other countries? ms. saldana: speaking of letters. i have sent about 126 myself to countries. i have met with ambassadors of those countries. i met with our ambassadors in those countries to try to do what we can to change their minds. these are obligations under world treaties. we're doing our best to bring those people around. mr. franks: my time is up. i suggest to you they don't need to change their mind. we need to change our mind. if you don't take these back we would not offer -- it's samplee
equation. >> the gentleman from arizona yields back. the chair now recognizes the gentlelady from washington, ms.delbene. ms.delbene: thank you, mr. chairman. director, thank you for being with us today. it's been reported that draft rules are being considered that would create national uniformity for immigration judges to allow child immigrants more time to obtain legal representation. in light of the ninth circuit's decision or opinion this week, i think these rules would be highly welcomed step toward ensuring fair treatment for the most vulnerable individuals who are seeking refuge. i wonder if you could share with the committee your office's involvement in the discussions on those rules if any, and as the agency that's responsible for caring out removals, following legal proceedings, do you have any comment on this issue? ms. saldana: those rules you are talking about would bind the immigration courts. those come under the department of justice.
not the department of homeland security. the immigration courts are under the department of justice. i am sure at some point if they are being considered now that we may well be consulted. quite frankly i may not wait to be consulted. we may reach out and see if we can have some input. that would be a decision by the department of justice and ultimately by the courts. ms.delbene: in a concurring opinion in the ninth circuit case, two judges, one a republican appointee and one a democratic appointee, came together and they said, quote, what is missing here? money and resolve. political solutions that fall outside the purview of the courts, end quote. in other words, what is missing here is congressional action and the political will to ensure that young children facing violence are not
the complexities of our improcedures alone. the law requires fair hearings much i would say 3-year-olds who are alone before judges is not fair. so director, what do you think is needed to help ensure that we're treating children who come to our immigration judges in a manner that reflects at least the most basic motions of justice and due process. what do you think we should be doing to make sure that we're making sure those children's rights are protected? ms. saldana: this is -- i just two weeks ago was in el salvador, and i saw and met several of those children. families, mothers, children, adult men, it's an important significant issue. i'm glad to hear there are some rules that are being considered. i would like -- i agree with ou that a 3-year-old cannot be expected to know what their rights and privileges are, but again, it is -- we will reach
out to see if we can be consulted about this. but in the in the end that's the department of justice. that's my old department. i know they'll take good care of promulgating something fair and correct. ms.delbene: do you think that congress has a role to play? ms. saldana: i have been preaching since almost the day i arrived we need comprehensive immigration reform. we can't just be dealing with one issue or the other. everything, this should be towards the top of the list. how children's vites are vindicated and represented -- rights are vindicated and represented. should be part of a comprehensive immigration reform package, i believe. ms.delbene: i want to highlight over 7,000 children have been deported who have come from central america. largely due to notification problems, lack of representation, difficulties navigating the process. we have impacted many, many children already.
does getting this right have an impact on the ability of i.c.e. to properly carry out its mission? ms. saldana: sure. i just want to be sure that i'm clear on this. our whole involvement with unaccompanied children is to process their entering into the country and turning them over to the department of hent and human services who looks after after their needs and where they are while their cases are being heard. it's a fairly minor role with respect to children, but we have concerns and heart and we believe that we need to have treated es differently and sensitively because of their age. but we have very little involvement with the -- with children. underaged children. ms.delbene: i want to make sure we have fair hearings for young children who are seeking refuge
across our borders. thank you. my time's expired. i yield back. is >> the gentlelady from washington yield back. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. the former u.s. attorney, mr. ratcliffe. mr. ratcliffe: thank you, chairman. director saldana, good to see you. i appreciate you being with us this morning and the candor of your testimony. that's not something we always get in this committee from some of the administration officials that have been here. i want to start out by asking you about a specific immigration case that tragically impacted a family in my northeast texas district at the hands of a man who was for at least the second time in this country illegally. back in april a van driven -- >> this hearing will continue on our website, c-span.org, or listen on the c-span radio app. u.s. house is about to begin legislative work for this afternoon. bills dealing with banning cash
payments to iran also employee stock ownership. the white house opposing both of those bills. talks do continue off the floor for short-term government spending bill. that would keep the government operating past the september 30 deadline. live coverage of the house here on c-span. the speaker: the house will be in order. the prayer will be offered by our chaplain, father conroy. chaplain conroy: let us pray. merciful god, we give you thanks for giving us another day. we fulfill your promises day by day and lead your people to greatness. you are the one who asks each of us to live a life worthy of our calling. by embracing the responsibilities of our station in life each of us is to perform our duties with humility, meekness and patience with the help of your grace.