tv U.S. House of Representatives Legislative Business CSPAN December 7, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm EST
the speaker pro tempore: on this vote there are 412 yeas. one nay. 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, without objection the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. the unfinished business is the vote on the motion from the gentleman from utah, mr. bishop, to suspend the rules and pass s. 3028, an which the yeas and nays are ordered the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: senate 3028, an act to resetting designate the olympic wilderness as the damaged j.p evans wilderness. the speaker pro tempore: yet is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house
the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from tennessee seek recognition? romain zago thank you, mr. speaker. i move -- mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 6435. the clerk: a bill to authorize the directors of veterans integrated service networks of the department of veterans affairs to enter into contracts with appropriate civilian accreditation entities or appropriate health care evaluation entities to investigate medical centers of the department of veterans affairs. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from tennessee, dr. roe, and the gentleman from california, mr. takano, each will control 20 minutes.
the chair recognizes the gentleman from tennessee. mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and . tend their remarks the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. roe: mr. speaker, mumes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman will -- mr. roe: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman will yield for a moment. the house will be in order. members will take their conversations off the floor. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from tennessee. mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today in support of h.r. 6435, a bill to authorize the directors of veterans integrated service networks, or visn, of the department of veterans affairs to enter into contracts with appropriate civilian accreditation entities or appropriate health care evaluation entities to investigate medical centers.
this would have visn to enter into contracts to investigate any medical center within that director's catchment area. it is no secret that last few years have been tumultuous for the v.a. health care center. beginning with the crisis in phoenix and across the country in 2014 and continuing into last week after infectious disease concerns at a troubled v.a. medical center in tomah, wisconsin. while the kentucky has an important investigative and oversight responsibility toward v.a. as a federal bureaucracy, v.a. is all too often charged with policing itself through internal watchdog like the office of medical inspector and the v.a. office of inspector general. however, despite all of our best efforts, waste, fraud and abuse still persists and still continues to harm veterans throughout the v.a. health care system. h.r. 6435 would provide v.a.
regional leadership yet another tool to root out deficiencies within the v.a. medical facilities by giving visn to work with experienced and objective entity to get access to the v.a.'s operation and management. i believe that will take visn leaders to create a culture of quality and accountability and lead to better, safer care to veteran patients. i'm combreafl to my friend and colleague, congressman markwayne mullin of oklahoma for sponsoring this legislation, and i encourage my colleagues in supporting it and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from california. mr. takano: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today in support of this legislation by the gentleman from oklahoma, my good friend, markwayne mullin. ensuring v.a. delivers safe and high-quality health care to veterans is an important priority for this committee. this bill will allow veterans
integrate service network directors to contract with civilian accreditation and health care evaluation organizations to inspect and investigate v.a. medical centers. this gives v.a. another tool to evaluate and improve the quality of care provided at its facilities. v.a. medical centers are routinely inspected and accredited by recognized organizations in the health care world, such as the joint commission on accreditation of hospitals and the commission on accreditation of rehabilitation facilities. this bill would allow other organizations to inspect and accredit v.a. hospitals at v.a.'s discretion. since the v.a. inspector general and government accountability office also routinely conduct investigations, inspections and audits of v.a. medical facilities, i would like to emphasize that this bill requires both g.a.o. and the i.g. to be notified when a visn chooses to contract with civilian inspection and
accreditation organizations. coordination of efforts with g.a.o. and the i.g. will avoid duplication and prevent the waste of taxpayer dollars. i also want to emphasize that this authority should not be used to replace the role of the i.g. and g.a.o. in conducting investigations, inspections and evaluations of v.a. medical facilities. i urge my colleagues to support this bill, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california eserves. the house will be in order. the gentleman from tennessee. mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. i now take this opportunity to recognize my good friend from oklahoma, markwayne mullin, who brought this legislation to our committee, for three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oklahoma is recognized for three minutes. mr. mullin: thank you and thank you, chairman-elect roe, and thank you for your work on this
committee. i want to extend my appreciation to you and to chairman miller for your leadership in getting this bill to the floor for consideration. this bill is simple. so i'll keep it short. all the bill does is authorize the department of veterans affairs to contract with appropriate civilian health care accrediting or evaluating groups to investigate the v.a. medical centers. our veterans deserve care equal to the finest civilian ospitals so let's let the v.a. to invite those to take a look at our v.a. medical centers when they have problems. this is a commonsense bill that will help improve the care of our veterans who need us the most. i urge passage on this bill, and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from tennessee reserves. the gentleman from california. mr. takano: mr. speaker, i have no further speakers, and i encourage all my colleagues to support this important legislation and join me in passing h.r. 6435. i yield back the balance of my
time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california yields back. the gentleman from tennessee. mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. this is, as mr. mullin said, this is a very commonsense piece of legislation. i worked in hospitals for almost four decades, had joint commission supervision. it's a good way. it's best for patient safety, and with that i encourage all members to support this legislation. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 6435. hose in favor say aye. those opposed no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from tennessee seek recognition? mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 5099, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 5099, a bill to establish a pilot program on partnership agreements to construct new facilities for the department of veterans
affairs. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule the gentleman from tennessee, dr. roe, and the gentleman from california, mr. takano, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from tennessee. mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and add extraneous material. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. roe: mr. speaker, i rise in support of h.r. 5099, as amended, the communities helping invest through property improvements needed for veterans act, that's a mouthful, of 2016, or chip in for vets act of 2016. this bill is sponsored by our colleague, congressman brad ashford from nebraska, would authorize the department of veterans affairs to carry out a pilot program to accept from certain nonfederal entities up to five donations of either real property that includes a constructed facility or to be used as a site of a facility constructed by the entity or a facility to be constructed by
the entity on v.a. real property. such donation may be accepted only if it's for a project for which funds have been appropriated for a v.a. facility or is identified meeting both the v.a. need as part of the department's long-range capital planning process as a location for a v.a. facility project that is included on the strategic capital investment plan. v.a. is one of our government's largest real property holders, and considering that the average age of a v.a. medical building is five times older than the average age of a building in a nonprofit hospital system, v.a.'s capital needs continue to grow in both cost and complexity. meanwhile, the high-profile -- dals and failures at that the v.a. has undergone has been well publicized in the past few years. in april, 2013, the government
accountability office found that v.a.'s major medical facility construction projects, which are already costly, complicated endeavors, experienced cost increases and g from 66% to 427% schedule delays from 14 months to 86 months. needless to say, it is clear that the time to look for innovative solutions to v.a.'s capital needs is now. currently, v.a. has the authority to accept a donated facility if that facility is already complete. however, it can be challenging to find existing facilities that both meet demonstrated v.a. need and satisfy all the requirements and mandates that a federal facility must meet. allowing v.a. to accept unconditional donations of real property, improvements, goods or services from community donors within certain parameters could provide a viable solution to meeting v.a.'s capital needs in an
excellent, fiscally responsible manner while allowing communities and individuals the opportunity to step up and contribute in honor of their veteran friends and neighbors in a meaningful way. as chairman of the 115th congress, i look forward to continuing to aggressively oversee v.a.'s troubled construction program and to leave no stones unturned when looking for new ways to ensuring that v.a. has the facilities they need to provide the services our veterans require. i believe that the pilot program could lay the foundation for doing just that. i urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this legislation. and i'll reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from tennessee reserves. the gentleman from california. mr. takano: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. takano: well, i rise in support of h.r. 5099, as amended, the communities helping invest through property and investments needed for veterans act of 2016. indeed, it is a mouthful. but a very, very important,
potentially transformative piece of legislation. otherwise we can shorten it down to the words, the chip in for vets act of 2016, which was introduced by my friend and colleague, the gentleman from nebraska, brad ashford. it is a testament to his hard work as well as many members and staff on both sides of the capitol that we're considering this bill today. this bipartisan legislation will authorize a pilot program, allowing the department of veterans affairs to partner with nonprofit and private donors to build v.a. hospitals, receive donated land and acquire other v.a. facilities so that the v.a. may continue to serve veterans. today, there are generous donors and organizations ready to pitch in and invest in their community's willingness to support our veterans. that is why we must take immediate action and pass h.r. 5099, as amended. this bill will permit the v.a.
to accept facilities constructed by donors, land where a future facility will be constructed and permit a donor on an agreement to donate the facility to v.a. upon completion. it will also preserve v.a.'s authority to determine need by only allowing projects to move forward under this program based on projects authorized and funded by congress. or include on the v.a. strategic capital investment planning process priority list. this bill is necessary, not only because of the federal government's significant budget constraints, but also so that v.a. has clear authority to undertake these projects and accept donations for the acquisition of facilities. it also allows v.a. and congress to determine whether this pilot program, that permits the v.a. and nonfederal organizations to combine resources to construct facilities, is a viable future
funding of major and myor v.a. construction projects -- major -- major and minor v.a. construction projects. the v.a. will be able to take meaningful steps to provide our veterans the quality of care they deserve at state-of-the-art v.a. facilities all the while saving american taxpayers millions of dollars in the process. it is the very definition of a win-win situation. mr. speaker, strengthening the v.a. and increasing its capacity to provide and coordinate care is one of our highest priorities at the committee on veterans' affairs and i'm pleased to support h.r. 5099, as amended, which will only improve v.a.'s ability to do so. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from tennessee. mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. at this time i'd like to yield two minutes to our good friend from nebraska, jeff fortenberry, for his comments. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from nebraska is recognized for two minutes.
mr. fortenberry: thank you, mr. chairman. as we are about to conclude this legislative session, i hope everyone here realizes the magnitude of what this bill before us does. yes, we got a lot going on. we're distracted. we're eager to finish up business and start a transition period. but as congressman takano just said, this is transformative. this creates a blueprint of the architecture of the 21st century v.a. why? as congressman roe pointed out, we have had extreme difficulties and complexities in problems with the v.a. with service delivery also budgetary cost overruns. we have had for a very long time an aging hospital in omaha. we have had a community that is very eager to find a new innovative way out of this problem. we have a pot of money that's been sitting here for a very long time and will continue to sit there, here, for a very long time. unless we be innovative.
unless we do something different. that's what congressman ashford has done with the rest of the federal delegation from nebraska, including senator fisher. he has come up with an innovative, transformative model that will create a new center of excellence based upon a public-private partnership using existing federal moneys, using a base of community support that has already come forward, looking to help the v.a. better integrate with the private facilities that already exist in the community of omaha which are quite extraordinary. this as congressman takano said is a win, win, win. i want to congratulate my friend and colleague congressman ashford for his extraordinary leadership and vision in this regard. as well as the integrity to stay with it until the very end. we have had some complexities along the way, but it's my hope, mr. chairman, particularly as you take over the raines -- reins of the entire committee, you will help us implement this
rapidly, as i know you will, because it is a transformative mechanism by which we're going to deliver the highest and best possible care for our veterans back home. advantage thank you, mr. chairman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from tennessee reserves. the gentleman from california. mr. takano: at this time, mr. speaker, i would like to yield five minutes to the gentleman from nebraska, mr. ashford, who had the tenacity to stick it through and bring this legislation finally in its form to the floor. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from nebraska is recognized for five minutes. mr. ashford: thank you very much, mr. ranking member takano, thank you chairman roe and chairman miller and mr. speaker, for bringing this born fill bill up for a vote today. h.r. 5099 the chip in for veterans act, was introduced by myself and others in the house and by my good friend and colleague, senator deb fisher in the united states senate. there is an identical bill in
the senate waiting actions as we speak. as has been suggested and mentioned, this bill allows for the department of veterans affairs to enter into donation agreements with community groups in order to complete v.a. construction projects. this is a new and innovative idea, not necessarily brought to this body by myself, but by so many other people as has been mentioned that have worked on this bill for literally two years. i appreciate the comments of my good friend, congressman fortenberry, from lincoln, nebraska, for his comments and his ability to hold me back from time to time as we proceeded down this course. this is -- no one understands, i think when we started out with this process, what i was focused on was the idea in our own communities it's veterans who can make those tough decisions as to what their needs are. nobody better than our veterans understand those needs. what this bill will allow us to do is combine community donors
with veterans to actually involve themselves to together in the development of these projects. certainly in omaha and my community in iowa and nebraska area, we have had a need for such a renovated facility for many, many years. my bill, i believe, empowers our veterans. it puts an end to the decades-long wait for hundreds of thousands of veterans in my area who have been promised new facilities, and i think as clearly as congressman fortenberry mentioned and ranking member takano and chairman roe, that this really does open up opportunities for v.a. facilities across the entire country. and starts the course moving forward. let me just conclude by thanking so many of you. i would be here much longer than five minutes if i was going to name everyone. ut certainly i appreciate my
co-sponsors. congressman walz from minnesota. congressman fortenberry. congressman smith from nebraska. congressman dave young from across the river in iowa. i want to thank chairman miller who gave me the opportunity to discuss even on weekends some of the positive elements of what we were trying to do in nebraska. lastly, thanks to the staff. certainly my staff, leader on this bill, denise fleming, this is going to be in the house a few more weeks, but i can't say that she's welcoming me leaving, but she certainly has been a tenacious advocate and has worked very, very hard. there have been other staff members as well. certainly they have all added tremendous amount to this bill. christine hill and grace most
particularly. moving this bill ensures that senator fisher's bill, which is now in the senate, can move in the senate and become law so we can begin this project now. my friends in omaha, in nebraska and iowa, are ready to donate hat is necessary to unleash as mr. for then berry suggests, the money already appropriated for our facility. i like to thank the secretary of the veterans administration, robert mcdonald. i met him two years ago about just now when i was coming into congress. and i suggested to him that we needed something to be done in omaha. and suggested also that i thought that our donor community and our veterans community would work together on and know veterans dayive public-private partnership to enable some sort of new way, serpt of excellence, to develop. -- center of excellence to develop. certainly secretary mcdonald and
his team have been great and so incredibly helpful in moving this along. lastly, again, i want to thank my colleague and friend from our years together in the legislature of nebraska, deb fisher, whose staff has been tireless. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from tennessee. mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. at this time i'd like to yield three minutes to our good friend, david young from iowa, to speak on this issue. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from iowa is recognized for three minutes. mr. young: mr. speaker, i rise to speak in support of h.r. 5099, the bipartisan chip in for vets act of 2016, which is sponsored by my colleague from across the river, congressman brad ashford in nebraska. our veterans make great sacrifices in defense of our freedoms and it is incumbent upon us to provide them with the best possible health care when they return home. many of our department of
veterans affairs facilities are aging. they are in need of upgrades and repair. complete overhauls. yet cost overruns and significant delays trouble the v.a. construction programs and hinder work on other v.a. facilities in need of improvements. the chip in prevents act of 2016 seeks to address some of these problems by authorizing the v.a. to carry out a five-year pilot program examining the feasibility of leveraging private donations to construct new v.a. facilities. a public-private partnership. this is a new way of doing things. a unique opportunity for the timp and for veterans. -- for the taxpayer and for veterans. this bill could help facilities, and will, like the omaha v.a. medical center, which serve my constituents in iowa, as well as those in nebraska. i appreciate my colleague's work , congressman ashford, for
pushing this bill along and was proud to sign on as a co-sponsor. congressman ashford has shown great leadership and tenacity in getting this bill over the finish line. that's what he came here to do. to get things done. so i urge my colleagues to support this bill. mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from tennessee reserves. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. takano: mr. speaker, i want to add some more comments about the legislation we're about to pass. i concur and associate myself with the remarks with the words of my colleague from nebraska, mr. fortenberry, i want to extend my appreciation to the majority for its again rossity of spirit in this particular case. if there is anything that fills me with great hope we can restore the steam of this institution in the eyes of the american people, it's when we pass legislation such as mr.
ashford's bill today. we rose above politics. both sides rose above politics to do the right thing for veterans. and we -- it was our regard for veterans that brought us together. and it's fitting that this action is happening in the heartland of our country. this is no small measure today. the american people do not eally see the drama -- it took -- it's going to be voice voted, no real big drama will play out in front of everybody. i want to tell you that republicans and democrats worked together. i want to congratulate -- show my appreciation to my whip, mr. hoyer. he worked his relationships with some members on the other side in the senate and it showed that we should be so hasty to move our more senior members so quickly out of their positions because these relationships
matter after so many years. and i'll go more into detail with anyone who cares to know more about t mr. mccarthy of my own home state of california, my own leader, pa lowsy, and the staff on both sides of the aisle worked -- pelosi, and the staff on both sides of the aisle worked tirelessly to bring this bill. we're about to head home for the holiday season and i can't think of a greater gift that we can give -- can i think after lot greater gifts but this is a very important gift that we're going to give. it is truly a potentially transformative piece of legislation. and i have no further speakers at this time. i just want to encourage all my colleagues to support this important piece of legislation and join me in passing h.r. 5099 as amended. mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. i, too, want to associate my remarks with all the speakers and thank mr. ashford for his perseverance and-n bringing this
along with mr. foreen berry on our side and chairman miller, ranking member takano. this is the way we're going to have to do this more. there is a finite amount of money we have. there is an finite amount of money we can provide for services and looking for private-public partnerships as my city in johnson city, tennessee, is doing right now with other projects. i think this is a model for what could go on in the contry. i have a see bobbing in my district where the local mayor provided use at a hospital for $1 a year for the v.a. to have the facility there. i think that's going on in nebraska right now. they are trying to see that a we need to be thinking about how we can provide these facilities to serve these great veterans that have served our country. with that, mr. speaker, i encourage all the members to support this legislation. with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass the
evaluate, assess and treat astronauts act, or the treat act, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 6076, a bill to require thed a a manufacture of the national oceanic and to spheric administration establish a program for the medical monitoring, diagnosis, and treatment of astronauts, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from texas, mr. babin, and the gentlewoman from maryland, ms. edwards, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. babin: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and and their remarks include extraneous material on h.r. 6076, the bill now under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. babin: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. babin: for over 50 years, the united states of america has asked its bravest to travel
to space in service of their country. from the dynamic launch environment to the unforgiving vacuum of space, to the energetic re-entry to earth, space places astronauts in challenging environments. even training carries risk. i'm very proud to say that i represent a great number of these astronauts who call houston their home. as a nation, we have obligations to those we put in harm's way. as a congress, we have a responsibility to provide for the treatment of conditions caused by federal service. as a health care professional myself and as their representative, you can say that it is my duty to make sure that these folks are taken care of properly. and this is why i sponsored astronauts he treat act, a very commonsense, fiscally responsible,
bipartisan bill that makes sure that our brave men and women that venture into space receive the support for medical issues associated with their service. the psychological and medical data associated with an astronaut's human space flight service is very important for our future space endeavors. the treat act will provide this additional data and will enable nasa to better understand the medical risks of space flight, minimize these risks and enable future long duration missions to mars and even beyond. i'm very thankful to chairman lamar smith for his support of the treat act and for his leadership as chairman of the science, space and technology committee. i'm also very glad that my colleague, ms. edwards, is an original co-sponsor of this bill, and that the bill was reported out of committee by voice vote with broad bipartisan support. the amendment before us today represents compromise language agreed upon with the senate in
good faith that this language will be included and passed in a nasa authorization act before the 114th recesses. the program established under this compromised language is very similar to the program that passed out of the committee. in developing this bill, my staff and i had extensive discussions with former astronauts, with nasa and a number of other federal agencies. the treat act is also informed by a hearing the space subcommittee held in june in which a number of former astronauts testified, including captain scott kelly, who spent a year on the international space station. under existing statutes, nasa has the authority to collect voluntary astronaut medical data for research. and exercises that authority through the lifetime surveillance of astronaut health program, or lsah. however, there are limitations on the usefulness of the lsah
program. former astronaut participation s only 61%, and the existing lsah program only affords nasa access to yearly checkup data, not the entirety of the former astronaut's medical records. furthermore, nasa is unable to provide for the appropriate diagnosis and treatment under the existing authority to conduct research. the treat act solves this problem but supplementing existing authorities. congress would be remiss not to ensure that the treat act is fiscally responsible. the treat act is not a mandate and is subject to existing discretionary appropriations. in order to address cost risks, the bill establishes nasa as a secondary payer to existing obligations of the united states or third parties ensuring that cost to nasa is minimal. establishing nasa as a
secondary payer is not unprecedented. for example, the department of defense is a secondary payer to certain types of veteran and civilian health care programs. allow me to make this clear for the record. although nasa is a secondary payer, the treat act provides that no participating former astronaut or payload specialist will have to pay for anything out of pocket, including deductibles and co-payments associated with the primary payer. there are a number of reporting requirements, including an independent cost estimate and an annual fiscal report. these reports will ensure that congress is well informed and able to conduct appropriate oversight. participation in the program is voluntary. no astronaut should be forced or coerced to participate in this program. in the event that an astronaut chooses not to participate in the program, there are still other occupational health care
options available to them. but if they do participate, the astronauts have consented that nasa can use and disclose the data that they collect, subject to protecting their personally identifiable health information. and in conclusion, i strongly support the treat act and urge my colleagues to support this commonsense, fiscally responsible, bipartisan bill that makes sure that our brave men and women that venture into space receive the support for medical issues associated with their service. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentlelady from maryland is recognized. ms. edwards: thank you, mr. speaker. and i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. edwards: i rise in support of h.r. 6076, as amended, the treat astronauts act. the house passed bipartisan nasa authorization act of 2015 set the long-term goal of sending humans to the surface
of mars. the amendments to the treat astronauts act being considered today will help provide the research results needed to achieve this goal. as chairman babin noted, the amendment reflects compromise language agreed upon with the senate in good faith. i join with committee ranking member johnson and i to thank space subcommittee chairman babin and his staff for working together to achieve bipartisan and bicameral consensus on this amendment. chairman babin and i both want to do the right thing by the health of our former and current and future astronauts. that is why i was pleased to be an original co-sponsor of this act to provide for monitoring, diagnosis and treatment of former astronauts. our astronauts are heroes. they serve this nation in the face of extreme risks. some of those risks involve the potential for medical conditions that may not reveal themselves for years or even decades after an astronaut's service. it is our responsibility to ensure that we as a nation
acknowledge the risks that these heroes have taken and in return provide our astronauts with the medical monitoring and treatment they need. it is also our responsibility to mitigate the risks for future nasa explorers, especially as we put in place the systems and missions to prepare the way for human exploration to mars. such risks mitigation requires naut s's astro medical -- astronaut's health. the first principle is getting care to former astronauts under this program as soon as possible. nasa indicated that some former astronauts could already benefit from this new authority. as chairman babin noted, this bill provides nasa with supplementary authority. as such, i would expect that monitoring provided by nasa's lifetime surveillance of
astronaut health program will continue to be made available to any former astronaut or payload specialist electing not to participate in the program being established by this legislation. the second principle is being respectful of astronaut's rights and privacy. as we expand the amount of data collected on former astronaut health, it's important that we place a priority on ensuring the privacy of the data. nasa's tasked to report on how the agency will ensure the privacy of astronauts in the program when data is shared beyond the federal government. the third principle is ensuring that the program is in sync with the goal of sending humans to mars. expanded data required from the monitoring, diagnosis and treatment of former astronauts and former shuttle payload specialists will be invaluable for informing the requirements for new space flight medical hardware and developing controls to prevent disease occurrence in the astronaut corps. mr. speaker, it's also my hope
that congress and the administration will enable nasa to get to mars sooner rather than later. as part of that effort, we must establish the safeguards that will get our astronauts there and back safely. supporting this bill will allow us to stay on that vector. i ask my colleagues to support the bill, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves. the gentleman from texas. mr. babin: mr. speaker, i now yield three minutes to the gentleman from texas, the chairman of the full committee, lamar smith. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized for three minutes. mr. smith: mr. speaker, i thank my colleague from texas, the author of this bill, for yielding me time. i also want to say that congressman brian babin is just an excellent chairman of the space subcommittee of the full science committee. mr. speaker, since nasa selected the first group of astronauts in 1959, more than 300 brave american astronauts
have ventured into the kaz mows as explorers -- into the cosmos as explorers. it is easy to overlook how dangerous it is and how little we know about its long-term health effects. h.r. 6076, the treat astronauts act, ensures our courageous men and women who venture into space receive support for medical issues associated with their service. the treat astronauts act also will help us better understand the medical science of human space flight, enabling the next generation of explorers to literally go where no man has gone before. i should say no man or woman has gone before. the treat astronauts act build upon nasa's existing lifetime surveillance of astronaut health program and will operate within existing nasa resources. it provides for enhanced monitoring, diagnosis and treatment of conditions associated with space flight service. i want to thank space
subcommittee chairman again, brian babin, for introducing this legislation and for his persistence in getting us to the point of passage. we wouldn't be here today without him. i urge my colleagues to support the treat astronauts act, and before i yield back the balance of my time, mr. speaker, i would just like to take a minute to thank the gentlewoman from maryland, who is a friend and who has been the ranking member of the space subcommittee for the last two years, for her outstanding service to congress, for being a wonderful contributor to the science committee as a whole and in particular the space subcommittee. to almost any subject, she always brings an enthusiasm, a knowledge and in this case an almost unequal dedication to space exploration which we will continue to appreciate and appreciate both now and in the future. so i just want to thank her, again, as i say, her many
contributions to the committee and to the subcommittee. i say i hope she stays in touch with us and she will always be a friend of the committees and of many members on this side of the aisle. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentlewoman from maryland. ms. edwards: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i want to share with chairman smith that i'm so grateful for his remarks today on the floor. he beat me to the punch, but it has been a pleasure both to work on the committee since the beginning of my time here in the congress. it is the most fun i think that i have ever had, and i have truly enjoyed the collegial working relationship and friendship that we've shared on both sides of the aisle. and with that i'd like to yield such time as she may consume to the gentlewoman, the ranking member of the science, space and technology committee, ms. johnson of texas. the speaker pro tempore: the
gentlelady is recognized. ms. johnson: thank you very much, mr. speaker. rise in support of h.r. 6076, as amended, to research, evaluate, assess and treat astronauts act, the treat astronauts act. long duration exposure to micro gravity and space radiation can lead to a chronic health effect ch as muscle atrophy, bone loss, permanent vision impairment and cancer. however, there is much we will need to understand regarding how the space environment relates to these effects and other critical biological functions such as immunity and tissue healing so that appropriate countermeasures can be developed. this bill, as amended, would provide nasa with the statutory authority to perform monitoring
, diagnosis and treatment for former astronauts for medical or psychological conditions associated with human space flight. through this authorization nasa would be able to acquire data from a larger set of participants and the data acquired on former astronauts will be more comprehensive. this bill, as amended, reflects several changes that strengthen and improve the bipartisan bill that passed out of committee in september. in particular, the provision that would sunset the monitoring, diagnosis and treatment program for former astronauts after 10 years has been removed. . in addition, the current version of the bill removed a provision removed d have authorization for the program if
nasa did not submit an annual report on time. nasa's astronauts are some of he most highly trained individuals who serve in of uing further exploration space. we owe them a debt of gratitude for risking their health and their lives in furtherance of space exploration and i would urge all house members to vote for and pass h.r. 6076 as amended. i too, -- i, too, want to join the chairman to eblings press my appreciation and thanks for congresswoman donna edwards for her leadership in bringing this measure to this point and for her overall leadership as subcommittee ranking member of the space subcommittee. she's made many efforts, has led the committee with much
understanding, and we certainly will miss her. i thank you, thank her, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from texas is recognized. >> i have no further speakers -- mr. babin: i have no further speakers, mr. chairman, and reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from maryland. ms. edwards: i have no further speakers, i'm prepared to close at this time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. edwards: thank you very much. i hope my colleagues will join us in this bipartisan effort to make sure we can get signed into law the treat act for our current, former, and future astronauts and i'd like to close by expressing my gratitude to chairman lamar smith, to ranking member eddie bernice johnson, to our subcommittee chair babin for your graciousness and for your
leadership. it has truly been a joy to work on the science, space, and technology committee. it's one of the few places in the united states house of representatives where our charge is really to think about the future, and it's in the spirit that this legislation is in front of us today. i hadn't anticipated, mr. speaker, that i would have a moment on the floor of the house, my last moment on the floor of the house before i depart my service to the united states house of representatives and i'm grateful for that. as i reflect on the last 8 1/2 years, it has really been a pleasure, particularly to work on the science committee and to do that in what seems like a contentious environment sometimes but has been a lot of collegiality. and as i close my service in the congress, mr. speaker, i'm reminded that as a little girl i used to picnic with my father and my mother and my siblings on the west front of the capitol.
my dad was in his air force uniform, prepared to go back to work after we had had our little picnic. little girl, we'd run around to the east front of the capitol, mr. speaker, and climb the steps when you could climb the steps and we would sit there in between my father and look at on the united states supreme court and the library of congress. i never would have imagined, mr. speaker, that i would have an opportunity to serve in the house of representatives and it has been a great privilege and a joy to represent the people of the fourth congressional district of maryland. and i wish for my colleagues here in the congress that as we approach the 115th congress, and in the spirit of service to this great nation, that we work together in service to the nation and you know, when we come to work every day, mr. speaker, people think about, you know, things that are big and small, but for a lot of people out there, a lot of our
constituents, it's about their health, and their life, their safety and security, the ability of them to raise their children and to move forward and i wish that in the upcoming congress that we have an opportunity to do those things together and that you do. mr. speaker, i'd like to thank the staff of the science, space, and technology committee, and the space subcommittee, allen ee, pam whitney, dick,en the minority staff and the majority staff for all of their work. to the people who serve in this institution an serve us tremendously from the parliamentarians to the stenographers and clerk's staff and the marshal's service and the capitol police and all of it because it makes the trains run and means we can get the job done for the people of the crites. with that, mr. speaker, i close and i yield back the balance of my time. god bless the united states of
america. the speaker pro tempore: thank you very much. the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. babin: thank you, mr. speaker. once again i'd like to thank our full committee chairman, lamar smith and ranking subcommittee member, mrs. edwards from maryland and also our ranking member, full committee, eddie bernice johnson from texas as well and i'd also like to thank my staff and the staff of the full committee as well as the subcommittee who have work so hard to make this bill happen. it was so badly needed for our astronauts. at this point in time, mr. speaker, ide like to, the association of space explorers, the united states of america chapter, the group that represents america's astronauts, strongly endorsing this bill. i ask unanimous consent to enter the letter from the american association of space explorers into the record. this is signed by their president of the american
association of space explorers, astronaut michael he pez alegria. - michael lopez alegria. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. babin: i request a recorded vote as well. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman has yielded back the balance of his time. all time having expired on this bill, the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 6076 as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are suspened, the bill is passed and without objection the motion to reconsider -- mr. babin: mr. chairman, i request the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having risen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this
uestion will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass house amendment to s. 2971. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: senate 2971, an act to authorize the national urban search and rescue response system. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. barletta, and the gentleman from tennessee, mr. cohen, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania.
mr. barletta: i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on s. 2971 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. barletta: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for such time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for such time. mr. barletta: let me thank chairman shuster for his tremendous work on this issue. for eight years the bipartisan leadership of the transportation committee has been the driving force behind trying to get these reforms through congress and today we are closer than ever. i also want to thank ranking member defazio and ranking member carson for their bipartisan support. the house unanimously passed a nearly identical measure earlier this year as part of the fema disaster assistance reform act, h.r. 1471. today, when members of the search and rescue teams are federalized and sent across
state lines, they don't know who, if anyone, will pay for their injuries, disabilities, or deaths. so 2971 addresses that issue and clarified that long-standing concern which has hindered the deployment of critical search and rescue teams between states. currently, there are 28 usar teams across the nation. members of these teams are cross trained in areas such as search, rescue, medical, hazardous materials and logistics. the teams include firefighters, physicians, structural engineers and first respenders and they are trained and equipped with help from fema. while the members of these teams are not federal, they do not hesitate to respond to disasters in other states. these teams have been deployed over the years to numerous disasters, including the pentagon and world trade center
on 9/11, hurricane sandy, and most recently, hurricane matthew. the challenge has been that when these team members are federalized, they do not have clarity on who would be responsible if they were injured or even killed while performing their jobs. it is amazing that we ask these men and women to go into a collapsed structure to search for trapped survivors, risking life and limb, without providing them with a clarity when it comes to liability and injuries. the stories of these -- of the selfless heroism of these men and women are numerous and humbling. their work is tireless, physically and emotional demanding and nerve wracking. in hurricane matthew, one team helped make more than 100 rescues in north carolina alone. including the rescue of a 98-year-old hospice patient when they had to go into areas where
the water was five to seven feet. above street -- five to seven feet above street level and they could only see the tops of the street signs. in the aftermath of hurricane sandy a single task force rescued more than 850 individuals in 17 hours from a flooded area over -- overwhelmed by a tidal surge. there are hundreds more such as these accounts. these heroes play an essential role in the federal response to national disasters and ka it's a thes. in addition, the national usar system benefit ours state, local, and regional emergency managers and first responders through training, equipment, and preparedness. the local government and other entities that sponsor the members of the teams should not have to worry about being left vulnerable or exposed by allowing their employees to participate in such a critical
national asset. after eight years, it is time to give men and women who put their lives at risk the liability protections they and their families need and deserve. i urge my colleagues to support this bill and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time the chair will receive a message. the messenger: mr. speaker a message from the senate. the secretary: mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: madam secretary. the secretary: i have been directed by the senate to inform the house that the senate concurs in the house amendment to the senate amendment to h.r. 34 cited as the 21st century cures act. the speaker pro tempore: the chair now recognizes the gentleman from tennessee, mr. cohen. mr. cohen: thank you, mr. speaker. first i'd like to compliment the senate on passing the bill we passed last week, 21st century cures act which will help research and save the lives of many americans, something we did in a bipartisan fashion.
pleased that that happened. i rise in support of s. 2971, the national urban search and rescue response system act of 2016. as amended. which codifies the urban search and rescue response system. authorizing the urban search and rescue teams, better knowns a usar teams, and codifying proteches for team members such as workers comp and liability protections has been a top priority of mine since i introduced a bill to do so in 2007 , my first year in congress. i was pleased the late former democratic infrastructure chairman and outstanding member, mr. oberstar, now deceased, including my ewe sar language in-- my usar language included in a bill from 2010. now it's passed the house several times and the senate has passed one as well. the 28 urban search and rescue teams are strategically he kated across the united states and are
able -- and provide timely response in the aftermath of a disaster. these specialized teams of first responders provide search and rescue services, extraction from structural collapses and swift rapid rescue. their dedication is commendable as they drop everything in their daily lives to come to the assistance of those who need it. they even respond internationally. two usar teams were deployed in the aftermath of the earthquake in nepal and were responsible for many rescues from structural collapses. it is only appropriate that we make sure that they have this help they need to do their jobs and peace of mind regarding clarification of liability issues. usar teams may be comprised of police, emergency responders and k-9 handlers.
often they are civil servants. when activated for federal service they know their jobs will be waited at home for them. in addition, it helps usar recruit and retain new members. tennessee's usar, known as tennessee they have a strong commitment to their jobs and do an extraordinarily good be job. they have firefighters, police officers and civilians and respond to assist in the aftermath of disasters such as hurricane matthew in south carolina and the tragic wildfire in the smoke mountains. they did so despite the uncertainty. their actions are truly heroic and i applaud them. the protections in today's bill are long overdue and they will be taken care of if they are injured. i am sadly disappointed that the republican leadership is choosing when and when not to enforce its budget rules. the underlying senate bill
authorized such sums to carry out the usarr system. despite the house having passed the bill authorizing quote such sums as necessary for the public alert and warning system earlier this year, we are now told this violates budget rules and an amendment in further consideration by the senate is required. our usarr teams must wait another day to get the protections they did he are deserved. and we need to support them and their activities and thank the usarr teams for their service. and i thank mr. barr leta working on this bill as well. i urge my colleagues to support the legislation. mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from tennessee reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. barletta: i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from tennessee is recognized to close date.
mr. cohen: i have no further speakers and i will close and yield back the balance of the the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from tennessee yields back his time. the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized to close debate. mr. barletta: mr. speaker, i again urge my colleagues to vote yes on s. 2971. and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. all time having expired on this bill, the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass senate bill 2971 as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended -- mr. barletta: mr. speaker, i demand the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having arisen, yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8, rule 20, further proceedings on the uestion will be postponed.
for what purpose does the gentleman from utah seek recognition? chafechafe mr. speaker, i move the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 5790, the federal bureau of investigation whistleblower protection enhancement act of 2016 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: a bill to provide adequate protections for whistleblowers at the federal bureau of investigation. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from utah, mr. chafe et cetera and the gentlewoman from from michigan, mrs. lawrence, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from utah. chafechafe i yield myself such time as i may consume. i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and
extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on the bill under consideration the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. chafechafe i rise in support of h.r. 5970 as amended. we have great respect and admiration for the f.b.i. they do wonderful work and in fact, my grandfather was always proud of my grandfather, a career f.b.i. agent serving here in the greater washington, d.c., area and then up in pennsylvania for a long period of time. and it's because i respect the f.b.i. and its agents that i helped introduce this bill. the whistleblower protections in the f.b.i. have really not kept up with the rest of government. and that's why we need a change here. the whistleblowers at the f.b.i. should be given -- treated the same as they are within the rest of the federal government and this simple bill goes to help correct that. .r. 5790 would clarify
congress' long standing intent to the whistleblowers who take personnel action against them. while a great many changes remain to be made how the department of justice and f.b.i. respond to whistleblowers, this clarification is not a minor one. if implemented it would have far reaching implications in protecting whistleblowers at the f.b.i. just as congress intended in 1978 in the whistleblower protection act. mr. comey testified a year ago in the senate that he quote very much, end quote, supports legal protections for f.b.i. employees who follow f.b.i.'s own policies and report wrongdoing to their supervisors. similarly, the attorney general, loretta lynch testified, quote, we certainly protect those who report within their chain of command, end quote. i want to thank in particular the senate judiciary committee and specifically chairman chuck grassley for his leadership in
first introducing this version of the bill. we are grateful for the support of my colleagues included that keem jeffries who joined me as the lead democrat on this bill in the house. and i want to thank the ranking member member of the oversight committee, mr. cummings, a great friend and colleague and somebody who has been supportive of the passage of this bill and i thank him for his work and commitment on this issue. mr. cummings personally and through his dedicated staff have continually worked hand in hand on whistleblower protections and this is no exception. we sent a message that protecting whistleblowers is not a partisan issue. in passing this bill, marked the end of the road for reforming whistleblower protections at the f.b.i. in the next congress, i look forward to addressing other issues raised by the whistleblower community in the g.a.o. as well as the department of justice. i would urge my colleagues to
support this bill and reserve the balance of our my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from utah reserves. the gentlewoman from michigan is recognized. mrs. lawrence: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for such time. mrs. lawrence: i rise in support 790 which would provide protection for blowing the whistle to a supervisor and make it a prohibited personnel practice to retaliate against a whistleblower for making such a disclosure. this bill will ensure that f.b.i. employees are protected when they blow the whistle to certain other individuals including the inspector general of the department of justice and the office of special counsel. these small improvements to protect the protect f.b.i. whistleblowers is why i support this measure before us.
the version of this bill was reported by oversight committee would have done much more to protect the whistleblowers at the f.b.i. than the measure before us today. the introduced version of this bill would have strengthened the whistleblower protections for the f.b.i. employees by more closely aligning them with those of the rest of the federal work force. for example, it would have strength therned the appeals process for whistleblowers by requiring a.m. ate review by the torn -- appellate review by the attorney general and giving employees access to the court. it would have defined prohibited personnel practices to be consistent with those other federal employees than it would have prohibited the use of nondisclosure agreements unless the employee was fully aware of
his or her rights before signing such an agreement. we should work to enact these additional improvements in the next congress. all employees deserve strong whistleblower protection including our employees of the f.b.i. thank you, mr. speaker. and i reserve the balance of my time the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves the balance of her time and the gentleman from utah is recognized. chafechafe mr. speaker, i have no additional speakers and i will reserve my time to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from utah reserves. the gentlelady from michigan is recognized. mrs. lawrence: mr. speaker, i want to say to my co-chair, my ranking member, mr. cummings and to our chair of oversight for the hearings and the dedicated work to ensure that our f.b.i. agents are protected and any case of whistle blowing and mr.
speaker, i yield back the balance of my time the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her time and the gentleman from utah is recognized to close debate. chafechafe i thank ranking member mr. cummings and mrs. lawrence and this is a bipartisan issue to protect federal employ the f.b.i. so they can have the whistleblower protections and urge its adoption and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: all time having expired on this legislation, the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill 5790 as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and without objection -- chafechafe mr. speaker, i ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking
the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, pursuant to house resolution 944, i call up the bill h.r. 5143 to provide greater transparency and congressional oversight of international insurance standards setting processes and for other purposes and ask for its immediate consideration in the house. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 5143, a bill to provide greater transparency and
congressional oversight of international insurance standards setting processes and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to house resolution 944 in lieu of the amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the committee on financial services printed in the bill, an amendment in the nature of a substitute consisting of the text of rules committee print 114-68 is adopted and the bill as amended is considered read. the gentleman from texas, mr. hensarling and the gentlewoman from california, ms. waters, each will control 30 minutes. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. hensarling: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and submit extraneous materials on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. hensarling: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i my consume. today, i rise in support ever h.r. 5143, the transparency
insurance standards act of 2016 introduced by the chairman of the housing and insurance subcommittee of our committee, representative luetkemeyer. t enhances congress' constitutional oversight relating to insurance standards. mr. speaker, again this is legislation which is about accountability, transparency and oversight. more specifically, the legislation establishes a series of requirements to be met before the sned insurance office or the federal reserve may agree to accept established enter into or consent into a final international insurance standard. permit me to go into greater detail. first, the federal first they must publish any proposed standard and allow for public comment. public comment is critical to our posture, mr. speaker.
they must provide joint analysis of the impact the standard will have on consumers and u.s. insurance marks. before agreeing to any international standard relating to capital, the fed is required to first promulgate its domestic standard rule. since negotiate -- it sets negotiating for u.s. parties and also mandates that the federal insurance office and the fed report and testify before congress twice annually. finally, h.r. 514 ensures that the independent member with insurance expertise, who sits on the financial stability oversight council known as fsoc is permitted to assist the fsoc in international discussions and attend meetings in international bodies where insurance standards are discussed. for almost 150 years, u.s. insurance companies of every time, including property, life,
auto, all have been primarily regulated by our states. congress and the states have odationally reviewed the effectiveness of this state-based regulation system in coordinated efforts to achieve greater regulatory uniformity. in 1949, congress passed the mccarran-ferguson act which confirmed the state's regulatory authority over insurance except where federal law expressly provides otherwise. mr. speaker this changed with the passage of the dodd-frank act in 2010. dodd-frank changed the insurance landscape and further enlarged the federal government's role in the insurance industry by creating a federal office specifically tasked with insurance matters. dodd-frank established the insurance office at treasury and charged its directry with representing the interest of u.s. insurance in the negotiating of international agreements. among other thing, h.r. 5143 seeks to prevent federal
overreach and establishing essential guardrails for federal government when discussing insurance issues abroad. it is not intened to bring international negotiations to any type of halt. the team u.s.a. has experienced victories at the international association of insurance supervisors, it's kept congress informed of its attempt to negotiate the first of many covered agreements. however we should not underestimate the importance of the conversations or the implications they have on insurers and american consumers because they need to be heard, they need to be represented. it is the lead -- as the leader of a missouri-based mid sized insurance company has told our committee, quote, we worry about the potential negative impacts any international agreement could have on the domestic marketplace or the state based regulatory system that's served consumers and insurance needs for more than a simplery, end quote. he added, quote, congress should conduct strong oversight in this
area in order to protect domestic insurance markets, companies and especially -- especially their policyholders. strong oversight and transparency are indeed absolutely essential and that's what we get with this bill. it is imperative that our states, the executive branching and congress work cooperatively to signify to the swer national association of insurance soup visor, the financial stability board and foreign governments that we will only lend our name to standards and agrements that benefit u.s. consumers. the bill we are considering today will assuredly lead us to this goal. again, h.r. 5143 provides greater transparency and allows for a stronger team u.s.a. in negotiations. it sends a signal to foreign governments and international organizations that the u.s. again will lead and not be led into bad agreements. with greater congressional oversight the bill provides, we can ensure that any deal that is
reached will be a fair deal and a good deal for the american people. again, i want to thank my colleague, the gentleman from missouri, mr. luetkemeyer, for his leadership yet again on bringing an excellent bill to the house floor. i urge my colleagues to support this important piece of legislation and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas reserves the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from california seek recognition? ms. waters: i rise to yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for such time. ms. waters: mr. speaker, here we go again. last week the majority made it clear it was just getting started with the special interest giveaways at the expense of financial stability and consumer protection. now, before we adjourn, we are here to debate one last holiday gift to wall street. this bill's gift is less oversight of the largest insurers in the united states,
which will put us at risk for another a.i.g. don't forget, a.i.g. was bailed billion e tune of $182 and while democrats pass wall street reform to prevent another crisis and future bailouts, chairman lensar ling and donald trump have made it clore that dodd-frank son the -- is on the chopping block and without the safeguards in dodd-frank, a lack of capital standards for large insurance companies will put our economy at risk. but no one should be surprised at what's taking place here. this is donald trump's agenda. despite promises to hold wall street accountable, the president-elect is proposing an administration that is heavy on wall street insiders. and their plans will do little to help the millions of meshes struggling to get ahead.
that's why they have designed it in the way that they have. because trumpism isn't really about helping the middle class, it is about lining the pocks of some of our biggest banks and insurance companies. a.i.g., as i mentioned, is a poster child of the financial crisis. it engaged in financial activities that more closely resemble investment banking than traditional insurance. prior to the crisis, state regulators, which have primary jurisdiction over insurance companies, did not effectively account for a.i.g.'s activities related to securities lending. for example, which allowed it to skate by with minimum capital. when a.i.g.'s debts on mortgage backed securities failed it
collapsed and required a taxpayer bailout. we bailed out a.i.g. because it was a counterparty to nearly all of the largest global banks, meaning that if a.i.g. failed, it would bring down a series of global mega banks with it. so under dodd-frank, we improved the oversight of insurance companies by giving federal regulators the necessary tools to prevent another collapse of large, globally active insurance companies. we're talking about the big boys here. a.i.g., metlife and prudential. for the past several years, federal regulators have been overseeing systemically important financial institutions which are identified as such because they are expected to pose a substantial risk to our financial stability if they fail. our federal regulators have also een negotiating with 140 other
countries on international standards for large connected insurers. however, today's bill is designed to undermine the progress made on this front and to ultimately prevent the adoption of these capital standards in the united states. in fact, h.r. 5143 would add layers of burdensome red tape and unworkable requirements on our federal negotiators. making it virtually impossible for them to advocate effectively for u.s. interests on these issues or agree to any kind of standards, for example, this bill would prevent negotiators from agreeing to any standards unless it focused exclusively on a company's ability to pay claims. however, boe if -- focusing exclusively on a company's ability to pay claims can leave those same policyholders
vulnerable to systemic failure. however, by crippling our sabblet to engage effectively on international insurance issue, bill will ensure that the rest of the world will moven of to adopt standards that are not in our best interests. at worst, this bill -- and worse, this bill is unconstitutional, something that administration details in its statement of policy, raising multiple conflicts between the president's exclusive authority on international agreements and the bill's requirement to directly include state insurance commissioners in international negotiations. at best this bill is a solution in search of a problem. it caters to an -- to a fear that internationally agreed upon policies could be forced upon small domestic insurance companies and unwilling states. let me again reiterate that the
standards being negotiated internationally are for the largest insurers that operate all over the world, companies like a.i.g., metlife and prudential. it is a scare tactic to claim that these standards would be applied to anyone but the largest and most interconnected global insurers. second, states can never be compelled to adopt international standards such as these. these standards are nonbinding and each individual state has the discretion to adopt them, modify them, or reject them entirely after going through their full regulatory process. third, stake holders have ample opportunity to weigh in on these discussions. for example, federal negotiators have held multiple sessions with stake holders to provide input and the international
association of insurance supervisors has greatly improved public access and consultation, yet this bill, h.r. 5143, would require several additional notice and comment periods and several other layers of unnecessary red tape. to make matters worse, the sponsor po poses to pay for the bill east costs by taking $7 million from the securities and exchange reserve fund, which means that our financial watchdog will be unable to respond to unforeseen events like the flash crash. in short this bill would ask taxpayers to pay for the cost of rejecting capital standards taking away the funding that s.e.c. needs to respond to emergency situations that threaten financial stability. that just doubles down on the irresponsible policymaking we've
seen by the opposite side of the aisle. as the veto threat issued by the white house on this bill state, and i quote, the nation has made great progress as a result of dodd-frank and we cannot allow this bill to hamper the united states' ability to implement the best standards for our unique regulatory regime,ent quote. -- end quote. mr. speaker, it's clear that republicans will go to any lengths necessary to give industry what it wents, less oversight, less supervision, and less regulation. republicans have repeatedly tried to hamstring our efforts to more effectively monitor and respond to systemic risk by working to dismantle the fsoc and its designation authority for sifis. they have called the fsoc unconstitutional and helped companies like metlife challenge its designation in court.
so i'm not really surprised that republicans would close out 2016 by bringing this bill to the floor, but i am disappointed because the american people deserve better. for these reasons, i would urge my leagues to vote no on this bill. i thank you, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. hensarling: i'm pleased to yield three minutes to the the of h.r. 5143, gentleman from missouri, chairman of the housing an insurance subcommittee, mr. luetkemeyer, three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for three minutes. mr. luetkemeyer: thank you, mr. speaker, and thank you, mr. chairman, for your untireless help and support for getting this bill to where it is today. insurance serves as the back bone for financial independence for millions of americans. it offers support so consumers
can be sure they're protected in the event of a loss. our history has a nation of thoughtful insurance regulation and strong consumer confidence. to ensure that we need to ensure that foreign regulators don't do anything to jeopardize that. it would ensure regional requirements to submit before the team u.s.a., the treasury department and other parties, consent to adoption of final insurance standard, h.r. 5143 would also require team u.s.a. to publy any proposed final standard for congressional review an public comment. it would institute a 90-day layover period allowing congress to block any international agreement but also ensure state insurance commissioners a broader role, protecting our state-based policy system that has served policyholders so well. in doing so, it would not only help protect the best interests
of u.s. insurance customers but also restore power vested in congress in article 1 of the constitution. mr. speaker, when the financial services you the intent was to craft a bill but provided this body and the public with more opportunity. as such h.r. 5143 has been drafted with a wide variety of stack hoileders and generated broad support. this bill is not intended to bring the international process to a grinding halt but serve as leverage and ensure when a position to export domestic standards rather than import the european centric ones. our constituents don't read about international insurance standards. these conversations and negotiations have real implications on u.s. companies and more importantly every american policy holder. consideration of this bill shouldn't be a partisan affair. many of my friends and
constituents would like to see more sunshine on that. the states and executive branch and congress work cooperatively to signal to the foreign governments and only lend our names to standards and agreements that will will not be led. i chairman hensarling and i urge my colleagues to vote in favor. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from missouri yields back. the gentlelady from california is recognized. ms. waters: i yield four minutes to the gentleman from missouri, ranking member of the housing and insurance subcommittee on the financial services committee, mr. cleaver. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from missouri is recognized for four minutes. mr. cleaver: i thank the ranking member for allowing me to speak on this legislation. i find greater satisfaction on
working on legislation with the subcommittee chairman than opposing such. but mr. speaker, i do, in fact, will e that h.r. 5143 nooro taylor reporting a go negotiating requirement that must be completed before any any sfarned can be agreed upon. the wake of the financial crisis the federal insurance office was tasked with representing the united states at international insurance forum. the f.i.o. have been negotiating along side the federal reserve and national association of insurance commissioners on behalf of our country's insurance interests. they have held numerous hearings on this topic giving us a.m. will opportunity to more fully
understand the process as being undertaken at the national insurance association of supervisors as well as other international bodies. it is critical that team u.s.a. continue to advocate strongly on behalf of the u.s. insurance system and it is imperative that we do not hamstring their ability to do so. more specifically, the bill contains a number of provisions that would ultimately delay our negotiations abroad. if we limit the ability of our negotiators to do their job, we lose our seat at the international table, which i believe will weaken our position. like most on the other side, i am a strong proponent of the state-based system. our missouri insurance commissioner has recently held a national position. and in order to effectively
communicate our position and advocate for this american system, we need to make sure our international representatives are empowered and we believe that this actually impacts their role at the table. additionally, none of the standards that may be decided upon internationally are binding and this is perhaps the most significant thing that i'm saying and that is as everyone knows, the states would have to approve any standards because we can't impose those standards on them. they would have to agree to domestically approve these standards and would have to go to each and every state and it won't be approved on the federal level. this process would include a notice and a comment period. and so i do believe that this bill does not address a single problem. it does not fix any broken part
of this process that is going on. and with that, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. hensarling: thank you, mr. speaker. it is with great provided and a heavy -- pride and heavy heart that i yield to the next gentleman. a heavy heart because i believe this will be the last time that i yield to the gentleman from texas, mr. neugebauer and with great pride for 14 years, i have called him friend and colleague. he is retiring from this institution and tireless in his service to our committee, his constituents and this country. he has been a tireless advocate for the cause of freedom, free enterprise and the lot of the common man and common woman and this will be a lesser institution upon his departure. i yield two minutes to the
gentleman from texas, my friend, randy neugebauer. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. neugebauer: i thank the chairman for his leadership and kind words and has been a great pleasure to serve on this financial services committee. i think we have done some good work and i have enjoyed working with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle on some issues as well. so we wish you the very best as you continue as a committee to work on behalf of americans all across the country to make sure they have access to the financial products that they need for their families. mr. speaker, i rise in support f h.r. 5143 offered by mr. luetkemeyer. the transparent insurance standard act is critically important in ensuring the model for regulating insurance is preserved and international agreements benefit u.s. consumers. since the passage of dodd-frank act, the increased role of the
federal government in insurance regulation has led to changes in u.s. participation in international insurance forums like the international association of insurance providers. the federal office is charged with representing the interests during negotiations of international agreements. the federal reserve is an active participant in international standards setting bodies. over the last several years, developments in international insurance supervision has created tension with our state-based model. the european union has moved towards a single regulatory structure for its member states. his effort known as solvency two will harmonize the regimes in many european nations. many say it will be adopted as the gold standard for international insurance supervision. solvency two could put the u.s.
industry and policy holders at a disadvantage. h.r. 5143 is an important legislation that enhances congressional oversight of international deliberations for insurance regulation. it holetsdz the f.i.o. and federal reserve to important benchmarks to ensure that u.s. interests are being represented. the agencies must provide joint analysis on the impact of proposed international standards on u.s. consumers and insurance markets. it allows public comment on any proposed final standard -- mr. hensarling: i yield the gentleman an additional one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. neugebauer: it allows the public comment on any proposed final standard that the u.s. may agree to. these regulatory checks are not new to the u.s. agencies who must comply with certain administrative procedure acts when setting federal standards. there may be critical role for u.s. representatives, it is
important to ensure that the u.s. interests are not pushed aside in the name of global harmony. i urge my colleagues to support h.r. 5143 and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas yields back. the gentlewoman from california is recognized. ms. waters: i now yield two minutes to the gentlelady from new york, the ranking member of the capital markets and government sponsored enter price subcommittee of the financial services committee, mrs. maloney. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. mrs. maloney: i thank congressman neugebauer for his outstanding service to this institution, to his district and to this country. he has been an outstanding member and pleasure to serve with him. we will miss you. thank you for your friendship, your consideration and your really hard work for good sound policy in this country.
thank you. mr. speaker, i rise today in opposition to h.r. 5143. i believe that it would undermine the fed's ability to negotiate international agreements on insurance regulation and i think that that will cause a big problem for insurance in our country. telling the fed that they can't agree to any international standard on insurance that isn't already the law in the united states absolutely makes no sense whatsoever. the other countries would simply stop negotiating with us and i believe we would lose our voice and our seat at the table and that's not good for america. it's also important to remember that nothing the fed or treasury agrees to internationally can be binding on state insurance
regulators. that's already the law. we don't need a new law to tell us that. but the fed does regulate 14 insurance companies through their holding companies, and this has been a federal authority and there's nothing new about that. the fed should be able to align the insurance regulations that has authority over with the regulations in other countries. one of the big lessons of the scandal and of the economic downturn of 2008 was that different regulatory regimes in different countries could have different incentives and some of them were bad incentives. a.i.g., the only problems that existed in this country were the different incentives in england. but i am very uncomfortable with a bill that hamstrings the federal reserve's ability to regulate the safety and
soundness of the large insurance company holdings that it has authority over and to ensure that those regulatory standards are consistent internationally. so i urge my colleagues to vote no on this bill. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentlelady has expired. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. hensarling: i yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from from missouri and i ask unanimous consent that he control the remainder of such time. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. the gentleman from missouri is recognized. mr. luetkemeyer: i recognize the the gentleman from h the gentleman from michigan, two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is recognized for two minutes. >> i thank the chairman to protect the insurance regulatory model that served our nation for 150 years and to my colleague from new york i'm very comfortable with this bill and the underlying philosophy that
has brought us here. because, mr. speaker, i'm a former state representative in the michigan legislature and i know firsthand that michigan does a better job of protecting policy holders within their borders than the federal government does or could. michigan knows how to maintain a robust insurance marketplace that works for michigan customers, but additionally, michigan serves as an entry point for several foreign companies who then come into the u.s. marketplace. however there are bureaucrats in washington that believe they know best. the dodd-frank act expanded the federal government's role in the insurance marketplace by creating the office and charging the director with representing the u.s. during international agreements. at the same time, the dodd-frank act changed domestic insurance regulation and changed in u.s. participation at the international association of iais.nce supervisors or
it develops international insurance regulations for 190 jurisdictions and in more than 140 countries to then adopt those. i am concerned this could replace the state-based insurance regulatory model with international standards that were created by unselected european bureaucrats. our states as justice brandeis coined, laboratories of democracy and in his words that a state may if the citizens choose serve as a laboratory and try ideas without risks. i can't think of a better experiment than the state-based insurance regulatory system. that's why the protections provided in the transparent insurance standards act are so vitally important. the straightforward bill simply gives the states and congress the opportunity to comment on any international insurance standard before it may be