Skip to main content

tv   U.S. House Debates Veterans Affairs Retention and Recruitment Bill  CSPAN  March 17, 2017 9:00am-10:17am EDT

9:00 am
-- insurers. it that way. kathleen -- pre appreciate your time today. >> good to be with you. st. patrick's day. >> now we take you to the floor of the house. live coverage here on c-span. chaplain conroy: let us pray. merciful god, thank you for giving us another day. your care and wisdom are shown to us by the way you extend your kingdom into our world down to the present day. your word reveals every aspect of your saving plan. designed ish your purpose in and through the hearts of the faithful who respond to you. today convert our minds and hearts that we may become the great nation you hope us to be.
9:01 am
help the membersf this people's house to seek your presence in the midst of their busy lives. animate them with your spirit and help them to perform their appointed tasks, to come to solutions that will redown to the benefit of our nation. may all that is done this day be for your greater honor and glory, amen. the speaker: the compare compare and announces to the house his approval thereof. -- the compare compare and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1, the journal stands approved. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? mr. testimonyson: mr. speaker, pursuant to clause 1, rule 1, i demand a vote on agreeing to the speaker's approval of the journal. the speaker: the question is on agreeing to the speaker's approval of the journal. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the aye vs. t the journal stands approved. mr. thompson: mr. speaker. the speaker: for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? mr. thompson: mr. speaker, i object to the vote on the grounds that a quorum is not present and make a point of order a quorum is not present. the speaker: pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further
9:02 am
proceedings on this question are postponed. the pledge of allegiance will be led by the gentleman from mississippi, mr. harper. mr. harper: i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker: the chair will entertain up to five requests for one minute speeches on each side of the aisle. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? mr. thompson: mr. speaker, request unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. e speaker: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, last week with representative susan dell bean i introduced the timber innovation act to help find new and innovative uses for wood as a building material. proudly the allegheny national forest is a part of the fifth congressional district of pennsylvania. communities in my district depend on the revenue from high valued timberg and forest products generated by the forests as well as privately
9:03 am
held lands throughout the commonwealth. this encouraging the advancement of rouks. since our earliest days we use wood as a building material. new technology will help expand and develop the use of wood it in larger construction projects. currently most wood buildings do not exceed three to four stories in height. but we hope to change that. there are -- there is so much potential for mass timber in this -- this bill truly encourages new advancements in wood construction. this bill is good for both consumers and the industry and i encourage my colleagues to support this bipartisan bill and advance the sustainable forest management and opportunities in our rural communities. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. lowenthal: thank you, mr. speaker. since 2013, i have flown the
9:04 am
pride flag outside my d.c. office in solidarity with the lgbt community. according to the house historian, i was the first to do so, a fact that i am very proud of. yesterday outside my office in washington, d.c., a man took that flag out of its holder, threw it on the ground, and stomped on it. he called the flag disgusting and immoral. this flag is a symbol of pride for the lgbt community. an international symbol of love , understanding, equality, and hope. the shadows of intolerance have grown longer in recent days. bomb threats called in to jewish community centers, desecrations of jewish cemeteries, hate crimes against minorities, and the transgender community. horrifically racist statements from a member of this body.
9:05 am
to all our brothers and sisters who endure through these hateful acts, we stand with you and we will continue to fight for your rights and your equality. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. >> mr. speaker, you can learn a lot from when you listen. and during times like these when political infighting makes difficult to hear everyone's voice, we need to try even harder. so today i would like to encourage all of my constituents in the illinois 2th district to visit boss .house.gov back slash your story to share your personal perspective on the affordable care act. again that's boss.house.gov back slash your personal story. mr. bost: if your family received care you need it i
9:06 am
want to hear about it. if the law put in you a situation where you don't have insurance and have higher premiums, i want to hear about that, too. it's important we deal with this health care issue and reform it so that it works for all people. for te people of southern illinois, i want to hear your story. with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> request unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. >> thank you, mr. speaker. president trump has made some implausible statements recently, but one that certainly takes the cake on the issue of health care is when he said, nobody knew that health care could be so complicated. well, for president trump and those who are attacking the affordable care act, i'd like to talk about one little boy who challenges this claim. this week we know from the nonpartisan c.b.o. just how devastating the trump-ryan health repeal would be for millions of americans, including brett, a 9-year-old boy who lives in my district. mr. huffman: he battled and won a tough fight with leukemia,
9:07 am
and he spoke to a town hall in my district on monday where he said, thanks to the affordable care act my parents don't have to worry about losing coverage because i have a pre-existing can be. my family knows exactly how much money our health care will cost. i can stay on my parents' plan and get medical insurance when gi to college and medical school. he added one more thing. he said, i may only be 9 years old, but i have known for a long time that health care is complicated. mr. trump, if only you had spoken to this 9-year-old before trying to gut health care for millions of americans. let's not go backward on health care in this country. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute. revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. >> mr. speaker, i rise to express my condolences to the families of the three air force officers who were killed in a plane crash earlier this week in new mexico. two of these officers had
9:08 am
strong ties to the sixth congressional district in florida, and particularly have a lucia county. captain becker graduated from hembree aeronautical university in daytona beachn 2007, was a great student, real world pete beater, did he what many graduates will do, he served our country with honor and distinction and we're thankful for his service to this country and we send our condolences to his wife. first lieutenant drew graduated from the air force academy in 2013 after growing up here. this special guy who dedicated his life to serving our country and defending our freedoms. the community is cadened by his loss and his parents are in our thoughts and prayers. may god bless these fine young men and may god bless their memory and the united states of america. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from new york seek recognition? without objection.
9:09 am
mrs. maloney: mr. speaker, today i join with millions around the globe to celebrate st. patrick's day. the united states of america would not be the country we're today without the enormous contributions of millions of irish immigrants. and their desendents. from serving in every war, our country has ever faced, and leading our country at every level of government, irish americans have done it all. and today more than 33 million irish americans claim irish ancestry. tragically our country didn't always welcome the irish. during the late 19th and 20th cenries, irish arriving on our shores were met with contempt, disdain, and with signs that read -- irish need not apply. but they persisted and our country is all the better for it.
9:10 am
so today st. patrick's day i thank you and say thank you to all the irish men and women who helped shape the great country we're today. thank you. happy st. patrick's day. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from mississippi seek recognition 1234 >> by direction of the committee on house administration, i call up house res. 173 and ask for its immediate consideration. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the resolution. the clerk: house calendar number 20, house resolution 173, resolved, section 1, committee expenses for the 115th congress. a, in general, with respect to the 115th congress, there shall
9:11 am
be paid out of the applicable amount accounts of the house of representatives in accordance with this primary expense resolution not more than the amount specified in subsection b for the expenses, including the expenses of all staff salaries of each committee named in such subsection. b, committees and amounts, the committees and amendments referred to in subsection a are ommittee on agriculture, $11,437,517. >> dispense with the reading of the resolution. the speaker pro tempore: is there objection? hearing none, so ordered. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized for one hour. >> mr. speaker, for the purpose of debate only, i yield the customary 30 minutes to the gentleman from pennsylvania and the ranking member of the committee on house administration, mr. brady, pending which i yield myself such time as i may consume. during consideration of this resolution all time yielded is for the purpose of debate only. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized.
9:12 am
>> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to evise and extend their remarks consideration on house resolution 173. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. harper: mr. speaker, i rise today in support of house resolution 173, a resolution which authorizes house committee budget levels for the 115th congress. each congress the house looks to the committee on house administration to carry out the responsibility of determining the amount needed to fund standing house committees for this year and next. our committee began this process by holding a hearing to receive input from the chairman and ranking members of the various standing committees. i thank each of them and their staffs for providing us and our colleagues with the information needed to help our committee determine the appropriate funding levels. i also want to extend my sincere thanks for the collaborative manner in which the chairman and ranking
9:13 am
members worked together to create a budget request that is really targeted to meet their legislative and important oversight responsibilities. my colleagues and i took the priorities laid out in the hearing we held into account and together our committee passed by unanimous voice vote the bipartisan funding resolution that is before us today. and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i yield myself suchime as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the ntleman is recognized. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i rise in support of the resolution before us. the credit for this bipartisan legislation goes to my colleague and friend, the gentleman from mississippi. i want to thank chairman harper for his bipartisan cooperation, developing this agreement. -- this agreeable legislation. all committees should follow our lead. i also want to thank our staff democrat and republican side for putting together a bill that we have on the floor today. mr. speaker, i support this legislation. we're considering now.
9:14 am
i reserve the balance of my time. -- yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from mississippi. mr. harper: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. harper: want to express my appreciation to the ranking member of the committee, mr. brady. the cooperation that we have had. i -- that we have had is, i think, a good model to follow. i thank him for his support. i yield back the balance of my time. i move the previous question on the resolution. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the previous question is ordered. the question is on adoption of the resolution. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the aye vs. t the resolution is agreed to. without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table.
9:15 am
the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to house resolution 198 and rule 18, the chair declares the house in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for the further consideration of h.r. 1367. will the gentleman from idaho, mr. simpson, kindly take the chair. the house is in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for the further consideration of h.r.
9:16 am
1367 which the clerk will report by title. the clerk: a bill to improve the authority of the secretary of veterans affairs to hire and retain physicians and other employees of the department of veterans affairs, and for other urposes. the chair: when the committee of the whole rose on thursday, march 16, 2017, all time for general debate had expired. pursuant to the rule, the bill shall be considered for amendment under the fi-minute rule. it shall be in order to consider as an original bill for the purpose of amendment under the five-minute rule an amendment in the nature of a substitute consisting of the text of rules committee print 115-6. that amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be considered as read. no amendment nature of a substitute shall be in order except those printed in part b of house report 115-39. each such amendment may be offered only in the order printed in the report by a member designated in the report, shall be considered as read, shall be debatable for the time specified in the divided ually divide
9:17 am
by an proponent and opponent. it is now in order to consider amendment number 1 printed in part b of house report 115-39. for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio seek recognition? mr. wenstrup: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and xtend their remarks and to insert extraneous material in the record for h.r. 1367. the chair: the gentleman's request will have to be made in the full house. does the gentleman seek to offer his amendment? mr. wenstrup: yes. i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 1 printed in part b of house report 115-39 offered by mr. wenstrup of ohio. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 198, the gentleman from ohio, mr. wenstrup, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. gentleman from ohio. mr. wenstrup: thank you. my manager's amendment mak a number of mor technical changes to the bill and would
9:18 am
reduce discretionary costs while maintaining the overall intent of the bill. the biggest change that would be made in the manager's amendment is the removal of section 11 of the bill which would track a number of hiring effectiveness metrics. that section alone scored at $6 million because the congressional budget office expected that v.a. would have to hire an additional employee in each veterans' integrated service network in order to gather that information. i disagree with that assertion and continue to working on that provision to hopefully include it in future legislation in some form. in addition the manager's amendment would authorize but not require v.a. to track and match qualified job applicants for vacant positions using the database that the bill establishes. they said they would have to hire 40 employees with an average compensation of $100,000 per year meaning it would cost $19 million. again, i disagree with that assertion that such a task
9:19 am
could not be accomplished using existing staff. the subcommittee on health, which i'm proud to chair, is holding an oversight hearing next week which i intend to ask the v.a. how they would use the database and whether it would entail additional employees. should it appear that v.a. would not use the recruiting database to identify qualified candidates in open positions in a timely manner and fulfill vacancies i will mandate that in future legislation. it would stipulate the additional human resources training will be done virtually. it would extend the timeline to implement the management fellowship from 90 days to one year which would provide v.a. additional time to set up this important new leadership development program. and would extend the g.a.o. reporting deadline from one to two years which would provide g.a.o. additional time to complete their investigation into v.a.'s succession planning. i urge the adoption of the amendment and reserve the balance of my time. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from
9:20 am
minnesota seek recognition? walz mr. chairman, i -- mr. walz: mr. chairman, i rise in opposition. as mentioned last night during general debate, the v.a. has experienced a shortage of medical providers. it affects the quality of care a veteran may receive. dr. wenstrup's amendment is smart, will provide information to compete with non-v.a. facilities. the honorable member from ohio has worked hard to ensure this is reasonable from all sides. i'm grateful for that i do not object to the various changes he's proposing, put this timeline to the deadline to establishing and recruiting database. this is exactly what we should v.a. g, making sure the -- should be doing, making sure the v.a. gets the best possible people. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from ohio. mr. wenstrup: i yield back. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the
9:21 am
gentleman from ohio. all those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. he amendment is agreed to. it's now in order to consider amendment number 2 printed in part b of house report 115-39. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from new york seek recognition? ms. meng: mr. chair, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 2 printed in part b of house report 115-39 offered by ms. meng of new york. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 198, the gentlewoman from new york, ms. meng, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from new york. ms. meng: thank you, mr. chair. thank you, representative wenstrup for his thoughtful bill, and thank you to chairman roe and weab walz for bringing it to -- and ranking member walz for bringing it to the floor today. clearly, there are department shortages within the department of veterans affairs and there are things that needs to be done. personally i think this legislation is a good first step toward improving the
9:22 am
v.a.'s ability to identify staffing shortages, recrew and retain high-quality employees and onboard new hires. the amendment i'm offering today speaks to identification of staffing shortages portion of this bill. der currlaw, 38 u.s.c. 7412, tbe exact, the inspector general of the v.a. is required to submit a report to the v.a. secretary annually highlighting the five personnel occupations within -- with the largest staffing shortages throughout the department. after receiving this report, the secretary is then permitted to recrew and directly appoint qualified -- recruit and directly appoint qualified individuals to fill these vacancies. it one will require the i.g. to report on not just the five occupations with the largest staffing shortages, it will require the i.g. to report on the five clinical and five nonclinical occupations with
9:23 am
the largest shortages within the v.a. it will require this reporting to be done for each medical center. mr. chair, i think this is a wonderful change, one that is sorely needed. what my amendment would do is add to this expanded reporting requirement a simple clarification. the i.g. must report at minimum the five clinical and nonclinical occupations with the largest staffing shortages at each facility. it would allow the i.g. to report more should his findings require it. this amendment is not an additional reporting requirement. it simply makes clear should the i.g. find additional staffing shortages he may highlight those so the secretary may fill them more quickly. t is necessary to pass similar legislation two, three, or four years from now. the veterans need help now.
9:24 am
the first step in that endeavor is making sure that v.a. staffing levels are adequate. again, mr. chair, i'm pleased to see this bill on the floor today and to do my small part in ensuring veterans get the care they need. i urge my colleagues to support this amendment which would allow the v.a. inspector general to highlight additional staffing shortages within the department, and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman reserves the balance of her time. the gentleman from ohio. mr. wenstrup: mr. chair, i ask unanimous consent to rise in opposition although i am not opposed. the chair: without objection. the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. wenstrup: mr. chair, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. wenstrup: i rise in support of representative meng's amendment which would stipulate the annual determination of veterans health administration staffing shortages must include at least five clinical occupations and five nonclinical occupations within each v.a. medical center. this amendment rightfully recognizes that some v.a. medical centers may have staffing challenges that extend just beyond 10 occupations and
9:25 am
provides sufficient flexibility for this reporting requirement which triggers v.a.'s direct hiring authority to accommodate that by reporting more than five clinical and five nonclinical occupations as needed. i urge all my colleagues to join me in supporting this amendment and i thank representative meng for submitting it. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentlelady from new york. ms. meng: i just want to say thank you very much. i urge support of this amendment and yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from ohio. mr. wenstrup: i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from new york. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the ayes have it and the amendment is agreed to. it's now in order to consider amendment number 3 printed in part b of house report 115-39. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from alabama seek recognition? ms. sewell: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will digte the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 3 printed in part b house report 115-39 offered by ms. sule of alabama.
9:26 am
-- ms. sewell of alabama. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 198, the gentlewoman from alabama, ms. sewell, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from alabama. ms. sewell: i rise in support to enhance recruitment and retainment strategies at the v.a. medical centers. while we focus on strengthening the v.a. work force, we must also focus on making sure geographical diversity of our v.a. work force is reflective of the veteran patient population and that rural populations are adequately represented. i would like to thank chairman roe and ranking member walz for working with me on this critically important amendment and for your dedication to our nation's veterans. my amendment is simple. it allows the secretary to select eligible employees for the fellowship program who represent or serve rural communities in order to alleviate the systematic burdens of rural health care work force shortages for our nation's veterans. in order to best serve our nation's heroes from rural
9:27 am
america, we must invest in training v.a. workers who understand the unique needs of rural america. this amendment would help sure that veterans who are serviced by rural v.a.'s have access to the most cutting edge health care industry procedures and practices. my amendment also helps address an issue that is indicative of a larger systemic issue in rural america where health care work force recruitment is a barrier to improved population health. work force shortages, especially in health care, permeate every aspect of rural life aggregating an already long driving distances and minimal access to care. there is significant evidence that increased recruitment and retention of professionals to underserved areas can exist if we recruit people from rural areas to come into our health care profession. to help address concerns of veterans' access to care, congress established the office of rural health within the v.a.
9:28 am
in 2007. this office has done outstanding work over the years to recruit, train and retain rural health care professionals. everything we do in congress in relation to the v.a. work force must complement that work. approximately 25% of our nation's veterans live in rural communities and comprised nearly 20% of the adult population. rural veterans account for 36% of all v.a. enrollees. 43% of rural veterans earn an annual income of less than $26,000, and more than 40% do not have access to broadband internet. this limit accessibility of rural veterans to online health care services. according to the census, the rates of uninsurable -- unemployment among veterans all increase as the levels of rural communities increase. four in 10 have at least one
9:29 am
service-connected disability. in the seventh congressional district of alabama, it's home to 36,000 veterans and over 5,000 v.a. employees at eight facilities. i visited with the v.a. staff at several of these facilities, and i'm always impressed with the work that they do every day on behalf of our nation's veterans. with all of the negativity surrounding our v.a. employees over the past several years, i want to take this opportunity to commend those public servants who rise every morning to help our veterans lead productive and healthy lives. i hope my colleagues, both urban and rural, will work with me to ensur rural veterans thrive in their communities and rural americans are included in this outstanding v.a. work force recruitment bill. i urge my colleagues to support this amendment and reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman reserves the balance of her time. the gentleman from ohio. mr. wenstrup: mr. chair, i ask unanimous consent to rise in opposition although i am not opposed. the chair: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. wenstrup: mr. chair, i rise in support of representative sewell's amendment. this allows the secretary to
9:30 am
provide a preference for employees in rural areas. according to the v.a.'s office of rural health, there are three million veterans living in rural communities across the country who rely on the v.a. health care system for their care. it's critical that v.a. medical facilities in rural areas are given access to leadership development opportunities like the executive management fellowship program so that rural veterans benefit from them. i urge all my colleagues to join me in supporting this amendment and i thank representative sewell for submitting it. with that i reserve the balance of my time. . the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from alabama. ms. sewell: i thank the gentleman for supporting my amendment. i urge my colleagues to support it as well. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio. mr. wenstrup: at this time i yield the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the question son the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from alabama. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. it is now in order to consider amement number 4 printed in
9:31 am
part b of house report 115-39. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from hawaii seek recognition? ms. hanabusa: mr. speaker, i rise to speak on my amendment to strike section 6, re-employment of former employees. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentlewoman from have an amendment at the desk. ms. hanabusa: yes. the clerk: amendment number 4, printed in part b of house report number 114-39. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to house resolution 198, the gentlewoman from hawaii, ms. hanabusa, and member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from hawaii. ms. hanabusa: i rise to speak on my amendment to strike section 6 re-employment of former employees. i understand value of re-hiring competent and former employees who left and want to return to -- to serve our veterans at the department of veterans affairs. however the current text would allow the secretary to rehire a former employee without the former employee going through any competitive process, and the current text allows the secretary to hire them at a grade higher than when they were previously in the
9:32 am
department. i ask my colleagues, what about the hardworking competent employees who chose not to leave the department of veterans affairs who dedicated their lives to serving veterans? is it fair for them for former employees to re-enter civil service without going through the competitive selection process and be rewarded with an automatic pay grade increase? my amendment supports the retention of the federal hiring process that is fair and time tested. and urgey colleagues to support mymendment. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yield back? the gentleman from ohio. mr. wenstrup: mr. chair, i ask unanimous consent to rise in opposition. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. wenstrup: i rise in opposition to represent hanabusa's amendment which would strike section 6 of the bill. section 6 would allow v.a. to noncompetitively re-appoint a former v.a. employee to a position not more than one grade higher than their former position as long as the employee left voluntarily,
9:33 am
within the prior two years, had a satisfactory performance record, and maintained necessary license sure and credentials. the former employees who would be helped by this section had performed admirably, left voluntarily, and gone on to gain relevant education or experience the v.a. needs. they should be encouraged to come back to v.a. and put their new skills to work for our veterans not required to go through a lengthy competitive selection process at v.a. for the second time. striking this provision would deprive v.a. of an authority that could be used to address access and other challenges by recruiting high performing former employees back to v.a. employment. i urge all my colleagues to join me in opposing this amendment. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman has is the only one that has time remaining. mr. wenstrup: i yield. i urge my colleagues to oppose me in this amendment. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the amendment offer by the gentlewoman from
9:34 am
hawaii. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. noes have t the amendment is not agreed . to. is not agreed the chair: it is now in order to consider amendment number 5 printed in part b of house report 115-39. for what purpose does the gentleman from colorado seek recognition? mr. buck: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 5, printed in part b of house report number 115-39, offered by mr. buck of colorado. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 198, the gentleman from colorado, mr. buck, and a member posed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from colorado. mr. buck: thank y, mr. chairman. i rise today in support of my amendment to h.r. 1367. first i thank chairman roe and representative wenstrup for bringing this bill before us today and for consideration of my amendment. as americans, as members of congress, our job is to serve and care for our veterans once they return home. that's what h.r. 1367 does. my amendment strengthens this important bill, guaranteeing that the department of veterans
9:35 am
affairs can employ the best people to care for our veterans. my amendment makes clear that former political appointees at the v.a. are not eligible for direct hire authority for competitively selected positions without first going through the proper civil service hiring process. americans veterans deserve the top care from people who are devoted to serving thefment the v.a. is run by hardworking civil servants, men and women, hired in a competitive merit-based process that assess their skill and passion for serving our nation's veterans. political appointees on the other hand are meant to serve their appointing president's agenda for a temporary period of time. part of their duty to the nation is to know when it's time to step down from their position of power. my amendment prevents former v.a. political appointees from using their political connections to jump ahead of other qualified individuals burroing into a high-paying career position at the v.a. along with my friend and colleague, representative i
9:36 am
already addressed the problem of political burroing. h.r. 1132 would prevent political appointees from burroing into the civil service across the government for two years after leaving their position. until that bill is enacted, this amendment will ensure that the most qualified workers are filling the crucial jobs at the v.a. providing our veterans the treatment they deserve. we must protect the independence of our merit-based civil service. we must employ the best people in the v.a. we must guard our veterans from the failed policies and practices of administrations past. i urge a yes vote on my amendment. and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from minnesota seek recognition? >> i rise in opposition although i am not opposed to the amendment. the chair: without objection. the gentleman is recognized for one minutes. >> we must enable the v.a. to recruit and retain the most veterans. we also know one size does not fit all when considering an applicant's back ground and experience. if an individual has gained valuable experience at an agency wee, don't want to eliminate them as an option. federal hiring options need the
9:37 am
complete list available to select the most highly qualified employees. mr. walz: i do not object to requiring former political appointees at the v.a. go through the proper selection process when they apply for nonpolitical competitively selected positions. i appreciate the spirit and intent of the amendment and i support it and yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from colorado. mr. buck: i yield one minute to my friend and colleague from ohio, representative wenstrup. the chair: the gentleman from ohio. mr. wenstrup: i rise in report of representative buck's amendment which would prevent former v.a. political appointees from receiving nonpolitical competitively positions pursuant to section 6 of the bill without going through the proper process. this amendment would prevent political appointees from inappropriately burroing in across v.a. and i'm in full support of it. i thank representative buck for submitting this amendment. i urge all of my colleagues to join me in supporting it. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from colorado. mr. buck: i yield back. the chair: the question is on
9:38 am
the amendment offered by the gentleman from colorado. the aye vs. t the amendment -- theys have it. the amendment is agreed to. it is now in order to consider amendment number 6 printed in house report number 113-39. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from hard money ha ham seek recognition? ms. shea-porter: i rise today to offer an amendment to h.r. 1367. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 6, printed in part b of house report number 115-39. offered by ms. shea-porter of new hampshire. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 198, the gentleman from new hampshire, ms. shea-porter, and member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from new hampshire. ms. shea-porter: thank you. under this legislation the v.a. would create a database to help match qualified job application to critical open motions in order to more quickly fill those vacancies. my amendment is simple. it requires the v.a. to including mental health positions in that database, allowing to better serve veterans with critical needs by ensuring the v.a. uses all tools to recruit and hire
9:39 am
qualified mental health professionals in a timely and effective manner. the v.a. face as critical shortage of mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health counselors, and peer support specialists. these providers care for our vetance and behavioral health needs that includes posttraumatic stress disorder and sub stast abuse disorder. too many of our veterans must wait to receive the mental health care we have promised and some might not receive it at all. in my home state of new hampshire we're fighting a heroin and prescription drug opioid crisis that is disproportionately affecting the veteran community. rates among opioid abuse among veterans rose 55% between 2000 and 2015, and overdose raids are twice as high as the national average among veterans getting care at the v.a. increasing mental health provider capacity will allow more of these vet rabs to enter treatment and ultimately recovery. our veterans deserve to be treated by professionals who
9:40 am
fully understand the veteran experience and veteran specific mental health conditions. that is why it is so important for veterans to have the option to receive specialized mental health from v.a. mental health professionals who have the training that will allow them to build trust. in fact, only 13% of nonv.a. mental health providers meet the criteria to deliver veteran centric mental health care according to rand. that is why it's so important to hire and retain mental health professionals within the v.a. right now there are several open positions at our local v.a. medical center. they seek to hire clinical staff but are finding it hard to locate qualified applicants. my amendment will make it easier for the v.a. to find such applicants and match them with the open positions that we need filled. it is an urgent need to address this problem. every day 20 veterans commit suicide, opioid, ptsd, these are crises we need to address. the time to act is now. please vote yes on this amendment.
9:41 am
reserve the balance o my time. the chair: the gentlelady reserves the balance of her time. the gentleman from ohio. mr. wenstrup: i ask unanimous connt to risen opposition although i am know opposed. the chair: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. wenstrup: i rise in support of helpive shea-porter's amendment which would require v.a. to ensure that the recruiting database established by section 7 of the bill includes a list of open mental health positions. though i am glad to report as f january only 3,469 of v.a.'s 45,360 vacant positions were specific to mental health, it's critical that v.a. closely track to mental health vacancies on an ongoing pray bayhcies so they can be prioritized and filled to prevent any disruptions in care to our most vulnerable veterans. i'm fully supportive of this amendment and grateful to representative shea-porter for submitting it. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from new hampshire. ms. shea-porter: i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from ohio. mr. wenstrup: i yield back. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from new hampshire. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no.
9:42 am
in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the ayes have it, the amendment is agreed to. it is now in order to consider amendment number 7 printed in part b of house report 115-39. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from california seek recognition? ms. brown lon mr. chair i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 7 printed in part b of house report number 115-39. offered by ms. brownley of california. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 198, the gentlewoman from california, ms. brownley, and a member posed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizese gentlewoman from california. ms. brownley: thank you, i rise to offer anamendment to h.r. 1367. i have -- i thank my friend and colleague, the chairman of the subcommittee on health, for introducing this bill to make important reforms to the v.a.'s hiring and retention systems. my amendment makes a small but important change to clarify a provision in the bill. as long as i have served on the v.a. committee, we have had seen and heard that retaining high quality candidates has
9:43 am
been a real challenge. i can speak from experience on this and the greater los angeles region, which serves my constituents, there has been significant turnover of senior leadership at all of our local facilities, including our community clinic. these changes and uncertainty have in my view been harmful to the quality of care that our veterans receive. that is why i'm so pleased the bill directs the controller general to review the session planning at v.a. medal can fasilts. effective planning understanding what positions are mission critical, ensuring better training and closing the skills gap, will help the v.a. become a healthier organization and help ensure that v.a. accomplishes its mission serving our nation's veterans. my amendment clarifies that a medical facility includes all v.h.a. facilities, including medical centers, outpatient
9:44 am
clinicscommunity-based outpatient clinics, and veteran sent -- vet centers. we must ensure each local facility has a strong work force and a plan for the future because without a strong leadership, we cannot provide the high quality care that veterans have earned and deserve. i urge my colleagues to support this commonsense amendment. thank you, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from ohio. mr. wenstrup: i ask unanimous consent to rise in opposition though i am not opposed. the chair: without objection. the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. miss wenstrup: i rise in support of ms. brownley's amendment which stimulates the government account ability reports on the planning and should include an sessment of secession planning at outpatient clinics, community based outpatient clinics and others. i appreciate this clarifying amendment that my friend and colleague, representative brownley, the ranking member of the subcommittee on health, for
9:45 am
submitting it. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the the gentlewoman from california. ms. brownley: i want to thank you, mr. chair, for accepting my amendment. i look forward to our continued bipartisan work together to provide high quality care for our veterans. the chair: the gentlewoman yield back? ms. brownley: i yield back. the chair: the gentlelady reserves the balance of her time. the gentleman from ohio. mr. wenstrup: i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from california, so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the 80. the amendment is agreed to. it's now in order to consider amendment number 8 print the in hourt b of house report 115-39. -- printed in part b of house report 115-39. for what purpose does the entleman from vermont seek recognition? mr. welch: i have an amendment at the desk.
9:46 am
the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 8 printed in part b of house report 115-39 offered by mr. welch of vermont. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 198, the gentleman from vermont and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from vermont. very good this bipartisan bill that's before us will help the v.a. improve its ability to recruit, hire, train, promote and retain physicians in v.a. by the way, the significant number of veterans are in rural america, including vermont. my amendment would add two provisions. first, the underlying bill requires the g.a.o. to conduct a study on succession planning at the v.a. that's intended to try to better understand the problem the agency has to have a pipeline of candidates to assume critical roles that are
9:47 am
open. and my amendment wodequi r the g.a.o. to study and analyze succession planning, hiring in rural area. the vast majority of our country is rural, so we have to put an emphasis on that and challenges in rural america are different than in the urban areas. [no audio] and other barriers to recruitment and training. my amendment would require that study to focus on the rural challenges that are different significantly than in the urban areas. the lack of qualified candidates at the v.a. can recruit and ultimately fill open positions is a real problem but we have to recognize that is even more difficult in rural america. you know, in vermont we have 50,000 veterans living in the state.
9:48 am
only nine v.a. facilities to help them. these are some of the satellite facilities that are quite small. our largest he facility is white river junction, the v.a. medical center there that we are very proud of, provides medical center for over 26,000 of our veterans in 2016. e director there has was ted -- that person married and due to the inability of her husband to find work, they left the v.a. there to go to an urban area. and this is one variation of the problem we face to recruit, to hire and retain critical personnel that needs to be addressed in rural areas. my amendment will help us better understand the unique challenges rural america faces and to deal with the critical
9:49 am
staff shortages of our veterans' facilities and set the stage for us to fix the problem. i ask you to support my amendment and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of hitime. the gentleman from ohio. mr. wenstrup: mr. chair, i ask unanimous consent to rise in opposition although i am n opposed. the chair: without objection. mr. wenstrup: mr. chair, i rise in support of representative welch's amendment which would ensure the g.a.o. report on v.a. succession planning includes an analysis of succession planning in rural areas. rural facilities undoubtedly face unique challenges in recruiting and retaining employees and in planning effectively and to ensure leadership continuity as employees retire or depart. i'm glad that with the adoption of this amendment g.a.o. will be reviewing these issues, specifically, and will be able to offer recommendations as to how v.a. can improve succession planning in rural areas where 46% of our veterans reside. i appreciate representative welch for submitting this
9:50 am
amendment. i ask my colleagues to join me in supporting it and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman is the only one with the time remaining. mr. wenstrup: i yield back. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from vermont. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it and the mendment is agreed to. it's now in order to consider amendment number 9 printed in part b of house report 115-39. for what purpose does the gentleman from new jersey seek recognition? mr. gottheimer: mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 9 printed in part b of house report 115-39 offered by mr. gottheimer of new jersey. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 198, the gentleman from new jersey, mr. gottheimer, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from njersey. mr. gottheimer: mr. chairman, i want to thank the chairman and the ranking member of the veterans' affairs committee and representative wenstrup for their work on this important bill. this legislation empowers the secretary of veterans affairs with the authority to hire the best and brightest employees. we can all agree that you can't
9:51 am
have a top-notch v.a. without employing young veterans who want to continue serving their country after they return from the front lines. each and every day our brave men and women in uniform put their lives on the line for us, and we owe it to them to ensure when they return home they have the best care at the v.a., that they also have the best career opportunities available to them. this legislation is about veterans serving veterans. young veterans in the fifth district of new jersey where i live tell me they face significant challenges when they return home. even though many of them have a desire to help serve other veterans. i was lucky enough to hire one such veteran on my team, mike, who served in the u.s. army. mike is committed to helping other veterans and has at a local community college where he ran a program for student veterans. he now serves my constituents, across our veterans, the fourth -- four counties in the fourth district. they can give back to their fellow service men and women.
9:52 am
the v.a. is the one place where those skills are sorely needed to serve the 473,000 veterans who live in new jersey and the many other veterans across our country. mr. chairman, approximately 60% of v.a. employees are over the age of 45, and the department has struggled to velop an adequate pipeline for younger employees and emerging leaders to fulfill crucial and critical roles. we have seen the negative effects of not having the right team in place to support our veterans. while programs like pathway at the v.a. are a step in the right direction, we can do more to improve the process and give a leg up to all veterans who wish to bring their skills to the v.a. more than half of the post-9/11 veterans are 34 years of age or younger, and approximately 30% have bachelors or advanced degrees. yet, the department of labor reported that post-9/11 vets have a higher unemployment rate than other veterans. that's unacceptable. they can strengthen the care of all of our veterans by considering more young veterans
9:53 am
for accepted service appointments. that's why my amendment would make sure that the v.a. secretary includes recipients of the post-9/11 g.i. bill and younger veterans who have recently graduated from college as a distinct category qualifying for accepted appointments to the department of veterans affairs. mr. chairman, the mission statement of v.a. is endescribed outside the department's headquarters. it reads, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and orphan. this is president lincoln's promise to serve those and it must be our same commitment today. i know of no one who stands more willing and able to serve their veterans than the veterans themselves. there is nothing part san of serving our -- partisan of servingur veterans. we can work across party lines to help get the backs of those who served our country. i urge my colleagues to join me in standing up for our veterans by supporting this win-win
9:54 am
solution. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from ohio. mr. wenstrup: mr. chair, i ask unanimous consent to rise in opposition although i am not opposed. the chair: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. wenstrup: mr. chair, i rise in support of representative gottheimer's amendment which would ensure that veterans who are recent graduates and/or recipients of the post-9/11 g.i. bill are also eligible for accepted service appointments under section 12 of the bill. as a veteran and as the former chairman of the subcommittee on economic opportunity, there are few things i support strongly as assist -- is assisting veterans and seeking and receiving employment opportunities, particularly in the federal government. the skill sets and commitment to service that veterans display while in uniform often make them particularly suited to government work once they transition to civilian life. the adoption of this amendment would provide yet another tool to support veterans looking to continue their service to our nation, and i'm grateful to
9:55 am
representative gottheimer for submitting it. with that i reserve the balance of my time. with that i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from new jersey. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it and the amendment is agreed to. it's now in order to consider amndment number 10 printed in part b of house report 115-39. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from washington seek recognition? ms. herrera beutler: mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 10 printed in part b of house report 115-39 offered by ms. herrera beutler of washington. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 198, the gentlewoman from washington, ms. herrera beutler, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from washington. ms. herrera beutler: thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank mr. wenstrup and the chair and ranking member for their work on this bill. today i'm offering this amendment that will help get to the root of one of the big problems within the v.a. that leads to high turnover by providers and compromises care
9:56 am
for our veteran heroes. specifically, my amendment strengthens protections for v.a. employees who fill out exit surveys and requires this survey be more localized so the agency can resolve region-specific problems. high staff turnover is an ongoing problem in our v.a., and it negatively affects our veterans. high turnover leads to staff shortages and results in veterans having to wait longer to see their doctor or their specialist and also means there are issues within -- with continuity for care for veterans. over the last few years, i've asked the v.a. why health care providers are leaving. the v.a. took some educated guesses as to why but could not provide hard data or facts. amendment to collect daton why heah care providers are leaving. i also required that the v.a. develop a detailed plan to address the primary reasons these providers were leaving. and while that report has provided some insights we found
9:57 am
it is failing to take a few important steps to make sure we are receiving honest feedback from these exiting providers. for instance, the portland v.a. employees who fill out the a ey has to fill it out at kiosk in the h.r. they have to log in with their employee identification number. the fear of being identified is a big deterrent for providers to fill out this voluntary but critical survey. if only v.a. providers are -- only if the v.a. providers are telling the honest truth about what they saw, heard and experienced in their workplace then can the v.a. fix the problems that plague its facilities. therefore, we have to make this exit survey as easy and confidential to fill out as possible. and that's what my amendment requires. it requires it to be -- these surveys to be conducted at a location that allows for privacy, not directly visible by another v.a. employee, and does not require the departing
9:58 am
v.a. employee to put in identifiable information. and it is compiled at the regional knowledge to identify local needs. what needs to be changed in southwest washington may not be the same as what's happening in texas or virginia or florida, and this amendment will help the v.a. identify the right region-specific solution. so with that i urge members to support my amendment so we can better serve and support our veterans by retaining their health care providers and with that i yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from minnesota. the chair: the gentleman from minnesota. mr. walz: mr. chairman, i do rise in opposition although i am not opposed to this amendment. it's smart. i have seen how important employee surveys can be in understanding how an organization can be improved, made more efficient or take constructive criticism. it makes absolute sense that mployees filling them out know their anonymity will be
9:59 am
ensured. make sur it i collected on the visn level, it is show where it is working and where it's not. mr. chairman, i support the gentlelady's smart amendment and yield back the balance of my time. the chair: does any member claim time in opposition? hearing none, the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from washington. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the ayes have it and the mendment is agreed to. it's now in order to consider amendment number 11 printed in part b of house report 115-39. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from hawaii seek recognition? ms. hanabusa: mr. chair, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 11 printed in part b of house report 115-39 offered by ms. hanabusa of hawaii. the chair: pursuant to house
10:00 am
resolution 198, the gentlewoman from hawaii, ms. hanabusa, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from hawaii. ms. hanabusa: thank you, mr. chair. i rise to speak on my amendment to ensure certain types of information are added to the department of veterans affairs survey data that this bill requires the department to create and report to the house and senate committees on veterans' affairs. this bill instructs the secretary of veterans affairs to carry out a standardized exit survey to be voluntarily completed by career and noncareer employees and executives of the department of veterans affairs who voluntarily separate from the department. the bill requires a report to congress on an annual bay sifments first an analysis most common reasons employees choose to read. second steps, the secretary is taking to improve retention. third, the demographic characteristics of employees choosing to leave. fourth the legislative barriers
10:01 am
to improving employee retention. fifth, the number of employees who took the survey. mr. speaker, there is important information missing that must be gathered by the department. one, the total number of employees who voluntarily exited the department during the reporting period, and, two, the percentage of those employees who actuall responded to the survey. without this critical information, assess the value o the reported data relative to the total number of employees who departed the tent. -- department. mr. speaker, i'm asking we get a full picture and my amendment will help us do that. i urge my colleagues to support my amendment. mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman from hawaii reserves the balance of her time. for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to rise in opposition though i am not opposed. the chair: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. wenstrup: i rise in support of representative hanabusa's amendment which would tweak the report on exit surveys that
10:02 am
v.a. is required to submit in section 13 of the bill to stimulate the v.a. provide the total number of employees who voluntarily separated from v.a. service and percentage of those who took an exit survey. this information will be very helpful for congress to receive in order to track how many employees are choosing to voluntarily leave v.a. and are taking advantage of the opportunity to complete an exit survey prior to their departure. i urge all my colleagues to join me in supporting this amendment and i'm grateful for representative hanabusa for submitting it. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from ohio reserves the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from hawaii is recognized. ms. hanabusa: mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman hawaii yields back. the gentleman from ohio is recognized. mr. wenstrup:00 i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from ohio yields back. yet is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from hawaii. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. >> we ask for a recorded vot the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from hawaii will be
10:03 am
postponed. it's now in order to consider amendment number 12 printed in part b of house report 115-39. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from new york seek recognition? ms. meng: mr. chair, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 12, printed in part b-of house report number 115-39, offered by ms. meng of new york. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 198, the gentlewoman from new york, ms. meng, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from new york. ms. meng: thank you, mr. chair. this amendment would require the v.a. secretary to establish a program encouraging members of our armed forces serving as health professionals to pursue jobs with the veterans health administration upon discharge or separation from the military. as we all know, the v.h.a. has existing shortages of health professionals. we also know our service men and women sometimes have difficulty transitioning back
10:04 am
to civilian life after serving. what could be better than having a service member with health care training and experience transition into employment with the v.h.a., serving their brothers and sisters? mr. chair, i believe that everyone wins with this amendment. this program would be completely optional to participate in, would help reduce staffing shortages at the v.h.a., and would provide job opportunities to recently discharged service members. i urge support for this commonsense amendment and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman new york reserves the balance of her time. for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio seek recognition? mr. wenstrup: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to rise in opposition although i am not opposed. the chair: without objection. the gentleman from ohio is recognized. mr. wenstrup: mr. chair, i rise in strort of representative message's amendment which would encourage military medical professionals who are transitioning out of the armed forces to seek employment within the veterans health administration. wherever possible, v.a. should be filling vacant positions at v.a. medical facilities with eligible, qualified veterans.
10:05 am
i'm fully supportive of any amendment like this one that recognizes the highly specialized skills that many veterans gaid while in unifor skills that in this case could be used in service to fellow veterans by addressing access to care challenges across the country. i'm grateful to representative message for this important amendment and i urge all of my colleagues to join me in supporting it. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from ohio reserves. the gentlewoman from new york is recognized. ms. meng: i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio is recognized. mr. wengstrup: i yield back. the chair: the question son the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from new york. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have t the amendment is agreed to. -- 80. the amendment is agreed to. the now in order to considered number number 13 in house report 113-39. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from illinois seek recognition? mr. bost: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: amendment number 13,
10:06 am
printed in house report number 115-39. offered by mr. bost of illinois. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 198, the gentleman from illinois, mr. bost, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes much the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois. mr. bost: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today in support of amendment house resolution 1367. my simple and straightforward amendment would require the department of veterans affairs to develop and implement a plan to hire permanent directors for each medical center of the v.a. it also special phis that the secretary should prioritize the hiring of directors for location that is have spent the longest amount of time without one. mr. speaker, last congress it was brought to my attention that the v.a. medical center that many of my constituents utilize had n had a permanent dictor in am three years. is simple -- director in almost three years. this is simply unacceptable. when we have the veterans needing quality care and demanding reform to the current system after reaching out to the department i came to realize this is a common
10:07 am
problem around the country which led to my introduction of the amendment. under the current v.a. system, the secretary is allowed to appoint an interim director at facilities, but those individuals can only serve a maximum of 240 days. this is simply far too short a period of time to properly get to know the staff and centers and needs of the location let alone implement new reforms. this commonsense and bipartisan amendment is identical to a bill i introduce earlier in the congress who supported the legislation from both parties. it's identical to legislation this body passed with strong bipartisan support last year. i urge my colleagues to support this commonsense amendment. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from illinois reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from minnesota seek recognition? mr. walz: i rise in opposition although i am not opposed. the chair: without objection, the gentleman from minnesota is recognized for five minutes. mr. walz: every member of congress has heard directly from their constituents who receive health care from the v.a. that it's understaffed.
10:08 am
this is true at all levels but vital for both the work force and veterans serve that each medical center have permanent leadership. i think all of us know, there is an old saying if you have been one to v.a. facility, you have been to one v.a. if acy. it may seem like the easiest thing to say that leadership matters at thes facilities. nothingatwhen a v.a. facility i in the right direction, it can always be traced to strong directed leadership and almost every case each one ofis has worked on where there is weak leadership or lack of there, those situation goes awry. i have a situation in minnesota where we have been waiting for leadership for year. we have been notified a week ago we're getting that. i fully endorse this amendment which would require the department to get these done, implement within 110 days within enactment to hire a permanent direct for each medical center that doesn't have one. a new director may well be identified from senior executives already within the department or he and she may be someone from outside the agency
10:09 am
who meets the qualification and wants to work at v.a. what is necessary is that figure these open directorships be made a priority by requiring v.a. to show us a plan to do so and provide regular updates as a plan is a way to set that priority. i commend the gentleman for getting at the heart of this. this will be about accountability. it will put the right people in place to make the right decisions and get the care for our veterans. i strongly support it. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from minnesota yields back. the gentleman from illinois is recognized. mr. bost: i thank the gentleman. i yield one moment to congressman wenstrup. the chair: the gentleman from ohio is recognized for one minute. mr. wenstrup: i rise in support of representative b.o.s.'s amendment which would require the department of veterans affairs to develop and implement a plan to hire directors at each v.a. medical center that lack as permanent director. 25% of the directors are eligible to retire and v.a. tesfied last year that it can take more tn six months and multiple reannouncements to recrew new v.a. medical center directors. v.a. must begin planning now to ensure that leadership at v.a. medical centers across the
10:10 am
country remain stable and vacancies are closely monitored and prioritized. this text of this amendment passed the house last year with unanimous support and i'm grateful to representative b.o.s. for submitting this amendment. again this year to h.r. 1367. i urge all my colleagues to join me in supporting it. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from ohio yields back. the gentleman from illinois is recognized. mr. bost: i yield back. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from illinois. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. it's now in order to considered number 14 printed in house report number 115-39. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. o'rourke: mr. chair, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 14 printed in part b of house report number 115-39. offered by mr. o'rourke of texas. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 198, the gentleman from texas, mr. o'rourke, and a member opposed, each will
10:11 am
control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. o'rourke: thank you, mr. chair. i'd like to begin by recognizing the incredibly important work of my colleague from ohio, dr. wenstrup, in ensuring that we bring more positions and -- physicians and care providers into the v.a. so more veterans can get access to quality, timely care producing better outcomes for them. it is these veterans who have served this country so honorably. have put their lives on the line. now it's our turn to fulfill our obligation. dr. wenstrup's underlying legislation is going to ensure that we get a step closer to doing that. he will agree with me, i hope, that one of our challenges is recruiting the right talent into the v.a. out of residency programs across the country. right now the v.a. is operating with one hand tied behind its back because it limits itself to the last year of a medical residency before it begins talking to that resident to try
10:12 am
to recruit them to serve at the v.a. meanwhile, most residents begin making career decisions a year or two earlier than that. and private sector clinics, hospitals, other public institutions, are talking to those residents trying to recruit them and successfully bringing them to places other than the v.a. this amendment will allow the v.a. to begin recruiting and offering conditional job offers with two years left in a residency. it will help us to address the fact that today there are 43 ,000 authorized, funded positions that are opened in the v.a. where we don't have the doctors and psychiatrists, primary care providers, medical professionals we need to provide the care that veterans need. we need to begin recruiting earlier, more effectively, and more successfully. this amendment to the underlying legislation will allow us to do that. i hope that i will have the
10:13 am
support of my friend from ohio, of the ranking member of the full committee, and my colleagues here in the chamber. mr. chairman, i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio seek recognition? mr. wenstrup: mr. chair, i ask unanimous consent to rise in opposition although i am not opposed. the chair: without objection, the gentleman from ohio is recognized for five minutes. mr. wenstrup: i rise in support of my friend and colleague, representative o'rourke's amendment. which would allow the v.a. to offer physicians conditional job offers two years prior to the completion of their residency and also require via recruiters or other officials to visit each teaching institution with a ridency program at lst once a year. great idea and one th i v.a.'s existing work force is increasingly retirement eligible and historically v.a. has performed poorly in comparison to other federal agencies when it comes to hiring younger employees. by creating a pipeline of young, up-and-coming physicians willing to practice in v.a.
10:14 am
medical facilities and committed to v.a. service, this amendment would help ensure that the v.a. health care system is fully staffed to care for our vetance for years to come. -- veterans for years to come. the text of this amendment passed the house last year as an amendment to h.r. 5620, i'm grateful to representative o'rourke for submitting it as an amendment to h.r. 1367 today. i urge all of my colleagues to join me in supporting this amendment. with that i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from ohio yields back the balance of his time of the the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from texas. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio seek recognition? mr. wenstrup: mr. speaker, at this time i move that the committee do now rise. the chair: the question is on the motion that the committee rise. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the aye vs. t the motion is adopted -- the ayes have it. the motion is adopted. accordingly the committee rises.
10:15 am
mr. speaker, the committee of the whole house on the state of the union having had under consideration h.r. 1367 directs me to report that it has come to no resolution thereon. the speaker pro tempore: the chair of the committee of the whole house reports that the committee has had under consideration h.r. 1367 has come to no resolution thereon. the chair lays before the house an enrolled bill. . the clerk: h.r. 1362, an act to name the department of veterans affairs community-based outpatient clinic in ponkponk nd the faleomavaega eni v.a. clinic. -- pongo pongo the faleomavaega eni
10:16 am
japan, china, tweeting north korea is behav

21 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on