tv U.S. House Meets for Morning Hour CSPAN June 13, 2017 10:00am-11:00am EDT
employees and said to them essentially what is your experience and is there anything you would like to complain about? no company would like to go through that process, but they will summarize their findings. the big question on everyone's mind has been ha floated the past few days that travis kalanick is taking a three month leave of absence. host: we will have to leave it there. thank you. we now take our viewers live to the house floor. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] washingto , june 13, 2017. i hereby appoint the honorable jamesomer to acas spear pro tempor this day. signpaul d anspeake of the house of representatives. the spero mpore: pursuant to the ordeof the usof januar017,he cir will now rnize
memberfrm lits smitted b th majoritand minority aders fomoing ho debate. the chair will alternate recognition between the parties. all time shall be equally allocated between the parties and in no event shall debate continue beyond 11:50 a.m. each member other than the majority and minority leaders and minority whip shall be limited to five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from north carolina, mr. jones, for five minutes. mr. jones: thank you, mr. speaker, very much. sadly, i come to the floor to remind the members of the house as well as the american people that three americans were killed last week in afghanistan . corporal dillon baldrich, sergeant william braze, sergeant eric hoke. they were killed by the afghan they were training. afghanistan is the biggest waste of life and money i have ever seen in my life. i have beside me two little girls who at the time lived in
my district. eden and stephanie baldiss. their daddy kevin, was sent from camp lejeune, which is in my district, along with colonel benjamin palmer, who also serves at cherry point, which is in my district. they were sent to afghanistan three years ago to train afghanistans how to be policemen. well, the tragic of this story is that the sergeant baldiss emailed his wife, amy, anded said, amy, i don't trust them. i don't trust any of them. and the very next day he was shot, along with major palmer, and killed. and yet, we in the congress have never had a debate since 2001 on the future of america's involvement in afghanistan. that's why john garamendi, and some on my side and his side --
he's a democrat -- have put in the bill h.r. 1668. all we're asking is that we have a debate. you can be for the bill that mr. garamendi and i have put in or you can be against it, but give us a chance to have a debate. 16 years we have spent over $850 billion, over 2,000 americans have been killed and 20,000 severely wounded. and yet we in congress, it seems like the leadership in congress does not understand that we have a constitutional responsibility and that responsibility is to debate especially when we're asking our young men and women to go overseas and give their life for this country. yet again, we have not had a debate since 2001. there are 300 members of congress sitting on the floor today from both parties who were not here in 2001 who have never been part of a debate on
afghanistan. i don't know what else we can do. we have written to the speaker of the house individually, myself included, and as a group, republican and democrat, asking the speaker to permit a new aumf to get to the floor of the house to have that kind of debate on afghanistan. again, it's almost like it doesn't exist, but it does exist when we bring bills to the floor to continue to spend billions of dollars over there, and the inspector general for afghan reconstruction has testified that waste, fraud and abuse is worse in afghanistan today than it was 16 years ago. but mr. speaker, again, i want to say to the families of the three servicemen who i read their names, i will one more time. braze l baldin, sergeant and god bless you and we send
our sincere condolences and thank the good lord they were willing to give their life for this country. it's a matter of why in the world do we continue to be in the country known as the empire of grave yards because there so many countries that have been there and failed and that's what we're doing is failing, too, with a waste of life and money. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois, mr. gutierrez, for five minutes. mr. gutierrez: mr. speaker, the saga continues and there seems to be no end in sight for the trump administration's growing legal and ethical problems. every day another shoe drops or at least another foot sinceritied into the administration's mouth. the testimony of james comey before the senate intelligence committee last week showed us that this is no longer just a matter of foreign intelligence and the russian meding in american elections. wow. that is very important, and we -- russian meddling in american
elections. wow. this is very important and we need to investigate that matter. the very important question of how we keep russia from hacking our elections in the future, what is clear is that the investigation to the trump administration are now matters for the judiciary committee. the gentlelady from california, senator feinstein, and i were own cnn this weekend and we said that the judiciary committee has the oversight responsibility for the justice department, and therefore, it is time for the committee to do its job. that was the theme of my speech here last week and nothing has happened. it's also the reason why i wrote to judiciary committee chairman bob goodlatte to request he take actions, hold hearings, begin the preparations for the hearings that will come and they will come, because the silence of the judiciary committee has been deafening so far. as soon as president trump said on friday that he was willing to testify under oath 100% i wrote to chairman goodlatte to say the committee should schedule a hearing and take the president at his word.
i don't think the chairman will have the president bass the role of the judiciary is to shield the president from tough questions instead of representing the people's interests. in doing so, judiciary republicans and house republicans in general are getting deeper and deeper into bed with this president. you see, they have a whole agenda and they're counting on this president to help them cut taxes for people with trust funds while cutting health care, education, childcare, civil rights and voting rights for people who work for a living. mr. speaker, the house judiciary committee ought to be in the middle of congressional examination of the trump administration and so far they've been on the sidelines. is it no longer the practice of the house of representatives to hold oversight hearings? is it no longer the practice of this body to hold the executive branch and the white house accountable? i have never seen an administration more in need of congressional oversight than this one. yet the congress does not dare
do anything that might cause the president to call someone out in one of his dawn twitter rants. we know that the administration has a policy now -- this administration -- of not cooperation with congressional oversight, instructing agencies not to comply with inquiries from members of congress unless they are a committee chairman, all of whom happen to be a republican. i am sorry, mr. speaker, but the president and his administration are accountable to over 320 million americans, all 435 members of this body and 100 senators as well regardless of their party affiliation. at least one senior senator called this policy opposing congressional oversight nonsense. to his credit, the republican chairman of the judiciary committee in the senate, mr. grassley of iowa, is not impacted by the trump administration policy because he's a chairman, but he spoke out forcefully against the presidential obstruction. see, my friends, that's how you
do it, the way mr. grassley do it. follow his example. and then there is our old friends, the former speaker, an advisor to the president, mr. gingrich, who is now advising the president to terminate mr. mueller, the former f.b.i. director investigating the president and his subordinates, including the family members of the president. mr. gingrich said mueller was a superb choice with an impeccable reputation for fairness just a couple of weeks ago. but now he says there's no way mueller can be fair. he wants the president to fire mueller and wants a political fight against the very idea of special prosecutors. now, mr. gingrich has been joined in this by a trump confident and golf buddy the president of newsmax, who says the president is contemplating firing mueller. mr. speaker and mr. former speaker, if you want to see the president on a fast track to impeachment, then he should take this advice and fire
mueller. if you want to see this president in the express lean to impeachment, no ifs, ands or buts, then go for it. we dare you. even the judiciary committee, which has shown no interest in doing anything other than rubber stamping this administration's agenda, would be force to take action. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from kansas, mr. marshall, for five minutes. mr. marshall: mr. speaker, i'd like to take a moment and recognize an important piece of legislation that is scheduled for a vote on the house floor today, the veterans' affairs accountability and whistleblower protection act. this bipartisan legislation will reform the v.a. by allowing the secretary to fire underperforming employees, ensure appropriate protections for whistleblowers and authorize the secretary to directly appoint folks to critically important positions that need filled quickly. this legislation has already passed the senate.
i look forward to its passage in the house and send it to the president for his signature this week. those that serve our nation are honored heroes. unfortunately, the v.a. bureaucracy hasn't always provided the care, respect and honor they deserve. i look forward to this vote and to bring in our valued veterans one step closer to the dare they deserve. mr. speaker, last weekend i was honored to join the kinsly, kansas, summer food service program at the kinsly junior high school-high school. it always makes my day when i walk into a room filled with children and moms that i helped in the past decade. these folks serve free breakfast and lunch and the program is provided by the school district. it's great to see this local partnership, this community coming together to help our children. we live in the most prosperous country in the world where where he produce tremendously abundance of food. yet, it continues to amaze me that we have the level of
hunger that we do, especially among our own children. good nutrition is too important for the development of these young minds, not to ensure through the communities and programs like these that they're well-fed. whether you are in the largest agricultural producer in the district, like mine, we have no excuses. i thank programs for these for their role and raising a healthy generation. mr. speaker, in the last 2 1/2 centuries, 119 of our nation's educators have tragically lost their lives while serving both their students and their communities. a terrible sacrifice they didn't expect when they followed their calling to help our young people. the national teachers hall of fame and impeeria state university built a memorial. founded in 2014, the memorial was built to honor those who taught students ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade
academic and all levels. our nation still lacks a memorial. we don't have to spend a dime of federal funding but we have a place to remember these men and women. i introduced h.r. 2711 that will do just that. i encourage my colleagues to support this bill. thank you, mr. speaker. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois, mr. quigley, for five minutes. mr. quigley: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, a few weeks ago e president tweeted the word cofefee. we still don't know what it means. why the president tweeted it or if it was an inspect typo, something we are all innocent of making. what is more is that the president deleted the post less
than 12 hours later. this is just one of 18 tweets the president has deleted since his inauguration, and each time the question is raised whether or not he can legally do that. because when the president deleted a tweet, it is equivalent to him destroying a record. that's why i introduced the cofefee act, communications over various feeds over electronic ep gaugement. it's a -- engagement. it's a serious name but a serious issue. by expanding the presidential cts including media, his tweets are archived and preserved. although the bill name is a little tong and cheek, the focus of the legislation is more important now than ever. if the president is going to make social media -- take social media to make sudden public policy proclamations we must ensure these statements
are documented and preserved for future referenced and as eine spicer has said, each @realdonaldtrump tweet should be taken as an official white house statement. tweets are powerful and the president must be held accountable for every post, from commending on nato to the paris agreement to the response to the devastating terror attack in london and on monday apellate that the said -- cited the president's tweet about the travel ban. his twitter account is unprecedented and we must respond accordingly. sometimes it takes a creative acronym to drive attention to a much larger issue. this is the second bill i've introduced this congress to address the lack of transparency in the administration. back in march, i introduced the aptly name mira lago act to
have logs where the president conducts official business to be made public to the american people. unlike the obama administration, the current administration stated they are unwilling to do so. in order to maintain public trust in government, elected officials must answer for what they do and say. that includes 140 character tweets and records of who has the president's ear at the white house, trump tower or southern florida home. if getting the public's trust is important, then maintaining the trust is the next. stand-alone transparency legislation is absolutely necessary but it is not enough. we must stop treating transparency and accountability as peripheral issues and proactively incorporate them into everything we do. going forward, i will continue to promote efforts to increase
public access to the federal government and ensure that all elected officials are being held accountable for their words and their actions. thank you and i yield back. . the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. mcclintock, for five minutes. mr. mcclintock: thank you, mr. speaker. president trump's most important mandate is to revive america's struggling economy. this simply cannot be done on the terms of the paris climate accords. according to the heritage foundation, the hearing to that agreement would have destroyed -- adhering to that agreement would have destroyed 400,000 american jobs and forfeit $2.5 trillion in lost productivity by 2035. that's about $20,000 in lower annual earnings for a family of four. there's a reason we suffered the slowest economic growth of the post war era under barack obama,
bad deals and bad policies like his. president obama bound america to the paris accord by executive fiat. he committed billions of dollars of tkses paid by american families to an -- paid by american families president obama bound to countr and his agency loses to protect american industry regardless of the cost imposed on working americans. for what exactly? the e.p.a.'s own modeling predicts if the accord were fully implemented by 2030 it would reduce global temperature degree byby.17 of one 2100. its add low cats have recently dismissed this inconvenient truth by explaining, well, it would send a powerful signal. we can already see the cost to average families of sending this powerful signal. european energy prices are more unitedice as high as the
states, and their economies lag far behind even the anemic growth under obama. california has adopted many of these policies and now bears one of the highest energy costs in the contry, along with the highest poverty rate. without the high-tech wealth of the bay area, california's economy would trail well behind the national growth rate. paris apolgists promise a new era of green energy jobs. as long as consumers are coerced into buying overpriced green products and struggling families are forced to fork over billions of dollars to higher utility bills and taxes, of course politically connected green energy companies will do very well. but at enormous expense to the overall economy. those 374,000 solar jobs we hear about generate just 1% of our electricity. the 187,000 coal, oil, and gas
jobs remaining in this country generate 65% of our electricity. the wide historical fluctuations in both carbon dioxide and global temperatures suggest that natural influences vastly outweigh human causes. co-2 levels were five times higher during the jurassic period and global temperatures were 13 degrees higher during he plies at this seen -- pleisticene and long before humans and s.u.v.'s. in 2016 president obama dame came too smem at this valley to warn that the glaciers will soon disappear. if he stood on the same spot 20,000 years earlier, he would have been buried under 2,000 feet of glacial ice. the first ipcc report in 1990 sounding the alarm over global warning gives us practical experience with its climate
odeling. actual global temperatures are now well below the lowest of the forecasts that the ipcc made 27 years actual global temperatures are . 20 years before that the and census warned pollution was about to trigger another ice age. the fact is the current state of science is a long way from understanding the intricate natural forces and interrelationships in global let -- climate ology. as perhaps why many prominent and restricted climatologists continue to challenge and debate claims that despite 97% of the scientists agree and despite calls to silence them as heretics. as a fable of the emperor's new clothes illustrates, nothing is more menacing to a flawed consensus than a single dissenter. thanks to our politically incorrect president, the united states has just stepped forward from the crowd and pointed out the obvious.
the paris accord points the way to a future of skyrocketing energy prices, lower productivity and wages, a massive wealth transfer from america to nations like china india, and a permanently declining quality of life for our children. fortunately, president trump has a different vision. a future in which families can enjoy the prosperity that abundant energy provides and that quality of life that comes from that prosperity. we can't get there from paris. but which ever course we take, one thing is certain, the earth will continue to warm and cool as it has for billions of years. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. cgovern, for five minutes. mr. mcgovern: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend. mr. speaker, i rise today to call for the immediate and mr. inconditional release of nabil, the prominent bahraini human
rights defender who remains in custody in bahrain after being arrested years ago. he is currently in the hospital. he's a human leading rights activist known across the region and beyond for his peaceful views. he's won several major human rights awards. nabil has been unjustly imprisoned several times since 2011 when he participated in protests against the government of bahrain and joined calls for democratic reform. in april, 2015, he was arrested following tweets criticizing the saudi-led coalition air strikes in yemen and the treatment of detainees in bahrain's jobs prison. he was released after three months but prosecute ors ordered his rearrest in june of 2016. he's being held on numerous charges and is on trial in two separate cases for his human rights work. if convicted on all charges, he would face up to 18 years in jail. so what kinds of charges are we talking about? he's accused of insulting national institutions. spreading rumors and offending a foreign country. in other words, he's acussed --
accused of exercising his right to freedom of speech. last december a court ordered his release on bail, but he was immediately rearrested for making, quote, false statements in tv interviews where he criticized bahrain's refusal to allow journalists and human rights groups access to their country. i have experienced that in august of 2014 i was denied permission to visit bahrain with brian duly. since his arrest last year, nabil has undergone two heart on, suffered palpitations and required emergency medical care and developed other medical conditions. after the first operation, he was returned to prison heart palpitations and with an open wound and had to be rushed back to the hospital three days later to treat the resulting infection. his trials have been postponed more than a dozen times since his arrest last year. most recently yesterday. nabil has spent most of the last 10 months in solitary confinement.
after "the new york times" published an op-ed by him last september n that piece nabil urged the obama administration to use its leverage to resolve the conflict in yemen instead of flan fanning the claims flamse by supplying arms to the saudi coalition. a second "new york times" piece appeared last month on may 17 where he urged the trump dministration to it -- i request unanimous consent to enter these articles into the record so the house can see for itself the kinds of opinions that the bahrainian government considers dangerous. under obama the state department repeatedly called on bahrain to release him and drop the charges against him. it also tied the sale of f-16's to bahrain's -- to bahrain to improve -- improvements in human rights n contrast the new administration has lifted the hold on the f-16 sales and failed to call for his release.
when president trump meet the king of bay rain he told them we're going to have a very, very long-term relationship. i look forward to it very much. many of these same things common was trump's quote. i'm not sure what the president had in mind, but let's review what happened this year. on january 5, the government restored arrest and investigation powers to its national security agency, notorious for torturing detainees in to 11. this reverses one of the few reforms outlined in the bahrain independent commission of inquiry the government carried out. on january 15, the they carried out their first execution since 2010, killing three men who were allegedly tortured into making false confessions. on february 21, bahrain's constitution was amended to allow military courts to try civilians. on may 31, the government dissolved the secular opposition party and it was the last major opposition party still operating in the country after another party was dissolved last summer.
on june 4, he ordered the only independent newspaper to be suspended indefinitely. bahrain is headed down an increasingly authoritarian path. it is closing off all avenues for peaceful dissent. the president of the united states does not get t could that have to do with the income he earned when the bahraini government held its national day celebration at trump international hotel last december? what i know is that appearances matter and bahrain is an increasingly volatile, dangerous place for our military's -- for our military personnel. we should not enable the bahraini government's repression. i call for the immediate and unconditional release of nabil and all others jailed for their peaceful political views. i urge the trump administration to join me. i thank my colleagues for listening. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman's request to insert materials into the record is granted. the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. thompson, for five minutes.
mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, last week i met with members of the national young farmers coalition. this nonprofit was founded just many eight years ago by three farmers in upstate new york. they gather around a farmhouse table to talk about the challenges facing them and their peers. difficulty securing loans. access to affordable farmland, and student loan debt. they decided they and other young farmers needed to step up and fight for the future of farming as a united front. across the country other young farmers were also coming to the same realization. and the coalition was born. it works in conjunction with farmers, consumers organizations, and government to tackle the many challenges that young independent and sustainable farmers face in their first years of operating a farm business. young farmers include all people who are kicking off a career in
agriculture. typically in their first 10 years of growing, this includes anyone from a first-year farmer apprentice to someone pursuing a midlife career change to agriculture. mr. speaker, rural america is struggling. rural areas offer unique contributions to our nation. often in the form of agriculture, raw materials, and naturally occurring commodities. as more and more young people pursue fast-paced careers in cities and urban septemberers, the size and composition of populations and-n rural america is rapidly changing. american agriculture in particular is facing a crisis of attrition. 2/3 of our farmland is on the cusp of transition as farmers grow older and retire and there are fewer young farmers positioned to manage this resource. farmers over the age of 65 outnumber farmers under the age of 35 by a margin of 6-1. the number of farmers under the age of 35 grew by only 1% from
2007 to 2012. in order to fix this problem, we must help incentivize more young people to pursue careers in agriculture. that's why together with representatives joe courtney of connecticut and john faso of new york i introduced the young farmers success act, which aims to accomplish this by adding farmers to the existing public service loan forgiveness program. after making 10 years of income based student loan payments, a young farmer would see the balance of his or her low student loans forgiven. just as other public servants who utilize this program currently do. it is my hope that the enactment of this legislation will lead to the continued inend handsment of our nation's farms. agriculture's number one industry in pennsylvania, mr. speaker. and as such many of the rural communities in the state depend on agriculture in some form. . unfortunately, usda released their income forecast and
predicted net farm income is expected to decline for the fourth consecutive year. declining farm income, coupled with low commodity prices over the past few years, have adversely impacted farmers and rural communities across the nation. i've met with farmers in and outside my district who are facing tough decisions about the future of their farms. as vice chair of the agriculture committee and chairman of the nutrition subcommittee, i know our nation needs a robust agriculture sector so we can continue to provide our nation and nations across the world with knew nutrition food and fiber -- with nutritious food and fiber. i believe young farmers success act does just that. taking away one of the barriers that can deter young and beginning farmers in agriculture. mr. speaker, our farmers feed our nation. farmers are stewards of the land and cornerstones of our rural communities. they provide our country with safe and affordable food
supply, but we need to do more to cultivate the future generations of farmers. they face tough odds by the very nature of the business, and this legislation will provide incentives for those who would like to pursue a future in the agriculture industry which aids our national security and the long term sustainability of our country. investing in our nation's ability to put food on the table for our neighbors is not a partisan issue. i encourage every member of our house to support this important legislation. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from minnesota, mr. emmer, for five minutes. mr. speaker, i rise today to congratulate the st. cloud area adapted softball team for winning the state championship earlier this month. coach mike led the team to victory with the help of tyrell, frank, deyton and
jordan who all played exceptionally well. while the individual accomplishments were important, it was a team effort with all 16 players giving it their all and leaving everything they had on the field. the tournament was intense with st. cloud coming from behind to win the first game. saint cloud scored five runs in the top of the seventh to beat their opponent 17-14. we're proud of all the players from around the state for their effort in the tournament and we're especially proud of our saint cloud area team for their success and their hard work over this past season. mr. speaker, i rise today to have recognized two high school students from my district for being chosen to represent the great state of minnesota in two prestigious science, technology, engineering and math, more commonly called stem-based programs. alex of princeton high school has been selected to participate in the congress of future medical leaders, and michael of buffalo high school has been selected to
participate to select in the congress of future science leaders. these were designed to help those at the top of their class and hope to per per sue a science-based career. once they have successfully completed their congress, alex and michael will continue to receive mentoring to help them successfully pursue their chosen careers. the career paths that alex and michael have chosen to pursue are not easy, but they are incredibly important to our country. in order for our nation to remain both competitive and successful, it is vital that today's students take an active interest in stem fields. that's why i'm proud to honor both alex and michael and to thank the national academy of future physicians and medical scientists and the national academy of future scientists and technologists for working to ensure that the future of our nation is bright. mr. speaker, i rise today to congratulate all of the recent high school graduates in
minnesota's sixth congressional district on completing a major milestone in their young lives. this milestone represents the beginning of the rest of your lives, and while we celebrate your achievement, we are also excited for your future. and there is so much to be excited about. many of you will go on to further your education -- educate your career in education, travel and you'll see the world. some of you might go to medical school and one of you might actually cure a disease. some of you might run for public office, and one of you might even become the president of the united states. you'll be active in your communities. you'll build families and be incredible assets to the great state of minnesota. your possibilities are limitless, and i hope you will always think big and never give up on your dreams. we wish you the best of luck as you take the next step in your journey and we look forward to watching you succeed and thrive. i also want to thank your parents and the teachers of these wonderful scholars for
guiding them along and helping them achieve this great goal. and education is the key that opens all of life's doors and we thank you for handing these students the key. mr. speaker, i rise today to recognize and thank stearns county human services administrator mark sizer for his dedicated service to our community. after 40 years of public service and 23 years dedicated to stearns county, mark is heading into retirement. stins he was appointed to -- since he was appointed to the human resources position, mark has dedicated himself to the many programs and employees to his department and to the people of stearns county. they have offered some of the best services and programs in minnesota. stearns county is one of the most populate and densely populated in minnesota's sixth congressional district, and we're fortunate to have had such a dedicated public servant
at the helm of this incredibly important department. thank you for your service, mark. i wish you a happy and relaxing retirement with those that you love. you certainly deserve it. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. members are reminded to address their remarks to the chair. the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. fitzpatrick, for five minutes. mr. speaker, k: the motto of the united states coast guard, always ready, and throughout its history, the members of the coast guard have stood ready to protect the homeland from all threats. i rise to recognize the important work of our coast guard as well as its members throughout history, including those like edward plath. edward, like so many americans of his day, answered the call to service at the onset of world war ii. despite being turned down by the army over medical concerns,
he soon joined the coast guard and served honorably in new jersey, protecting the region's coastlines from the ever present danger of nazi attack. but for edward, the coast guard during the war meant more than duty. it was on a blind date with a fellow sailor that he met the woman that he said he'd mary. for over six deck -- that he said he'd marry. for over six decades they were married. mr. plath passed away in 2012, just a couple months after his wife. but on may 17 of this year, he was buried at sea with full military honors, off the coast where he served in new jersey. i am grateful for mr. plath's service to our nation and i'm proud our team in bucks county could assist his daughter in honoring his final wish. mr. speaker, we owe a debt of gratitude to edward plath and to all those who serve and continue to serve and we must always be ready to support them in any way we can consistent with the motto of the u.s.
coast guard. mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from texas, ms. jackson lee, for five minutes. ms. jackson lee: i thank the speaker. and good morning. i believe it is important when we have an opportunity to discuss issues in a more deliberate tiff manner to rise to the floor to remind americans who every day get up and work and provide the engine to this economy of the destructive behavior that's about to begin in the united states congress. the affordable care act, obamacare, took three years-plus to engage with every health professional, americans across the nation, tens upon tens upon tens of hearings and individual engamingment with
people who -- engagement with people who are sick and people who had lack of insurance. i remember hearing from parents whose children had died because they had no insurance. one mother of a young law professional who unfortunately steered toward drugs but had gotten himself rehabilitated but developed hepatitis because he had no insurance he wound up dying in the emergency room. there were endless stories like that, but the affordable care act came in and provided dollars for pre-existing condition. it set a table of essentials that no health insurance could deny you the right to be covered whether you were pregnant, whether or not you had a pre-existing condition. they couldn't deny you hospital coverage. i don't know if americans are realizing our our colleagues know that in days past before the affordable care act you could be sold an insurance, boondoggle that when you got to the emergency room or the
hospital and had to be admitted they would say, you have no coverage. that is the lifesaving aspect of the affordable care act, and i don't want anyone to be disabused of the fact that after the house passed this heinous, terrible, dangerous, devastating bill that it would go away. the senate now is going to pick up the same trumpcare bill that will provide higher costs with less coverage, that will include 23 million people will lose their coverage. as well, it will gut the priorities and the protections for pre-existing conditions. if you have asthma, if you're pregnant, you won't be covered. then, of course, crushing age tax where those who are 50 and older may be paying $12,000 or more for their coverage in health care. and as well it steals from medicare and jeopardizes the medicare trust fund. let it be very clear, that is
the same pathway that the senate bill, which is then going to come back to the house, the republicans continue to undermine the very needs of the american people. now, let me explain why insurance companies are closing in various states like ohio. it is not obamacare. it is the republicans' refusal to come together with democrats and fix it. it is the devastating, destructive executive order from the administration that tells -- that refuses to pay subsidies. the subsidies allowed working and middle-class americans to have insurance, and the insurance industry, the health insurance industry said, it is too unstable a market. not because of americans, not because of people who are buying insurance. because directly from the white mined by y have under paying subsidies by the white house and by the secretary of human services. what kind of mercy is that?
where is the kindness and the love and the honoring of the pact we make with the american people that we will stand with their protectors? where is the basis where we fought so hard under president trump and got what had not be secured in a century health insurance for americans? and yet we also face a devastating, unstable government. the firing of director comby the testimony under oath that -- director comey, the testimony under oath that he said he was directed to end the flynn investigation. i know that doesn't put food on the plates of americans, of children, but it's the integrity of government. where are the investigations in this house? where are the fact-finding investigations in this house? the rumor that's now proliferating, that a distinguished professional like mr. mueller, a former director of the f.b.i., who served republican and democratic
presidents, this is a rumor that the special counsel will be fired. we are always told in our neck of the woods in texas that where there is smoke there is fire. mr. president, are you going to begin watergate all over again? the saturday night massacre? this house needs to begin its investigation now, and this is a need to begin to move on directing the judiciary committee to begin an investigation of the facts. it warrants it because we have to clear the air before we can sit down at the table and do the work that needs to be done. in the midst of all of this, a destructive bill is being prepared in the senate that is going to kill the health care of all americans. it's time for all of us to wake up and take our government back. yield back. the speaker pro tempore: members are reminded to address their remarks to the chair.
the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from alabama, mrs. roby, for five minutes. mrs. roby: thank you, mr. speaker. today we have an opportunity to send to the president's desk legislation bringing unprecedented accountability to the v.a. and badly needed protections for whistleblowers who expose wrongdoing. mr. speaker, someone who has worked with whistleblowers to shed light on negligence, abuse and even criminal activity within the central alabama v.a., i can tell you this reform legislation is long overdue. when it comes to the v.a. scandal that erupted a few years ago, most americans probably remember phoenix, arizona, and the horrendous activity that happened there. . phoenix became the epitome of a nationwide v.a. accountability problem, rightly so. ways the central alabama
v.a. could also be considered a poser child for the need of re-- poster child for the need of reform for the department of veterans affairs from top to bottom. it might not have begannered as many headlines as phoenix, but the nature and extent of the abuse inside of central alabama v.a. was every bit as bad if not worse. my straff and i worked with courageous whistleblowers and dedicated tournl journalists to pull back the curtain there. here's a handful of examples. ore than 900 x rain cancer screening, some showing malignancies were lost and unread for years. alerted to the problem, top administrators tried to cover it up. a v.a. pulmonologist manipulated more than 1,200 patient records, twice, twice, caught was still given a satisfactory review. perhaps the most disturbing a central alabama v.a. employee
took a recovering veteran to a crackhouse and bought him drugs and provided him prostitutes to extort his v.a. payments. and even when caught, this employee was not fired. not until a year and a half later when we exposed it in the newspaper. the crackhouse incident stands out in my mind for many reasons. first, it still haunts me to my core just how callus and un-- callous and uncaring a person could be to do such a thing to a veteran patient. it illustrates just how complacent the bure crass had become to let the behavior slide. third, it is chilling to think we would have never even known about it. if not for a brave v.a. employee who walked into my montgomery office and handed us a copy of the police report. thankfully under the 2014 reform law, the director of the central alabama v.a. was fired in the wake of these exposures.
that law took an important step towards speeding up the termination process for top officials. but did you know that he remains the only senior official fired as a result of the v.a. scandal? mr. speaker, we all know that law did not go far enough. for one thing, it did not extend the strict accountability standards to rank-and-file employees. senior managers aren't the only ones responsible for the failures at the v.a. there has been a culture of complacency up and down the chain of command for a very long time. and the complicated process for disciplining or removing problem employees only makes it worse. that law also didn't go far enough to protect whistleblowers. there is no question in my mind that without the courage of those who came forward to at the time truth, very little would have changed at the central alabama v.a. if anything at aw. yet those whistleblowers were the very targets of retaliation
from supervisors and other officials. mr. speaker, today we have an opportunity to take that next step on behalf of our veterans and those working to serve them. s. 294 the department of veterans affairs accountability and whistleblower protection act grants the v.a. secretary the power to fire, demote, or suspend any v.a. employee, no matter their rank. the bill also increases protections for whistleblowers who put themselves at risk to improve the lives and care for veterans. let me say, most of v.a. employees care a great deal about veterans and work very hard to provide the best service. it's not fair for the hardworking employees of the v.a. that a few bad actors get to evade punishment. secretary of veterans affairs dr. david shulkin has said he wants greater authority to remove bad employees as he sees fit. it is time for congress to give him that authority and let him
know that what we expect and that we expect him to use it. i urge my colleagues to do the right thing by our vetance. pass this legislation today and desk.t to the president's thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from tennessee, mr. duncan, for five minutes. mr. duncan: desk. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the re to address the house for five minutes. revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. duncan: mr. speaker, obamacare has created a health crisis -- health care crisis for the people in my district. not long ago i received this letter from one of my constituents in knoxville. quote, i just read where humana insurance company will not offer health insurance in any of the exchanges in 2018. this puts my wife in a predicament as there will be no health insurance companies offering health insurance in 2018 in knoxville at this time. we need help with this mounting issue as i'm sure there are more
of us in the same boat . when we first signed up for a.c.a. insurance three years ago, her monthly premium was $245. the second year it was $660. this year it is $963 a month. this is absolutely ridiculous for a person on a limited income. unquote. many thousands in tennessee and across the nation have very similar stories. my constituent was right, it is ridiculous. now even this expensive insurance will disappear. and there are a lot of people in the same boat as my constituent and his wife. because there has been so much publicity about how the republicans now control both congress and the white house, it seems a great many people do not realize that we're still totally and completely under obamacare. a bill which passed in the house but a different version is being discussed in the senate. so republicans have not yet done anything to change obamacare. so if someone is still having trouble getting health insurance, our still paying too much for their insurance, it is
still because of obamacare. just today in the nonpartisan capitol newspaper "the hill" is this headline. quote, insurer exits bolster g.o.p. case for obamacare repeal. insurance companies are still pulling out right and left all over the country. because of obamacare. obamacare is still imploding all over the country. obamacare's allegedly compassionate regulations were supposed to guarantee access to health care for the sick. instead they have made access worse. current propaganda seems to be persuading some people that obamacare is really protecting the people it claims to be. but harvard and others are finding otherwise in their studies. they are finding that the obamacare regulations literally penalize insurers who offer quality coverage for the sick. this motivates insurers to offer only unattractive plans to people with expensive medical conditions.
the insurance company which offers the best plans ends up with the most anti-sickest enrollees so the highest cost. sadly, this is causing a race to the bottom. the obamacare regulations are causing everyone, including people with pre-existing conditions, to have low quality coverage or no insurance options at all. obamacare's harmful government regulations have driven every insurer out of the marketplace exchange in 16 counties in the knoxville region. for 43,000 tennesseans, unless blue cross-blue shield can come back into the area, there will be no exchange plans available after december. but it's not just in knoxville. millions of americans have only one insurer left in the exchange, if any. obamacare's regulations are driving out more and more insurers every day, leaving americans with less choice and ultimately no choice.
throwing more taxpayer money at this problem won't solve t this will continue to happen all across this country as long as we have obamacare's harmful regulations on the books. knoxville tennessee is the canairea in the obamacare coal mine. president trump says he wants to repeal obamacare. he should come to knoxville, share my constituents' stories, show the american people that obamacare's regulations are the cause of our nation's crisis and are limiting access to health care. if president trump goes before the nation on national television and explains in understandable detail what is going on with obamacare now and how he's trying to fix t. the american people will rally once again to repeal obamacare's harmful government regulations. mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to insert into the record the "wall street journal" article written by michael cannon, director of health
policy studies at the cato institute. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, -- without objection. pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess until noon today. tod. >> we're going to the other side of the capitol and join the senate appropriations committee hearing with deputy attorney
general rob rosenstein, there he is on the screen, testifying about the justice department's budget request for fiscal year 2018. much of the questioning has been on the investigation into russian meddling in the u.s. election and whether president trump has been an impediment in that investigation. e join it in progress. mr. rosenstein: i think o.m.b. would be the right agency to answer that question. mr. -- senator lankford: i hope to work on that. rather than go back to treasury, as we solve that issue, that budget gimmick goes away. i'll follow up on a question for the record to private prisons that i know you're trying to re-engage and we'll follow up. thank you. chairman shelby: senator coons. senator coons: thank you, mr. chairman. deputy attorney general rosenstein thank you for being ere.
you are here because attorney general sessions abruptly canceled his commitment to appear before this committee it is the attorney general's job to be here today. the fact he has again chosen to skip this hearing is unacceptable. the attorney general, believe, has chosen to skip this hearing today in order to avoid difficult questions about the scope of his recusal. questions which have already been asked of you by several senators, but i'll attempt to explore it further. i do think it's important that we have a full and engaged conversation with the attorney general about the department of justice in front of both the judiciary committee and the appropriations subcommittee responsible for the entity he still leads. let me start briefly with some good news, if i might. mr. rosenstein, you're here in part to talk about the budget of the department of justice. in 2014 congress demonstrated its commitment to the victims of child abuse act by unanimously re-authorizing that in both chambers much the children's advocacy centers funded by this law conducted forensic interviews that meet the needs of child victims.
i'm pleased the president's f.y. 18 budget request funds these programs. i thought we would start with one positive thing. as discussed by others, it is the scope of recusal that is unclear both to lawyers and nonlawyers on this committee. you are here instead of the attorney general, and you are here as acting attorney general with regard to the special counsel, and you exercised the higher and would exercise the final decision with regards to special counsel bob mueller. that's because attorney general sessions is recused from that matter. on may 9, you delivered a memo to stoig sessions entitled rye storing public confidence -- restoring public confidence. your memo focused on director comey's conduct during the clinton email investigation. the way the director handled that investigation was wrong and you ultimately stated having to refuse to admit his errors, he could not be expected to
implement the corrective actions is that correct? mr. rosenstein: yes. senator coons: on that same day attorney general sessions then sent a memo to president trump relying on your memo where the attorney general recommends director comey be removed, is that correct? mr. rosenstein: i believe that's correct. senator coons: during his january 10 confirmation hearing, a.g. sessions said stated he would recuse himself from any matters involving any matters involving campaigns for president of the united states and specifically investigations into secretary clinton's email server. is that correct? mr. rosenstein: that's my understanding, senator. senator coons: why did you write a memo to attorney general sessions exclusively discussing a matter that, as i understand it, attorney general sessions explicitly told us in congress he was recused from. why was that an appropriate basis for him to make a higher fire recommendation to the president. mr. rosenstein: i don't think that's a question for me to answer. i have said in my previous