tv Representative Ted Poe on Hurricane Harvey Response CSPAN September 8, 2017 5:31pm-6:29pm EDT
harvey relief and extended the flood insurance program. it also raised the debt ceiling and extends federal spending through december 8. it was 316-90. all 90 no vote were republicans and 27 members didn't vote. you can see how your member voted at c-span.org. soon after the vote, house speaker ryan signed the measure and sent et to the president. the white house press secretary announcing the president signed h.r. 601, providing much-needed support for storm survivor, saying our thoughts and prayers are with all impacted. texas republican congressman ted poe represents houston as part of the second district he came to the house floor today to talk about the situation there and throughout the rest of the state. he was joined by democrat al green, whose district also covers part of houston. majorit leader. mr. poe: i thank the speaker. mr. speaker, i appreciate the time. i want to talk about what has been occurring in southeast
texas for the last several weeks. i represent part of the houston area, north houston and into other areas of harris county. houston is one of many cities in harris county, texas. and of course i'm going talk bout hurricane harvey. on august 26, texans across the state braced themselves for hurricane harvey. it was a quick hurricane in that it was developed very quickly in the gulf of mexico. texas, it southeast near corpus christi, in rockport. and did considerable damage in rockport. i understand from congressman farenthold that represents the area that the entire small town was just obliterated by
hurricane harvey. that's right on the coast of texas. hurricane harvey made its way up the coast toward houston. riding the coast and the gulf of mexico. when it got to houston, texas, it slowed down to some extent. and for five days it rained. it rained all day and all night . and the flood waters rose in the houston-harris county area. all told, we got about 50 inches of rain in those five days. 70% of harris county had flood waters at the highest time that the flood occurred. 70% of the houston-harris county area.
mr. speaker, i grew up in houston. i remember the hurricanes that came through houston when i was a kid. hurricane carla in 1961 or 1962. we thought that was the biggest thing that ever happened to houston. but there were others since then. more recently we had tropical storms alison, alicia. , en the hurricanes of katrina ike. humbert, gus staff, then we had three holiday floodings in the houston area on memorial day, labor day and the next tax day, i.r.s. day. and now hurricane harvey, more recently. hurricane harvey, all the experts say this is the worst natural disaster to hit the houston area, some say in north
america. bayous in texas the way the drainage, if i can use that phrase, in houston works, houston is just a few miles from the gulf coast, some areas are right at sea level. we have a system of bayous and creeks that all move through the houston area down to the gulf of mexico. so if the watt's in houston, it's got to -- if the water's in houston, it has to go southeast to the gulf of mexico. of course when the rains came and the floods came up, there was no place for the water to go because there was so much water. after hurricane harvey hammered houston, it worked its way back out in the gulf of mexico just a little bit, to gain some strength, gain more power, and
then came back ashore further on down the coast in jefferson and liberty county, beaumont-port arthur, you probably never heard of those towns but it went into that area, parts of louisiana and worked its way up through tennessee. and it's gone away. tennessee. nd it's gone away. jefferson county is home to the largest collection of refineries in the united states. about 22% of the nation's refineries are along the channel. port arthur, beaumont, are where the refineries are. port arthur, texas, right on the coast, was completely flooded during hurricane harvey. and the refineries shut down,
many people know that because the gasoline prices have spiked overnight because that fuel is not being produced. most of those refineries will be back online very soon if they're not already online. so the flooding was mass i. if you take the state of new jersey and you turn it on its side and set it on the texas coast from louisiana down to corpus, that's the size of the floods and the rain in hurricane harvey. massive area that affected a lot f people throughout texas. the second congressional district that i represent was flooded, like most of the cop gregsal districts in the area, and during the rains and the floods that are coming down for ose several days, people got
into action. they didn't wait for the rains to stop or the floods to stop coming up. ordinary folks started helping each other. with the first responders and the volunteers, 72,000 people were rescued. that's a massive number. 72,000. here's one of those rescues right here. we got the national guard, texas national guard came in, all of them came to texas, southeast texas, rescuing a lady and her child. that's just one photograph of many, many photographs of rescues that took place. the amount of water that came down was 50 inches. if you take the astrodome and fill it with water, 86,000 times, that's how much water hit
the houston area. it's unbelievable amount of water that came into the houston area. i'd like to talk about a few folks that helped out in the escue. one of those individuals was houston police officer sergeant steve perez. i talked about him the other day on the house floor. i'd like to mention him again. he's a perfect example of our first responders and what they're willing to do in times of need. he was a 60-year-old veteran of the houston police department. he was at the houston police department 34 years, he grew up in san antonio, texas. went to rotc in san antonio, commissioned as a second
lieutenant and he became a major in the army reserves. after that, he moved to houston, texas, and he joined the houston police department. here's a picture, a photograph of officer steven perez. so he lived in houston, of course. rain is coming down, he's going to report for duty. his wife suggested, encouraged, begged him not to go because of the flood around where they live. he's headed to the houston police department. headquarters. he could not get there. he e calls on the radio and found out that he -- told them he couldn't get there. found out rains were hitting all the houston area, especially in a place called kingwood. kingwood is about 25 to 30 miles from downtown houston. up in the northeast area. so he gets -- he's in his car. he turns and starts heading up to kingwood he gos under an
under pass, it's raining hard , he couldn't see very well and his car went in, flooded, and he drowned. officer steve perez. married, father of two. he was looking for a path to kingwood for over two hours, trying to get there to let folks know they needed to evacuate the area. ext wednesday, officer perez will be buried. in houston. his funeral is at 9:00, downtown church, there will be hundreds and hundreds of police officers from all over the state of texas and other states there to honor him. along with a thousand or more civilians. steven perez, gave his life in the line of duty, the thin blue line, that's what he was
protecting, us in the tragedy. remember, he could have made a choice just not to report for duty that day because he couldn't get to work he made the choice to take care of other houstonians. one other officer i want to mention is officer bert ramon. he has stage 4 colon cancer, that's serious stuff. and he was -- reported for duty. wasn't going to sit out this crisis. he couldn't get downtown. so he teamed up with houston's lake patrol. we have boats in houston for flooding, but we have lake houston and some other big waters where they use boats to -- for different reasons, but he teamed up with the houston lake
patrol division. so while he was working with them for three days, he rescued 1,500 people. including seniors and children and handicapped folks. he and the folks he was working with on the lake patrol, 1,500 people. and i just admire him, all of our first responders, who got out in all of this really tough, tough weather, do what they needed to do, but wanted to do. he receives biweekly chemo treatments in houston for his cancer. but he went ahead and did what he wanted to do to serve and protect the rest of us. he rescued many of them that were seniors, as i mentioned , he jokes a lot , he told those
seniors that they were on a san antonio river cruise. there's a river that runs through san antonio, through downtown, the river walk and he told them that's what the cruise they were on, trying to be lighthearted and to put people at ease that he was rescuing. other first responders, firefighters, e.m.s., of course the police, were working day and night, sleeping at the stations, many of them had their own homes flooded but yet they are going to do good work for other people. but they weren't the only ones. volunteers came to houston from dallas and arlington, texas, san antonio, and many officers from state lines. i had the opportunity to meet police officers from ohio, california, arlington, texas, and other places who were there to help. and they came from, like i said, all over the country to help
folks. we had 12,000 national guard individuals in texas helping people. that's all the national guard we have. they came as well. i do want to mention the fact that it wasn't just first responders, we had volunteers come from boston, massachusetts. it took them a while to find texas. it's a long way away. and california, and new york sent officers as well to help. and to all of those folks whose names we may never know, we are grateful. those of us in houston, texas, and affected areas, are grateful for the first responders and the volunteers that came from all over the state. this is, i'm not sure you can see this photograph, mr. speaker, but this is a long line of pickup trucks and bass boats.
i don't know if you own a bass boat or not. it's the dream of every texas boy growing up to own two things, a pickup truck and a bass boat. life is good if they can get these two things. there are some other things but i'm not going to mention those at this time. but here are a bunch of pickup trucks from this end of the poster all the way to the other end. these are coming from louisiana. next state over from -- they're called the cajun navy. what the cajun navy did is bring not only bass boats, pickup truck, but they filled these trucks up with cajun food and
supplies and came to texas to do everything they could to help rescue individuals. we appreciate them. but they weren't the only ones doing this there were people from other parts of the state. you may have -- i don't know that you could find brownwood, texas, on a map. of t's northwest out sort in the panhandle area. there were two young guys, i think in their 20's or so, they were watching all this on television. so they get in their pickup trucks and they drive from brownwood, texas, and stopped in austin which is still 200 miles miles om away from houston, at a cabela's sports. and they helped rescue individuals. this is just a few examples of neighbors helping neighbors.
the folks in the houston area, mr. speaker, they didn't wait for governments, i'm not just talking about the federal government, but any government. to start helping individuals. that needed help. during the rescue operations that were about four days. a lot of my constituents, frankly, don't like government. they do things on their own. and that's what people were doing in the houston area. you may have seen many of these examples on television. it was heart warming to see so many people, strangers helping strangers, neighbors helping neighbors, this -- race or politics had nothing to do with any of this. it was higher than politics. it's all about people. and people jumped in to help. many people whose own homes were flooded out, yet they have a boat. and they're helping other people. helping their neighbors.
rescue individuals. there was an elderly man who was trapped inside his suv, mr. speaker, and the neighbors see that he's trapped in his suv. floodwaters are coming up. neighbors and strangers watched and they didn't know what to do. water is coming up. they don't have a rope. they can't get to him. so these people who did not know each other form a human chain from dry land to where he was in his suv as water is coming up and pulled him out and got him and rescued him to make sure that he was safe. the waters and the current were too strong for anybody to swim, so they formed a human chain and they rescued him. saved him. every morning, mr. speaker, there's a couple, maybe an
elderly couple, they probably don't want to be called that, but a couple in the houston area that, they go to chick-fil-a in the mornings for breakfast. j.c. and karen spencer are their names. they called in an order, same order, every day at the same time at the local chick-fil-a. the chick-fil-a manager, jeffrey urban, knew them. he would see on the phone the caller i.d. he knew the phone number. and before he even and he the phone he starts preparing what they were going to order. because they order the same thing every day. but on the morning of august 28 , as hurricane harvey is there in houston hammering down, unleashing trillions of gallonses of water, jeffrey that morning was closing the restaurant to protect the restaurant. from flooding. best he could. he was going to head for home but the phone was ringing and
he knew who it was. it was j.c. and karen spence who are call in every morning. he thought they were calling for their usual breakfast. a texas burrito is what they're getting ready to have. but he picked up the phone. but they weren't calling for breakfast. they were calling for help. their house was completely flooded. the waters were rising fast. they had tried all the emergency numbers. they couldn't get a hold of anybody. they're in their home. they can't get out. they don't know what to do. they panicked to some extent so they call jeffrey at the chick-fil-a as they do every morning. so what jeffrey did was, he didn't just go home. he along with the restaurant owner headed to the spencer's house. with their jet ski in tow. and as you can see, here's jeffrey, here's karen, he takes the jet ski, he goes in the house, picks her up, takes her to dry land and also helps her husband safely leave.
but anyway. just a good example of folks just taking care of other people in the area. they were able to get out and their home was later destroyed. just an example of the spirit of people and the attitude of people in the houston area, when this hurricane happened. i could spend a lot of time telling about other folks and i'm going to tell as many stories as i can. speaking of time, mr. speaker, can you tell me how much time i have left? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman has 40 minutes remaining. mr. poe: oh, good. thank you very much. i look at the clock and make ure i don't go overboard here. in houston, a woman went into labor as hurricane harvey flood waters began to rise.
she was helped likewise by a rescue trunk of neighbors and firefighters who -- truck of neighbors and firefighters who, once again, formed that human chain. two beaumont police officers and fire rescue divers spotted a woman and her infant child floating in a canal in beaumont, tick. the canal -- texas. the canal is rushing to the gulf of mexico. the canal is full. the crew were able to pull the woman and her daughter from cat nal and save their lives -- the canal and save their lives. another mother saved her own child's life. this is what mothers do. anywhere in the world. she was 41 years of age. they were in the water for a long time. when they were finally found, the baby was found clutching
the chest of her mother. the mother did the best she could to keep the child above the water, the water that she could not apparently touch the bottom of wherever she was. and two beaumont police officers and fire and rescue divers pulled them out of the water. the mother later died. but the baby's ok. that's what mothers do, mr. speaker. take care of their kids. we have a business in houston that is a furniture business. it's owned by kind of a famous guy there. his name is mattress mack. he's always on tv. advertising his store. telling people to come there, he'll save them money if they buy stuff at his store. it's called gallery furniture. but here's what happened. at his store, volunteers
gathered, his delivery trucks on sunday, used those delivery trucks all over the houston area, trucks that deliver furniture. and they started rescuing people that were stranded. 400 children and adults that they rescued, he didn't take them to a shelter. he took them to his furniture store. and they stayed in his store for several days. i don't know, they may still be there. he let them live there and form a little cubicle so to speak where they could be safe and he let them stay on their furniture that he had, he even allowed the families to have ts in his stores as a rescue place for people who were in need. it was irrelevant that all that furniture was new and he just
let them stay there. that's just the way he is. he way other people are. about 1,500 miles away from texas, two young boys raised money for hurricane victims in texas. in western new york, two cousins, dominic and evan, started a lemonade stand to raise money for hurricane victims. they sold lemonade for 25 cents and donated all the money to the food bank of houston. i have 12 grandkids, mr. speaker. nd two of them live in austin. barret and brooklyn. i've had them here on the house floor before. they and their schools started making packages that they donated for the recovery effort and those packages were brought to houston, that they donated and made at their schools, had
all kind of stuff that folks needed. nd created several of those. >> will the gentleman suspend for a minute? mr. poe: yes, sir. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house the following enrolled bill. the clerk: h.r. 601, an act making continuing appropriationses for the fiscal year ending -- appropriations for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2018, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is ecognized. mr. poe: thank you, mr. speaker. i understand that you have just received the signing of the legislation, the hurricane harvey legislation, as i call it. i missed the signing down the hallway in the speaker's office. but now that's sent to the white house, i understand. but thanks for letting me esume this conversation.
does the gentleman from texas, mr. green, want to speak? mr. green: i thank the gentleman for yieldinger to just a moment. -- for yielding for just a moment. i would welcome the opportunity to use the time that you may yield back, but i do want to compliment you for what you have done in this most difficult time. and greatly appreciate what you're saying about those who were there to be of help to those who were in a time of need. and with that i will yield back to you. mr. poe: i thank the gentleman, mr. green. he and i are very close friends, mr. speaker. we both became lawyers the same year in 1973. we worked at the courthouse. i was a prosecutor, he was a defense lawyer in houston. we did sort of battle together there. we both resigned our positions and ran -- became judges the same year. we penalty is the -- we spent on the bench 22 years apiece, resigned the same day and ran for congress app we both won.
i -- congress and we both won. he's a good friend of mine, but he and i probably don't agree on a whole lot. but we do agree on some things. civility is what we need here n the house floor and in washington, d.c., to discuss things in a civil manner. so i thank the gentleman for coming by and i appreciate your help. your district's south of mine, got hammered as well during the floods. we're all working together, the texas delegation and other delegations, to make sure we help folks that have tragedy reach their lives. so thanks for your work, and working together on this very important issue. mr. green: if the gentleman would yield. mr. poe: ok, i yield you some time. mr. green: i would just like to share this thought with you. you touched upon a salient point. and that is the notion that we can have unity without
uniformity. we can maintain our principles, but we can always find higher ground to stand on. the principles that we have, we don't have to relinquish so that we can do things together. and i'm honored that you and i have been able to do a good many things together, as you know, we annually, you and i, ork together on the abuse of persons who -- in domestic relations. we decided that that's something that we don't want to tolerate and that we'll stand together against it. i just want to thank you again for your many years of service and the service especially in that time of crisis. i greatly appreciate you. mr. poe: reclaiming my time, thank you. thank you once again, judge green, as i like to refer to you, for all your work here in congress, helping out folks in texas. thank you very much. continue to work with you. mr. speaker, i have talked
quite a bit about the floods. i want to mention a couple other things about the flooding in the houston area. we have two reservoirs, call them dams in other places, but they're earthen reservoirs that collect water and the water is stored in those reservoirs. both the reservoirs flooded. water then was let out of the reservoirs, went downstream as we call it, and flooded houses as well as the rain. here is a photograph of homes that were flooded by the storm. but also flooded because of the reservoir water being released, and flooded these homes. but it's just a good example of the area that was flooded in houston, covered 70% of the harris county area at its
highest peak. but after the floods, after the rain came and the flood waters startsed going down, people started help -- started going down, people started helping in the recovery business. same folks. people were volunteering to help each other after the waters started going down. they were in the recovery business. searches got involved, of course. government agencies got involved. first responders got involved. i live up near the kingwood area, in a town called umbl -- humble, texas. that town got a lot of water. a lot of flooding in it. and near those -- both of those areas, kingwood and humble, a lot of churches were working. the second baptist church, st. martha's church, and they turned their facilities into a make shift shelter for those that had need. i went to second baptist, while they had a lot of folks there.
now they have rescue crews, i say rescue crews, they have crews that are going out to different neighborhoods and helping with the removal of walls, sheet rock, anything else that was flooded. it's not just one or two crews. these are 10-person crews. they have about 70 of these crews. that's 700 people they got going out every day to help people get -- recover some of their property. but also get those walls, that drywall torn down, ripped off, because in the houston area, in summer, the heat and the humidity will make water damage -- will make -- water damage can do a lot of damage if it's not dealt with immediately. to all those people who -- from second baptist, st. martha's, and many other faith-based groups, we appreciate the fact that they are out there doing what they can, to help other individuals as well.
mentioned the cajun navy. there were other people in boats that helped as well. a lot of boats. you probably saw a lot of them on tv. rubber boats, some people had other kind of boats they were driving up and down the streets that were flooded. the residents who were unable to recover or rebuild, take down the sheet rock, for example, in these homes, they got lots of help from other volunteers. i mentioned second baptist. there were about 1,600 volunteers that helped at second baptist, helping each other. and they're still helping each other. they have received, as all of the agencies, the nonprofits, the government agencies have received a lot of supplies, a lot of stuff that is needed for people who have lost
everything. . it's remarkable, no matter where you go, they're storing all of this they have a will the of it. some areas don't have enough room. some churches don't have enough room to store all the goods that people can use, clothes, food, other fwoods, and they're going to other places. i say that because these are people who are just giving. people in the houston area, people out of state, sending what they can. 18 wheelers full of stuff from many parts of the country. to help people get their lives back together. all donated. donated by corporations, donated by individuals, donated by schoolchildren. they all headed to houston and that is being distributed as well for people to get recovery. -- the ker, the
hurricane harvey, as i mentioned, probably the worst natural disaster, certainly the worst i've ever seen, growing up in the houston area, harvey cannot defeat the people in texas. they are resilient about, we will not be defeated. we will not be victims. we will be survivors and victors over this hurricane. that is the attitude. you've seen that attitude on national television. you just turn on any tv station, you see that happening. that is the attitude of the people that are there. think it's an encouraging attitude. texas spirit as we like to say. i know it's in other parts of the country but it is in texas as well. we use the statement, we're texas strong. we're houston strong. we are. folks in the houston area, refuse to let harvey defeat them.
people who don't know each other, people who do know each other, neighbors, strangers, all races, all ages, just out there helping each other. they don't really want a lot of recognition for that. it's just a thing they do. we are very diverse community. so i think we're the most, second most diverse behind new york. we have about an equal number of whites, blacks, and browns. and then we have a strong asian population. we speak about 115 languages in the houston area. we have -- very diverse. but it didn't make any difference what you looked like or how old you were. people were helping each other. and they're still helping each other. people above politics. that's what is taking place. we're not talking politics. nobody is talking politics.
everybody is talking about people. and helping each other. and we do have some minor problems. when these strategies happen nationwide -- when these tragedies happen nationwide, or natural disasters, we have folks in the houston area, they were out of towners, coming to town to do criminal stuff. they wanted to loot. the sheriff and the chief of police made it real clear early on that looters would be caught and prosecuted. and that's happening. there were signs out among the area of houston about looters and what would happen to them if they were caught. i won't go into those signs, mr. speaker, but there were a lot of signs. warning looters to not loot this
particular property or there would be some unpleasant consequences. and we didn't have a big problem with that. there were some price gouging by some businesses and individuals. in texas, you're a price gouger, there'll be a day of reckoning. it's against the law, $25,000 per occurrence. those people will be eventually prosecuted, those that were there. that's not the emphasis of what i'm trying to say today. i'm trying to say and want to say, thanks toths people of the houston area and the people that came to houston to help in the rescue, that are helping now in the recovery, because they need that recognition. d i want to thank the house, first bill we took up this week was hurricane harvey recovery. quickly passed the house, went
over down the holloway -- hallway, senate passed it, added stuff to it, came back here, as you recently did, sent that bill to the president of the united states for him to sign it. it's got $15 billion in aid for victims of harvey. most members of the house supported, especially the house bill, shows we can come together n time of tragedy. we are mindful of the fact that as we speak here, and we're recovering in texas, that folks in florida are watching hurricane irma come their way. so we'll send those botes that came to texas, and those pickup trucks, we'll send them east to help the people in florida. because this is really an american issue, not a texas issue. we all have to work together on this important time.
lastly, i'd just like to conclude, mr. speaker, that the attitude of the people that were affected, me is inspirational. i mean the rains came down and the floods came up, you know, like we sung in bible class about noah. the floods came up, flooded, those floods have disappeared. the sun has come out. there's a rainbow. over the area. and people are going and putting their lives back together. there's nothing that can defeat the human spirit. and we appreciate congress quickly spending relief money, $15 billion to the area. this is a disaster that some have estimated will cost the houston economy over $100
billion, i don't know how much it is. but we will do what we can here in congress to make sure that we can get aid to people like in texas, people that are going to be affected in florida, by the hurricane there. and we appreciate our first responders, our civilian volunteers, and military, national guard, the coast guard, all of our military resources. the navy even put two ships off the texas coast to bring in supplies and help. and all the volunteers, first responders, the firefighters, the e.m.s., the police. and other agencies that came together to work together to deal with harvey. and not accept defeat but only accept victory. and that's just the way it is.
yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. mr. poe: i yield to the gentleman from texas, mr. green, the remainder of my time. mr. green: once again, you and i have been able to complement each other as we should as members of congress. with your consent and permission, i'd like to move to he podium in the well. mr. speaker, i rise today with a grateful and prayerful heart. a grateful and prayerful heart. grateful to my colleagues, the many with call to give their
expressions of concern. mr. speaker, it is a wonderful thing to have your colleagues call to let you know how much they care about what's happening in your congressional district. after all, we are congresspersons of the united states of america, not just the congressional districts that we just happen to represent. so i'm grateful to my many, many colleagues who called, leadership that called, all to give their expressions of concern, not just for me, but for the people that we all represent. as congresspersons of the united states of america. i'm also grateful for the many lives that were spared. many lives that were spared. i don't know why some people were able to survive in circumstances where -- wherein they should not have, but i do know i'm grateful that they were spared. i'm also very, very, very grateful for the many good
samaritans who were there to extend the hand of friendship in a time of need. to be t out of their way a neighbor to people they did not know. i'm so grateful to those who came across county lines and state lines to do what only they could do. because many of them had talents and they had various instrumentalities that were of benefit to us in a time of need. so i'm grateful to the good smaretans. i'm also grateful that we were able to get the $15 billion that will be a good faith down payment to those who are still suffering in houston, texas. and in other places that this monster visited.
i'm very grateful that i was in the speaker's office and was there to see the actual signing take place. i thank you, mr. speaker, for allowing me to be present. i'm prayerful, i'm prayerful for those who are still suffering. in my congressional district, there are people who are still in homes that are mold informsed. they need help. -- mold infested. they need help. i want them to know help son the way. we will have to do more. but i'm prayerful that they will have their homes restored. i'm prayerful that they will have their lives return to normalcy. i'm prayerful that their children will have the opportunity to get into school as quickly as possible. i'm prayerful that they who are suffering will have the hands of our government there to comfort
them. i'm prayerful that they will understand that while others are going to do what they can, only the government of the united states of america can do the heavy lifting necessary. a lot of largess has come in, a lot of lagniappe is available, but only the government can co-this -- can do this heavy lifting. i'm prayerful they'll understand that we're going to do what we can to make sure they get the help they need. i'm prayerful for the families that have lost lives. one such family had a first responder, a houston police onicer, and he lost his life the way to save lives, to help people who were in harm's way. really gives a true definition of what "in the line of duty" means. in the line of duty.
he was taken away from us. so i'm prayerful that his family, as well as all the other families who have lost lives, that they will be able to understand that when words cannot satisfy the concerns that you have, when nothing anyone can say can make the difference that needs to be made, i'm prayerful that they will understand that they can lean on their faith and that faith can see them through that which they can go through no other way. i'm prayerful for them. and i'm prayerful for my friends and my -- in my state of florida where i was reared. born in louisiana, reared in florida. attended college in florida. went to high school in florida. florida is my home for all practical purposes, except for
texas, where i call home. i'm a transplant, obviously. but texas is home. but i'm prayerful for my friends in florida. i have relatives there. and they have a monster headed their way. monster that is going to unfortunately create harm and cause damages. my hope is that it will skirt florida, that it will go another way. i believe in miracles. i believe in miracles. and i'm asking for a miracle. but i'm prayerful for my friends, for fear that this monster will visit florida. my prayer is that i will be able to call every one of my colleagues in florida and let them know that i care about them and their constituents. because as i said, we are all congresspersons of the united states of america.
i'm prayerful for my friends, prayerful for my family, all of whom are in florida, not the entirety of my family, not the entirety of my friends, but those who are in florida. finally, mr. speaker, i want to say to the members of this house, i am grateful to every member who took the vote to help s in a time of need. i have been here long enough to have the good sense to know that for some it was a hard vote. and i'm grateful that you took that hard vote. because i understand that people have principles. they have circumstances that are important to them. and that legislation doesn't always come to everyone the way we would have it come. so i'm just grateful for those who took that hard vote.
because they had rationales and reasons that they could show, if they were to be consistent, perhaps they would have voted another way. but they took the hard vote. and i'm grateful to them. i am grateful that they did so. and i am prayerful that we will all be able to take the hard votes necessary to accord the people who have been harmed by what happened in texas and across the gulf coast and what is about to happen to those in florida, and other places, i'm prayerful that we will have the courage to take these hard votes so that we can make sure that this government does what it's supposed to do. and that is protect its people, provide for their security, and provide for their welfare in times of need. mr. speaker, i'm grateful,
after steve mnuchin told them to vote for me. it included a debt and here's reaction from dave brat, a ember of the freedom caucus. >> some people feel intellectually assaulted. people were framing this as if it were a harvey vote. >> it was a harvey vote, right? >> that's not the way it was couched. everyone in that room was going to vote for harvey and a debt ceiling increase, but with $20 trillion in debt. now we have a republican, house
and senate and white house. and republican brand, if anything is strong national defense and fiscal sanity. so that's us. are we doing anything on fiscal sanity? no. milk came over and said do you have a plan on fiscal sanity? no. hat's the frustration. and put it on paper, where is the plan for fiscal sanity? i don't think anyone. that t kind of assurances the speaker gave you that this won't happen again? >> no. we don't like getting trapped at the last minute with these positions of key votes, everyone is going to vote for harvey and you link it with a clean debt ceiling increase. first it was going to being a
long-term, 18-month. and now it is only a three-month piece. there is a net improvement. [indiscernible] >> he is in a tough job. he's got to get this stuff through the senate, too. and that group needs some massive turnover. we need term limits so bad on the senate side, it's not even funny and some rationality has to prevail over there. e has to conference with them. [indiscernible] >> he is a good guy and everybody likes him. he takes questions if he wants to meet with us, he'll meet with us individually. the issue is the republican brand on fiscal sanity, what is our plan. reporter: he didn't run on
entitlements. he doesn't have the same priorities maybe the house freedom caucus does when it comes to spending. >> he ran on the debt and wants to bring it down. nd i have to vote. i'm going to be in trouble if i don't vote. >> join us tonight with a conversation with veteran affairs secretary, he discusses the challenges facing the v.a. and what led to current problems and reflects on his childhood and what it was like growing up in an army family. atch it at 8:00 eastern on c-span. >> we saw you in houston, texas with vice president pence and we e in the middle of hurricane season. >> the v.a. has four missions, the health care mission, but we also have an educational mission
where we train 70% of u.s.-trained doctors in this country. we have a research mission where we are the largest organization doing research, $1.6 billion all dedicated to improving the lives veterans but the fourth mission is emergency preparedness and in the case of natural disasters like hurricane harvey or in the case of a military disaster, it is the v.a. that is prepared to respond in con junction with other federal agencies. we have the most doctors and nurses and most mental health professionals. we have mobile units and we train for this. our first mission was to make sure that veterans' health care and benefits continue. our medical center in houston stayed open. we had staff there from friday
evening until now making sure our patients were able to get the care and our emergency and operating rooms stayed open and deployed mobile units throughout houston. i also returned two days with the president and mrs. trump. so having my personal commitment to be able to make sure that the veterans in the area hit in texas, 530,000 of them, knew we were there for them and knew we were going to be there for what their needs were. >> which goes back to your management style. how do you manage and get all of this done and make sure it is done efficiently? >> people look at their leaders and make sure they are walking the talk and it was important for me to be there and i went there twice and i'll continue to make sure that me and my time is visible there, but it's one of the reasons why i still practice
medicine in the v.a. because there is no better way to connect with your staff than to let them know you are personally connected to it and you ups the situation they are going through. >> that was our conversation were veterans affairs secretary. you can watch it at 8:00 eastern here on c-span. >> education secretary announced a plan yesterday to change the process for reporting campus sexual assault that was put in lace under the obama administration. his is 30 minutes. [applause]