tv Border Security Legislation Markup CSPAN October 4, 2017 11:18am-12:01pm EDT
struggling inside pakistan are our issues. we think there's opportunity for us to strengthen that relationship. we are going to be working very hard at all levels, from the state department to the defense department to our intelligence communities as well as economic, commerce opportunities as well. so it really is a regional approach, and pakistan is critical i think to the long-term stability of the region. thank you very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> house is live at noon eastern. we'll have their gavel in at noon. meanwhile, we'll take you to the house homeland security committee on capitol hill. they've been meeting since about 10:00 this morning taking up legislation that would authorize $10 billion to build a border wall along the u.s.-mexico border and we'll show you as much as we can until the house gavels in at noon.
>> this i think is a commonsense approach to border security and securing our nation because it really comes down to national security and it comes down to stopping that cocaine from ever making it across our border and ultimately into the neighborhoods you talk about. it's a way of stopping controlling those elements. mr. chairman, i oppose this amendment. i ask my colleagues to oppose it as well. >> the gentleman yields back. any further discussion on the amendment? >> will the gentleman yield two minutes of his time to me? just to briefly respond to the lack of attention given to the crack cocaine epidemic, i can tell you, sir, i spent 20 years of my career primarily focused on going after crack and cocaine organizations. in fact, i was in el paso two days and we had a seizure on the border of 500 kilos of cocaine and it shocked me how easy it
was to get across the border and it shocks me all these years later the border is a sive and it shocks me we haven't done anything about it. i can tell you i spent the vast majority of my time in inner city neighborhoods trying to clean up the drug epidemic and taking crack cocaine off the streets. often at great personal danger to the agents that worked with me and to the threats i received on a regular basis and to my family. we spent an extraordinarily amount of time, the country spent an extraordinarily amount of time trying to get a handle on it. unless we do everything from decreasing demand for counseling and drug treatment to better securing our borders and going after the guys, bad guys, we are never going to get a handle on it. but make no mistake about it, the heroin is the latest trend but it's not the only one. there's an awful lot of good people in this country who sacrifice an awful lot, including many who sacrifice their lives to get the crack cocaine epidemic under control. probably many people sitting in this room as prosecutors, former
prosecutors and former law enforcement, so i would dare say we did not ignore that issue and that did not get shortchanged in the outrage. outrage is here. outrage has been there for all types of drugs and always will be as far as i'm concerned. with that i yield back. mr. mccaul: the gentleman yields back. any further discussion on the amendment? mr. payne is recognized. mr. payne: i think the gentleman from louisiana was just trying to make a point that this has been an issue that has been going on for quite sometime, and it is the difference now and the empathy which we should have for our children anytime our children are suffering from an addiction and are dying at the rates that they are, it is a national crisis. they are our future. empathy uestion is the now was not there for the
victims of crack cocaine. i think that's the only -- we have been screaming and yelling three -- issue for two to three decades. and i'm glad that it's finally ecome a national crisis. that is the point i think we're trying to make. with that i yield the remainder of my time to the gentleman from louisiana. >> yeah. and i want to agree with my colleague, mr. katko, that a lack of attention was not my concern. i think the attention was there. i think we responded in a way that was not driven by science. i can point to the fact that now we are treating it as a health crisis which we should. mr. richmond: our response of the opioid crisis is the right way to go. i think it would have been a right way 30 years ago to crack cocaine as a health crisis, an
lacktion as opposed to the 'em up throw away the key and treating addicts as criminals. and we're now treating addicts as addicts with substance abuse. when i say science and data should always drive the process, let me just offer an example. if you were caught with crack cocaine and the same amount of powder cocaine, your sentence was 100 times longer for crack as opposed to the same amount as cocaine. and the overwhelming majority of people who were caught with crack cocaine were african-americans. and people caught with powder were not. but you can't tell me that the science and the data, because the chemical maker of crack cocaine and cocaine, the only difference is baking soda. and you can't tell me that baking soda warrants 100-1 disparity. we cam back as a congress in a -- came back as a congress in a
bipartisan side and i thank my colleague for correcting it but still this day a 14-1 disparity in terms of the length of the sentence. so i agree. i am not saying that the approach to opioid is wrong. i think it's absolutely right. i'm just saying that it would have been the right response to the crack epidemic also, and if we're going to take the health approach to opioid, we should go back with criminal justice reform and do the same with crack cocaine because at the end of the day -- and this is where i draw great comfort -- is i believe my colleagues on the other side of the aisle and i want the same thing and that is to keep drugs out of all communities, to make sure that our children can grow up and live out their wildest dreams and be as successful as they can without the threat of people preying on them with drugs and other things. so the fact that we agree on the
ultimate goal, i take a lot of comfort in. i just wish we would have some very meaningful conversation on the path to which we get there and recognize the unintended consequences of the war on drugs and in the 1980's that was a different approach. and that's the only reason why i highlight the opioids and i will just close with the fact that there were many first responders going into very hostile areas in the country and outside the country to protect neighborhoods and stop drugs. and we're going to need that again and i think when we start looking at the very limited resources we have in this country, i'm just not sure that spending the amount of resources we are going to spend on this bill is the best way to protect our families, our children from the risk that they face. and i just -- i just think we ought to have a very honest conversation about the best way to spend the limited funds, not
on campaign promises but on data and proven success methods. with that i'll yield back to mr. payne the remainder of the time. mr. mccaul: the gentleman yields back. any further discussion on the amendment? there being no discussion, the question now occurs on the amendment to the amendment in the nature of a substitute offered by mr. thompson. all those in favor signify by saying no. all those opposed signify by saying no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the amendment is not agreed to. per the roster agreement, listed next is amendment 023 offered by the gentleman from mississippi, mr. thompson. would the gentleman like to offer his amendment? mr. thompson: yes. yes, mr. chairman. i have an amendment. mr. mccaul: clerk shall report the amendment. the clerk: amendment 023 offered
by the gentleman from mississippi, mr. thompson. mr. mccaul: the gentleman is recognized for his amendment. mr. thompson: my amendment strikes 111 in its entirety. from the construction of president trump's wall is unjustified and would inflict great cost on american taxpayers, private landowners and ranchers and at least one native american tribe and the environment. section 111 includes unnecessary language authorizing construction of the wall. under current law, the president already has authority to build physical barriers along the border. moreover, under existing law, the trump administration has broad authority to waive all legal requirements to construct such barriers. in fact, the bush administration utilized this waiver authority multiple times to avoid compliance with environmental and other laws perceived as impediments to its efforts to build a border fence.
why build president trump's wall now when d.h.s. in a report published last month found that today crossing into the u.s. illegally along the southwest border is the most difficult it has ever been? as someone who has been involved in border security oversight for sometime, it's troubling to see the majority advance language that turns back the clock on years of commitment on a bipartisan basis to ensuring border security investments are informed by matrix and driven by strategies. that said, there are provisions in this bill that do not mert support and are -- merit support and are justified. unfortunately, the majority has chosen to package them with the authorization of president trump's wall which is a nonstarter. for instance, the bill acknowledges the dire personnel
and infrastructure needs at our land, ports of entry. in 2014, congress directed c.b.p. to add 2,000 c.b.p. officers and 2,000 border patrol agents. to say c.b.p. has struggled to meet the staffing levels is a drastic understatement. the hiring bonus, retention incentives and pay increases called for under this bill may help c.b.p. onboard and maintain adequate staffing levels. further, with respect to infrastructure, c.b.p. officials from previous administrations have testified before this committee that there is over $5 billion in unmet needs at our nation's vital ports of entry. timely action should be taken to address these operational impair tiffs. however, this bill is not the vehicle to do that. i will be remiss if i did not acknowledge that the provisions
like the language calling for president trump's wall to be built have no offsets. as such, there are real questions about whether house leadership could even entertain this bill since it violates the cut-go rule. i'm disappointed that the requirements of this bill are not driven by facts. late last year, mr. chairman, you and i worked together to get a d.h.s. border security matrix mandate enacted into law. we are still awaiting the findings of this report. how is it we are considering this bill without any data to back up the demands this bill places on d.h.s. and c.b.p.? clearly, this bill is a partisan exercise to appease president trump's misguided political vision of border security and everyday people will suffer because of it. i ask my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to consider
the harm they are about to inflict on not only people living in southwest border communities but across the country by sticking their constituents with a significant bill. i ask that members support this amendment, strike the partisan section from the bill and support starting serious discussion regarding how best to boast the border security. with that i yield back. mr. mccaul: the gentleman yields back. is there any further discussion on the amendment? >> mr. chairman. mr. mccaul: mr. payne is recognized. mr. payne: thank you. mr. chairman, for every border patrol agent we have put in the ield over the last decade, apprehension rates have decreased. i agree with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle that perhaps having more boots on the ground is having a deterrent effect.
however, i also ask my colleagues to consider that the flow of individuals attempting to cross the border illegally has been falling at a steady rate for the last 60 years. in fact, the cato institute found that when the data on the number of agents deploy to the southwest border was combined with the apprehension rates, the average border patrol agent apprehended less than two people per month in twoucks. -- 2016. of course, certain sectors have different rates of apprehensions than others, but i just do not see the rationale based on the overall picture for adding another 5,000 border patrol agents to the field. this observation is supported by the department's own inspector general. this summer the inspector
general found that c.b.p. lacks the data to prove that an additional 5,000 border patrol agents are needed at this time and does not have plans or strategies in place to deploy them once they're hired. as for tactical infrastructure and equipment, there's been a massive investment in bored remember security resources since the bush administration. this committee learned hard -- leaned hard under the obama administration to use investments effectively. and last month, we received confirmation that those efforts have yielded results when d.h.s. reported to congress that the likelihood that someone could successfully enter the u.s. undetected through the southwest border is at the lowest level that d.h.s. has seen in almost
20 years. knowing the facts about conditions on the southwest border, i'm hard pressed to understand why we are meeting today to consider legislation to expeditiously build president trump's border wall. and with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. mr. mccaul: the gentleman yields back. any further discussion on the amendment? ms. barragan is recognized. ms. barragan: thank you, mr. chairman. i have to agree with the ranking member that this is just a -- this is just a partisan effort. when i talked to several of my colleagues, many of them, especially on this committee, tell me they didn't believe in a border wall. $15 billion now being dumped into a bill basically to apiece the president i think is -- appease the president i think is a sad day in america and a sad day in this committee that has been very bipartisan. and just goes toward adding to
the hate of what's happening in this country on the immigration issue and when i sit in this committee and i hear from experts talk about the ineffectiveness of a border wall and now to see us waste, waste $15 billion that can go to be used for something else that we need and a time when we have hurricanes and disasters happening in this country, to waste this money on a campaign promise is pretty disgusting. and that's why i oppose this. i yield back. mr. mccaul: the gentlelady yields back. any further discussion on the amendment? mr. rutherford is recognized. mr. rutherford: thank you, mr. chairman. just like to point out that border security has more to do an simply stopping illegal immigration and those who would cross our border illegally but
also drug trafficking, human trafficking. and i would point to the fact, you know, i was in law enforcement in the 1980's when crack cocaine, when it was mentioned earlier the horrific impact that crack cocaine had in our communities. and i was in florida. my colleague from orlando was as well. but we saw in response to that, throughs coast guard amitadis, they come in and secure our ports, secure the sea wall, if you will, and come very effective in
stopping the cocaine that was coming into south florida. everybody remembers the crack .ocaine wars of the late 1980's jump-start and then operation which we still have today which the precursor to that was the national interdiction command and control plan that we have today. argument that we don't need to strengthen our negates -- think does not recognize the fact that we've had tremendous success in south florida. i can tell you when i was a young patrol man, drugs flowed
north and the money flowed south. now it's the opposite. drug flows south and money flows north because it's coming through southern land border and that needs to stop. and i yield back, mr. chairman. mr. mccaul: the gentleman yields back. any further discussion on the amendment? there being no further discussion the question now occurs to the amendment in the nature of a substitute offered by mr. thompson as many as are in favor will signify by saying aye. those oppose, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it and the amendment is not agreed to. per the roster agreement, the ranking member -- a recorded vote has been requested. pursuant to ev the previous announcement, this vote will be postponed. per roster agreement, listed next is amendment number 007 offered by the gentleman from texas, mr. vela. would the gentleman like to offer his amendment? mr. vela: yes.
i have ask for consideration at this time. mr. mccaul: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment to the amendment in the nature of a substitute to h.r. 3548 offered by mr. vela. mr. mccaul: without objection, the reading is dispensed with. mr. vela is recognized for five minutes. mr. vela: much of the land without a border fence along the u.s.-mexico border is not federally owned. as such, there would need to be significant takings of private lands for president trump's big beautiful wall to be erected, as this bill directs. president trump's fiscal year 2018 budget request included funding to hire an additional 20 eminent domain attorneys at the justice department. it is clear that the president's gearing up for a fight against private property owners. we've seen the federal government run roughshod over the interest of private landowners to meet the miles of fencing requirements under the secure fence act. this amendment requires d.h.s. to establish a $20 million legal defense fund for ranchers and
landowners who own the -- own land the federal government wants to take to build president trump's wall. the federal government pays as lig as $100 for land it takes from citizens who are not aware of their rights or do not have legal representation. interestingly, in those instances where there is a court challenge, citizens have been awarded up to $1 million. in fact, reuters reported in one case the government ended up paying $4 drp 7 million pursuant to a court order for a parcel of land for which the original offer was just $233,000. this amendment directs d.h.s. to set aside $20 million, a drop in the bucket in this $15 billion bill, to help protect the property rights of private landowners on the border. $20 million per year may seem like a lot of money but when you pit that against the resources and expertise of the department of justice and the mack any tude of this bill -- magnitude of this bill it may not be enough to protect vulnerable americans
against an overzealous federal government but it certainly will help. i urge my colleagues to protect the rights of private landowners and support my amendment and i yield back. mr. mccaul: the gentleman yields back. is there any further discussion on the amendment? >> yes, mr. chairman. mr. mccaul: mrs. watson coleman is recognized. mrs. watson coleman: thank you, mr. chairman. when the federal government serves a landowner of condemnation notice, the landowner has a right to request a jury trial. the central question for the jury is what compensates just compensates? rarely is there a challenge to whether the taking for national security purposes is justified. it almost always comes down to whether the landowner is getting a fair payment for their land. without legal help, landowners often received a paltry check for $100 and no day in court. federal judge andrew haynan who was appointed by george w. bush and hears many of these land taking cases has said, you have
to realize that these are everyday people living their ordinary lives and all of a sudden the government knocks on their door and says, we want your back yard. i mean, all of a sudden they're facing the might of the department of homeland security and the department of justice and all of a sudden they are a defendant in a lawsuit through no fault of their own. i could not agree more. the president, however, has other plans. in his budget, president trump asks for additional funding for more lawyers to pursue federal efforts to obtain the land and the holdings necessary to secure the southwest border. during the presidential campaign, trump said eminent domain as necessary for this country. it is clear president trump will stop at nothing to fulfill his misinformed border wall promise and he certainly won't let a small rancher get in his way. he steam rolled private property owners in his business practices and he has continued to do it as
president. i support this amendment, and i pray that my colleagues will support the amendment to support the private property rights and with that i yield back. mr. mccaul: the gentlelady yields back. is there any further discussion on the amendment? mr. thompson is recognized. mr. thompson: i'm in support of mr. vela's amendment for a lot of reasons. have had an opportunity to travel many parts of the border as well as talk to some of the landowners. to hear the history of how long some of that land has been in families and how proud they are and what they think a wall, wever it looks, whether it's solar, beautiful, has a door, they don't want it. but they also feel that with the might of the federal government on them, it's such an onerous charge that they feel somehow they're being put upon by their
own government. some people who admitted that they voted for the president now say, if i had known it was going to come to all of this, i would have reconsidered the vote. i didn't address that but clearly the more important part as generations of landownership and many sections of the border that will be interrupted, the question of fairness in the overall application of whatever the eminent domain procedure is questionable. mr. vela and mrs. watson coleman both talked about the disparity of assessments in terms of value. all of that is something that i think this amendment speaks to. and, again, it's just to put
some resources there for those potentially disagree with it because as you know, if you have to fight the government, they have a blank check. and all you have is what you have in the bank. so with that i support mr. vela's amendment. mr. mccaul: the gentleman yields back. any further discussion on the amendment? there being no further discussion, the question now occurs on the amendment to the amendment in the nature of a substitute offered by mr. vela. all those in favor signify big saying aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the amendment is not agreed to. >> i ask for a recorded vote. mr. mccaul: a recorded vote has been requested. pursuant to the previous announcement, this vote will be postponed. per the roster agreement, listed next is amendment number 010 offered by the gentleman from texas, mr. vela. would the gentleman like to offer his amendment?
mr. vela: yes. i have an amendment at the desk and wish to have it considered. mr. mccaul: the clerk shall report the amendment. the clerk: amendment to the amendment in the nature of a substitute to h.r. 3548 offered by mr. vela. mr. mccaul: without objection, the reading is dispensed with. mr. vela is recognized for five minutes. mr. vela: mr. chairman, according to the government accountability office, the federal government owns about 33% of the land along the u.s.-mexico border. as such, 6% of the land is owned by the state or by private citizens. so in order to build trump's wall, the federal government would have to intensify eminent domain actions to arrest land away from u.s. landowners. the president knows this and wants to hire 20 additional attorneys at the justice department. let me paint a picture when the federal government comes calling. under this process, first, landowners are served with condemnation notices from the justice department stating the government's intent to take the
land. then, owners are provided just 30 days to challenge the order in court. oftentimes they are unaware of their rights and lack legal representation. landowners that fall in this category usually do not challenge the federal government and get paid $100 in so-called just compensation. that's the, quote, fair market value, end quote, that the government appraisers often assess. to make matters worse, when the government comes, it also bisects a property and only offers compensation for the acreage it takes even though it enders the land useless or unaccessible to the landowner. my amendment puts the private property owner with or without legal representation ahead of anything else. this amendment is a product of conversations with the cato institute which has been vocal in its opposition to seizing private land from citizens to build trump's wall.
my amendment states the government cannot -- federal government cannot take the property unless they have a check in the owner's hand. with that i yield back. mr. mccaul: the gentleman yields back. is there any discussion on the amendment? ms. barragan is recognized. ms. barragan: mr. chairman, i support this amendment. mr. trump's budget request included, as mr. vela stated, funding for 20 additional eminent domain attorneys at the department of justice. it's pretty clear what the president is signaling -- private property owners, beware. in an interview with fox news in 2015, mr. trump stated that the condemnation of property for transfer to private developers is a wonderful thing and is not taking property. of course, the president has a history of supporting land taking. we've all heard the story of ms. vera cooking from atlantic city who fought mr. trump for years
to keep her home for 30 years rather than to give it up for trump's taj mahal casino parking lot. the landmark 2005 supreme court case, keller v. new london comes to mind. that's when the supreme court upheld the taking of private land to the government to transfer to another private property for economic development. at the time, it was denounced by nearly everyone on both the left and the right but not mr. trump. back in 2005, when the decision came down, mr. trump said on fox news, i happen to agree with it 100%. so the equation is clear. we have a president who promised to build a wall at all costs along the border. we have the border that is the most privately owned. we have a president who commits eminent domain and supports eminent domain and asks congress for the money to defend it in court. private property owners, beware. with that i urge support for the
amendment and i yield back. mr. mccaul: the gentlelady yields back. any further discussion on the amendment? there being no further discussion, the question now occurs on the amendment to the amendment in the nature of a substitute offered by mr. vela. all those in favor signify by saying aye. all those opposed signify by saying no. no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it and the amendment is not agreed to. a recorded vote has been requested. pursuant to previous announcement, this vote will be postponed. per the roster agreement listed next is amendment number 011 offered by the gentleman from texas, mr. vela. would the gentleman like to offer his amendment? the clerk shall report. the clerk: amendment to the amendment in the nature of a substitute to h.r. 3548 offered by mr. vela. mr. mccaul: without objection, the reading is dispensed with. mr. vela is recognized for five minutes. mr. vela: mr. chairman, this ill -- [inaudible]
mr. mccaul: is his mic on? microphone. mr. vela: owned by states, tribes and private citizens. in texas, the federal government owns just 100 miles of the 1,254-mile border. as such, private landowners face the threat of losing their property to the federal government pursuant to a fifth amendment eminent domain action as occurred over a decade ago under the bush administration. by granting d.h.s. broad authority to unilaterally waive any law that stands in the way of getting the wall built, this bill sends a message to d.h.s. that above all else and above individual rights, congress wants president trump's wall built. this bill puts families that own land along the owner, sometimes for generations, of fending off the threat of eminent domain once again. we have a responsibility to ensure that eminent domain
authority to seize private land is not abused and my amendment would prevent such abuse. it requires that before exercising eminent domain the d.h.s. secretary certify the land seizure is necessary for homeland security and provide evidence that no other alternatives exist. as an additional protection, this amendment requires the comptroller general who serves in a nonpolitical and nonpartisan position to evaluate the sufficiency of the certification. mr. chairman, this amendment is a simple and necessary check on the federal government whose team of lawyers is already gearing up to take on mostly small family landowners along the united states-mexico border. support private property rights and support private landowners. please support this amendment. with that i yield back. mr. mccaul: the gentleman yields back. any further discussion on the amendment? ms. barragan is recognized. ms. barragan: i thank you, mr. chairman. i wanted to speak in support of this amendment. to build president trump's wall,
this bill grants the department of homeland security authority to waive any and all legal responsibilities that get in the way of building it. to build president trump's wall, the bill -- the bill allows the d.h.s. secretary to disregard environmental stewardship and responsibility to border communities. to build president trump's wall, the federal government will need to take land away from private citizens. over the years, congress and this committee in particular has made substantial investments in border security and heard from d.h.s. about the merits of their layered risk-based approach to secure our border. this means using a variety of tools and technology. this approach, coupled with substantial resources, has yielded results. last month, d.h.s.'s office of immigration statistics published a report on its efforts to secure the southwest border. in it, d.h.s. stated that our southwest border is more
difficult to cross illegally than ever before. further, it found that according to border about a troll data, the number of southwest border apprehensions has been trending downward since the early 2000's with overall flows now may be at the lowest since the 1970's. over the last 17 years, we have increased the number of agents patrolling the border, deployed new technology to help with surveillance operations and even built fencing. the resources and personnel we have invested in are making a difference. yet, now with no analysis to support the conclusion that a border wall will make us more secure, the trump administration has sent d.h.s. down the primrose path of wrestling land away of private landowners so it can build the president's wall. this amendment legitimately requires a thorough examination of all possible options available to secure our borders before encroaching on the rights of private landowners. according to "the wall street
journal," as of december, 2016, 120 cases involving eminent domain seizures stemming from d.h.s. efforts to build fencing pursuant to the secure fence act, were still tied up in federal court. mr. chairman, the exercise of eminent domain must always be the last resort. voting for this amendment underscores the need for d.h.s. to study all other alternatives prior to taking land away from law-abiding citizens and could actually save taxpayer money. a recent cnn analysis of cases from the last round of land seizure found that the federal government spent $78 million on 654 miles of land, and additional $25 million to pay for unresolved transactions and litigation expenses. i yield back. mr. mccaul: the gentlelady yields back. is there any further discussion on the amendment? ms. jackson lee. ms. jackson lee: yes.
i rise to strike the last word. the -- i rise to support the gentleman from texas' amendment, mr. vela. indicate my e to support for mr. thompson's amendment in the nature of a substitute. but let me focus on mr. vela's very astute amendment because i have, as i indicated, endured or participated or listened to homeowners on the border for a number of years as a member of the homeland security committee. he's spot on with respect to the controversy and confrontation that is going to occur. and these protections, the issue of the vulnerability of homeowners to the laws of eminent domain are crucial. the fact that d.h.s. would have to certify whether the land seizures were necessary and
reasonable and as well whether or not there were any other option is crucial. it is also important for the comptroller general to be able to have the oversight. if you are on the border, particularly the texas border, u will see the synergism between texas and mexico. it has also been documented that border crossings are down substantially, but the business ties are strong. the family ties are strong. the land divide is extremely complicated. and as well that our land goes right up to the border. and to secure or take away land from homeowners who are using it either for livelihood really is a sin and a shame. particularly if the definitive need could not be established. so i would offer that if this bill passes, i believe that it is crucial that we have these kinds of restrictions or restraints. let me also indicate we are now
almost being held hostage because it has been represented in statements past that mr. trump will not move us forward to fund the government unless there is a border bill, a border wall, which i assume is the basis of this particular legislation that ordinarily would have bipartisan support. so now we're being held hostage twice. in building a wall that the american people have to pay for with this $15 billion tag, and i stepped out of this homeland security hearing markup because i was in a hurricane meeting dealing with the devastation in my community and the state of texas which many of my colleagues know. in that meeting, there was certainly the acknowledgment that this is going to be a large recovery, a large recovery for florida, texas, the virgil green, puerto rico and the hurricane season -- virgin
islands, puerto rico and the hurricane season is not over. it will be upwards of billions of dollars. some want to nickel and dime that recovery which is going to undermine the resilience and the restoration of these communities that are suffering. people in my district that are still homeless and i say homeless. their homes are in total disrepair. they are low-income individuals. any of us remember hurricane katrina, we will certainly realize the difficulty we had with hurricane katrina because we had the right to return that did not work but we in houston house many, many people that were -- >> this hearing is scheduled to go another five hours. we will continue to cover it live online at c-span.org. the u.s. house gaveling in momentarily. beginning work today on rewriting the u.s. tax code under the republican budget
proposal for fiscal year 2018. $1.1 trillion proposal. four hours of general debate still ahead and also alternative proposals as well with final passage expected sometime thursday. live coverage now of the u.s. house on c-span. the speaker: the house will be in order. the prayer will be offered by the guest chaplain, imam abdullah antepli. duke university. durham, north carolina. the chaplain: peace be upon you all. please join me in prayer. the holy one, as your creation, we call you by different neams, experience you through multiple paths -- name, experience you through multiple paths. our human diversity is from you. as the creator of all, you made us different. enable us to understand, appreciate and celebrate our differences