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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 25, 2014 12:00pm-1:01pm EDT

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on friday. the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the prayer will be offered by the guest chaplain, reverend john rosenberg of the lutheran church of the good shepherd in olympia, washington. the chaplain: let us pray. holy one, we know you in an nfinity variety of ways --
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infinite variety of ways. we ask your blessing upon the members of this house as they carry on the business of our nation at this critical time in our history. give them courage and in the face of immense challenges, a spirit of cooperation despite their differences and trust in your divine guidance as they work together for the common good. when the path ahead is unclear, remind them that throughout the ages your prophets and holy ones have shown us what is good, that you require nothing more of us but nothing less than to do justice, to have compassion for one another and to walk humbly with you the beginning and the end of all things. amen. the speaker pro tempore: the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1 the journal stands approved. for what purpose does the gentleman from arkansas seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, pursuant to clause 1, rule 1, i demand a vote on agreeing to the
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speaker's approval of the journal. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the speaker's approval of the journal. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the journal stands approved. for what purpose does the gentleman from arkansas seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i object to the vote on the grounds that a quorum is not present and i make a point of order that a quorum is not present. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on the question will be postponed. the pledge of allegiance will be led by the gentleman from arkansas, mr. crawford. mr. crawford: i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from washington, mr. heck, is recognized for one minute. mr. heck: thank you, mr. speaker. it is my pleasure today to welcome to the nation's capital pastor john rosenberg of the
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lutheran chump of good shepherd in olympia, washington. pastor rosenberg is a graduate of concordia senior college with luther seminary and has a graduate degree for one of -- alma maters, olympia college. he announced his retirement on june 30 and we will miss him grateful. i have no fear for how he will spend his retirement times because he's an obsessive compulsive fisherman which is a great thing to be in the pacific northwest, as a matter of fact. i am deeply appreciative for his presence here today. and more importantly, for living the example of the scripture which he quoted today, by far my favorite, that which i believe is the most holy and that which i believe s the wisest and that is micah 6:8,. in all these things pastor john
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rosenberg does. i yield back the balance of my time, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the chair will entertain up to 15 further requests for one-minute speeches on each side of the aisle. for what purpose does the gentleman from arkansas seek recognition? mr. crawford: i ask unanimous consent to address the house. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. crawford: thank you, mr. speaker. rise to honor the first woman supreme court justice, ms. dick ey. she served as chief legal counselor to the governor. former arkansas governor mike huckabee, he asked her to fill the seat to the arkansas supreme court making her the first woman to occupy that position. she succeeded not only professional but did it all rearing four biological children and fostered one child. she has 11 grandchildren. mrs. dickey's son, ted, called her a high achiever and said of
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his mother, she embodies love and justice simultaneously. a little more than a decade after mrs. dickey took office, arkansas will have the first supreme court majority in 2015, further cementing her in an a multitude of areas. please join me in asking all women, including betty clark dickey. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from michigan seek recognition? the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, i rise today to welcome one who has recently confirmed as commissioner of the u.s. customs and border protection. mr. higgins: i am pleased to recognize the person who understands the needs of the border. his firsthand experience comes at a critical time. as we work to advance the united states-can nadia beyond the border initiative. in western new york, this cross-border relationship is especially critical to the local economy. i have worked with customs and border protection in the past
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to advocate for increased border staffing levels along the border. there is also a preinspection pilot currently under way that hopes to ease congestion and shorten wait times. in the coming year, we hope to continue moving forward on plans to construct a new border station at the niagara falls air reserve base. mr. speaker, i congratulate commissioner kurlikowski and ook to work with him for the buffalo-niagara region and the entire nation. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman seek recognition? the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you. march is national developmental disabilities month -- awareness month. every year at this time we all bring attention and the understanding of the needs and potential people with developmental disabilities. as an individual with hearing disability and a grandfather of a child who has tars syndrome,
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i'm very familiar with the hardships of overcoming these disabilities. mr. mckinley: we must all think of ways to be inclusive, respectful for our communities, schools and work forces. interning for us in our washington office, we are fortunate to have a i don't think woman who happens to have down syndrome. she's also attending the local university. we look forward to those days we have her in our office. her cherry disposition and work ethic is infection. i encourage everyone to engage with those in our communities who have developmental disabilities and recognize their talents and abilities that will make us a better nation. thank you. i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentlelady from california seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. mrs. davis: thank you, mr. speaker. women's history month is a time to reflect on what women have done for america and what america can do for its women.
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if we really look at the history of women in this country, we see that they have done far more than we give them credit for. and i'm not just talking about extraordinary figures, like susan b. anthony and rosa parks. i'm talking about the countless women who've worked day in and day out since this country was founded. the idea that women are new to working is a myth. the truth is women have always worked to better their families and their communities, but too often the work that they do is undervalid. almost 2/3 of minimum wage workers are women, and although more families than ever rely on female breadwinners, women's wages still lag behind men's, and for these women it isn't about having it all. it's about having enough to get by. this women's history month, let's give women and their families the raise they deserve. let's show all americans that
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their work is worth a living wage. after all, when women succeed, america skeds. -- succeeds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlelady from north carolina seek recognition? ms. foxx: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to honor the memory of with a taga county deputy sheriff mass jr. deputy mass, who was shot and killed while responding to a 911 call in deep gap, north carolina, in 2012. deputy mass was only 23 years old when he was killed 20 months ago, and his first child was born shortly thereafter. today, the ceremony at the perkinsville baptist church in boone, the bridge spanning the south fork of the new river on u.s. highway 421 will be named for deputy mass. this is a small token of gratitude from the community which deputy mass served so
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ably and honorably. our thoughts and prayers are with deputy mass' widow, young son and all those who continue to mourn his passing. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. for what purpose does the gentlelady from texas seek recognition? ms. jackson lee: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for ne minute. ms. jackson lee: mr. speaker, i rise today to answer a question that the american people have been raising for more than a decade. when will we address the question of human dignity of so many in our country that are in our country who desire the status of citizenship? when will we pass a sensible, reasonable immigration reform legislation or package? will we combine our concern for national security with border security along with human dignity? the question is being asked by constituents from my 18th
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congressional district in houston. it's being asked by the american jewish committee. it's being asked by the cardinal in the most eloquent and passionate way as i met last week to hear from voices of those who have not heard the answer. or the 139 who showed up at a press conference some weeks ago standing with me demanding that people be given their human dignity. or the leadership from ireland who was here at st. patrick's day luncheon who stood up and asked the speaker, when are we going to put comprehensive immigration reform on the floor of the house? this is a multicultural challenge to america this is an economic challenge. this is from south asians, this from asians, this is people from bangladesh, from ireland. let's pass comprehensive immigration reform and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlelady from indiana seek recognition? the gentlelady is recognized or one minute.
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ms. brooks: -- mrs. brooks: mr. speaker, march is red cross month. d as part of the emergency responsiveness communications, i'd like to recognize the accomplishments of the american red cross and the volunteers, everyday heroes. last year, red cross and the volunteers responded to over 60,000 emergencies and provided over 900 shelters to the people who were forced from their homes. following the boston marathon bombing last april, the red cross provided 500 units of blood products to boston area hospitals. they played a pivotal role in sheltering families in my district in indiana during last year's winter holiday floods. i visited the red cross national headquarters where i toured the digital operation center. i'm grateful for their achievements in educating americans in how to prepare for and respond to emergencies and disasters. this organization and their
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volunteers exemplify the everyday heroes as they lead the way in disaster preparedness month and i ask them to follow them on facebook and twitter and try and visit and thank them for the work they are doing in our communities and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one inute. mr. veasey: mr. speaker, i rise to remind americans to hurry. they have six days left to sign up for the affordable care act through their federal and state exchanges and marketplaces. don't believe the hype from the republicans. the affordable care act is working to improve the lives of millions of americans. more than five million americans have signed up so far through the marketplace, and they will continue to do so. this weekend i hosted two enrollment events in my
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district, both in dallas and fort worth and attendd two additional ones to make sure constituents in my district get the affordable health care they deserve. what i saw when i visited those events were rooms filled with men, women and children looking to provide insurance for their families, looking to ensure they are protected from unforeseen sickness and health issues. let's stop playing politics with people's health care. let's work together to get every american covered. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. bilirakis: thank you very much. i rise today, mr. speaker, in support of religious liberty. the affordable care act, better known as obamacare, forces businesses to provide services like the morning after pill as part of their health insurance. for business owners who believe that life begins at conception, this aspect of the a.c.a. violates the religious -- their
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religious principles. the first amendment is sacred to americans. at the time of its creation, the first amendment was completely unique. god, not government, gave inalienable rights to women and men, including freedom to practice a religion without interference. no individual should be forced to violate their religious beliefs. opponents will say this is restricting access to health care. i disagree. this is about ensuring the integrity of religious freedom for all americans, regardless of religion. that is a founding american principle. i yield back, mr. speaker. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. . the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, the u.s. has always been the world leader in space exploration. we were the first and only nation to put humans safely on the moon and the only nation to send unmanned ships to mars among other extraordinary missions, but in 2011 nasa flew
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its last space shuttle mission. mr. mcnortheasterny: without any new human lift system ready, the u.s. has had to depend on russia to spend our astronauts to space. this arrangement has worked because of a sense of cooperation and mutual respect between our two great nations' space programs. but american innovation cannot be stopped. several private companies are working with nasa to ensure that americans can once again fly on american space ships. as a nation we should support this effort and encourage private american companies to accelerate their programs. these public-private partnerships will ensure that the u.s. does not rely solely on russian spacecraft. i urge my colleagues to consider the long-term benefits of investing in space exploration and scientific research. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: the
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gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you. mr. speaker, i rise today in -- to recognize ms. brandy brulie, principal of north elementary school in my hometown of taylorville, illinois. mr. davis: she was recently named the illinois principal association 2014-2015 elementary school principal of the year in recognition of her positive impact on her students and the entire educational community. she's warked hard to improve communication between teachers, parents, and with a goal of raising student achievement. as a result of her efforts, north elementary school has been awarded the illinois state board of education's spotlight award for the last three years and made the isbe honor roll in 2013. she has a long-standing and deep commitment to serving her students, faculty, and our entire community. her experience and innovation
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enable her to bring creative ideas that focus on high standards for our local schools. congratulations and thank you to brandy, this is a well deserved award to recognize all that you do for our students and the entire taylorville community. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentlelady from new york seek recognition? without objection. the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. mrs. maloney: mr. speaker, i rise today to celebrate the 193rd anniversary of greece's declaration of independence from the ottoman empire. the ancient greeks forged the notion of democratcy. they believed in the right of self-governance, one of the foundations of our great nation. yet for centrist the greek people, the people whose ancestors inspired our own country's founding, the people whom thomas jefferson called, the light which led ourselves out of gothic darkness, the greek people were denied this
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right. today greeks celebrate march 25 as the day when the greeks began the long hard battle for independence. recently met with the ambassador, to cyprus, to discuss the latest on our cyprus negotiations. he was hopeful that real progress could be made in unifying the island and stopping the illegal turkish occupation. the u.s. must also continue to work to find a mutually agreeable name for the former yugoslav republic of macedonia. greece an important ally to the united states. i'm proud to stand with american greeks today to celebrate their ndependence and aspirations. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i rise to bring attention to the hobby lobby case which is being argued today at the supreme court n this case a for profit company is refusing to cover the birth control of its female employees setting the owners personal religious objections. in 2014 the idea that a woman has to fight for access to birth control is astonishing. 99% of american women will use contraception at some point in their lives. as i have said before, all health care decisions, including birth control and women's reproductive rights, should be between a woman and her doctor, not involving her boss or a politician here in washington, d.c. the wide availability of birth control has been an enormous benefit for millions of women and the american economy, enabling generations of women to support themselves financially, complete their education, and plan for the right time to start a family. mr. peters: it's a basic preventive health care option. it should not be available only at the discretion of a woman's employer.
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nor should a woman have to choose between her job and her health. as a husband and nearly 28 years and father of two, it seems pretty simple to me. women, not bosses, should be in charge of their personal health are decisions. ms. hanabusa: today the united states supreme court just down the street heard the arguments of for hobby lobby ink, and for-profit corporation which is reducing some or all contraceptive services or health plans offered to their employees. the issue here is whether the religious beliefs of a shareholder, the only owner, can dictate what type of contraceptive services a health plan will offer.
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note this is not religious institution or an employer like a church, or a a religious institution of any kind, it is a for-profit corporation. the inshy here is whether or not an employee-employer can pick and choose what type of services females employees can avail emselves of, and remember, remember, women of childbearing age actually pay 68% more for their medical coverage now. 68% more. that's just not fair. i hope the supreme court will reverse the hobby lobby decision and say that the constitution and the laws of this nation support women. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from kansas seek recognition? >> i seek unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. pompeo: you wouldn't know -- mr. groder: tax day is right around the corner. as americans scramble to gather their w-2'ser and other documents, many are unaware of the extra hidden taxes included in the affordable care act that will fault on them. these tax also surprise and catch hardworking families and small businesses off guard and put a strain on family budgets already stretched thin. a 3.5% tax on insurance premiums. a 2.3% medical device tax raising the cost of pacemakers, prosthetics, stints and more. investment income and medicare payroll surtax. the list goes on and on all these costs are passed on to americans and our families and our communities. that's hundreds and millions of dollars leaving our communities out of the pockets of hardworking families in states like kansas and heading to washington, d.c. mr. speaker, with the many challenges americans face today, the last thing they need this tax season is to carry a -- carry a heavier government tax
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burden on their backs. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman s recognized for one minute. lasting more than a decade, vietnam defined a generation. over 58,000 americans were killed, and those who did return home were not treated as american heroes as they are. in recent years i'm grateful that most americans have been able to put aside their opinions about specific military missions and have an unwavering commitment to our courageous men and women operating in dangerous places around the world. vietnam veterans day is meant to reaffirm our respect and gratitude for those that served
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our nation in that war and show a generation of soldiers our immense gratitude. i'll be doing so this saturday at the v.f.w. post in lamont, illinois. i ask my colleagues to join me doing the same not just this weekend but every day because our vietnam veterans and all our veterans deserve this. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from michigan seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i seek unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. walz: thank you, mr. speaker. for far -- mr. killedy: thank you, mr. speaker. for far too long comprehensive immigration reform has been a low priority for the speaker and republican leadership. americans have spoken loud and clear. they want comprehensive immigration reform. just last year as the senate was considering comprehensive reform, the speaker said that -- or implied the house would take it up after the senate did.
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the senate acted in a bipartisan fashion and passed comprehensive reform on a vote of 68-32. then we were told that the house would take up comprehensive immigration reform after the speaker brought to his conference his immigration reform principles. that happened at the end of january. and yet nothing. nothing has been brought to the floor. if there is not a reason for us to do this on the basis of the policy, which i think is clear, it's consistent with our national interest and our national values to institute comprehensive immigration reform, i just would direct members of the other side to take a look at the bipartisan c.b.o. report that was published that shows that comprehensive immigration reform would reduce our national deficit by $900 billion. it's the right policy, it's good
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economics. and we should bring it up right away. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from ohio seek recognition? without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. kaptur: thank you. mr. speaker, during women's history month i rise to recognize and pay tribute to the life of joyce wise of sandusky, sparkling, rkable witty, swent, generous, and kind woman who loved her family, her community, and her country. he was a political activist. her indefatigable efforts improved our state, improved our community, and broadened representation for women and men across our country. joyce would have been the first person to speak up here on behalf of the two million american job seekers who have lost their unemployment benefits. the 72,000 americans who lose their benefits every single week.
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one every eight seconds. she would have been the first to point out it is the republicans' failure to extend unemployment insurance that is actually sent millions and millions of our families out -- put them out to sea. if the republicans want to limit unemployment benefits, they should start by creating more jobs. i'm waiting for the first good jobs bill to come to this floor. you know, joyce wise understood that every citizen matters and those who work hard for a living should be respected. may her family and friends draw strength from her unbelievable spirit and may her lady bulldogacy live on for fighting for justice for all. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlelady from florida seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentlelady from florida is recognized for one minute. ms. brown: thank you. mr. speaker, you he know you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. and the republicans have turned
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a blind ear to the blight of of more than two million americans whose unemployment benefits have been cut off. in my state of florida we have over 100,000 floridians struggling to find work and unable to collect insurance, which has also led to nearly 130 million in lost revenue for the state of florida. yet in spite of preeted attempts time and time again -- repeated attempts time and time again, republicans in congress have cold-heartedly refused to restore this vital economic lifeline that help people support their families and pay their bills while they look for a new job during this very difficult time. the worst time since the great depression. you know, to whom god has given much, much is expected. i urge my house and senate republican colleagues to look inside their heart and do the right things for the american people and pass an unemployment
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insurance extension today. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlelady from washington seek recognition? miss mcmorris roirgesclo i send to the desk a privileged resolution and ask for its immediate consideration by the house. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the resolution. the clerk: house resolution 523, resolution electing a member to certain standing committees of the house of representatives. mrs. mcmorris rodgers: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the reading. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the reading is dispensed with. the resolution is agreed to anti-the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. . for what purpose does the gentleman from washington seek recognition? mr. hastings: mr. speaker, i
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ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and tend their remarks and include extraneous material on the bill h.r. 2824. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. pursuant to house resolution 501 and rule 18, the chair declares the house in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for the consideration of h.r. 2824. the chair now appoints the gentleman from georgia, mr. woodall, to preside over the ommittee of the whole. chaplain conroy: the house is -- the chair: the house is in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for consideration of h.r. 2824 which the clerk will report by title. the clerk: a bill to amend the surface mining control and reclamation act of 1977 to stop the ongoing waste by the
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department of the interior of taxpayer resources and implement the final rule on excess spoil, mining waste, and buffers for perennial and intermittent streams and for other purposes. the chair: pursuant to the rule, the bill is considered read the first time. the gentleman from washington, mr. hastings, and the gentleman from, mr. holt, is each recognized for 30 minutes the chair recognizes the gentleman from washington. mr. hastings: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hastings: the obama administration has waged a long-running war on coal. but this is not only a war on coal. it's a war on jobs, our committee, affordable energy, household budgets of american families. already faced with higher income -- higher home heating costs, middle class families will be further squeezed if the obama administration is successful in their attempts to shut down coal production. one of the ways the administration has carried out this war on coal is through the reckless rewrite of the coal production regulation, the 2008 stream buffer zone rule.
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shortly after taking office, the obama administration discarded the 2008 rule that went through five years of extensive public comment and environmental review. since then, the administration has spent over $10 million of the taxpayers' dollars working to rewrite this rule, including hiring new contractors, then only to dismiss those same contractors once it was publicly revealed that the administration's proposed rewrite would cost 7,000 jobs and cause economic harm in 22 states. a report released by our house natural resources committee staff in 2012 following years of oversight and investigations exposed gross mismanagement of the rulemaking process and potential political interference and widespread economic harm the proposed regulation would cause. earlier this year the u.s.
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department of interior office of inspector general, or i.g., released a report with similar findings. however, what's more troubling is that the i.g. has identified significant ongoing problems with the rulemaking process. to make matters worse, they are refusing to disclose those problems to us here in congress. for example, there's an entire section of the report that we have received entitled "issues with the new contract" that have been almost completely blacked out. the deputy inspector general, mary kendall, has refused to give congress an unredacted copy of this report despite our repeated requests. in a letter she states that the department of interior decided it should be withheld from the committee. mr. chairman, the i.g. is charged with being an independent watchdog for congress. it's completely unacceptable
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and inappropriate for the i.g. to be taking orders from the interior department, especially about what information to withhold from us here in congress. now, mr. chairman, i don't take what i am going to say lightly. that's why today i have issued a subpoena to the deputy inspector general kendall for this information that she has withheld from us. if the i.g. discovered ongoing issues with the way the department is currently conducting this rulemaking process, they have a responsibility and a duty to share that information with congress now. the committee is not asking the i.g. for materials produced by the department. but we are asking for materials and interviews produced by the i.g. staff. the obama administration's rulemaking process has been and continues to be an unmitigated disaster. despite having spent millions of dollars of taxpayer dollars,
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they have absolutely nothing to show for it to date and haven't even produced a draft. meanwhile, states, industry, america's coal miners are left in limbo, unsure what the operating rules are on the ground. mr. chairman, without the 2008 rule, we are left with the rule that was put in place in 1983. and so that's why we are here today, to consider h.r. 2824, the preventing government waste and protecting coal mining jobs act. rica this legislation would put an end to the years of ongoing waste and dysfunction. it will put in place the responsible process to ensure there's no rush to recklessly regulate. first, mr. chairman, it stops the administration's unnecessary rewrite and implements the 2008 stream buffer zone rule that i mentioned took five years to
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put in place. it then directs the department to responsibly study the impact of the rule for a prescribed period of time prior to initiating another new rule. this will provide certainty to the economy, to the individual states and allow a clear examination of what may be needed and changed in the future. this bill will make certain that a new rule is written properly. now, some will attempt to criticize this bill for the fact that it puts in place the 2008 rule that was vacated on a very narrow technical ground by a federal judge last month. there is really nothing new here, however, mr. chairman, because this is the exact outcome that the administration has been seeking for over five years, get rid of the 2008 rule. but let's be clear what the court ruling and subsequently the department's actions really mean. the court ruling strikes down
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the more protective 2008 rule and sets us back 30 years to a less restrictive 1983 rule. the 2008 rule is more modern and more productive -- or protective in limiting the amounts of coal mining than the 1983 rule. but one federal judge ruled that the 2008 rule must be set aside due to a narrow procedural technicality. this judge ruled that because the 2008 rule didn't have formal consultation with the fish and wildlife service on possible impacts to endangered species that the entire rule should be set aside and thus revert back to the 1983 rule. now, mr. chairman, for the record there were multiple meetings and discussions and consultations with fish and wildlife in proposing the 2008 rule regarding species when the 2008 rule was written.
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and it was done in a published and transparent fashion over a multiple-year period. comments were taken and recommendations were made, but the bureaucratic process wasn't done precisely so and as a result this judge struck it down. now, compare this conscientious effort, which was done to protect species in the 2008 rule with the fact that there was zero consultation of protecting species in the 1983 rule. so what could be the responsible thing to do? clearly it would be to implement the more modern and protective 2008 rule. and what does the obama administration say? it says, let's go back to 1983. mr. chairman, why should we go back? it simply makes no sense to discard a modern rule where we know the e.s. consultation took
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place for a 30-year-old rule that we know had no e.s.a. consultation. perhaps we should look to the people who the obama administration hired to write the rule -- the rule. in case notes that the committee obtained from the i.g.'s office during their investigation, it quotes one of the current contractors down at , and i quote, the bottom, the 1983 rule was less restrictive than the 2008 rule, end quote. in the same case notes, it also states that the current contractor -- she said, and i quote again, she said, although she is a democrat, the stream protection rule to be -- appears to be an effort to kill coal mining, end quote. so mr. chairman, there you have it. straight from the mouth of the person who is working on the
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current rewrite, an admission that the new rule is an effort to, quote, kill coal mining, end quote. so that's why we are here and we must take actions today to stop this administration. not only are they attempting to propose a new coal regulation that will destroy america's mining jobs, they also wasted five years and over $10 million of taxpayer dollars on a process that has been completely dysfunctional and misguided. mr. chairman, enough is enough. republicans want to create an america that works, and that requires access to affordable energy. if we do not stop the administration from implementing its new coal regulation, thousands of americans will be out of work and home heating costs for working middle-class families will rise. mr. chairman, let's pass this legislation to protect american taxpayer dollars, to protect american jobs and to end this
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administration's reckless, wasteful rewrite by putting in place a responsible process that will allow a proper new rule to be written. and with that i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from new jersey is recognized. mr. holt: mr. chairman, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. holt: i rise in strong opposition to this legislation that would ignore the poisonous environmental impacts of mountain top removal mining and would attempt to force states to adopt a discredited and vacated midnight bush administration rule. the mountain top removal mining is a serious environmental health threat in appalachia. companies blast the tops of mountains, scoop out the coal and dump what is left over, what used to be the mountain top and the mining residue,
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into the valley below. in the process, landscapes are scarred, wild habitat is destroyed, mountain streams are buried, fish are killed and the long suffering people living in the valleys suffer. they're left with degraded water. it's not simply my opinion or the warnings of a few environmental groups. this is what the science tells us. in a paper published in the journal of science a few years ago, a preimminent scientific journal, dozens of scientists made this out very -- laid this out very clearly. based on a wealth of recent scientific data from a variety of researchers, they said that mountain top mining in valleys, fills, in their words -- valley
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fields revealed serious environmental impacts that mitigation practices cannot successfully address, end quote. now, the chairman today is talking about detailed procedural matters. well, he's wrong on that, but the real point is the health of the people in the valleys. these scientists described when streams are are buried, water emerges from the base of the sol fields containing utes that are toxic. mining waste impacted streams has not been documented. end quote. in other words, the recovery that they talk about does not exist, in fact, it has not been hown to be possible. people that live with these
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impacts in their back yards, the scientists write, quote, adult hospitalizations for chronic pulmonary disorders and hypertension are elevated as a function of county level coal production. they know it comes from this. . continuing the quote, as are the rates of more tality, lung -- mortality, lung cancer, chronic heart, lung, and kidney disease, end quote. hospitalizations, hypertension, lung cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, increased flooding. water with dangerous concentrations of toxic metals, yes. that's what the science says and the destruction of forests and streams. these are the m pacts of mountaintop removal mining that congress should be acressing -- addressing today. this is what we should be holding hearings on and writing legislation about. we should be making the protection of people and the
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environment of the appalachian region our top priority. and making companies, the mining companies, act responsibly. ot just cheaply. but the republican, mr. chairman, don't seem to want to talk about any of these impacts. they prefer to keep their head in the sand and the gravel and the toxic waste. when it comes to this issue. instead of the real impacts of mountaintop removal mining, they are focusing on imagined impacts of a rule that hasn't even been released yet. they imagine a war on coal. they imagine a political conspiracy to subvert the rule the bush administration put in place in the last minutes of their administration. instead of seeking to guarantee clean water for all americans. so they spend years trying to
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uncover that conspiracy, all the while forcing the department of the interior to spend tens of thousands of hours of staff time and millions of taxpayer dollars in order to comply with their demands and now their subpoenas. and they have come up empty. the inspector general for the department of the interior confirmed in december their were -- there were no political shenanigans. there was no misconduct. there was a poor choice of contractors, yes. and a debate between -- among career staff about the proper way to move forward. could it have been handled better? maybe. but there was no misconduct. meanwhile, the rule put in place by the bush administration, the very rule that this bill would force states to adopt, was thrown out by a federal court two weeks ago because the real misconduct was from the bush administration. which decided that it didn't
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even need to consider the effects that destroying streams and rivers would have on threatened and endangered species. they did not do the consultation this required under the law. so this bill would overturn the court's decision, forcibly enact a rule that was improperly developed in the first place, and forbid the bush administration from actually doing something to protect the streams from being buried, and to protect the people who live there. this bill would forbid them from actually doing something to protect forests, fish, wildlife, and humans. forbid them from actually doing something to protect the health of the people in these communities. and this bill would create its own reality through an amendment added at the last minute that would deem the 2008 rule to have met the requirements of the endangered species act that the court said they did not meet.
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now, deem is a word that's not in common use, and it's certainly a strange word the way it's used here in congress. by deem they mean they would declare in legislation that the endangered species act was observed and the consultation had taken place even though it wasn't and it hadn't. it's preposterous. i wish we could do the same thing to environmental destruction caused by mountaintop removal mining to the contaminated water and health impacts simply say by legislation that contamination never happened. those people were never affected. their health never deteriorated. they didn't die. but we can't do that. this bill does nothing to protect people from the destructive impacts of
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mountaintop removal mining. it is strongly opposed by a coalition of environmental groups, the southern environmental law center, the sierra club, league of conservation voters, national parks conservation association, and many more. it is not just i standing here talking about it. it is not even just these scientists. it is many more. once again i want everyone to understand that the real issue here today is not bureaucratic procedure, it's not even when a rule might have been issued and what went in to making up that rule, but what is at stake today is the safe water for people. the health of the population. and an environment that can save us all. i urge my colleagues to defeat this bill and i reserve the alance of my time. karlsson the gentleman from washington. mr. hastings: i'm pleased to
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yield two minutes to the subcommittee chairman of the house natural resources committee dealing with this legislation, mr. lamborn from colorado. karlsson the gentleman from colorado is recognized for three minutes. mr. lamborn: i thank the chairman. mr. chairman, i rise in strong support of h.r. 2824, the preventing government waste and protecting coal mining jobs in america act. this critical piece of legislation which was introduced by representative bill johnson and myself is designed to save taxpayer dollars and protect american jobs by putting the office of surface mining on a responsible path forward for managing and regulating coal mining in america. so far the obama administration has spent nearly $10 million taxpayer dollars rewriting a coal production rule, the 2008 stream buffer zone rule, but the rule of 2008 was never fully implemented. the administration is conducting this rewrite without ever providing justification for the need for a new rule. the $10 million does not include the money spent on attorneys
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fees and costly litigation or the internal costs born by the agencies, even more critically it does not include the cost to the families of the thousands of workers who have been displaced or seen work delayed by the regulatory inaction of the department. the legislation before us today is very simple. it would cripple the obama administration's war on coal by ending their unnecessary rewrite , and it would require the office of surface mining to implement the 2008 stream suffer zpwone rule. -- zone rule. this rule was developed over five years through an open public multimillion dollar process, and requires consultation on endangered species where necessary. under this legislation, h.r. 2824, once all the plans have been approved the effects of the new regulations will be analyzed for a period of five years. on completion of this analysis, the office of surface mining is required to report back to us on
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the effectiveness of the rule impacted on energy production and to identify and justify anything that should be addressed through a new rule making process. if the obama administration had followed this process from the beginning, taxpayers would have nine million more dollars, thousands of unemployed americans would likely have jobs, and we would be far along in the process of understanding the impacts and environmental benefits of the 2008 rule making. unfortunately this administration's first act was to discard the rule and plunge headfirst into a failed, wasteful, and never-ending rule making process. this legislation will stop the massive ongoing waste, saving the taxpayers money. it will stont administration from continuing with a reckless rule making pros serks and imposing a needless regulation that will directly cost thousands of hardworking american jobs and cause significant american economic
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harm. this bill will also provide regulatory certainty for an important domestic industry, an industry that not only provides great family wage jobs with good benefits, but also provides affordable energy for the american people and the nation's manufacturing base. i urge my colleagues to support this critical legislation. the speaker pro tempore: -- karlsson the gentleman yields. the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from new jersey. mr. holt: i'm pleased now to recognize the ranking minority member of the resources committee, mr. defazio from oregon, for three minutes. karlsson the gentleman from oregon is recognized for three minutes. mr. holt: subject to extension. mr. defazio: i appreciate the gentleman. i appreciate his statement and leadership. what are we doing here today? we are going to take a rule established by ronald reagan, the first modest attempt to protect water quality, stream
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quality, forests, and other environmental values in cases of strip mining mountaintop removal. so the republicans today are going to overrule the judgment of ronald reagan, preempt him with a rule that basically says it's ok to blow the top off a mountain, dump it into a stream, and it doesn't effect water quality because the stream doesn't exist any more. except the watter does leech through all the tocks-i soils and it does calls problems down stream. let's not worry about that too much. secondly, they are going to preempt states' rights. the party of states' rights, they are all for local control. they hate those one-size-fits-all federal rules, don't they? not today. we are going to impose a bush administration midnight rule which court found to be laughable in terms of its compliance with federal law. they are going to impose that on all the states of the united states of america.
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as the law of the land. we are going to preempt the judgment of any state that wants to do more to protect water quality than allow the tops to be blown off of mountains and mining waste dump into streams and saying there is no problem. but we'll study it for five years as we heard previously. ok, sure. how much harm will happen in that time? that's a few of the problems and the inconsistencies i see here today. we are preempting a reagan rule that was quite modest, not overly burdensome on the industry. should have been improved upon. bush administration tried to totally undo it. was laughed out of court. the obama administration fumbled and messed up write agnew rule with an incompetent contractor, and now we are going to impose the bush rule on all the states. they are going to deem, as we heard earlier, that is pretend that it meets the endangered species act and give that freengs the force of law. -- pretention the force of law.
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there were a few people in the bush administration that had a conversation and they talked about the endangered species act so that meets the intention. finally they are talking about war on coal. we will hear from some well-intentioned people here today that will talk about the potential job impact from this. i appreciate that. there has to be a balance, but this is not a balance. and this is yet another imaginary war being rage waged by the obama administration on coal. war on christmas, war on coal, war on jobs, war on whatever, at least it's not an overseas war that's unnecessary in iraq that cost us many thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. obama war on coal, when administration came into office there were 5,000 less jobs in coal mining than there are today. the obama administration leased out 2.1 billion tons of coal --
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i ask the gentleman for two additional minutes. mr. holt: i yield two more minutes. mr. defazio: 2.1 billion, billion, b, billion tons of coal in the river basin if the first term, that's twice what the bush administration leased in the four years before that. and recent counts from the g.a.o. lead us to believe that maybe they were a little too cozy with the industry and in fact that those deals were a little too sweet for that 2.1 billion tons of coal, so that's a car on coal. no. what they are talking about is actually less coal is being used to produce electricity. they are also the party of capitalism. guess what? market forces and capitalism have reduced the use of coal. natural gas was really, really, really cheap a couple years ago. coal used to generate electricity totally tanked. had nothing to do with the obama administration. had to do with market forces.
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and they worship the market. you can't -- i hope they are not trying to undo market forces here and have some kind of socialist dictate. what's happened? coal use is bumped up a little bit as natural gas has become a little bit more expensive. that was about economics and not policy. so bottom line here is, should we allow without any regulation blowing the tops off mountains, dumping them into valleys, spilling in streams, and pretend it has no impact on the environment? i would say no. karlsson the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from new jersey reserves the gentleman from washington. mr. hastings: i'm very pleased to yield three minutes to the author of this legislation, the gentleman from ohio, mr. johnson. the chairman: the gentleman from ohio is recognized for three minutes. mr. johnson: today i rise in strong support of h.r. 2824, the preventing government waste and protecting coal mining jobs in america act. legislation that i introduced with my friend and colleague, congressman doug lamborn.
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this important legislation addresses the administration's flawed, waste of taxpayer money, and job killing rewrite of the stream buffer zone rule. immediately upon taking over in 2009, the administration began their efforts to rewrite the stream buffer zone rule even though a new rule had just been finished in 2008. from the beginning the office of surface mining and the department of interior fumbled the ball and it's been a train wreck and lack of leadership over the past five years. nearly $10 million of taxpayer money has been wasted by the administration in their attempts to destroy thousands of direct and indirect jobs and cause electricity prices to skyrocket. . would knowed prench -- we know the preferred rule would cost thousands of direct and indirect jobs, not to mention that states like mine would see their electricity prices


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