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tv   U.S. House of Representatives Legislative Business  CSPAN  March 22, 2016 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT

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but she's mormon, haitian, all sorts of firsts, and she is inspiring so many. all of the three women i just mentioned, and there's more i could mention, inspiring. my daughter's generation, to aim high. because you may be a veteran, you might become a teacher, you might someday be an elected official or an artist or a business owner. and it's good to have role models. that's why i speak about anna strong. an american patriot who's part half story of how our nation was founded -- part of that story of how our nation was founded. or, as i mentioned, jacquelin kennedy owes in as i, who was born in the first congressional district of new york. the decisions that we make here in this chamber impact that next generation, not even old enough
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to vote. so when we talk about the economy and budgets and debts what?ficits, you know i'm not as concerned about the person who is part of making ast decision or has a voice, much as a strong passion and emotion for that young girl who's going to be inheritting the consequences of passing the buck off to people who aren't even old enough to vote. so i speak of my daughters, i talk about health, i talk about prayer, i talk about education. and the decisions that are made in this chamber and state houses and local governments that provide opportunities for the business owners and the teachers , while we pause on women's history month, to honor those
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who have come before us. it's every day while we serve, every day that we serve, that we should pursue those opportunities in any way possible. for anyone now or that future generation. i'm proud to say that the highest ranking republican woman in the united states of america is standing right next to me. mrs. all deeply admire mcmorris rogers on so many levels, for her outstanding leadership in this chamber, and i know that some of the women's names i just mentioned, who now serve here, or daughters who are looking for role models in life, that so many look up to you as they do mrs. black, who spoke just before you, and i yield to the gentlelady for as
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much time as she may consume. mrs. mcmorris rodgers: i thank the gentleman for yielding. i appreciate your service, your leadership on behalf of the people of new york. and an advocate for making history moving forward for women. as we walk these halls of congress, it's hard to miss the bronze and marble reminders of women who blazed the trail before us. we followed their lead. remember their struggles, enjoy the rights and freedoms they've helped us secure. perhaps the most lasting tribute we can make for them is through our effort to make history for the next generation of trail blazers. friends, we are nearing the end of women's history month. and i've reflected on the words of our beloved first lady, nancy reagan, who passed away earlier this month. feminism is the ability to choose what you want to do. her words remind me just how much young girls need role models.
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they need to be able to look up to courageous women in every field who inspire them to dream. so they can say, she's cool, that's what i want to do too. women like dr. shelly, the superintendent of public schools in spokane, who has been on the forefront of si significantly improving graduation -- of significantly improving graduation rates. she represents a school district by serving on many community boards, yet still finds time to visit or teach a class in one of the districts' 50 -- district's 50 schools. women like dr. patricia butterfield, the dean of college of nursing, who is recognized both in nursing and health sciences as a regional, national and intellectual scholar, and takes time to inspire her own students to have a sense of discovery. women like brook martin, a 15-year-old from eastern washington, who three years ago i see d the idea for pooch, to stop her dog
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separation anxiety, using video chat. after coming in second in a prestigious science competition, her invention is now sold on three continents. it's my honor to represent these inspirational women. as the second chairwoman of the house republican conference, it's a privilege to serve alongside my passionate, accomplished and talented house republican colleagues who are as diverse as the regions we represent. mrs. ellmers and mrs. black are nurses. mrs. walters was a stock broker. ms. mcsally was the first female fighter pilot. mrs. comstock juggled starting a family with completing law school, before she became chief counsel of the house government on oversight and government reform. mrs. brooks was a u.s. attorney in indiana. prosecuting high profil cases of mortgage fraud and online child exploitation. virginia foxx was the first in
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her family to go to college. and she later earned a master's degree and docket rate in education and -- dock trait in education -- doctorate in education. ms. granger is the first and only republican woman elected from texas to the house of representatives. mrs. blackburn was the first woman to sell books door to door for southwestern company, after working her way up in the company, she left to build a small business of her own. mrs. hartzler was raised on the farm. served in the missouri state house until taking time off after adopting her baby daughter. and then became the second republican woman elected to congress from missouri. ms. herrera beutler is the first hispanic in history to represent washington state in the house. and her daughter is the first child to survive potter's syndrome. ms. jenkins was raised on a
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dairy farm and she's a certified public accountant. mrs. lummis was the youngest woman elected to the wyoming legislature. mrs. miller served as michigan's first female secretary of state. ms. noem left college early to run her family's ranch after her father died. but later earned her bachelor's degree in 2012 while serving in congress. mrs. roby worked at a law firm and she's one of the first two women elected to congress from alabama. ms. ros-lehtinen is the first cuban american latina elected to congress. mrs. wagner was the united states ambassador to luxembourg. mrs. walorski wore many hats. she was a television reporter, a missionary, and even the executive director of her local humane society. ms. stefanik at 30 was the youngest woman ever elected to congress. mrs. love is the first
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african-american republican woman to serve in the house. and mrs. radewagen is the first woman elected to serve in congress from american samoa. each story is unique and incredible. and our presence in congress is a reminder that all issues are women's issues. for women in every corner of the country, we care about achieving a better life for ourselves and our children. as congresswoman blackburn so aptly put it, it's a poetic coincidence that ms. reagan passed away -- mrs. reagan passed away during this month of remembrance. she will go down in history as one of the most influential and consequential first ladies in american history. and a permanent fixture in our memories. it's now on us. as women leaders. to show girls across this country that with hard work they can achieve anything. no dream is too big and no goal
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too far-fetched. we take seriously the responsibility to encourage and empower the next generation of female leaders, with how we interact, how we present ourselves as leaders, and the policies we choose to pursue. and that's why house republicans are building an agenda to restore a confident america, where every american feels secure in their lives and in their futures. let's focus on a bright future for every american, every woman, to live courageously, follow their hearts, see potential in others, and be risk takers. that's where women can keep making history for generations to come. i yield. mrs. din: i thank mcmorris rogers for being a arong leader, a trail blazer, role model for many women who
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serve here in this chamber, for i'm sure countless women inside of her district, and all around this country. at this time i would like to yield to mrs. brooks, who was referenced by mrs. mcmorris rogers for her role, taking on incredible responsibility inside of our justice department, ensuring that america and her mmunity was safe and she continues her service here today as an important leader and voice in this chamber. i yield such time as she may consume. mrs. brooks: thank you, mr. speaker. and thank you to the gentleman from new york. i want to also thank and commend him for his service to our country in his many years of service in the armed services. i want to thank him for leading this special hour and this special order and i rise today
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in honor of women's history month. as have those who have gone before me. 100 years ago the very first woman was elected to congress. her name was representative gennett rankin, and she was elected by the great state and the people of montana to serve in the house of representatives. this was even a few years before women were given the right to vote in this country. but since then, 313 women have served in congress as united states representives, delegates or senators. so think about that. 100 years and only 313 women have been elected to reresent their home districts and states in this country. i'm very proud to be here with the gentlelady from tennessee, and we just heard from the gentlelady from the state of washington, proud to be one of these 313 women. when i was elected i joined my colleague from indiana, jackie walorski, and we were in fact
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the first republican women elected to represent the state of indiana in 53 years. it had been 53 years since a representative, her name was ms. harden, represented the western part of our state, and she served in congress for 10 years. from 1949 to 1959. now, 100 years after representative rankin made history by winning the first congressional seat held by women, women like me are still making history by running and winning elected office. today i serve in the house of representatives with 84 women. and as you've just heard, we are as diverse as the places we represent and yet, as i talk to my colleagues, we all agree on one thing, we have much more work to do. and even though there are a record number of women in congress, we're still just 20% of the total. we're not alone, however, in that gender disparity. from congress to state legislatures, to governors and mayors' offices, women represent
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about one in five elected officials. that figure has remained relatively consistent since the 1990's, we've plateaued. and the not just in congress. that same gender disparity can be seen at the emmy awards, and the executive board room, and in the news room. this women's history month, instead of just focusing on all of the incredible accomplishments and achievements of the women that have come before us, i also want to mention just for a short time about our hopes and our goals for the future. our dreams for what women will be able to accomplish in the next 100 years. more women are now earning college degrees, associate's, bachelor's, than men today. these women, as they graduate, are actually more likely than their male counterparts to have a job lined up. these young women are the future history makers who will work on the front lines to fight cancer. and to find a cure to cancer. they will serve with dignity in this chamber.
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and they will serve in leadership levels in all levels of government. they will be the women who will lead in the board room, and they will be the women who will build the next generation of technology. we know that there are women coming behind us who will be making a difference. and i look forward to future women's history months, when we can talk about those women and what they have achieved. i again want to thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk about women, both past, present and future. thank you. i yield back. mr. zeldin: thank you for being here, mrs. brooks. and hopefully just the video of -- for all of those young girls who come home from school and part of their routine, they're watching c-span right now, and looking for inspiration, what to do with their life, you know, high school, college, you try to figure out what the right path is for you, and you search
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around for role models and i can only imagine how many women have asked you how, what's the path, tell me? there really isn't any one path to get to this chamber or to be hat teacherer or that veteran, but you have pursued a path that i'm sure inspires so many in your home district and i greatly thank you for your service to our country. . mr. brooks: thank you, congressman zeldin and certainly when i started my path right out of college i would not have ever guessed i would be here in the united states house of representatives. i think when people approach you and ask you to consider this type of public service, i hope that a lot of young women look to the women who are here and see that we have been able to d it and they can -- able to do it and they can as well. it's an honor to serve with
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you. mr. zeldin: i would also venture to guess during your time as a prosecutor in our judicial system there have been countless women who you've seen firsthand searching for that advice on how to go through that really tough challenge in their life and feeling vulnerable or trapped and that strength of character, knowing there's someone around to help you out of tough times. your experiences throughout that path have -- must give you an incredible perspective right now for those women who make -- might right now be an abusive relationship or suffered something traumatic in their life and they don't know where to go, they feel trapped. mr. brooks: i have to tell you, i think that the -- there have been a number of women role models in my life, women who have served as judges, federal
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judges, state court judges who have been tremendous mentors to the women of the bar. i've been an attorney for 30 years, and there is a sisterhood of those who practice law and who work to uphold the laws. and so we work together to try to support each other, not just in the courtrooms but in our professional career paths and women, like federal judge sarah evans barker, who's about to retire, another federal judge, sue shields, who was the first female judge in the state of indiana. she was first female judge at the state court level and then also served on the federal bench as a magistrate and they have been strong role models and who have helped us as lawyers deal with our colleagues or those who we are bringing through the ranks and offering that hand up as they have offered that hand up to me. we're often trying to make sure that women can overcome whatever obstacles they might have in continuing their career
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path. mr. zeldin: i'm witnessing it firsthand you're giving back many times over and thank you for being here and participating. in honor of women's history month and for all what you do to create your own legacy and trail blazing yourself which i'm sure will be spoken about many years to come. mr. brooks: well, thank you, congressman zeldin. i only hope to make congresswoman hardin who served from 1949 to 1959 her legacy proud to be a member serving in this great chamber from the great state of indiana. so thank you. mr. zeldin: thank you. at this time i would like to , and i -- s. black as mrs. brooks departs and i think of the words of mrs. cathy mcmorris rodgers, it's been an inspiring hour just thinking of these three women who are standing before you and what they've accomplished.
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gosh. thank you, mrs. black, for being here and making this an important hour, an important message on so many different levels. mrs. black: well, thank you, congressman zeldin. i thank you for yielding to me a brief period of time here where i will have the honor to recognize someone that mentored me when i was back in the state senate and had the honor of serving there with a lieutenant governor that was a very fine man and he is retiring and so i thank you for yielding a few minutes for me to recognize him and to let him know how much we have appreciated his service to the state of tennessee and to thank him for his mentorship of me as a young senator back at the state level. mr. zeldin: well, i can only imagine how many stories you might have along the way of people we come in contact with. for me, my parents were divorced and remarried so i grew up with four parents.
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went through a few divorces with them. my grandparents were married for over 71 years. if they lost everything, if they didn't have a home or friend or anything, if they would have had each other, they would be happy. success in life they found when they found each other. before you go, i just want to let you know how much so many members of this chamber appreciate everything that you do, with everything that you experienced or encountered in your life to get here today, you make the most of every minute being in this chamber on behalf of keeping our families strong and i value that very much. mrs. black: well, thank you very much. i appreciate you saying that. my family is number one in my life. i have two granddaughters and i'm hoping that everything i teach them -- that includes
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cooking and sewing and fishing -- that they will remember fondly as they grow into young women as well. i encourage them to be all they can be, and i think given their strong personalities that i'm seeing right now, we're going to see them being leaders when they grow up as well. mr. zeldin: after this hour is over, at another time, maybe you can give me advice as two 9-year-old girls at home of what's in store for me here in two or three years. i hear these vicious rumors that things might change. mrs. black: i tell you what, no matter what phase they go through, they will be your little girls. every day, every moment, just know how much you love them and they will grow up to be fine young women. mr. zeldin: i will tell them that diane black will be temporary. mrs. black: you tell them to see mama black. mr. zeldin: i hope that won't be the last resort. hopefully it will be plan a.
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mrs. black: they grow through those difficult years, which all little girls do, you will have those years. on the other end they will come out beautiful young women. mr. zeldin: thank you. in all seriousness, the -- you really do provide inspiration for so many in how much you value that strong family. mrs. black: thank you. thank you. mr. zeldin: at this time i'd like to recognize mr. ted poe who is well-respected in this chamber for not just his straight talk and his intellect, someone who is a fierce champion of american security, of our constitution, but it's obvious he has a soft spot in his heart for the importance of honoring those in our lives and in our country who have come before us and serve today to make this place extra special. and i yield such time as he may consume to mr. poe. mr. poe: i thank the gentleman
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from new york, and it's an honor to be here to, as you say, recognize the people that have influenced our life and, of course, we're talking about the women that have influenced our lives to help us be what we turned out to be. and i want to talk specifically about some specific texas women who i consider rare breed. they are tenacious, strong-willed, nurturing and also kind. one of those is my mother. my mom and dad, i'm blessed they're both alive. they're 90 years of age. my mom was a red cross volunteer during world war ii, and she met my dad. he was in world war ii in germany coming back to the united states. he was being re-equipped for the invasion of japan. they met at wednesday night prayer meeting. we call that church in texas. got married and they've been married now 70 years.
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she not only started out as a volunteer, she's done all remarkable things, including be a school teacher and raising my sister and i and other wonderful things. we have in the state of texas, we're proud, as other states are. we have many modern-day influential women, including the first lady laura bush, barbara bush and late governor ann richards. these women were influential, powerful, successful in their own right but they were not the first of their kind. there was another generation of pioneers that came before them. women like my grandmother. also lady bird johnson, mal ferguson, who paved the way for future generations of texas women. my grandmother really was more influential in my life than my own parents. she lived to the age of 99. she raised me to be in public service, and i always have been in public service because of her. taught school. i was in the air force reserves, i was a prosecutor and then as a judge, a member
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of congress all because of my grandmother. she taught me many lessons and she made it very simple. not only did she inspire me to be in public service, i took that good advice, however, she said until the day she died she had failed because my grandmother was a -- as we say in the south, a yellow dog democrat. and could not believe that i had crossed over to the other side and became a republican. i'm not sure she ever forgave me for being a republican. but she was a strong-minded, no nonsense individual. she used to always say, there is nothing more powerful than a woman that has made up her mind, and that's true. a woman that has made up her mind, get out of the way, and we find that true even today. that has proven to be one of the most valuable lessons she ever taught me. president lyndon johnson was a hard-nosed politician but his
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contributions to texas as president were really surpassed, in my opinion, by his dogged first lady, as we called her lady bird johnson. she was one of the finest southern and politically astute women we have ever had in the state of texas. while she's best remembered for her love of the environment and the preservation of our natural resources, she was no wallflower in the business and political world either. she was her husband's strongest supporter and was with him giving advice step for step throughout his entire career. while at the same time, carving out a path for herself in the business world. she turned a debt-ridden austin radio station into a multimillion-dollar broadcast empire. her resume reads like that of a superwoman. among her many achievements, she played the pivotal part in shaping legislation by lobbying and speaking before congress about the support of highway beautification. better known as the lady bird
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bill. she oversaw every detail in the creation of the presidential library, which became a model for other presidential libraries today and, of course, she served faithfully and often in all of colleagues as a region of the alma mater of the university of texas. every spring this time of the year people head up from houston to austin on highway 290. they see the wildflowers and they are bazillion of them. every blue bonnet we see throughout texas hill country and every tree we plant here at home along the place called will clayton parkway was because of her determination, we're going to keep texas beautiful. before there was a lady bird, texas was home to another fiery inspirational woman. you may never have heard about her. her maim was mal ferguson. the year was 1899. over 100 years ago, and miriam yolanda wallace married james
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ferguson who later became governor of texas. she served as first lady of texas from 1915 until 1917. about 2 1/2 years, until paul ferguson got himself in a little trouble and he was impeached by the state of texas and the legislature, and during his second term, and he was barred from ever running for office anywhere again. then mal changed history. she did the unthinkable and ran for governor of texas as a woman. texas had only been run by men before and mal didn't care. she was going to run. she ran on a platform that two governors for the election of one. of course she was not in prison like paul was but apparently they did work together and she ran against klan supported felix robertson and claimed victory in the democratic nomination. back in those days, there were no republicans in texas. everybody was a democrat. the handful of republicans
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never admitted it, so winning the democrat primary was tantamount to winning the general election in november. and so mal later became the first female governor of texas and only the second female governor in the whole united states. so she defeated a little known candidate in 1924 called george bute, a republican. e two fergusons became mal and paul and mal ran the show. she had a loose policy of pardoning people in the penitentiary. but she was not above her critics. she pardoned thousands of inmates during her governorship. to many the motive behind the pardons was a little questionable but allegations of bribery ultimately led to her next governor's race and defeat. after she lost the next election, she continued her political fight and she regained her governor seat in 1932, again, for a second term. one of her best achievements was the signing of texas house
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bill 194, establish the university of houston as a four-year institution. mr. speaker, i went to the university of houston law school. i'm glad it got established. she would be proud to see the university of houston today and the ferguson name lived long after the retirement of both mal and paul. my grandmother, lady bird johnson, mal ferguson, ann richards, the bush women came from a generation of women that were strong and influential. they possessed the grace of an angel yet led with both forceful and effective political genius. few women of that later generation worked outside of the home, but few men succeeded with the backing of those ladies. . they effortlessly backed their husbands while changing the world all at the same time. and march, this month, is women's history month. the time we honor those people who lived years and years ago, honor those women that lived back during the greatest
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generation, and of course the women who live today. all those women now are in every profession, as stated earlier, including the legal profession, acting as judges and prosecutors , and not only that, members of congress, members of cabinets, and ladies that give a lot of their money to the community. so we are thankful for them. and i appreciate the time that the gentleman from new york has given me so we can talk about some of these iron-willed, strong-willed women that have made up their minds. mr. zeldin: i thank the gentleman from texas and i would imagine if anyone was wondering what women's history month was all about, should just listen to your remarks as you pay exceptional tribute to some amazing women from your home state of texas, who all left a mark, not only in your life, but these are people who i'm sure
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are getting celebrated all throughout your state and this country. not just by you, but by others as well. in my home state of new york, it's tough, i mean, they give us a month. here tonight they give us an hour. but there really are so many different women who give us this opportunity to take us to today, where the two of us can stand here on this particular house floor and speak to each other about such an important topic, that apparently 25 years ago didn't even happen. it wasn't even until the early 1980's that we even started recognizing women's history week, so here we are. i'm glad that you're a part of it. i can see that there's a lot of inspiration from women in your life. mr. poe: i thank the gentleman from new york. i agree with you. a month is really not enough time to celebrate and honor
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women in our history that just made a big difference in a lot of people's lives. mr. zeldin: there are a lot of people here in this chamber who all find different issues that interest them, that they focus heavily on, and move the ball forward in a very positive way. and the one thing that i've experienced during my time serving here, i'm in my first term, but serving on the house foreign affairs committee, and you are the subcommittee chairman of the terrorism nonproliferation and trade subcommittee, what i have experienced is that you do a lot to keep america safe, to keep the women and men of your district safe, and this country. so i really do appreciate your service. because this is not just about reflecting on service in the past, but challenging ourselves to do even more to provide -- to do even more, to provide more opportunity moving forward. mr. poe: i thank the gentleman.
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mr. zeldin: thank you. i yield to mrs. black who has a very special guest here she'd like to recognize. mrs. black: thank you for yielding, congressman zeldin. i appreciate that. i do want to recognize lieutenant governor ron ramsey, who is going to be retiring after this year's -- after his years of service. mr. speaker, today i rise to honor my friend, lieutenant governor ron ramsey, on his upcoming retirement from the tennessee state senate. it's not an exaggeration to say that lieutenant governor ramsey changed tennessee history. he was, after all, our first republican lieutenant governor in over 140 years. his legacy will be one of preserving that which makes tennessee special. our low tax burden, our commitment to fiscal responsibility, and our tradition of defending life. it was among one of the great honors of my professional career to serve as chairman of the
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state republican caucus under his leadership. and to partner with him as we laid the groundwork for the conservative supermajority that we enjoy today in tennessee. i will never forget being in the senate chamber the moment that lieutenant governor ron ramsey was elected. he came to the well of the senate floor and before doing anything else, paid honor to god. telling us all -- telling all of us in the room and everyone else watching, that it is to him we owe our very being. he then thanked his family, including his wife, sindsy, who has served tennessee with -- cindy, who has served tennessee with distinction as our second lady for nearly a decade. in that moment, lieutenant governorer ramsey reminded all of us of his priorities. he loves our state, he loves public service, but as anyone who knows him can attest, his faith and his family are the greatest importance -- are of the greatest importance and i
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will always be grateful to him for setting that example. mr. speaker, it should be noted that lieutenant governor ramsey arose to his post in the state leadership shortly after a dark time in tennessee history. which saw the very public failing of legislature on both sides of the aisle. he was an example of character and personal integrity at that moment, when we needed it the most, in a time he made us believe that government could do right by its people. lieutenant governor ramsey often reminded us, and i quote, it matters who governs. and indeed it does. as we reflect on where tennessee has come from, and where we're headed, we can say with certainty that our state is stronger because of ron ramsey's leadership. i count it a privilege to call him my friend and i wish him, his wife and his beautiful family all the best in this next
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chapter of their lives. i yield back. mr. zeldin: i thank mrs. black. as we come towards the end of our hour, remembering and lebrating the women who have come before us and who serve day, trying their hardest to create more opportunities going forward, i would like to mention eight young ladies from the first congressional district of to york who i was proud nominate to service academies this year. , gabriella, all to the u.s. naval academy. li, dana, u.s. merchant marine
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academy. chelsea, isabela, emma, u.s. military academy. for these eight young ladies who have stepped up, wanting to raise their hand to defend our country, to go off to a service academy comes with an obligation to wear that uniform and serve on active duty afterwards. for anyone who signs up post-9/11, you understand what it is that you're signing up for. to just think that for these young ladies, they were 2, 3 years old on september 11, 2001. this is all that they know, the post-9/11 america and world. yet they're signing up to want to serve our country as officers .
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there are over two million women veterans. as we consider legislation in this house, i co-sponsor h.r. 1356, the women veteran access to quality care act, which assists our women veterans, we try to provide more access for health care for our women veterans, there are many opportunities available to us that still have not yet been achieved and pursued to victory. women make up 15% of the u.s. military's active duty personnel. and 18% of the national guard and reserve forces. h.r. 1356 will improve v.a. facilities for women veterans, hold v.a. medical facility directors accountable for performance measures, ensure the availability of ob-gyn services at v.a. medical centers, and calls for a g.a.o. study on v.a.'s ability to meet the needs
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of women veterans. whether it is the eight young ladies i mentioned who want to go to u.s. service academies, those who are currently, as we stand here, over in harm's way in the middle east and wrells, away from their families -- elsewhere, away from their families, having sons and daughters here at home, they may not be on their first deployment, or when they come home, whether they come home in one piece, whether they come home with the physical or mental wounds of war, or they need assistance pursuing educational or vocational opportunities, we honored all women during this ur, but i wanted to close by paying an extra special tribute and thank you to our women veterans. once again, to all of the women in my life. and i yield back the balance of
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my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2015, the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from ohio, ms. kaptur, for 30 minutes. ms. kaptur: i thank the speaker so very much for yielding this time to us. i want to welcome also the congressman and doctor, dan benishek, from michigan's first district, which encompasses marquette and mackinac island nd trafficer city, to name a few famous towns and island. and welcome him to participate this evening. as wal as our colleague -- as well as our other colleagues from the great lakes. i rise tonight to mark the occasion of world water day. and as such, i'd like to discuss the great lakes and american freshwater treasure, irreplaceable on our globe. actually the largest source of freshwater in the united states and represents about 20% of the
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world's freshwater supply. the district tray -- that i represent which is a little south of michigan, down in ohio, sits nestled across lake erie's entire south coast, extending from cleveland all the way west to toledo and encompasses all of ohio's ports. but for one. there should be a sign actually on the ohio turnpike nearby that arks our shore line as the stepoff point since lake erie's the most southern of all the lakes, as the largest body of freshwater on the face of the earth. i see our dear colleague, the co-chair of the great lakes task force, with me, congressman mike kelley of erie, pennsylvania, who has joined us. also a greatport city along -- nestled along these great lakes. let me begin by saying that, since the passage of the clean water act in 1972, lake erie itself has been on a path to recovery.
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it got very sick. back in the 20th century. point sources of pollution, such as inadequate wastewater treatment facilities and infrastructure and industrial outfalls have been slowly coming since back then and the passage of the clean water act and the establishment of earth day, they've been coming into compliance. one needs no further proof in tracking the rebirth of america's symbol, the bald eagle, then to really track lake erie's health and lake erie's the shallowest of the lakes and therefore it's kind of a canary in the coal mine. what happens there will happen in the other lakes subsequently. the bald eagle had become an endangered species back in the 1970's, by the time of the 1970's. and only two eagles were left on our great lake, lake erie. there were no eaglets being born. but due to the clean water act's passage and literally the banning of d.d.t. and the repair
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of many of the outfalls, the industrial outfalls which we are still working on and the combined sewer overflows, what happened as we moved into the 21st century was human progress, and today hundreds -- hundreds of baby eaglets are being born across lake erie. and they're flying other places around the country and amazingly the bald eagle has been taken off the endangered species list, so progress is possible. humans can really repair the environment if they are dedicated to it. for those of us who live in lake erie's western basin, which is the far western part of the state, the health of our lake is a living reality. and access to freshwater has become the background noise of our daily lives. becoming more pronounced when tragedy strikes, as it did most recently in flint, michigan, and sebring, ohio, with lead in freshwater. and our region works and plays with a new normal. that includes very frequent water quality reports now,
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updates on beach postings, water utility fee increases and a general concern about a troubling set of scientific questions that still go unanswered. unfortunately this administration has not recognized these concerns and seeks to cut federal support to great lakes states by $148 million for next year, some would call that an oxymoron. it makes no sense in view of what is happening across our region, but it is happening. this evening, and i'm going to yield time to my colleagues before i get into these topics, i would like to address the water infrastructure needs of the great lakes, harmful algal blooms which literally shut down the city of toledo's water system a year and a half ago, denying freshwater for three days to citizens, to businesses, to institutions in that region, because of something called the toxic part of certain types of algal blooms, which we are trying to address, so harmful
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algal blooms will be one of my topics, then the great lakes restoration initiative which is so important to all of us in helping to improve our great lakes. the stopping the asian carp is another topic, the great lakes navigation system itself, and antiquated system that has to be updated for this 21st century and finally the harbor maintenance fund. these are all major issues across the great lakes region, which we would like to place on the record this evening, and i would like to ask my colleagues to join us and, congressman benishek, if you would like to, i would yield you such time as you may consume and we thank you again so very much for being a leader for the great lakes and for coming down this evening. . mr. benishek: thank you very much, ms. kaptur, for setting up this time for us to come together on the floor to talk about the importance of the great lakes and to mr. kelly for being here as well. some issues are truly bipartisan. i believe that protecting our
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great lakes is really one of those. the great lakes are a vital part of our life in michigan, particularly my district. you know, i have more great lakes frontage than any other district in the country. i have three great lakes in my district. over 1,500 miles of frontage on three of the great lakes. we have more shoreline than any district in the country other than the state of alaska, but that's all saltwater up there. so i don't think there is a person in my district who doesn't consider the lakes a vital part of their lives, whether it's fishing or swimming or sailing or kayaking, just plain sitting by the water. we love our lakes. it's a pure michigan experience, and i encourage you all to visit. since coming to congress, one of my top priorities have been working to keep the great lakes clean so that future generations may also enjoy them. i want my grandkids and their
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kids to experience the joy of their first local fishing derby on a summer day or going ice fishing with their buddies in the winter. the joy of living on or near the great lakes inspire us all to ensure they stay clean for future generations. we treasure our great lakes not only for their beauty and recreation they provide but the incredible value they provide to our economy. in michigan alone, outdoor recreation generates $18.7 billion in consumer spending and supports nearly 200,000 jobs. protecting the great lakes requires action on many fronts, which only makes sense, as ms. kaptur said. these five great lakes represent more than 20% of all the fresh water in the world. that's why i have worked, along with so many of my american colleagues, to provide -- many
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of my midwestern colleagues, to provide funding for the great lakes restoration which the president always seems to cut in his budget. this bipartisan effort must be renewed every year to guarantee this important program continues, gives local communities across the great lakes the ability to clean up local beaches, preserve natural wildlife habitats and to restore local watersheds, among many other useful products for the great lakes. n my district alone, glri fund supports the grand traverse bay water protection project and the beaver island archipelago and invasive species benefit. these protect the great lakes while at the same time providing a boost to the local economy. the sue locks also have a major impact on our economy. maintaining the integrity of the current lock system and
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ensuring construction of a second lock is vital for both our national economy and our national security. some people don't even realize that these locks exist, are basically the panama canal of america where much of the iron ore that is made into steel which a lot of industry in america depends on, passes through this and would cause a major crisis if it should fail. i'm proud to have led a trip to the sue last summer to raise awareness about the importance of these and while we've secured funding for our economic evaluation report for the army corps of engineers, we must continue to raise awareness of this project while we await the publication of this report. and the threat of invasive mussels that is already in the great lakes to the asian carp which we're
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trying to prevent from gaining access. invasive species are a constant threat to this precious resource. with the ely with congress to make invasive species a priority in this congress. while i'll be leaving congress at the end of this term, it's my hope we'll continue to work together this year in a bipartisan and constructive manner to protect the great lakes and i'm willing to partner with anyone who is is willing to do that. thank you, ms. kaptur, for doing this special order hour, and i'll yield back my time to you. thank you. ms. kaptur: thank you, congressman benishek, very, very much, and thank you for your leadership on great lakes issues. that is a vast district that you represent and one that is vital to our country and we thank you for participating this evening. before i call on congressman mike kelley of the third
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district of pennsylvania -- mike kelley of the third district of pennsylvania, i just -- mike kelly of the third district of pennsylvania, the great lakes, actually if it were a country on its own will be the third largest economy in the world. we are talking about a vast and important part of our nation with more fresh water than any other part of the continent. and the great lakes navigation system, including the soo locks, that congressman benishek referenced, encompasses this -- this vast region and the seaway that is a part of this that was actually built by president eisenhower. it was built back in the 1950's. constitutes through the locks the shortest distance between the heartland of america and the ports of northern europe and many global destinations. many people have never been through the soo locks because we tend to move commerce
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through the locks. we have some tourism, obviously, but it really is a busy industrial corridor and s the lowest cost of transportation, waterborne transportation is the lowest cost mode of transportation. ou have the interlake trade, which is heavily industrial, which congressman benishek referenced. in recent years, the number of passages through the locks that go all the way from duluth all the way out through new york going out these great lakes, this whole system, has averaged 10,000 vessels per year. that is down a bit from prior years because what's happened is the vessels got larger and they could carry more freight. but the system exists. it operates every day. and the ports and channels of the great lakes st. lawrence seaway system supports 226,000 jobs in both the united states and canada because the seaway
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is operated by both countries and brings a total of $33.5 billion in business revenue to the united states and canada annually. for ohio, our largest trading partner is canada, and some of those goods move across the water. in the united states alone, the system supports over 128,000 jobs and produces a total of $18.1 billion in business revenue annually. and over 42,000 of these jobs are direct jobs in the iron ore and steel industry, which congressman benishek referenced. the great lakes region produces 90%, 90% of america's iron ore, and the great lakes region also manufacturers 58% of automobiles on the roads in the united states and canada. and i think, as i yield time to congressman kelly, he knows a whole lot about the automobile industry. so this manufacturing and commodities supply chain can
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only function through the great lakes navigation system which needs modernization. i'd be more than pleased to lead to the co-chair of the great lakes task force here in the house of representatives, very esteemed congressman mike kelly of the third district of pennsylvania. ms. kelly: i thank the gentlelady. i not call her ms. kaptur but our lady of the lakes. we share our concerns when it comes to an absolute incredible gift from god and it's put in our care and custody. the idea that we'll pass onto the next generation in better shape than what we received it. and i think when we look at the great lakes, there are so many things you can say about the great lakes and oftentimes it's hard to sit back and say, what is it exactly that the great lakes represent? we've already said it's 1/5 of the world's fresh water. not 1/5 of america's fresh water. not 1/5 of the continent's
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fresh water but 1/5 of the world's fresh water. it's 6 quadrillion gallons of fresh water. i have absolutely no idea what that figure would look like other than this. if you were to look at the lower 48 states and you were able to pour the water from the great lakes over the 48 states it would cover it to a depth of 9 1/2 feet. when you put it in that perspective, all of a sudden it starts to make sense and you start to focus on it and say this truly is a gift from god. this is truly a gift that we have to look after and too often it's said, well, you know, just let things go. if you let them go it will work out on their own. we've seen the damage to the great lakes. we've become very much aware of it. i would just like to say the represent i represent, erie, pennsylvania, prescow was on last and this is an area of
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concern. and so the attention was turned to, what do we have to do to save it? in 2012 it was the first one of these properties that was taken off a list of concern. through the efforts of not only the erie community but through the efforts of the congress and also through the efforts of the great lakes restoration. and i stand here today, say, i always refer to the gentlelady as the lady of the great lakes. there's nothing more precious to us than this great amount of water we have, pottable water. if we were to turn our -- potable water. f we were to turn our backs on it, it is up to us to protect, then we have fallen far from where we are as a people and as a nation. i would like to read one excerpt and a friend of mine named art, army veteran,
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special ops guy, also a native american. and to him the great lakes represent not only a body of water but also something precious and also something that has a much deeper religious meaning. he gave me a bill called the living great lakes. it's written by jerry dennis. let me just state this and i'm going to read it because i think it's worded so magnificently by mr. dennis. to appreciate the magnitude of the great lakes you must get close to them. launch a boat on their waters or hike their beaches or climb the dooms, the bluffs and the rocky outcrops that surround them and you will see, as people have seen since the age of the glaciers, that these lakes are pretty darn big. it's no wonder sometimes upgraded to the inland seas and the sweetwater seas. calling them lakes is like calling the rockies hills. so when you see them and conceptualize in your head what it is we are talking about and
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what it is we are concerned about and what it is that has put in our care and custody, no one can turn away and say this doesn't fall on our watch and not worry about the great lakes. we have to worry about the great lakes. we have to guard the great lakes and we have to pass it onto the next generation so we can enjoy the benefits of it. we talk about the economic consequences, environmental consequences. there is nothing in the life of everyday americans that's more important than our great lakes. so i'd like to thank the gentlelady from ohio. you have certainly fought this battle for a long, long time. you've always been a great champion of the great lakes and so many of our members that live around the great lakes champion it every day, but it's not just for us. it's not just for those states around the great lakes. it's for every single american. so i thank you so much for your concern and your dedication and more than anything your passion and i yield back. ms. kaptur: thank you, congressman kelly, so very much and thank you for yours and for participating this evening and for all the effort you put
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forward on our great lakes task force to try to elevate this region of the country that's so vital to our future. when you were talking about great lakes and the word lakes, there's some people who've said they should have been named the great seas. i had an experience with schoolchildren a few years back. i loaded up the school bus, children who came from a region that wasn't close to the lake and i took them out to lake erie and their first reaction actually was fear when they saw how big it was and they said, oh, the ocean. these lakes are vast and you described them well. and most americans have not visited them, so they don't have a complete understanding of how massive these lakes really are and nothing else like it on the face of the earth. mr. kelly: my parents taking us
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to lake erie for summer vacation and i had no idea what i was going to see, but as we got closer to erie, he said, mike, there it is, there's the lake. i said it looks like it's going to come crashing on us. the horizon, the sky and the water meets together and as you are approaching it, my goodness, i can't imagine anything this big. in the eyes of a child, i was completely taken away. i couldn't believe it. and that has only increased as i have aged and watched that marvelous gift from god that we have and have to protect. i thank the gentlelady. it is a pleasure being with you on the floor talking about our great lakes and the passion you have to protect our great lakes is absolutely incredible. ms. kaptur: you have the same passion. i'm actually glad this is being broadcasted.
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we are here on a bipartisan basis discussing a vital resource that we share were canada and work well with together. and most of the news is how members don't work or don't work together. and here we are participating after hours, and we are not required to be here and talking about something we believe to be truly irreplaceable for our country. i thank you for your leadership. and i'll share this story. when i was a little girl, our grandparents and parents took us erie, pennsylvania, to presque isle and it was a long trip from toledo, ohio to pennsylvania and i remember my relatives there and understanding how big that waterway really is, how we went swimming at presque isle and that had to be the 1950's, i
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guess. i had an affinity for erie, pennsylvania and what a great time we had and the people are hospitalable and great to have you in the great lakes task force and come down here this evening and make time for the great lakes. thanks so much for your leadership and all you have done to be a champion not just for presque isle and lake erie but our entire great lakes system. thank you so much. i would now like to yield time to the vice cheer of the great lakes task force from the great state of michigan, congressman dan kildee who has just come to congress with energy and intelligence and capacity to make a difference for the country. and then what was handed to him in this last two months was the terrible tragedy of his hometown of flint, michigan, with lead in the water of the pipes there, the water system and so many
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people in flint so unnecessarily ill and the community damaged and all of america wants to help flint. congressman kildee, thanks so much for coming down tonight. mr. kildee: thank you for yielding and for your leadership. always a great ally. my uncle worked to preserve and protect this incredible natural asset, the great lakes. to you and congressman kelly, referred to your childhood. those of us who are from the great lakes region all remember and recall from our childhood our introduction to the great lakes. and my home state of michigan, the very shape of our state is defined by the lakes. lake huron on the east and lake michigan on the west, lake erie
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and superior to the north defines the shape of our state. and as a child, i remember the first time experiencing the lakes and it did seem as though it was something so big it was almost impossible to comprehend but also something as a child, i took for granted and we all took for granted that the lakes would always be there, that they would always be pure, and always clear and cold, the way we recall them as children. and of course, what we come to know as policy makers is that we can't be put in a position to take that for granted. we have to protect and we have to actively protect that incredible gift that has been handed to us simply by as a creation of god. and we have this enormous special stewardship. two things i want to point out that are part of the spuredship responsibility that we have to
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-- stewardship responsibility that we have to and for the great lakes. one, of course, is to defend the lakes against any threat that might manifest now or might manifest generations from now, whether that is working to protect the lakes from invasive species, like asian carp or a special obligation that i think we have right now working with our friends across the border on the canadian side and that is to protect the lakes from unnecessary and unwarranted threats. there has been in the planning tages the possibility of a nuclear waste storage facility that would be on the eastern ore of lake huron, 6/10 of a mile from the shore of that lake. and i'm pleased to see that our
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friends within the canadian government, within the new government, have taken a pause to re-evaluate whether that site is the best site. and of course my position and the position of many members of congress, democrats and republicans has been that there's a special line that we must draw when it comes to protecting the lakes. and when we have a chance to ask that in this case the canadian government, specifically ontario power generation, to reconsider the location of a nuclear waste storage facility so that in the ent from now, 100 years, 200 years from now, that we would never put the lakes at risk. that's something we can do as a tangible set of steps but it's
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an example of the special responsibility that i know i now have as a member of congress representing the great lakes region. it's not until you are sworn into office and take an oath to represent the people that you live with back home that you come to understand the magnitude of that responsibility, especially for maintaining the lakes. and then of course the other point that congresswoman kaptur mentioned, we have a special responsibility to take advantage of the fact that we have been given this gift and use it in a way that is sustainable, but also allows us to use the pure and clear lake water in a way that protects us. and of course, the very bad decisions that were made at the state government level that led to the crisis in my hometown of flint were decisions to move
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temporarily away from using lake water for our drinking water, to use river water in the flint river as our primary drinking water source. almost unimaginable that would happen considering that we are surrounded by, literally, surrounded by the greatest source, the largest source of fresh water on the planet that a community would temporarily use drinking water. and makes the point that the protections of our water resources are special protections that we have to make sure are adhered to. this crisis in flint or any other crisis, such as the issue that i know congresswoman kaptur is familiar with and you you have may have already addressed, the bloom in the lake that affected the drinking water in
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toledo and other places, we have a special responsibility that we are through our environmental protection agency and state environmental quality agencies aggressively defending the great lakes, not just to maintain their natural beauty. not just to maintain them as recreational assets, but to make sure when we use that water for something as fundamental as drinking water, that we know it will always be safe and protected. so i want to thank you for your leadership on the issue of the great lakes and thank you for including me on this bipartisan effort to make sure that we always take care of this unique and special stewardship responsibility to protect the greatest freshwater source on the planet. i yield back. ms. kaptur: you have your hands full in trying to repair the damage in flint and we respect you so much for the leadership you have shown there because that could happen anywhere.
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and sadly, it happened in flint, michigan, and you have really provided stellar leadership in your delegation and the entire great lakes region and we are here to try to help you and the citizens of flint and you are focusing national attention on the importance of water infrastructure and what can happen when systems age. i have some figures i would like to place in the record tonight. and you have brought this to the attention of the american people. and from -- and from the experience in flint, we can all learn. and i want to thank my colleagues for coming to the floor tonight to place on the record the important challenges that still remain in the great lakes, water infrastructure improvement, addressing the harmful blooms and significant support in the great lakes restoration initiative, stopping the asian carp from coming in, improving our great lakes navigation system and making
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sure that the harbor maintenance trust fund is available for the great lakes. and we yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida, mr. desantis for 30 minutes. mr. desantis: the american people believe that this town in washington and this institution in particular need a major overhaul. the founding fathers conceived of a system in which individual americans and individual citizens would stand for elections and then go up as representatives of the people, but they were no better than the people and didn't live under different rules of the rest of the people and not part of a ruling class but part of a servant culture. and that was the ideal. well, we have come a long way. washington, d.c. is the bain of
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the existence of many people in our society, it hinders our economy and people engage in self-dealing and not acting consistently with how this system was envisioned. there are a lot of things i would like to do and congress needs to be forced to live under all the laws they pass and enact on other people. i think you need to get rid a lot of the perks that members of congress get, including pensions. if there is one thing that cries out for reform, we need to have term limits for members of congress. i don't think there is any way you are ever going to be able to overhaul this culture unless we do that. you know, there was a time when people would get elected and the founders didn't think anyone would want to be here that long. you go and serve and then go back and live under the laws you passed and continue your pursuits as a citizen.
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somewhere along the line that really changed and then people come up and it's almost like that's the main thing they focus on is just staying here, sometimes in perptute. people that serve 40, 50 years, and i don't think that's turned out well for our country. i think if you had term limits, you would really open up the process for new blood. people would come in here with reformer spirit and new ideas and really be part of a reform movement in washington, d.c. it's often said gee, term limits, but the american people, they get their choice and vote in the election. the fact of the matter is, the way that our electoral system works, millions and millions of americans have no functional choice, maybe because their district is only going to elect someone from one party, maybe you have the incumbent and
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challengers can't get traction. the whole campaign finance system is orchestrated to benefit incumbents and the american people don't have a choice. you have a structured choice which typically leads to one outcome. so i'm not somebody who thinks this is all just the american people are just so happy that people are getting returned here all the time. another objection that people said for term limits, well, if you term limit people, you have new people in that don't know how the system works. it's going to be the staff that run it or the lobbyists that run it. i got news for you, that pretty much happens already. omnibus bills get done by staff. staff wields a lot of power. many of them work hard and they are exercising authority that should be exercised by the members themselves. and so i think that problem is
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real, but i think it's already here. and if you had new people, a lot of those people would probably want to bring in some of their own staff that would be more reflective of their ideas and principle rather than rely on people who have been here a long time who have become accustomed to a system that's not working very well. and so, i'm i'm proud to have co-sponsored the bill to enact term limits on members of the house and members of the senate. we do three terms for the house and two terms for the senate. so someone wants to serve in the house and serve in the senate, they can serve 18 years. that's a long time, and i think do some able to really good things during that period, but i think what it does is it really shifts the focus of somebody that comes here because right now if you get elected to the house, you're on the low end of the pecking order in terms of seniority. you almost have to sit around here for 10, 15, 20 years to be
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in position where you can make a huge difference. and so i think what that does is it creates a culture in which people want to stay here and that's kind of the main thing that happens once you get here. i think if you had term limits, i think the main thing that people would be thinking about s, ok, you know, you're term limited, your time is limited, let's make the most of it. i think you had asee people perform better. you had -- i think you'd have people perform better. the system wouldn't be dominated by seniority. there would be less favoritism, less back room dealing and so i think it's a very positive reform. we've been voting on random things here lately. i think it would be great if we can come here and offer some reforms of the system, constitutional reforms like term limits, like a balanced budget amendment, like an amendment making congress live under the laws that everybody else does. i think that would be a breath of fresh air for the american
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people and here's the thing. you know, we talk about how we have the division and the ranker in our politics and even in this institution, but you know, if you look, term limits is something that regardless of party, regardless of ideology, regardless of age, regardless of gender, regardless of race, americans support in overwhelming numbers. and so i think that's an example of where the american people are actually very united for this, but when you have the governing class in washington, that's where the divisions are because people don't like to see those types of reforms here but there is agreement throughout american society. and so if we want to start having a more unified country, we should be listening to the american people when they're speaking loudly and consistently over 20, 25 years that term limits is something they want, we should heed that call and we should be voting on that and we should enact it, passing it out of the house,
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passing it out of the senate and then sending it to the states for ratification. what a win-win it would be, both for this institution to show the american people are listening and it would be a positive reform to have enacted. i'm really happy that as new people come in that they have the reformer spirit and one of the guys who just got elected this last year, it's pretty clear when people get up here whether they're in it for the right reasons or not and i think there's probably few people in the whole house who've been more dedicated to reform and making this institution serve the american people rather than rule over the american people, so it's a great honor for me to be able to recognize and yield to my friend from iowa, the chairman of the house term limits caucus, rod blum. senator blumenthal: i thank my good friend -- mr. blum: i thank my good
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friend, mr. desantis, for giving me an opportunity to speak on this most important subject. albert einstein once id the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again yet expecting different rests. that quote sums up washington, d.c. we keep sending the same people back here over and over and over. yet, we expect things will improve. we expect things will change. congressional approval ratings, if you haven't checked, are in the single digits. it's clear that the american people aren't happy with the job we're doing. they want change in washington, d.c. but if we truly want to change washington, we need to heed albert einstein's advice. we need to send different people here. we need to do things differently. changing the way congress operates should start with enacting term limits. i firmly believe congressional
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the limits would restore public's confidencen the legislative branch and return this body back to the design intended by our founding fathers. i've just be here, as my friend, mr. desantis, said for over a year and i can confidently say that term limits for our politicians would be a huge step forward in changing the culture here in washington, d.c. and i urge my colleagues to support this commonsense reform. mr. speaker, this is the first elected office i ever held. i'm a career small business person, and in the private sector if we don't listen to our customers, we go out of business. in congress, our customers are the american people, and they are strongly in favor of term limits. recent polls show overwhelming support, over 75% of americans want term limits. and this support, as mr.
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desantis said, crosses party lines, republicans, democrats, independents alike. unfortunately, congress has not listened to our customers. legislation to institute term limits continues to sit in committee without receiving a vote. and while many members of congress profess support for term limits back in their districts, when they're -- when their plane crosses the potomac, things change. one of the first things i did fter being sworn in was to launch the bipartisan term limits caucus with beto o'rourke. and i co-sponsored legislation with mr. salmon of arizona and mr. desantis of florida limiting house members to serve no more than three terms and senators from serving no more than two terms. i did this because someone coming to congress from the private sector i believe washington suffers from a lack ever fresh innovative ideas and
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also washington suffers from a lack of political courage on the part of career politicians to implement those changes. the root of our problem is that our politicians are incentivized by this system to care more about staying in office rather than what is doing what is best for the country. most candidates campaign for the u.s. house and they say something to the effect -- washington, d.c., is broken. washington, d.c., is broken, it must change. they say this during the campaign. most come here for the right reasons, but over time the system grinds them down. the special interests get their per verbial nose under the tent and before long, special interests own the congressmen. it seems to me the only special interest group not represented in washington is we, the people. the end result, most become part of the very problem they came to washington, d.c., to fix.
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our founding fathers never intended for public service to be a career. serving in congress was supposed to be a temporary sacrifice, made for the public good, not a profitable, long-term profession treated like a family business. by limiting terms, politicians can serve in office. we can realign the incentives. when members of congress know they will only serve for a short amount of time, they will be incentivized to actually tackle the big problems facing america today. tackling our $19 trillion debt that's growing. tackling the looming insolvency of social security and medicare, tackling securing of our borders and the federal brokse that stiffles economic growth and holds down wages for your average american. mr. desantis, i recognize the long odds of congress voting to place term limits on themselves. as i often say, it's much like
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asking turkeys to vote for thanksgiving and we know how that would end up. but we keep pushing congress to act because it's what the merican people want. there are positive developments at the state level. florida became one of the states to officially call for article 5 constitutional term limits convention thanks to the hard work of florida activists and fantastic groups like u.s. term limits. i commend the florida legislature and hope other states will soon follow suit. as president reagan once said, a convention is a safety valve giving the people a chance to act if congress refuses to. mr. speaker, i'm not here to criticize individual members of congress and not all of my colleagues who have been in office for decades are part of this problem. but it's time congress listens to our customers and gives our customers what they want. a vote on term limits.
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it's the right thing to do and it may be our last and best chance to restore trust in government and make congress work for the american people once again. and once again i thank mr. desantis for the opportunity to discuss this most important subject. urge my colleagues to enjoy the term limits caucus and sponsor term limit legislation and i yield back. mr. desantis: i thank my friend from iowa and you bring up a good point and it's difficult for people. you and i are on a bill that try to be reasonable about it and say we are willing to make compromises. you have members who have been here 15 years and trying to put themselves in a chair manship, they kind of play the game and they are preparing to -- so i get why someone in that
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and that is ld not gradual and in a short while, you would have term limits across the board. that is a reasonable compromise. if this was submitted around congress that would be enacted in a new york minute, and that will sail through every state legislature without question and you would have term limits. there are two different routes to take, but i think knowing that there is a desire for this, i think it would be good for this institution to say ok, we hear you, let's debate it and put everyone on record and the american people can hold people accountable and that's what is
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frustrating. one thing that term limits failed every year but it gets bottled up because people don't want to be on record against term limits. hose days need to be over. you go around your district, you have republicans and democrats and you have very politically diverse district. are there anybody who is out there saying don't do term limits? mr. blum: i have not yet in three years of campaigning met one person in my district in northeast iowa that is against term limits. everyone wants us to hold a vote on term limits and it gets buried in committee because the worst nightmare of anyone in this body going on record having voted against term limits. they go back to their districts and say they are against the pension program and against
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first-class air travel and they say they are against term limits but don't want to vote on those things. because i don't think people are against them. people are tired of it and they are demanding we have this vote. all you're asking is, let's get this out of committee and have a vote on this floor and see what happens. it may fail, but we got the vote. people in my district and your district would have a chance and have a choice. this is overwhelmingly bipartisan issue. i'm republican. my district is democrat. but democrats want a vote on term limits as well. i come from the private sector and we listen to our customers. the customers are the american voters and the american citizens. we are ignoring them and we are seeing it now in this political season that people are upset
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with what goes on in washington, d.c. our approval rating is in the single digits and it would go so far if we would hold some votes and try to reform this body because people tell me before you tell me to reform the way my family spends my own money, why don't you clean up your own house first. mr. desantis: if we need to do term limits and make sure congress lives under the same rules, no special treatment under obamacare, let's eliminate the pensions and you brought up about people being lobbyists after congress, if you did term limits, you are going to increase the supply. being a lobbyists, it wouldn't be lucrative. more people would say maybe i go back to my home state and work in business there and come to terms with some of the laws i imposed on the private sector and see how that works.
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i think it would be good for the performance in office, but i think as members left office, i think it would probably drive more people to the actual private sector rather than being inside the beltway, because you will have too many former members and i don't think the pay will be as lucrative. right now -- and i don't know if this is accurate, but i have seen statistics, it's upwards of 80% of the people who serve in the congress go on to be lobbyists in washington. so that's -- you understand the system and you go out and you are lobbying to kind of geese the skids and i don't think that's the way we want this system to be operating. let me ask you this. in terms of getting a vote, what do you think we need to be doing to impress upon other colleagues so we can start to develop some momentum to try to get a vote on
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this? mr. blum: some of them need to lose their re-election campaigns. i have said that true change never comes inside the beltway in washington, d.c. but out in america and what we need are people, grassroots, activists, people that follow what we are doing, to call, email, to text, to let our representatives know, that you want a vote on term limits and as a representative and those matter. i listen. and we track every phone call and i get a report at the end of the day and saying who called from your district and what they wanted. change never comes from within w d.c. i would like to follow up on one other point you made earlier and that is seniority. i came here as a freshman 14 months ago and i quickly found out that everything in congress is based in seniority and not to take anything away from these fine people, they worked very hard and paid their dues and
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nothing personal, but people wonder why change can't happen in washington, d.c. it's because the same people are running the ame show year in and year out. a young po politician -- i'm 60 years old, i don't have an impact because of the power structure is based on seniority here. and i wish they would look at seniority out in the real world in the private sector. what did you do to build a company or educate children or in the medical community. not just your time spent in this body. that's a great point and that's why i think things don't change. we need new ideas, fresh ideas, people of political courage. another thing that has been disappointing to me is the lack of political courage to take a stand and plant the flag even though it will be unpopular in the district. have political courage and
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people have said to me, how do we know you won't change if we send you to washington. and i said i'm not afraid to be unelected. i want to be re-elected and would like to win a second term. we need people like that, ron. we need people to turn this united states congress into a family business. mr. desantis: interesting with the seniority discussion. i was in the navy and in the military, your time in service, it matters for pay purposes and other, but along the line, you have to actually promote, so you have to earn a promotion. , re will be some people o-5's and get that after 13 years and lieutenant commanders who have been in 20 years. if you have been in 20, you have been in there longer but the
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person who achieved higher rang they are superior to you in the military chain of command. the way the congressional system operates, it is based on years staying here. look, there are some people -- we have some of the best members have served here 30, 35 years. but i think if you compare the good those members have done with the negatives of all the other folks, i think the negatives outweigh the positives. and congressman blum is right. ultimately the american people need to force this issue. part of it is calling the offices and i review the phone calls every day, too. but i think one of the most effective things in a public forum is ask a member of congress, will you vote for ron's bill and put them on the record. and the more people on the record that's for it, makes it
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easier for us to take the case to the leadership and say look, we need to do this. i think it would be a breath of fresh air. i think people are so sick of the old games being played in washington. we started coming out with these reforms with term limits. people would be like really? they are finally getting it. and it's something that if you take the long view, when you are doing the right thing like that, then voters will have more confidence in your views on other things. maybe you are interested in tax reform or welfare reform. guess what? you are doing term limits or doing those things. i bet a lot of voters would be less cynical of what you are trying to do on a whole range situation. it would be a win-win on potential policy reforms. let me ask my friend from iowa. is there anything else you want to add to the discussion? i appreciate your time. i think it's been worth while.
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i think we need to keep fighting the good fight. mr. blum: we will always storm the hill and plant that flag regardless of how many times we need to do it. i would like to mention the bills, eliminating first class travel paid for by taxpayers. most of the people in my district have never flown first class. liminating 1,200 lease payments. the congressional pension program. eliminate the ability to become a lobbyist. the average american has not a pay raise in 20 years. this body's pay should go backwards just like the average american. the words used is that we are out of touch.
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and i wonder if this body is not out of touch. we are tone deaf. we need to be introduced to the average american. if we don't balance the budget, we get a pay cut. and if we keep not balancing it, we are going to end up making no money, maybe it will get through everyone's head that this is a serious issue. but i agree with you, ron, any of these reforms voted on would go so far to the american people to say finally, finally washington, d.c. is listening to us. they finally get it. the frustration is palpable in my district. it probably is in yours. people say you don't listen and the laws don't apply to us and i couldn't agree more. as a citizen, i'm every bit as frustrated as well. you can always count on me to storm the hill with you.
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mr. desantis: when you say balance the budget or face a pay cut. i signed up on that. i agree. we have to have personal skin in the game, what happens is when you are in washington particularly dealing with spending and debt, it's a lot easier for most members to put it off on the next generation. these are people that can't vote you out of office or call your office and complain about it. it's the path of least resistance to do that. there is not a lot of skin in the game short of us having a debt crisis. and we don't it to come to that. and want to make responsible decisions. i applaud you for that and i'm happy to be signed up with you. and term limits is part of a larger government reform package i think would be a home run and i look forward to working with you. and with that, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. under the speaker's announced
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policy of january 15, 2016, the chair recognizes the gentleman rom texas, mr. gohmert, for 30 minutes. mr. gohmert: i want to thank my friends, congressman blum and future senator desantis, for those great words and great insights. i first want to answer a couple of questions that people have my bout a couple of votes friend justin amash and thomas massie and i, h.r. 4742 and it is -- it's described to authorize the national science foundation to support entrepreneurial programs for
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women. and you know, since my wife and i are have been blessed with three beautiful daughters, inside and out, all of them absolutely brilliant, at least things that are important to me, but i note that -- it says studies have shown that technology and commercialization ventures are successful when women are in top management positions and also puts into law that the requirement that under the science and engineering equal opportunities act, it's required that the national science foundation encourage its entrepreneurial programs to recruit and support women to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and into the commercial world. now, it just seems like -- and i know these are incredibly well
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intended, both 4742 and 4745, very well intended. wonderful people put them forward. i understand that. but just from my experience and from common sense i hear as i get all over east texas, it just seems like washington is always a step behind or an old saying, a day late and a dollar short and we are now $19 trillion short but we want to take time from our $19 trillion in debt to demand that the national science foundation discriminate based on gender. there may be some young boy who needs encouragement from a tough family situation, but this program is designed to iscriminate against that young
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poverty-stricken boy and to encourage the girl, forget the boy, encourage the girl. and it just seems that if we're ever going to get to the dream of martin luther king junior that he spoke, you know just people mall, he wanted to be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. has been after race an issue that needed attention, then gender appropriately got attention because the whole thing, the whole constitution of the united states, when it's properly read veer bait im, it eens men -- veer bait im, men, women, race, creed, color, national origin, those things
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are not supposed to matter. and it just seems like when we come in and say it's important that for a while we discriminate and end up getting behind and probably 25 years from now, boys are going to have fallen behind in numbers and we are going to need to come in and say -- actually when we passed that bill forcing encouragement of girls and not encouragement little boys, we were behind the eight-ball and didn't see we would be leaving little boys in the ditch and now we start doing programs encouraging little boys. we are always going to be behind until we get around to saying from this house floor, we don't care where you're from, we don't care what your gender is or what you like like or as homely as abraham lincoln and don't care
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your color, hair or lack of hair, we don't care. we don't want you to have an equal outcome but an equal opportunity to excel and then let the best person do the best job and excel. that's what has made free market systems work so well. and i was reminded, so i checked out a lady that's known as madam currii -- currie and was born in wausau and her achievements included the development of the theory of isotopes and the
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discovery of two elements. under her direction, the world's first studies were conducted plasmse treatment of neo and found the institutes in paris and warsaw and won the nobel peace prize for her work n radiation. so as i think about -- it's got to be millions and millions of lives that this brilliant did., madam curie, she died early at the age of 66. she had aplastic anemia, apparently, from her work with radioactive isotopes, but the lives that woman saved because of her work in the laboratory. however, if our bill, 4742, had been in law back in poland or france, as she tried to move
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forward, she would have -- the science foundation there would have been required to tell madam curie, you know what, you're pretty good in the laboratory but under this law from the wisdom of congress, we're supposed to tell you to go into commercial enterprise, make a whole bunch more money because you're better off not being in the laboratory but being out in the commercial world because you'll be a better business person than men. you need to get out there. but thank god there wasn't a program like this that distracted her, that this brilliant, caring woman basically gave her life to save many, many millions by the phenomenal work she did in the laboratory. but, according to the bill that we're d today, requiring the science foundation to encourage
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entrepreneurial programs to recruit, support women, to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and into the commercial world. thank god that's not what madam curie did. and we did have another bill and it -- you know, it -- part of the program is good for boys and girls but -- there's a part that aspire to inspire, engages young girls to present, science, technology, engineering and mathematics career opportunities, etc., and the next one, provide an opportunity for female middle school students. we don't want to provide opportunity under this bill for boys. let the boys fight. let them get into gangs, but the women, the young girls, that's who we're wanting to encourage and in section 3, nasa is supposed to -- shall. excuse me. not just may but shall
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encourage women and girls to study, science, technology, engineering. see, i was inspired in a little town called mount pleasant, texas, growing up by people who encouraged boys and girls equally. and we had some very, very smart girls and we had some smart guys, and our teachers really didn't care if they were boys or girls. they wanted us to work hard. they wanted us to excell. and they were incredibly good -- excel, and they were incredibly good teachers and i learned so much. i learned so much in math that in college algentleman bra at exas a&m, i didn't have -- algebra at texas a&m, i didn't have to open my book until the final because of the incredible basis i got in math from seventh grade, ms. edwards, and my high school math teachers were terrific. anyway, i hope that we can get
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beyond pan dering and try to get -- pandering and try to get to the point where congress will say, we don't care what you look like. the things you can't help, how you look, the gender, the things you can't help, we don't care about those. we want you to have an equal opportunity with everybody else. and i hope and pray that's the direction we go. those hope and pray that ho are suffering in europe, in brussels after the horrendous , tacks by radical islamists that they will be comforted by and for by god himself those that lost loved ones, we need to reach out to the families and be for them, with
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them, encourage them. but the best legacy we could provide would be to stop the insane efforts to win over dical islamists by trying to be this phenomenal friend to him. article today, greg potello from cnn says, and this is a highlight. u.s. officials speculates isis, is trying to make an international statement by attacking the home of nato, the e.u. he also points out, two explosions rocked the brussels airport. another rips through a subway station in the belgium capital. this article from cnn, -- rtunately, says, while the carnage wasn't altogether surprising.
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belgium has been going after terrorist threats for months as iltreated by last year's capture by europe's most wanted man in a bloody raid in brussels. so apparently if you stand up against radical islam to stop these people who would take us ck to the dark ages of despotism, book slavey, who don't do as you're told, we would be better off if we would be nice to them so we have an administration that says, yeah, iran is the biggest supporter of terrorism in the world so we think maybe if we cut a deal where we release to them $100 billion to $150 billion that they'll surely start being nice to us. d you know, those castros,
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that fidel and raul down in cuba, they have been dictators. they have tortured. they have been horrendous in the harm that they have brought to the people of cuba. how do we know even though people like sean penn and others have told us how wonderful it is, they have the best health care in the world, well, it turns out actually they're really wanting to get to the united states. it turns out they're wanting to come in droves to the united states because it's not so good living under a dictator like the castros. what this president has done unknowingly is put his stamp of approval on a dictatorship that has been incredibly brutal. just as this administration did to the terrorists in charge in iran. people will further suffer just
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as they have in the last few days while the president visited cuba, this administration in cuba in charge, the dictators, they were brutalizing people who had the gall to come out and want to act as if they had freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. one poor woman beatened, stripped naked, drug off to jail, well apparently that's ok under the new approach of the u.s. administration if we're trying to outreach to them and they're wanting our outreach to go better. but the fact is it's one thing to have relations commercially with another country but when we as the united states, the freest country that's ever
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existed until we begun to lose our freedoms here more recently dictators, eld to to terrorist leaders like in iran, the world suffers. we have been given a massive responsibility by being the freest and up until recently possibly the most powerful country in the world. china's come on strong. others have nuclear weapons that will use them, want to use them. so our position is in jeopardy. to whom much is give them all much will be required. we should be more faithful so hen a country like nigeria begs help to deal with radical islam and boko haram, we should
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not have to hear from a catholic bishop from nigeria that the obama administration is demanding that they change their laws to embrace same-sex marriage against their religious beliefs, appropriate for abortion even when it violates their religious leader of de the kenya or other countries to give up their religious beliefs and follow the amoral teaching of whoever is in charge in america. the consequence of using the power of the united states to bully other countries and to allow them to suffer measurablely while we act -- immeasurably while we act hauty, they are not as worthy as those in the united states
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that do not follow christian beliefs. more christians suffering and being persecuted but jesus said you will suffer for my sake. israel the o in latest attack there suffering and being killed. fox news had this article regarding the peninsula group based in tel aviv and there is massive suffering at the hands f radical islam. so as they suffer at the hands of radical islam and at the hands of people who have poured into their countries illegally e to their naive but permissive policies, the last
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hing they need to hear is from a united states president that they need to be careful not to be biased or prestigious against the radical -- prejudice against the radical islamists that have killed them and have killed their family members because according to this administration the far bigger danger is bias against those who want to kill us and eliminate our civilized way of life. god help us all. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. does the gentleman have a motion? mr. gohmert: i do we hereby adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is adopted.
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