Skip to main content

tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  April 29, 2016 9:00am-3:01pm EDT

9:00 am
good benefits. thank you for your time. house representatives is getting ready to come in session. on c-span, we have got the white house correspondents dinner live on saturday night. we have got in-depth on booktv on sunday. enjoy the rest of your friday. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] the speaker: the house will be in order. the prayer will be offered by our chaplain, father conroy. chaplain conroy: let us pray. almighty merciful god, we give you thanks for giving us another day. we pray for the gift of wisdom to all with great responsibility in this house for the leadership of our nation. may all the members have the
9:01 am
vision of a world where respect and understanding are the marks of civility and where honor, integrity are the marks of one's character. as members take time in the coming week for constituency visits, give them the ability to hear the voices of all in their districts so that when they return they are focused on the important work to be done. bless us this day and every day and may all that is done within these hallowed halls be for your greater honor and glory, men. the speaker pro tempore: the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1, the journal stands approved. the pledge of allegiance will be led by the gentleman from michigan, mr. trot. mr. trott: i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
9:02 am
the speaker: the chair will entertain up to five requests for one-min speeches on each side of the aisle. for what purpose does the gentleman from michigan seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. trott: mr. speaker, i rise today to recognize the extraordinary achievements of martin and katherine turback of troy, michigan. they were recently recognized by care house of oakland county as foster parents of the year. care house is a wonderful organization in southeast michigan that provides services and counseling to children who are victims of abuse. they have cared for 33 children , newborn babies to 5-year-old kids, and are currently caring for a 14-month-old baby girl who was six weeks old and weighed only four pounds when they brought her into their home. the family has been involved in fostering for an amazing 73 years with martin's mother, peggy, having cared for 150 children. that equates to about 90,000 bottles and 220,000 diapers.
9:03 am
mr. speaker, in a time when many have come to see our nation defined by acrimony and division, the wonderful story of martin and katherine of troy reminds us all that there is more good in this world than bad. they have taught us that many of our problems we face can be solved with love and again rossity and they remind us we all have the power to touch people's lives for the better. martin and katherine do that every day. thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from the state of washington seek recognition? >> i request unanimous consent to remove my name from h.r. 4651. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. and rend. the speaker pro tempore: without, the gentleman from california is recognized for one minute. mr. lowenthal: thank you, mr. speaker. this saturday, april 30, marks 41 years since the fall of
9:04 am
saigon. commemorated as black april in the vietnamese -- in vietnamese american communities across this nation. i introduced a resolution in remembrance of this event and to honor the contributions and the sacrifices of vietnamese americans. in addition, this week in front of my congressional office i am flying the vietnamese heritage and freedom flag as recognized by states and localities across this country. as we remember the fall of saigon, i also believe it is critically important to continue to shine a lot on human rights abuses in vietnam. when president obama visits vietnam next week, i hope he will make human rights a priority. now is exactly the right time for vietnam to begin respecting the rights of its own citizens.
9:05 am
thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: gentleman from california yield back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois seek recognition >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute, revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, gentleman from illinois is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today because april is autism awareness month. autism is a condition that affects more than three million americans and their families. mr. dold: those living with autism spectrum disorders face challenges on a daily basis. and though we have come a long way, much more must be done to ensure a high quality of wife for all. some of this work needs to -- life for all. some of this work needs to happen in congress but much needs to happen in our homes and communities. that's why together with my disability awareness advisory board i have been fighting for greater acceptance and understanding. working to ensure that those with autism have greater access to education and employment. and have the place they deserve
9:06 am
within our community. one of the great organizations in illinois' 10th congressional district is lamb's farm. those with developmental disabilities served by lamb's farm are provided the opportunity to advance in all areas of life, through ever increasing residential, vocational, and recreational choices. together we are striving for a society where those living with autism and other disabilities are free to pursue their passions, receive a high quality education, and have their unique gifts celebrated. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from illinois yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from illinois seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlewoman from illinois is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. for corporations with a boardroom full of lawyers and thousands of employees, exporting products is something they do every day. but for a small business owner or start up entrepreneurs in places like rockford, peoria, or the quad cities, the deck is stacked against them on the
9:07 am
global economic playing field. mrs. bustos: that's why today i introduced the boosting america's export act. it will help small and medium-sized businesses expand economic opportunity. and create more good-paying american jobs. my bill will identify and assist small businesses that have the potential to sell the products in new markets. we already know that small businesses create two out of every three jobs. and by building a business climate that helps them grow and succeed, will strengthen -- we'll strengthon working families across the nation. i strongly urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to stand with me in this effort. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman illinois yields back the balance of her time. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition >> unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from california virginia tech for one minute. mr. lamalfa: thank you, mr. speaker. yesterday the house passed
9:08 am
h.j.res. 88, a measure to reject the department of labor's misguided fiduciary rule. just like obamacare gets between you and your doctor, this conflict of interest rule attempts to put washington between you and your financial advisor, insisting on a broad onerous piece of regulation rather than a simple solution based on best business practices that attacks attorneys and bonanza of new lawsuits. even state officials in new york, a democratic stronghold, have proposed solutions that inform consumers without burdening investment businesses. if only the department of labor would listen. i implore the senate to pass this measure and president to listen to the state officials, actual financial investors, and small investors who have developed a better alternative by signing this legislation into law and not stymiing investment for families and our economy. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? >> unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from florida is
9:09 am
recognized for one minute. mr. deutch: thank you. mr. speaker, an american is killed with a gun every 16 minutes. what's congress' response? here's what we have become really good at. we have become really good at coming together for moments of silence. we do it every time there is a mass shooting. and in 2015, there were 330 mass shootings. why can't we do more, we ask? our response, the response too often is we don't need to do anything else, there are plenty of laws on the books. why don't we enforce them? the fact is, there is one thing we can do that's not on the books. we can require that everyone who buys a gun has a [ground check. if you buy a gun in a store you have to get a background check. but for the -- for the gun shows, 100 gun shows a week,
9:10 am
5,200 gun shows a year, five million people traveling to those gun shows, there is no background check. there is no background check for the millions of internet ads or classified ads. let's pass mandatory background checks to help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. that's what we can do, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, there is too much at stake for us to continue to ignore this tragedy. it's time for congress to act. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from nevada seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from nevada is recognized for one minute. it >> thank you, mr. speaker. last fall a hospital in my state closed its doors after years of being the only hospital within 100 mile radius. -- shford: unlike in more unlike in other nabetsdz residents can be left with a frightening reality that emergency medical care services may be too far awafmente sadly, this is not the only isolated incident. more than 30% of america's
9:11 am
rural hospitals are vulnerable. to the conditions that may have caused the closures of 71 facilities in the last six years. r. hardy: the numbers increase each year and we have to act now to prevent more families from losing their lifelines in times of emergency. that is why i'm introducing the bipartisan rural health act of 2016. it will support existing rural hospitals by strengthening resources for the state offices of rural health and incentivize construction of new facilities for those communities in need. our rural communities need our attention, we cannot let them down. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from nevada yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute. revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from illinois is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, i rise today to honor the memory of those we have lost to heroin and opioid addiction. mr. foster: another 30 people
9:12 am
are likely to die today. another 30 lives lost on top of the thousands that we are losing each year to this epidemic. we have lost daughters and sons, fathers and mothers. sisters, brothers. friends and acquaintances and co-workers alike have lost their battles with adifpblgts too often their deaths have been cloaked in the shadows. obituaries remain silent on the cause of death. for too long our society has viewed soap yoid addiction as simply a moral failing rather than the treatable medical condition that it is. while opioid addiction may start with an excessive prescription or indisdiscretion of youth, it ends with a scientifically understood, increasingly treatable medical condition in which the biochemical bathways to decisionmaking in the brain have been hydrogened -- hijacked and the chemistry of the brain permanently altered
9:13 am
heroin does not discriminate. it does not care if request you're rich, poor, black, white, devoted mother, or loving child. none of us are immune. today i pay my respects those who fall prey to opioids are worthy of being mourned. they are not forgot yefpblet thank you. i yield back -- forgotten. thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized for one minute. mr. pitts: thank you, mr. speaker. in 2010 the national association of community health centers stated quote, federally qualified health centers do not provide abortions to any of their patients and we are not aware of any that have ever done so, end quote. remember last year we said we wanted to give community health centers more money because they assured us they didn't do abortions? however, on tuesday, april 26, this week, we learned that some health center clinics in new york have been performing abortions. the national association of
9:14 am
community health centers has egregiously violated our trust. the fact that abortions are performed at these federally funded community health center clinics is astonishing. we put our confidence in them as providers of life affirming women's health care based on their commitment to not entangle such care with abortion. abortion is not health care. mr. speaker, we need an investigation into community health centers to determine how many of their clinics are providing for, referring, or performing abortions, and the national association should expel this network of new york clinics from their associations. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from california seek recognition? >> ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlewoman from california is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, i rise today to recognize national re-entry week. re-entry after an individual has paid their debt to society.
9:15 am
85% of individuals who are incarcerated eventually get out. ms. bass: we need to make sure that they have access to a well paying job, quality education when they return home. re-entry programs work. mr. gerald mccoy lives in south l.a., he's 45 and stoifed 27 years in a california -- old and served 27 years in a california prison. today he works for a company which works with formerly incarcerated individuals to help them secure and maintain employment to avoid going back to prison. with the help of these re-entry services mr. mccoy has purchased his first car and moved into an apartment. according to mr. mccoy, re-entry programs allowed him to apply skills developed during his incarceration, and he learned he has gifts and potential, and today mr. mccoy strives to offer these benefits to his clients. . re-entry services are smart and
9:16 am
just. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from utah seek recognition? mr. chaffetz: mr. speaker, pursuant to house resolution 706, i call up h.r. 4901, the scholarships for opportunity and results re-authorization act, and ask for its immediate consideration in the house. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 402, h.r. 4901, a bill to authorize the scholarships for opportunity and results re-authorization act, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to house resolution 706, the bill is considered as read. the bill shall be debatable for one hour equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member on the committee of oversight and government reform. the gentleman from utah, mr. chaffetz, and the gentlewoman from the district of columbia, ms. norton, will each control 30 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from utah. mr. chaffetz: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on h.r. 4901. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. chaffetz: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume.
9:17 am
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. chaffetz: we're here to pass an important bill, mr. speaker. this bill, h.r. 4901, known as the mr. scott: known as the scholarships for opportunity and results, or soar act. the bill provides equal funding to d.c. public schools, d.c. public charter schools and the opportunity scholarship program, which is commonly known as the o.s.p. it provides scholarships to students of low-income families many who would otherwise attend low-performing schools. this is bringing about educational opportunities to those who need it the most. it may sound familiar because st year we authorized h.r. 10. h.r. 4901 is similar to h.r. 10. changes were made to it through a bipartisan negotiation with the senate. these changes actually strengthened the bill and we're pleased to support this today.
9:18 am
the new bill brings greater transparency and accountability to the o.s.p. the new bill strengthens accreditation requirements, and the new bill clarifies congressional intent around the use of carryover funds and access to the o.s.p. after commitment to regular order and how important this legislation is, we wanted them to vote on these changes which we did within our committee. and it passed out of our committee. thus, we introduced h.r. 4901. we improved the legislation and now are bringing it before the chamber to pass the bill in the best possible form. i hope the house will see the value in its bills because it will benefit families in the district, especially low-income families in the district. the average income is $22,000 per year. i want to say that again. the average income of a family with an o.s.p. student is $22,000.
9:19 am
this program offers these families more than just the scholarship. it's a lifeline. one o.s.p. parent went so far to describe the o.s.p. as her, quote, salvation. mr. speaker, the o.s.p. is working. the 2014-2015 school year o.s.p. students had a grad ration rate -- graduation rate of 90%. that should indicate to people that it's working. it's well above the national average of 82% and certainly better than the average within the d.c. public schools, which is only about 64%. however, i'd be remiss if i did not note that the d.c. public schools increased their graduation rate six percentage points from 2014 to 2015 and we applaud that and hope that continues. that's in part because this three-sector approach is actually working. opponents of the soar act want to stop this legislation because they disagree with the o.s.p. for purely ideological reasons. in fact, opponents just like the supporters note that o.s.p.
9:20 am
students know they do better if not better on every measure compared to the public school counterparts. and they remain in the program until they finish high school. if the o.s.p. is so bad, it makes no sense to allow children to remain in it. the truth is the program works and we should re-authorize it so we can work for more children. opponents of the o.s.p. will seek to end the entire three-sector approach in order to stop the o.s.p. but i do want to note that the washington, d.c., mayor, the d.c. council chairman, and seven other members of the d.c. council sent a letter to the congressional leadership urging the re-authorization of this program. the mayor and the majority of the d.c. council recognized the value of this legislation and are asking we stand with them and not fore sake the children of the district of columbia -- forsake the children of the district of columbia. n march, 2016, letter signed in he mayor and will be put
9:21 am
the record of the soar act. it goes on to note how important the soar act has been in maintaining and recruiting quality teachers and principals. the district officials show strong support of this legislation as you does the washington, d.c., community. we're thrilled to find common ground on this bill. i thank them for their valuable work in getting this legislation to this point. i'm also excited the soar act has the support of "the washington post." and i'll be inserting a record from a physician they took on march 14, 2016, to that effect. mr. speaker, the soar act's purpose is to improve education within the district and i believe it is doing just that. within the public schools, charter schools and the o.s.p.'s. it's providing families with valuable choice and it's allowing them to escape other situations that would not be nearly as conducive to their families. i don't understand why the critics of the o.s.p. are so
9:22 am
opposed to the program, especially since it produces graduation rates far above the national averages. this feat is even more notable when you realize the o.s.p. achieves better graduation rates than d.c. public schools at only 2/3 the cost. so you get better graduation rates and it costs 2/3 as much as the d.c. public schools. i recognize the importance of our public education system and the need for public school improvement. it's why the legislation also authorizes funds for public education. we must recognize the reality before us. this past year d.c. eighth graders had the lowest test scores in the nation in math and reading. some of the most critical skills they need to be successful in life. while d.c. public schools have made progress, clearly much remains to be done. mr. speaker, students within the district should not have to wait for these changes to come about. they deserve an alternative, a quality education and they deserve it now. let's work to improve public education in the district but
9:23 am
let's not hold back the current students while those improvements happen. let's allow them every opportunity available, such as the opportunity scholarship. we're here today to debate a bill to further the educational outcomes of washington, d.c. and mr. speaker, also, let me just take a personal note. to thank speaker boehner for his passion on this issue. for years he championed this. he's done it in his private time. he did it in his public life and he did it as a member of congress and he did it as the speaker of the house. this was his -- he championed this. it's been successful, and i'm glad to carry the baton and make sure there is school choice within washington, d.c. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from utah reserves the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from the district of columbia is recognized. i norton: mr. speaker, yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from the district of columbia is recognized. ms. norton: mr. speaker, as a mother, i believe parents should seize any and every
9:24 am
educational opportunity available to their children, so i certainly have no criticism of my own constituents who have seized this opportunity. in fact, in order to avoid disruption of the education of the current voucher students, i believe they should be allowed to remain in the program until high school graduation. and president obama has offered a compromise to allow them to do so. consideration of this bill surely is unprecedented. until the day, i had never seen the house vote on virtually the same bill a second time from the same congress and that's about to happen here. the house, of course, has acted . why is this house acting redundantly again? shouldn't the focus be on the
9:25 am
republican-led senate where neither this bill, which is virtually the same as the bill that was passed before, nor its senate companion has moved? last december, the senate committee of jurisdiction cancelled a scheduled markup of the bill to protect republicans from this bill and especially from the civil rights amendments that had been proposed to the bill. nd just last month, chairman chaffetz himself, who is chairman of the authorizing committee and the subcommittee, requested that the bill be the ded in the upcoming -- upcoming 2017 appropriation bill because the chairman knows that is how this bill is going
9:26 am
to be passed. the problem is that there is little congressional support for vouchers except for vouchers in the district of columbia where nobody can vote for anybody except this member. congress has refused to create a national voucher program. just last year, during re-authorization of the elementary and secondary education act, both the house and the senate voted on several national voucher amendments and each failed. moreover -- so you see, they don't want vouchers in their own districts. moreover, the congress has never authorized the d.c. voucher program in the light of day. when congress first created the program in 2004 and then re-authorized it in 2011, it did so by adding the voucher
9:27 am
bill as riders to appropriations bills and to protect republican senators running for re-election this year, that is what is going to happen again. the senate has never passed a stand-alone d.c. vouchers bill, and yet it is being re-authorized now for the third time. this congress alone, republicans have introduced gislation to overturn d.c.'s n safety laws, its laws on reproductive health, its laws on nondiscrimination, its laws on marijuana, on labor, on immigration and on education. it is, therefore, ironic to hear republicans favorably cite
9:28 am
the support of some government officials for passage of this bill. now, let me explain that. because i don't want my colleagues to get away with mischaracterizing the position of the d.c. government on the bill before us today. when the house voted this bill last year, a majority of the d.c. council wrote the congress opposed to this voucher program. last month, however, fearing the loss of $40 million for public and charter schools, a bare majority wrote in support of this bill. you can't explain it. i say i'm being hoisted here. ironically, this funding, the funding for public schools and public charter schools exists
9:29 am
only because during the creation of the voucher program i repeatedly said that funding for public and charter schools was the preference of d.c. residents. to his ever-lasting credit, the then archbishop of washington then insisted that public and charter schools also receive funding in conjunction with the voucher funding. the d.c. mayor and a bare majority this year of the council sent a carefully crafted letter supporting this bill because they knew they were writing for the residents of the district of columbia who do not support vouchers. however, their letter did not support the voucher program tself but referred only to the
9:30 am
bill's public and charter school funding. those who signed the letter, by the way, were even more concerned that the congress instead could pass the radical cruz-meadows bill which would permit d.c. students to use local funds, command ear local funds from the d.c. treasury to pay for private schools. . city officials recognized, and who can blame them, that republicans have conditioned re-authorization of the public and charter school funding on re-authorization of the voucher funding. i understand their concern about losing public and charter school funding because it has been part of the city's education budget for a decade.
9:31 am
there is, of course, no reason for a unique federal voucher program in the district of columbia in particular. according to the study of the program's effectiveness, mandated by congress, by statute, the d.c. voucher program has failed in its stated purpose. that purpose was to improve academic achievement. the voucher program has not improved academic achievement as measured by math and reading test scores of students overall or of students the program prioritize from low-performing public schools. republicans rightly were disappointed with these results so guess what they did? instead of getting rid of a failed program, they simply changed the evaluation.
9:32 am
the prior re-authorization required the program's evaluation to be, here i am quoting, conducted using the strongest possible research design, end quote. nd a randomized controlled trial, the gold standard was therefore used. in contrast it's almost laughable when somebody changes the test in order to pass it. in contrast, the bill requires the evaluation to be conducted this time, please, using, an acceptable, that means any acceptable, quasi experimental research design. and expressly prohibits the randomized control trial that was mandated before. this dishonesty is transparent, mr. speaker.
9:33 am
as researchers conducting an evaluation of the program point out, a randomized control study, here i'm quoting, is especially important in the context of school choice because families wanting to apply for a choice program may have educational goals and aspirations that differ from the average family. end quote. the voucher program is also unnecessary. the district of columbia has an unusually robust public school choice system and it is available to every student. would wager that the district choice system is the best in the nation. here's what it is. almost 50% of our children go to charter schools.
9:34 am
those charter schools were authorized when i worked with speaker gingrich to allow charter schools to be the district's alternative school system. for the public schools, 75% of our children attend out of boundary public schools that they have chosen. so i ask any member who has public choice to make himself known during this debate. also c. voucher program exempts students from protection of federal civil rights laws that apply to public and federally funded programs. under the voucher program, the federal funding is considered assistance to the voucher student and not to the school,
9:35 am
apparently, in order to avoid these important mandates for our schools. and therefore the program is not considered a federally funded program although the money comes from federal funds. the program is exempt from title 4, title 6 of the civil rights act of 1964. from title 9 of the education amendments act of 1974. from the educational pportunities act of 196 -- 1974. the individuals with disabilities act. the rehabilitation act of 1973. and titles 2 and 3 of the americans with disabilities act of 1990. everybody knows that this program is going to be
9:36 am
re-authorized as a rider on an appropriations bill. which is how the d.c. vouchers enacted. lways been in 2004 and again in 2011. this is a masquerade here this morning, i'm sorry members had to be held over. this could have been taken care f yesterday. even if the bill is not re-authorized, however, everyone expects that republicans will continue to fund the three sectors as they have always done. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from the district of columbia reserves her time. the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. chaffetz: it is correct that republicans have continued to fund the three sector approach in washington, d.c. i'm proud of that. what i'd like to do is
9:37 am
recognize and yield four minutes to the chairman of the policy committee, the gentleman from indiana, mr. messer. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from indiana is recognized for four minutes. mr. messer: thank you, mr. chair. i rise today in support of h.r. 4901, the scholarships for opportunity and results re-authorization act. i want to commend chairman chaffetz for his work on this important policy and for continuing the legacy of former speaker boehner on this important issue. make no mistake about it, thousands of kids have access to the american dream because of speaker boehner's dedication to the d.c. opportunity scholarship program and education choice across the country. i met one of those students in february during a hearing on capitol hill. her name was denise. denisha provided some powerful
9:38 am
testimony that i will not soon forget. she spoke of being locked in a failing school and she said, and i quote, when i was growing up, college was a dream that i didn't even know that i had. and if it weren't for an educational option given 12 years ago, i wouldn't be here today. she's the first in her family to graduate from high school and college, and she's now attending graduate school. that's powerful stuff. it's just one example of the thousands of young people in america whose lives have been changed by school choice. as chairman of the congressional school choice caucus, i believe every child in america deserves the same kind of opportunity that she had. but right now, for the majority of students in this country, real educational choice only exists if you can afford it. ask yourself this question. if your local school is failing your child, and you can't
9:39 am
afford to move, and you can't afford to pay for private school, what options do you really have? and make no mistake about it. that is the truth for thousands of key people here in washington, d.c., and frankly across the country. they are locked in a failing school that's failing their child and they can't afford to move and they can't afford to pay for a private school. they are stuck. that's why school choice, the d.c. opportunity scholarship program matters. programs like d.c. o.s.p. empower parents to choose the best educational environment for their child regardless of their income, zip code, or lot in life. despite some of the rhetoric on the other side of the aisle, this program takes zero dollars from d.c. public schools. zero. yet d.c. o.s.p. has a big impact on d.c. students. in fact, the program lets more than 6,000 students attend the school that gives them the best
9:40 am
opportunity to succeed. even better, an incredible 90%, the 0% of the d.c. o.s.p. students graduate from high school on time. incredible success. it turns out that empowering parents and empowering students works. we have miles to go before every kid in america has access to a great school. this issue is far bigger than just d.c. schools. but today's bill will ensure that thousands of kids in washington, d.c., have an opportunity and every one of those kids matters. this bill is worthy of our support. i ask my colleagues for -- for their support and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from indiana yields ack the balance of his time. the gentleman from utah reserves. the gentlewoman from the district of columbia is recognized. ms. norton: if the gentleman is
9:41 am
so concerned about the millions of parents who can't afford to send their children to private schools, his caucus had the perfect opportunity this year because they have such a strong majority to pass voucher amendments. they refused to do so for their own schools. i'm pleased to yield to my friend from virginia, mr. connelly, 2 1/2 minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized for 2 1/2 minutes. mr. connelly: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank my friend from the d.c. dfpblgt i rise in opposition -- district of columbia. rise in opposition to h.r. 4901, contrary to the title and what you just heard, this voucher program has neither expanded opportunities nor delivered results for those students and their families. it has actually proven to be an unwise and unwelcomed use of tax dollars which ought to be of great concern to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. yet rather than call for increased scrutiny, they are forcing the house to once again vote on a bill on which this
9:42 am
chamber has already acted. in successive reports on the effectiveness of this program, the department of education has determined that students using these vouchers saw no statistically significant improvement in their overall achievement in math or reading. none. in addition, the department found that both parents and students from schools in need of improvement, the program's intended beneficiaries, reported that their experience with the voucher program did not, not improve their level of satisfaction with the education system or the education they were receiving. i also find it extremely cynical that this re-authorization would weaken the very reporting requirements that have shown this program to be ineffective. when you don't like the findings, i guess we suppress them. further, the government accountability office cited the program for not having sufficient financial controls and accountability measures. something i thought we favored.
9:43 am
for example, the d.c. children and youth investment trust corporation, which administers the program, repeatedly failed to comply with statutory financial reporting deadlines and its policies and procedures lack detail in several areas related to school compliance and financial accounting to ensure federal tax dollars are being used in accordance with the law. mr. speaker, i also hope the great irony of this legislation is not lost on my colleagues. those who claim to support the conservative principles of small government would again authorize $60 million in taxpayer subsidies for a program that has failed to meet expectations for both educational achievement and financial stewardship. i guess there are carve outs for our ideological favorites. further, self-proclaimed state rights conservatives are once again willing to impose the will of congress on a local government, the district of columbia. and they do it because they can.
9:44 am
so much for big brother, so much for telling somebody we know best. finally, i want to remind my friends on the other side of the aisle of the principles they espoused just last year when we worked in bipartisan fashion to pass legislation reforming no child left behind. in their own material for every student succeeds, republicans -- i ask for 30 more seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. ms. norton: i grant the gentleman 30 more seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. connolly: republicans say the now reforms are intended to restore local control by returning responsibility for accountability and school improvements to state and local leaders. why doesn't that apply here? another ideological carve out, mr. speaker. congress has no business imposing its will on the schools and families of the district of columbia in this fashion. they are not guinea pigs for our ideological favorites. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from the district of columbia reserves. the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. chaffetz: thank you, mr.
9:45 am
speaker. i'd like to yield three minutes to the chairman of the education and work force committee, the gentleman from minnesota, mr. kleine. -- mr. klein. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from minnesota is recognized for three minutes. mr. kline: thank you, mr. speaker and chairman chaffetz for yielding the time. mr. speaker, i rise today in very strong support of the soar re-authorization act. which will renew our vital investment in the children who live in the district of columbia. in passing the every student succeeds act last year, we took steps to encourage greater school choice for students and their families. these reforms empower parents to do what's best for their student's education and make sure they receive the excellent education they deserve, regardless of their family's background, income or zip code. helping students escape failing schools so they can pursue a higher future is a priority and that's what the d.c. tuntetunte does for our children in our
9:46 am
nation's capital. for more than 10 years now, the program has enabled thounts of students to pursue the quality education necessary to excell both in the classroom and later in life and excell they do. in fact, last year 90%, 90% of 12th graders who received a scholarship to the program graduated from high school and nearly 90% of those, mr. speaker, went on to pursue a college degree. the traditional d.c. public school system can make no such claim. these are very impressive results, and despite the claims f those for apparently partisan ideological reasons oppose these schools. with results like this, 90% graduate, 90% those go on to college make those claims these schools are not performing ell, well frankly laughable.
9:47 am
this legislation also authorizes support for d.c. public schools and will provide critical resources for the d.c. public -- charter schools. i agree with the the gentlelady from the district of columbia that public, charter schools in the district are performing well. they are giving some hope, some hope for mothers and fathers and grandmothers and grandfathers that their children will have a chance in life. i'm very proud of those public charter schools, but there are also children, the children of presidents of the united states and so forth, who choose to send their kids to private school and that opportunity ought to exist for more children, more students in the district of columbia and that's what the opportunity scholarship program does.
9:48 am
it provides another chance, another avenue, another road to hope for children in our nation's capital. together, these measures, working to improve the traditional public schools are struggling, they're still too often failing students which is why there's a waiting line to get into charter schools and into private schools. together these measures will make a positive impact on the lives of students across the district and create a much-needed educational opportunity for these children. i ask my colleagues to support this important legislation. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from utah reserves. mr. chaffetz: reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from the district of columbia is recognized. ms. norton: mr. speaker, i want the gentleman to know there are waiting lines in the district of columbia to get into many d.c. public schools and, of course, many charter schools. we also know nothing about the schools that tell us 90% of their children graduate because this house has no information
9:49 am
on them. but what we do know is that the randomize study took children in d.c. public schools and compared them to students at exactly the same level in the voucher schools, no difference in overall achievement. that is how we measure achievement in the united states of america. i'm pleased to yield four minutes to the distinguished ranking member of the education and work force committee, my friend from virginia, mr. scott. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized for four minutes. mr. scott: thank you, mr. speaker, and i rise in opposition to h.r. 4901, which would re-authorize the d.c. voucher program, known as the d.c. opportunity scholarship, through 2021. mr. speaker, we don't spend enough money on education so it's hard to justify diverting scarce public resources to finance private school education for a handful of students at the expense of the vast majority attending public
9:50 am
schools. instead, we should focus on limited public resources on initiatives that improve education for all of our children. this is the promise of the public school education in the united states. but the voucher programs undermine that promise. while hiding behind the guise of school choice for students in need. while -- while there are about 50 participating schools in the washington, d.c., opportunity scholarship program but more than half of all the participants are enrolled in just eight schools. most of the schools in the program have higher tuition than the voucher covers, limiting the utility of the voucher, shifting the cost of education to the families that can't -- that can afford it and essentially denying the opportunity to students whose family cannot afford the remaineding of the tuition. this is for a small number of
9:51 am
families who can afford the choice. those already enrolled in private schools, that money could have been used for public school systems. although there are few that can participate in the program, the results, as the gentlelady from the district of columbia, results -- have already said results are disappointing. research consistently demonstrates that the voucher program is an ineffective program that doesn't increase achievement. the four reports produced by the department of education found no improvement in reading and math for students coming from the most struggling d.c. public schools nor any statistically difference in performance in math and reading from d.c. public schools. mr. speaker, at these they're average. when you cite statistics that say some may be doing well, you have to take into consideration
9:52 am
these are children from families that are very supportive of their children and they would be doing well whether they were in the voucher program or not. in addition to the disappointing results, we also found that voucher participants were less likely to have access to english language programs, special education support, counselors and other vital programs to ensure all students remain on the path of academic success. so, mr. speaker, the -- if the schools are not producing the promised results, why are we providing them with unrestricted federal dollars? mr. speaker, we could have improved the bill. we have a closed rule so amendments are not allowed but there are several amendmentes that should have been considered that i offered. one that would have protected the civil rights of students that receive vouchers by requiring students to certify they provide each student with applicable civil rights protection. another would require any school receiving funds under
9:53 am
this program to comply with the same federal data and reporting requirements that all public schools or other schools receiving federal money have to provide all over our congressional districts -- other schools receiving federal money have to provide. all over our congressional districts, they have to provide this. if we are spending money for the district of columbia, we ought to improve education for everyone, not just a few. this bill uses the money to help a few parents by subsidizing tuition and private schools that many were already attending at the expense of many and extends the program that fails to actually improve the education for students in washington, d.c. so i join the gentlelady from the district of columbia in opposing this legislation. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from the district of columbia reserves. the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. chaffetz: graduation rate at the d.c. public schools is
9:54 am
64%. graduation rate at the o.s.p. program, 90%. those are results and worth every penny. i recognize the gentleman from north carolina, mr. walker, for two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from north carolina is recognized for two minutes. mr. walker: thank you, mr. speaker. there are few times in this house that we can see immediate impact from legislation. a few months ago i remember meeting some families, some families that were given a choice in the soar act. i remember seeing the pride in their faces, but what i remember most was the hope they had, a hope that was new, a new hope in the future. america has always been about opportunity. you know, the soar act does exactly what it says in its title. scholarships for opportunity and results act. the soar act is impacting lives today but changing lives
9:55 am
forever. upward mobility starts with a strong education. it reminds me of my background in working with some gospel music arrangers. i was surprised at the high volumes of sales in this particular industry when one of the rangers summed it up this way. he said, mark, ain't nobody likes it but the people. to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle that oppose the soar act and parents from having this opportunities, let me say this. ain't nobody likes it but the people. thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from north carolina yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from utah reserves. the gentlewoman from the district of columbia is recognized. ms. norton: mr. speaker, how much time on each side remains? the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from the district of columbia has 10 minutes remaining. the gentleman from utah has 16 minutes remaining. ms. norton: public school systems in the united states in big cities are improving and it should be noted that the d.c. public schools continue to be
9:56 am
the fastest improving urban school district in the united states, according to data trial from the 2015 urban district assessment. these schools deserve the support. they are improving scores. unlike the charter -- unlike the voucher schools where randomized study those who wanted the voucher, didn't get it, remained in a district public school system, those who took the voucher, got it, no difference in their math nd english scores. i'm pleased to yield to the gentleman for a question. mr. scott: mr. speaker, on that
9:57 am
point. if you select students from families who can afford the tuition and are very supportive of their students, is it a surprise they may do better in graduation rates than the average? ms. norton: the gentleman has brought up a very important point that, by the way, some of the students who accepted a voucher are already in the private schools. so they already could obviously afford the program were in the schools and they got a voucher. you got some free federal money, let me have some. mr. scott: and would they be expected to do better with those supportive families than the average? ms. norton: i think they would be because they have families behind them and they're being compared with schools who often do not. mr. scott: you pointed out the randomized studies, there was no difference in the public and the private -- in the voucher programs and those studies, that's the research -- that's the conclusion of rigorous research that there was no difference, is that right? ms. norton: no difference that was a stated reason for the
9:58 am
voucher program. i'm pleased to yield 2 1/2 minutes to my friend from california, mr. takano. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for two 2 1/2 minutes. mr. takano: i thank the gentlewoman for yielding. i rise to join my colleagues in opposing the re-authorization of the d.c. voucher program. mr. speaker, public schools are the foundation of the american education system. they represent a duty we have to provide every student in every community with an education that helps them realize their full potential. vouchers prevent us from fulfilling that duty by redirecting taxpayer money away from our public schools, which are already underfunded, and into private institutions that do not open their doors to every child. as with previous versions of the soar act, this bill does nothing to ensure students with disabilities have access to private schools. it also discriminates against low-income families. in 64% of the participating d.c. schools, the tuition costs
9:59 am
more than the voucher can cover which effectively excludes families that cannot afford to pay the difference. even students who can afford to attend the private school can be excluded based on prior academic achievement, language ability or other discriminatory factors. i had hoped we could address these concerns through the amendment process, but the majority has not allowed amendments to the bill. we would expect private schools that can choose their own students to have an exceptional record of student performance, but you would be wrong. since 2007 there have been four connelly mandated -- congressionally mandated reports on student achievement. not one of those reports found a significant improvement in reading and math scores among their participants. mr. speaker, with the every students succeeds act, we are entering into a new era in education policy that holds real promise for students and educators across the country. we should be focusing our
10:00 am
attention on -- and resources on improving institutions that serve all students. i call on my colleagues to remember the obligation we have to every child and reject h.r. 4901. thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california yields back the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from the district of columbia reserves. the gentleman from utah is recognized. . mr. chaffetz: i would like to recognize the gentleman from florida, mr. desantis, for two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida is recognized for two minutes. mr. desantis: at the end of the civil war lincoln addressed the ohio reg meant and he said the beauty of a free government is that it gives every individual an open field and fair chance for their intelligence, enterprise, and industry to flourish. and that was something that he could speak of first hand because he had grown up in the back water -- you start talking about places like illinois and kentucky, that was so far removed from the corners of power at that time. he ends up being the president of the united states. that would have been unheard of in a country in europe.
10:01 am
i think right now when you look at our country, you have people who are born -- you're supposed to be able to make the most of your god-given abilities no matter your circumstances. some people are born into privileged circumstances, some people aren't. if they have the desire to succeed they need to be able to do that in america. yet, what we find now there are so many kids that are -- grow up in communities that have really failing school systems. i think the number one thing to be able to better yourself and our modern society is with education. now, of course, the federal government we don't have jurisdiction over k through 12 education for the states, and i think that's proper. i think the times the federal government has needled into that it's been counterproductive, but we do have jurisdiction over the district of columbia. and you have some families that are in really dire straits. there is a big d.c. bureaucracy that is not performing up to expectations. and so this program is a life
10:02 am
line to those families average income is $22,000 a year, which is not a lot in any community, but in washington, that is very, very little. it gives them a life line to be able to have an alternative school and maybe be able to make the most of their god-given ability. look, if the public school bureaucracy is doing good, then they can choose that. but if it's not and it's not working for them, then this gives them another option, and this is something that having done the hearing at the school like we did on the oversight committee, these are kids who are thrilled to be in these schools and i'm just very happy to support this effort. i appreciate the chairman's work on this. we need to give every child the chance to succeed. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from utah reserves. the gentlewoman from the district of columbia is recognized. i reserve.
10:03 am
the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman reserves. the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. chaffetz: i'd like to recognize the gentleman from michigan, mr. walberg, for two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is recognized for two minutes. mr. walberg: i thank the gentleman for the time. mr. speaker, i proudly support the re-authorization of the soar act because the soar act provides the choice that parents in the district deserve. i supported h.r. 10 and now support h.r. 4901, which made important improvements to h.r. 10. this legislation we are considering today continues to empower low-income families in d.c. to take advantage of opportunities they may not otherwise be able to do. that's because h.r. 4901 is a bill that focuses on people. public schools. charter schools. opportunity scholarship programs. people with choices in each of those areas. the soar act is about improving
10:04 am
the lives of students and families in the district in a profoundly personal way. isn't that what true education is all about? personal achievement, improvement, and opportunity. take the story of carlos battle, as written about in the national journal and a recent book on educational choice. carlos received a scholarship through the o.s.p. and attend assumption catholic school, then georgetown day school for high school. as a result of this quality education, by choice carlos was able to attend northeastern university in boston. in fact, his mother says, and i quote, carlos almost surely wouldn't have gone to college without the scholarship. carlos now talks about how many of his friends from his time in public school are still in the neighborhood and not doing well for themselves, and he said some even are in jail. as he puts it, everyone who was in my sixth grade class had the potential to achieve just as
10:05 am
much as i d that's just the unfortunate truth. the o.s.p. allowed carlos to take advantage of his potential and he kept on achieving all the way to northeastern. while in boston, carlos has spent time working at a nonprofit, helping give back to boston public school students, prepare and helping prepare for responsibilities of college. where he's been able to lead workshops for public school students on college preparedness. he's currently preparing to pursue a ph.d. and a career as a child psychologist and that would be appropriate time for an applause line. i encourage my colleagues to support this legislation and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from utah reserves. the gentlewoman from the district of columbia is recognized. ms. norton: how much time remains on each side? the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from the north carolina has six minutes remaining. the gentleman from utah has 12 minutes remaining. ms. norton: i yield my good iend from texas,
10:06 am
representative sheila jackson lee, two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from texas is recognized for two minutes. ms. jackson lee: let me as i begin my remarks, and i know that my colleague would understand my sense of pride, in acknowledging in my district the victory early college high school in acres home and part of the all dean independent school district, a public school, will be celebrating the national blue ribbon award ceremony this morning. i offer them congratulations and express my disappointment for not being there, but obviously they have been recognized as one of two schools in houston nationally to earn a distinction of a national blue ribbon school at an award ceremony in washington, d.c. for closing the achievement gaps. may i remind my colleagues that that is a public school system. so i rise in opposition and
10:07 am
join my colleague from the district of columbia to oppose 4901 which would re-authorize the district of columbia private school voucher program. and the opportunity scholarship program for five years. this program came about in 2004, the o.s.p., in 2011 congress re-authorized the o.s.p. through fiscal year 2016. under the soar act, d.c. households with incomes that do not exceed 185% of the poverty line may receive an annual maximum voucher payment per student of $8,000 for grades k through 8, and $12,000 for grades 9 through 12. private schools are more expensive than that. in essence this creates a small class that pays money to schools that have not been assessed as to whether or not they are quality schools. private schools can quoss as much as $50,000. -- can cost as much as $50,000. are we giving them that?
10:08 am
while we are dumbing down the public school system. what is so disturbing, where is the data? for this bill in particular makes a significant change, the bill prohibits a control study group in making evaluations in the o.s.p. and requires a less rigorous research design than under the soar act. since 2004, almost $200 million has been spent on d.c. voucher schools. can you imagine what we would be able to do if that money was nvested -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. ms. norton: i yield 15 seconds. ms. jackson lee: to imagine what that could do. i hear that 50% of d.c. children are in charter schools, but 50% of children in d.c. are using the choice program. what are we doing in america by using this as a scapegoat, we are suggesting we are not invested in private -- public schools. finally, the d.c. mayor and city council members as i understand were only advocating if you don't fund the voucher program, don't leave us out for
10:09 am
the public and charter school program. there is a vigorous choice program in d.c. this bill undermines the public school system for all of us. we should oppose the bill. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. the gentlewoman from the district of columbia reserves. the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. chaffetz: thank you, mr. speaker. i'd like to yield one minute to the gentleman from georgia, mr. carter. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for one minute. mr. carter: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. speaker, i rise today in support of h.r. 4901, the scholarship for opportunity and results re-authorization act. as many will remember, the house passed a similar bill, h.r. 10, last year with 2040 votes. h.r. 4901 makes three specific changes to h.r. 10 to ensure that d.c. school scholarship program continues to run efficiently and effectively for the foreseeable future. first, this bill creates additional reporting requirements for the administrator of the scholarship program to ensure the program is operating effectively. second, it requires any district of columbia school that participates in the
10:10 am
scholarship program must be accredited. finally, the department of education has been withholding funds from the scholarship program and excluding qualified students from participating. h.r. 4901 ensures the department of education cannot withhold funds from the scholarship program and that they cannot exclude students that are qualified to participate. with these changes, this d.c. school scholarship program can continue to run efficiently and allow low-income families to better their educational experience and opportunities. i encourage my colleagues to support house resolution 4901. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from utah reserves. the gentlewoman from the district of columbia is recognized. ms. norton: reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman reserves. the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. chaffetz: thank you, mr. speaker. i'd like to yield two minutes to the gentleman from south carolina, mr. sanford. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina is recognized for two minutes. mr. sanford: i thank the chairman. i rise in support of the soar act. i want to talk for a moment about the elephant in the room.
10:11 am
that is the way in which it has become something of a tug of war between those who believe in choice in education and those who don't. i think that on the one hand you have, for instance, taxpayers who say if we are spending about $30,000 per student and getting the results that we are out of the system, something ought to change. there are other people who are advocates for the children of d.c., people like the former mayor of this city, anthony williams, who said, wait a minute. the scholarship program worked. it made a difference in people's lives. there are people who are advocates for the marketplace who say, wait a minute, there's been a revolutionary degree of change in technology and in output and productivity as a rufflet marketplace forces. maybe those marketplace forces ought to be work in education as well. i think most of all there are most who acknowledge the fact that god makes every child different. and that one size never fits all with the plethora of different perments in children out there.
10:12 am
-- it personalities in children out there. and you had schools say do it the way it's been down. we had schools set up in the 1980's, 1990's, and 2,000s will you but in the process kids may be locked in the schools not working for them and their families. they may be imprisoned in schools that aren't working. i think what stands out about the soar act is that it represents a set of keys so that kids would have additional choices. if we really believed that education is a cornerstone to opportunity in the 21st century, why not give exids as much keys as possible? it could be a key to a charter school, traditional public school, or charter school. the key of their choice because kids are so different. that's what this bill acknowledges. i commend the gentleman for what he's done on front. with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina yields back the balance of his time of the the gentleman from utah reserves. the gentlewoman from the district of columbia is
10:13 am
recognized. ms. norton: how much time remains? the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from the district of columbia has 3/3 minutes maining 3 3/4 minutes remaining. ms. norton: reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. chaffetz: i yield to the gentleman from georgia, mr. allen, one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for one minute. mr. allen: thank you, mr. chairman, for yielding and your work on this important legislation. mr. speaker, as a proud member of the house education and work force committee, i rise today in support of h.r. 4901, the scholarships for opportunity and results re-authorization act, also known as the soar act. this legislation will re-authorize the d.c. opportunity scholarship program which provides scholarships to low-income students so they may attend a d.c. private school of their parents' choice. school choice is an effective tool that has proven to be successful in washington, d.c. these scholarships have
10:14 am
resulted in 90% graduation rate which is simply outstanding. i congratulate them on this. both of my parents were educators and they instilled in me the importance of a good education and i believe we should extend this opportunity to those who might not otherwise have it. god created every child to be unique and as such this legislation gives opportunities to students to receive an education chosen by their parents. those who know their child's needs best. i encourage my colleagues to stand up in support of school choice and the soar act to empower both parents and the students. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from utah reserves. the gentlewoman from the district of columbia is recognized. ms. norton: i yield two minutes to my friend from wisconsin, mr. pocan. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from wisconsin is recognized for two minutes. mr. pocan: thank you, mr. speaker. i'd like to thank the gentlelady for yielding and for her intent and advocacy for every child in the district of columbia. mr. speaker, last year we
10:15 am
passed the every student succeeds act, a good bill. but instead of figuring out how to fund this bipartisan bill through our budget and appropriations process, which apparently has broken down, we are here in a legislative deja vu redebating a nearly identical bad bill we passed just months ago that will take money away from our public schools. i'm well aware of taxpayer funded private schools. in the last 10 years, wisconsin taxpayers have wasted $139 million of taxpayer dollars on private schools that were later terminated from the voucher program due to their lack of appropriate standards and accountability. further in wisconsin, 79% of the students that seached a taxpayer subsidized voucher in 2013 were already attending private schools. the soar act would allow kids already in private schools to receive this funding. that means taxpayer dollars are being used, not to advocate
10:16 am
education, but instead as a form of tax policy. what's worse is that the taxpayer funded voucher schools, both in my state and here in d.c., are not providing equitable resources to special needs students with disabilities. at the end of the day, this is also about results. multiple department of education studies have included that the taxpayer funded d.c. voucher program has failed to improve educational outcomes and, rticipating students two u.s. government accountability office reports have talked about the management failures. public funds should be used for public education which serves all students. it's that simple and i encourage everyone to oppose this bill. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentlewoman from the district of columbia reserves. the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. chaffetz: mr. speaker, i have no additional speakers and will reserve until we can close. the speaker pro tempore: the
10:17 am
gentleman reserves. the gentlewoman from the district of columbia is recognized. ms. norton: mr. speaker, this bill is going to be funded and you can't blame the district of columbia for wanting the public school and charter school funding that's in the bill. this bill is going to be funded. it was a boehner bill. now essentially a ryan bill, but i do want you to understand that -- and i want to -- i ask that it be admitted -- be admitted in the record the council's bill from last year which opposed funding. this -- the speaker pro tempore: without objection. ms. norton: thank you. this year, of course, recognizing they might lose $40 million, there was another bill, a bare majority said give us the money. but i want you to understand what the letter from the district of columbia said. a re-authorization of the soar act would help safeguard $150 million in federal funds for the d.c. public schools and charter schools over five
10:18 am
years. and they go on to say, the soar act funding for d.c. public schools has been used to support initiatives that reward and increase retention of high-performing teachers and principals. the funds also help attract high-quality teachers and principals to d.c. public schools and improve the efficiency with which the schools are run. after years of decline, the d.c. public school enrollment is rising for the first time in decades. schools that previously struggled to fill their prekindergarten seats have waiting lists and other schools are attracting families back into the system at grade levels that have historically lost students. clearly we have a school system and i cannot help but identify with them that does not want to lose $40 million for d.c. public schools and d.c. charter
10:19 am
schools. i don't ask anybody to change their vote. this -- this program is going to be funded. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. the gentleman from utah is recognized to close. mr. chaffetz: i thank the speaker. in conclusion here, let me read the first sentence of the first paragraph from the d.c. mayor as well as the majority -- majority of the council. as mayor and members of the council, the district of columbia, we support the three-sector federal funding approach for d.c.'s k-12 education system that is authorized and the scholarships for opportunities and results, the soar act. it is clear, this is producing results. i find it a little bit troubling when they continue to -- opposition to the soar act, people stand up and say, well, it's not producing results. i will reiterate again that the average graduation rate at the d.c. public schools is 64%, and the graduation rate for somebody who obtains the
10:20 am
scholarship is 90%, and 92% of those people that get that to college. o on when it's done, this education is literally 2/3 of the cost and it goes to people who really do deserve and need it, because the average annual income for somebody that's a recipient of the scholarship is $22,000. and $22,000 income in the district of columbia with kids is difficult at best. i want to thank, again, speaker boehner for his passion on school choice and particularly the d.c. opportunity scholarship. also want to thank the senate colleague, senator tim scott. senator scott joined us in a field hearing that we had in the oversight government reform committee. he's a true believer and passionate about school choice and the need to give everybody the best possible opportunities that we can. so i think we had a good
10:21 am
debate. we had good markup and discussion within the oversight and government reform committee but at this time, mr. speaker, i'll yield back with the hope that we pass this important bill. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from utah yields back. all time for debate has expired. pursuant to house resolution 706, the previous question is ordered on the bill. the question is on engrossment and third reading of the bill. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. third reading. the clerk: a bill to retho the scholarships for opportunities d results -- the a bill to reauthorize the scholarships for opportunities and results and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> i have a motion to recommit at the desk. the speaker pro tempore: is the gentleman opposed to the bill? >> i am opposed. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman qualifies. the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: mr. lieu of california moves to recommit the bill to the committee on oversight and government reform ith instructions to report the bill forthwith with the following amendment, insert after section 7 the following new section, section 8, nondiscrimination and other
10:22 am
requirements for eligible entity and participating schools. ctions 3008-a, section 38-1853.5-a, d.c. official coded is amended by inserting actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity after national origin. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from california is recognized in support of his motion. mr. lujan: this amendment will not kill the -- mr. lieu: this amendment will not kill the bill. my amendment will simply change the d.c. opportunity scholarship program so it could not discriminate against students based on sexual orientation or gender identity. sadly, we know that lgbt kids are often victims of bullying and hate. according to a survey by the human rights campaign, lgbt youth were twice as likely as
10:23 am
their non-lgbt peers to report being verbal leija rassed. lgbt laws such as those passed in mississippi, being lgbt is not ok and that is wrong. as one of my republican colleagues on the floor stated, god makes every child different. it is wrong to systematically discriminate begins students because they are lgbt. we need to send our kids a message saying whom they love and the gender they identify with does not dictate their self-worth and it certainly should not dictate whether or not they could get a voucher. i move we begin to do this now by passing my amendment to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. being lgbtq is a medical condition that should not be cured. it is instead a beautiful reflection of what it means to be a human being. with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the
10:24 am
gentleman from california yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from utah seek recognition? mr. chaffetz: mr. speaker, i rise in opposition to the motion to recommit. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from utah is recognized for five minutes. mr. chaffetz: mr. speaker, we went through regular order in our committee. we had field hearings. we had a markup. the gentleman was free to offer an amendment in committee. that did not happen. look, this is a school choice bill. this is a bill that gives parents the opportunity to make choices about where their students can attend, and this scholarship program is -- has been a very valuable tool. i'm opposed to the motion to recommit, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from utah yields back the balance of his time. without objection, the previous question is ordered on the motion to recommit. the question is on the motion. those in favor say aye. for what purpose does -- those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the noes have it. excuse me. the noes have it. the motion is not agreed to. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? mr. lieu: i'd like to ask for
10:25 am
the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. those in favor of -- those favoring a vote by the yeas and nays will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. pursuant to clause 9 of rule 20, the chair will reduce to five minutes the minimum time for any electronic vote on the question of passage of the bill. this is a 15-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
10:26 am
10:27 am
10:28 am
10:29 am
10:30 am
10:31 am
10:32 am
10:33 am
10:34 am
10:35 am
10:36 am
10:37 am
10:38 am
10:39 am
10:40 am
10:41 am
10:42 am
10:43 am
10:44 am
10:45 am
the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 167. the nays are 228. the motion is not adopted. the question is on passage of the bill. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it of the the bill is -- for what purpose does the gentlewoman from the district of columbia seek recognition? ms. norton: i ask for a recorded vote on the bill. the speaker pro tempore: a recorded vote is requested. those favoring a recorded vote will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
10:46 am
10:47 am
10:48 am
10:49 am
10:50 am
10:51 am
the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 224. the nays are 181. the bill is passed. without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table.
10:52 am
10:53 am
the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from arkansas seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that when the house adjourns today it adjourn to meet at 3:00 p.m. on tuesday, may 3, 2016. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. he house will be in order. he house will be in order. the house will be in order.
10:54 am
members will please take their seats. he house will be in order. he house will be in order. members will please take their seats. the house will be in order. for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from georgia is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, my friends and colleagues from the georgia delegation and i rise in honor of the lives of four bright young university of georgia students who were killed in a tragic car accident outside of athens on wednesday evening.
10:55 am
we pray for and grieve for the amilies of christina, haley, kayla and brittany and the entire university of georgia community. mr. hice: we pray for agnus who remains in critical condition that she may be healed. the remarkable impact of these women upon u.g.a.'s campus is evidence by the fact of thousands of faculty and staff who gathered yesterday in an outpouring of love, support and remembrance. mr. speaker, this tragedy is every parent's worst nightmare, and our hearts ache for these families. i ask all my colleagues and all of those watching to pray for these families and to join the georgia delegation in a moment of silence for christina, haley, kayla and brittany as well as for agnus and to know psalm 1:47: 3
10:56 am
that he heals the broken hearted and binds their wounds. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to speak out of order for the purpose of an announcement. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from california is recognized. >> mr. speaker, i wish to announce to all members of the house that the permanent select committee on intelligence has ordered the bill h.r. 5077, the intelligence authorization act for fiscal year 2017, reported favorably to the house today and will file its report on the bill in the house in early may. mr. speaker, the classified schedule of authorizations and the classified annexes accompanying the bill are available for review by members at the offices of the permanent select committee on
10:57 am
intelligence in room hvc-304 of the capital visitor center. it will be opened during business hours for any member who wishes to review this material prior to its consideration by the house. mr. nunes: i recommend that members wishing to review the classified annex contact the director of security to arrange a time and date for the viewing. this will ensure the availability of the appropriately cleared committee staff to assist members who desire assistance during their review of these classified materials. i urge interested members to review these materials in order to better understand the committee's recommendations,s classified annexes to the kp's report, contain the committee recommendations for the intelligence budget for fiscal year 2017 and related classified information that cannot be disclosed publicly. it's important that members keep in mind clause 13 of house rule 23 which only permits access to classified information by those members of the house who signed the oath provided for in the rules. in addition, the committee's rules require that members
10:58 am
agree in writing to a nondisclosure agreement. the agreement indicates that a member has been granted access to the classified annexes and that they are familiar with the rules of the house and the committee with respect to this classified nature and the limitations on the disclosure of that information. thank you, mr. speaker. yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the chair would ask all members to please take their conversations from the floor. the chair will now entertain requests for one-minute speeches. for what purpose does the gentleman from north carolina seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to speak for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from north carolina is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, i rise today to join my constituent and friend, don williamson, in raising awareness for c.d.h. mr. speaker, c.d.h. affects
10:59 am
over 1,000 babies in the united states per year and has affected more than 700,000 babies worldwide since the year twoud. mr. holding: after giving birth to a child with c.d.h. and finding no support group, my friend dawn founded the awareness and support, or cherubs, for short in 1995. headquartered in the beautiful town of wake forest, north carolina, it is an international charity helping over 5,700 families in 61 countries. mr. speaker, pain babies born with c.d.h. and their family have a difficult journey. i recognize the importance of strong individuals like dawn williamson who worked to make the journey for families easier and more comfortable than it was for her. in conclusion, mr. speaker, i'm proud to offer this resolution expressing support for the designation of april, 2016, as national c.d.h. awareness month. this condition is too far common for us to know so
11:00 am
little. thank you, mr. speaker, and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlelady from texas seek ecognition? >> i ask to address the house. ask unanimous consent. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady from texas is recognized. ms. jackson lee: thank you so very much. i'm always reminded of the greatness of america when the word came, go west, go west. a little church, a little general store, and a school. i'm excited this more to honor the victory early college high school in acres home sponsored by the all dean independent school district. and thank dr. bamburg and all the trustees, the perintendent and as well dr. phyllis for they are celebrating right now the national blue ribbon award ceremony. yes, a public school.
11:01 am
early college high school is one of two schools in houston and one of 335 schools nationally to earn the distinction of the national blue ribbon school as an award ceremony hosted by the department of education. they exemplify overall academic excellence. yes, inner city children, poor children, are shown progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. this particular school has been exemplary in both areas. we are also celebrating senior signing day because each of our graduating seniors will graduate under the distinguished high school plan and all have been accepted to a four-year university. and they will announce their schools at this event. a public school. the mayor will be there. i am in washington. i wanted to pay tribute to them. i want to thank all dean for letting their center be used for a shelter for those who are fleaing the flood. this is -- fleeing the flood. this is great news. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from alabama seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to
11:02 am
address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, i rise today to introduce the protection and advocacy for veterans act. mrs. roby: this bill will nainl our protection and advocacy agencies to ensure veterans are receiving the mental health care and substance abuse treatment they deserve. increased demand from veterans returning from war, a national shortage of mental health professionals, and a prescription drug abuse epidemic has made it difficult for the v.a. to keep base for the growing need in these areas. progress is being made, but, mr. speaker, i believe we can do better. i also believe we owe it to our veterans to look beyond the traditional means and bring all available resources to bear in ensuring access to proper care for mental health care and substance abuse treatment. for 40 years protection and advocacy agencies have monitored the quality of care in state operated hospitals,
11:03 am
psychiatric wards, and other facilities. they have the authority to inspect medical records, make recommendations to providers, and when necessary, take legal action on behalf of patients. i believe that bringing this high degree of patient advocacy expertise to the v.a. can greatly benefit our veterans. thank you, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from california is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to recognize ache 24 to april 30 as national infer tillity awareness week. infer tillity is defined as the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after 12 months of trying. the american society for reproductive medicine, the american college of obstetricians and gynecologists, and the world health organization recognize infer tillity as a disease. today one in eight couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy.
11:04 am
it affects approximately 10% of the population but rarely are the necessary medical treatments covered by insurance. alarmingly, this is the case for veterans who served our country and become infertile as a result of their service. this issue strikes diverse groups affecting people from all levels of socioeconomics and cutting across racial, ethnic, and religious lines. we must acknowledge this and continue to support efforts to make treatment more accessible to help improve the quality of life for people with infer tillity. this week i ask that we all recognize and raise awareness on the issue infer tillity is a disease and support the family building efforts of those struggling with this disease. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from new jersey seek recognition? >> address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from new jersey is recognized for one minute. mr. lance: mr. speaker, i rise to note a special distinction for several communities in new jersey's seventh congressional
11:05 am
district. new jersey family mag has named several towns in the congressional district i serve as being among the top 50 best towns for families in the garden state. nearing the top of the list at second is montgomery township in somerset county. joining them on the top 50 list with bethlehem, berkley heights, branchburg, chester town temperature, clinton township, cran ford, hillsborough, lebanon, long hill, new providence, and west amwell. i know these communities and my wife and i live in clinton town ship. each has excellent public schools, strong local spirit, and each is a great place to plant roots and raise a family. i congratulate the local leadership in these municipalities, elected officials, and community leaders. nearly all of whom are volunteers. for the excellent management of these towns. each is very deserving of this recognition. i yield back the balance of my
11:06 am
time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlelady from nevada seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. titus: thank you. the las vegas review journal, nevada's largest newspaper, lost another standard-bearer this week. john l. smith, who resigned after citing difficulties with management, spent nearly three decades enlightening, emboldening, and entertaining the las vegas community. in his letter he said that he learned to never punish down in his wait class. an approach that's rare in journalism today. you don't hit little people, he wrote. you defend them. those principles reflected in his columns and appeared four times a week made him a beloved figure, respected word smith, and a community leader. it's no surprise that during the week when he resigned he received theancele payne award for ethics in journalism. it wasn't the first time his
11:07 am
work had been recognized and i'm sure it will not be the last. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, request unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i rise to congratulate the administrator, staff, and students from the park forest elementary school in state college, pennsylvania, on being named a 2016 green ribbon school by the u.s. department of education. park forest is one of only 47 schools across the entire nation to earn this distinction. which is given to schools for their innovative efforts to reduce their environmental impact and reduce utilityity costs, improve health and wellness, enend sure sustainability practices. in addition to the efforts to reduce its energy use and waste footprint, it also received grants to construct an outdoor exoast bin and created a garden
11:08 am
exoast program. the school grounds also -- ompose -- come post program. it has also built a greenhouse which later served as a model in rwanda. this scratches the surface of the initiatives and innovations undertaken at park forest elementary and everyone involved deserves praise for their efforts. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from maryland seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to speak for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland is recognized for one minute. mr. ruppersberger: mr. speaker, i rise today to urge house leadership to take action against the scourge of opioid addiction that is plaguing our communities. according to the centers for disease control and spreengs, drug overdose now surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of injury related for death americans between the ages of 25 and 65 in baltimore, opioid overdose has been declared a public health messagecy.
11:09 am
there are about 19,000 active heroin users in baltimore city and far more who abuse prescription opioids. this isn't just an urban issue. i have personally heard from families from all walks of life throughout my district who have been devastated by heroin and prescription drugs. no socioeconomic level is safe. to this end, i urge leadership to move the comprehensive addiction and recovery act forward. among other measures, this important bipartisan bill will pand the availability of prescription to help reverse overdoses. expand resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals suffering from addiction. and expand disposal sites for unused prescription medications. only through a comprehensive approach can we stop trends. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from alabama seek recognition? >> unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore:
11:10 am
without objection, the gentleman from alabama is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, i rise today to remember the life and contributions of chief justice perry hoop every sr. who passed away this past sunday. justies hooper was born in birmingham in 1925. he served our nation in the united states marine corps for attending the united states of alabama school of law. elected to be probate judge and later circuit judge. chief justice of the alabama supreme court in 1994 marked the first time a republican had served on the court since reconstruction. mr. byrne: he brought dignity and brace to the supreme court along with his consummate professionalism. he raised the court to a higher level. whether you were a lawyer or party, he treated you with respect and fairness. most importantly, justice hooper understood that judges don't make the law but decide cases with wisdom and fairness. so on behalf of alabama's first congressional district, i want to share my deepest sympathies
11:11 am
with his wife and his four sons, justice hooper will never be forgotten. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts seek recognition? >> unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from massachusetts is recognized for one minute. mr. mcgovern: mr. speaker, i rise today to recognize sophie edwards, an encredible young woman who has made ending hunger her personal passion. realizing that some of her friends in elementary school didn't have enough to eat, she founded square meal project when she was only 8. since then, she's raised more than $6,000 for food banks and local feeding programs. through her efforts, more than 1,000 kids have been able to receive a healthy summer lunch. she's also made it her mission to educate everyone she meets about the problem of hunger in america. sophie's work in her hometown of marietta, georgia, led her to be recognized as a youth advocate for the national no kid hungry campaign. i'm inspired by her commitment, compassion, and drive to end hunger. sophie teaches us all that you're never too young to make
11:12 am
a difference. i have no doubt that sophie will continue to do great things to end hunger now. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from arkansas seek recognition? >> unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from arkansas is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, i rise today to recognize the incredible work being done in my home state of arkansas by our kids read. when i was the chamber of commerce chair in little rock, i was proud to help our kids read expand 3 1/2 years ago with the goal of improving literacy rates among our children in arkansas. in the 2014-2015 school year alone, our kids read was able to provide over 400 trained tutors to serve one hour a week in 47 different schools in central, arkansas. mr. hill: this program helps nearly a thousand students each year struggling to learn to master reading in the first through third grades. our kids read has been
11:13 am
recognized by one of the five model programs that reading is fundamental, r.i.f., 50th anniversary gala, in washington, d.c. i extend my congratulations and best wishes for much continued success at our kids read and thank all of my fellow citizens who volunteer as tutors. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentlelady from connecticut seek recognition? >> ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentlelady from connecticut virginia tech for one minute. ms. delauro: thank you. mr. speaker, i rise today who honor and celebrate the life of mary an wasle, one of my personal heroes and strongest women i have ever known who passed away earlier this month. she possessed a tenacious spirit and unyielding faith. a heart full of love and infectious smile. she was one of a kind. she was a police officer, an actor, a development officer for her church, and elementary
11:14 am
school, and founder of a nonprofit organization, a health activist, and mother to three incredible children. breast cancer was what took mary ann from us, but it was also what is one of her lasting legacies that was borne from this experience. a successful and much needed breast health initiative to get in touch foundation. she was a vocal champion of the affordable care act. and access to high quality affordable health care for all. in 2010 marery ann won a contract from balboa press, to publish her memoir, a diary of healing. my intense and meaningful life with cancer. throughout its pages you can hear her laughter, you can feel her courage, and you will often find yourself crying with her. experiencing the twists and turns of her journey. my heart goes out to betsy, to mary, and eddie, your mother was quite simply an
11:15 am
extraordinary human being, ack have i 'tis, author, mentor, friend, and mother. she lives on in our hearts forever. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yield back. . >> permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. cramer: forgive me for being oud, 750,000 people of north dakota are celebrating the accomplishments of one extraordinary young man. last night everyone was tuned into the nfl draft to see who gets carson wentz. the philadelphia eagles took carson. tears of pride and admiration
11:16 am
for the best football player ever. and the record of five consecutive football championships took a back seat to one special bismarck native and rightfully so. e is more than 6' 5" super athlete. his mind and heart are as big as his frame. his pride is in his team, his school and his community and his state. we are happy for the good people of philadelphia knowing that pennsylvania is imagining much more than a football player, but a great citizen. god bless you, carson, thanks for being a great ambassador. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> permission to address the house for one minute, revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without
11:17 am
objection. >> i rise today to honor the life of sergio deabelo. farr a member of the congressional team. he was taken from us in a car accident. he was engaging and kind and ever helpful. mr. farr: upon leaving washington, he returned to the university of california and won a place on the student council and volunteered his time to work in mike honda's re-election campaign. at 24, he had a resume that spoke to the dedication he had for civil service. i was and will continue to be impressed with this young man's incredible ambition. his future would have been one of public service. upon leaving my office, he said in his exit interview, i cannot tell the future, but i can see mine here and until that day,
11:18 am
know that i will miss this place. rest assured, sergio, this place will miss you. god bless your short but so meaningful life and to your beautiful family who have to live in the tragedy of your death. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from utah seek recognition? >> permission to address the house for one minute and revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman is recognized for one minute. stuart mr. bishop: i grew up in a small own in utah where route 39 intersects 134 and it's a place where parents would stop to fill up and take their kids to school, an airman would serve at the air force base and i may have stopped to get a few dr.
11:19 am
pepper's as well but that country corner store is part of the sinclair family that is celebrating the 100th anniversary. there are -- they operate the largest refinery and offices located in utah and 1,200 employees. you may recognize the green dinosaur. debut bueds dino and in the chicago's world fair and honorary member of the museum of natural history. in this era where you condemn gas-powered engines, families drive to church, school about buses drive kids back and forth and firefighters rush to help businesses. sinclair oil company has a hand in making that possible. happy birthday. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired.
11:20 am
for what purpose does the gentleman from tennessee seek recognition? >> permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. cohen: mr. speaker, the city of memphis and the united states lost a great clergy man. he was born in mississippi and moved to chicago but found his home in memphis, tennessee and founded monumental baptist church and was a man that helped interintegrate the memphis schools, one of his daughters is one of the women that integrated the schools and he refused to go to the back of the bus and helped integrate the buses in memphis. he made memphis better in serving his church members. he is well known for being at the lorraine motel the day dr. king was assassinated.
11:21 am
he was near dr. king and was a witness to the assassination, which he told people about throughout the country and part of a documentary film called "the witness." he remembered dr. king's works, what he did and lived his life trying to move civil rights forward and making the country it was supposed to be, a life well lived. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. >> mr. speaker, the obama administration's foolish nuclear deal with iran continues to get more troubling and damaging by the day. last week, we found out that the administration was spending $8.6 million of your hard-earned tax dollars to buy nuclear material
11:22 am
from iran. that's right. the united states government is borrowing money from china and the rest of the world to buy heavy water from iran, water used in nuclear reactors. this is insanely foolish. i thought that the goal of obama's nuclear deal was to stop iran's nuclear program, not subsidize it. iran remains the leading sponsor of terrorism. they have been directly tied to the deaths of thousands of u.s. service members. providing the iranian regime with millions of tax dollars gives them new financing to spread hateful ideology, terror and death across the globe. the obama administration's payments to this regime further legitimate mieses their growing nuclear ambitions. is it any wonder that our allies consider the united states a reliable partner. this helps bullies and dictators
11:23 am
and this is the path this administration has chosen. thank you and i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? >> permission to address the house and revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. johnson: there's a grave threat that's facing the american electoral process in 2016 and that is the soundness and dependability of our voting machines and the integrity of our voting process. nationwide, authorities are tabulating crucial results using out of date electronic voting machines from the era that predated the smartphone. these outdated machines are prone to crashes and screen freezes that can cause long wait times and additionally old voting machines remain vulnerable to being hacked and elections can be stolen. my bill, the verifying optimal
11:24 am
tools for elections act of 2016, the vote act, would allocate millions of dollars to assist states in replacing these voting machines. it would allocate millions of dollars to assist new technologies to assure accuracy and protect voting machine source codes and to train election officials. the aim of the vote act is simple, the safeguarding of elections by ensuring the very integrity of the voting process while protecting access to the ballot box. and with that, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chire announces the speaker's appointment pursuant to section 28 b-3 of the national defense authorization act for the fiscal year of 2001. 22 u.s.c. as amended and order of the house of january 6, 2015
11:25 am
of the following individual on the part of the house of the united states, china economic security and review commission for a term expiring on december 31, 2017, daniel wayne of ohio. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house the following personal requests. the clerk: leaves of absence requested for mr. defazio of oregon for today and mr. payne of new jersey for today. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the requests are granted. under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2015, the
11:26 am
gentleman from texas, mr. flores, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader. mr. flores: mr. speaker, i rise harper cunningham and maggie cunningham from college station, texas who are recipients of the 2016 jefferson award. the jefferson award is presented annually to honor our unsung heroes, ordinary citizens who have done something extraordinary and have a lasting impact on the community. it is fitting that the jefferson award be presented to these two young girls who not only exemplify what it means to serve but shared thomas jefferson's passion for reading. led them to create an organization to promote literacy and well-being of our community students. their books in a blanket program
11:27 am
provides a book and blanket to elementary children during the winter months. their mission is simple and they want all students to have access to books so they can experience the joy that comes from reading. since 2012, books in a blanket have given 200 blankets and distributed 33,000 books to over 2,500 children in need. mr. speaker, these two young girls have done a tremendous job helping others, promoting literacy and inspiring leaders. as president reagan once said, they are not necessarily the one who do the greatest things but getting other people to do the debatest things. it is true leadership in their desire to serve and empower others. young americans provide
11:28 am
confidence for all of us about the future of our great country. i congratulate harper and maggie cunningham for their hard work, selfless service and being awarded the 2016 jefferson award. we look forward to hosting them in washington for the national jefferson award ceremony. i would like to congratulate the winners, award stephanie and deborah. their service to our community is inspiring and worthy of special recognitions. i'm humbled to represent all of them in congress. i ask all americans to continue to pray for our country during these difficult times, to our military men and women and our first responders who protect us here at home. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the
11:29 am
balance of his time. under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2015, the gentleman from georgia, mr. woodall is recognized for the remainder of the hour as the designee of the majority leader. mr. woodall: i appreciate that. we all got elected, i have been here five years now. you are fairly knew to this -- new to this institution. you don't come because you are looking for new business cards. we have about 700,000 bosses back home and want us to make a difference. i want to talk about some of those differences today, you can't see it where you are sitting but i have america's to do list down here. i didn't have enough paper back in the office to do the entire list. when you go home as well, i put a couple of things, fix our roads and bridges.
11:30 am
a terrible infrastructure. what separates america getting our goods to market around the globe is a world class infrastructure. investment in that infrastructure has waned. we have dangerous bridges and roads that are desperate and in need of repair. maintain the postal roads that the constitution assigns to the united states congress. . . marbling my words, we'll have wars not over oil but over fresh water. having a fresh water infrastructure maintaining our natural resources, taking care of -- being good stewards of those resources we have been entrusted with, critically important. one of those things that the federal government has a dominant role in doing, we've got to get on that. tax relief, mr. speaker. where is that family back home that isn't trying to figure out how next month works and the month after that and the month after that? i keep hearing about this
11:31 am
economic recovery. yes, the numbers are getting better slowly. they are not improving nearly fast enough, mr. speaker. folks cannot afford to support an inefficient federal government. tax relief is on that list. medicare, mr. speaker. there is not a man or woman in this nation that depends on medicare that does not know it is in fiscal perfectly -- peril. there is not enough money in the trust fund to meet the promises we made to american seniors. there is not enough money in the medicare trust fund even though working age men and women begin paying in on their very first paycheck to meet the promises of this generation and the next. we owe america better than that. fixing that is on the to-do list. improving veterans' care, mr. speaker. for pete's sake, talk about something that is uniquely the responsibility of this government. we ask so much of the young men and women in uniform that serve and protect this nation, they ask nothing of us, but we make promises to them.
11:32 am
we must keep those promises, mr. speaker. it is hard to open up the newspaper and not read a story of america failing its veterans. we must do better and we can do better. mr. speaker, cutting spending for pete's sakes, when folks back home do send a dollar worth of taxes to washington, d.c., they don't believe they are going to get a dollar's worth of value out of it. they think it will get thrown down some rat hole somewhere on some pet project that won't benefit anyone. they think it will get wasted on a regulatory infrastructure that isn't modernized for the 21st century. mr. speaker, every family has to do more with less in tough economic times. the federal government is no different. and this is just the beginning of a to-do list, mr. speaker. it's dreary outside. eady midst -- miscoming down -- steady mist coming down.
11:33 am
i hear that same kind of spirit coming from folks trying to feed and provide for their families. there is a drearyness out there, mr. speaker. where folks feel like that self-governance is not serving them the way that it should. that's why you and i ran for congress. that's why i have come to the house floor today, mr. speaker, with good news. with good news. it is true that when you open up the newspaper it is failure after failure after failure, but that is not telling the story of the work that the good men and women in this chamber are doing. that republicans and democrats are coming together to do. that the house and senate are coming together to do. the congress and the white house are coming together to do, mr. speaker. in this election season of everybody talking about what divides us, everybody talking about what the failures are, i want to talk about those things that unite us and which we are succeeding for the american people together. 36 short-term transportation extensions, mr. speaker.
11:34 am
since the last time we passed a long-term transportation bill. 36 short-term extensions. sometimes just days, if anybody's in the construction business, mr. speaker, they know you can't plan to build a bridge in a matter of days. this is a multiyear project. you need long-term planning. you need long-term certainty and historically that's what the congress has provided. republicans, democrats, coming together, bipartisan way congress, white house, coming together to provide for a multiyear transportation bill. but it's been more than two decades, mr. speaker, since this body has passed a five-year transportation bill. a multiyear transportation bill that provides certainty to folks back home that fulfills the commitment that every american citizen expects from their federal government having collected gas taxes and every gallon of gas that the american consumer buys. we all know about the infrastructure needs in this country. for more than two decades
11:35 am
congress and the white house had not been successful in fulfilling that responsibility. when republicans ran the show, we failed. when democrats ran the show we failed. when republicans were in the white house we failed. when democrats were in the white house, we failed. but this congress, the men and women gathered here, mr. speaker, with this president and the white house, we came together and succeeded. the first long-term transportation bill in more than 20 years. mr. speaker, five years of funding is just the beginning. i won't tell you this is the end of the show. our transportation chairman, chairman bill shuster out of pennsylvania, he wants to do more. this isn't the end. this is the beginning. but it's a fantastic beginning and one we ought to celebrate $305 billion going back to communities around this nation to focus on safety and infrastructure. it streamlines the process, mr.
11:36 am
speaker. the most dramatic streamlining of the regulatory process. it often takes longer to get regulatory approval to build a bridge than it does to build the bridge itself, mr. speaker. years wasted on approval processes that could have been streamlined while still being good stewards of our environmental resources. this bill does that. it eliminates the increasing costs that come with those delays, mr. speaker. the increasing cost that comes from that bureaucracy making sure the american taxpayer is getting more value for their dollar. and it shores up the highway trust fund, mr. speaker. we'll talk a lot about trust funds in this time today. but the highway trust fund was going bankrupt. the highway trust fund didn't have enough money to meet the needs of american highway $70 billion transferred into that trust fund to make sure that we are keeping the promises that we have made to america. it's been two decades, mr. speaker, since america has had
11:37 am
this kind of transportation success. we did that together. open up the newspaper, see the divides. see the failures. but know that this is a success that we had together. mr. speaker, i had water resources on america's to-do list. it had been six years since we passed water resources legislation in this body. not in 2008 when republicans controlled the white house. not in 2009 when democrats controlled everything. not in 2010 when democrats controlled everything or 11, or 2012, or 2013, but we have come together and gotten that done. it's not easy. it's hard. it doesn't happen quickly. it happens slowly and deliberatively. but six years since we have been able to succeed together in passing what we call the wrrda bill, mr. speaker, now it's done. now it's the law of the land. i want to make that clear, mr. speaker. i'm not talking about bills today that the house has passed and they are going nowhere.
11:38 am
i'm not talking about bills today that the house has passed and the senate has passed but they are going nowhere. i'm talking about bills today that the house has worked entirely through the process, that the senate has worked entirely through the process, and that the president of the united states has signed into law bills that are laws and making differences for america's families. this wrrda bill, water resources reform and development act, is the most comprehensive policy reform bill, again, in two decades. it accelerates project delivery because, again, there is no more urgent need as we see in flint, michigan, no more urgent need than a stable and safe water infrastructure. mr. speaker, it goes into $18 billion worth of projects. projects that have been on the books for years but have
11:39 am
failed. projects that folks have not committed the time and resources to complete. it pulls those back in. it cancels all those projects, saves that money, rededicates it to projects that the american people can benefit from. and it strengthens the oversight and accountability because these are american taxpayer dollars we are talking about here, and when they go out the door to localities back home, folks deserve to know they are being used responsibly. increase in oversight and accountability, mr. speaker. again, it's been more than two decades since we have seen something of this kind. we got it done together, mr. speaker. republicans, democrats, house, senate, and white house. mr. speaker, tax relief is on the list for american families. and tax relief was delivered by this body, this congress, and this white house. mr. speaker, what republicans failed to be able to do, and i'm not knocking them. it was a difficult environment. i'm a hard core rubble from the
11:40 am
great -- republican from the great state of georgia, but when george bush was in the white house, and republicans were running the house and senate, they provided tax relief, but they couldn't make it permanent. they didn't have the votes to make it permanent. so it languished out there. families uncertain about what the tax future would hold. businesses uncertain about what the tax future would hold. gether in this body with the signature of the president we provided 99% of americans the certainty that even george bush and the republican house and senate could not do. divided government's hard, mr. speaker. divided government is hard. the differences that we have on policy are dramatic. but there is still more that unites us as a nation than divides us as a nation that is true in this chamber as well we came together on tax policy and did that. taxes were going to go up, mr.
11:41 am
speaker. in this tough economy taxes were going to go up on almost every family in the land. we prevented that income tax increase from hitting 99% of all americans. mr. speaker, i wanted to prevent the tax increase on 100% of americans. i couldn't get the votes to get that done. i know you would have joined me in that. but sometimes you have a choice between can you get something done or will you get nothing done? and i promise you, mr. speaker, if you're working hard trying to provide for your family back home, you do not care who is to blame for a problem. you just want the problem fixed. we could have stood around this chamber. we could have argued amongst ourselves whether the perfect is the enemy of the good. we did not. we struggled to find agreement. we found that agreement. and we made a difference for 99% of americans in the struggling economy today. that counts. mr. speaker, we talked about the to-do list.
11:42 am
the medicare trust fund. mr. speaker, back in the late 1990's, when newt gingrich was the speaker of the house and bill clinton was the president, they made an effort to protect the medicare trust fund from going bankrupt. this is something that has been on the mind of americans all the way back to 1965. the medicare trust fund has never been properly funded. health care costs have always had a rate of inflation higher than that of other services. and we struggled with how to make the math work. they came up with a plan back in 1997 to fix it. the plan didn't work. and it was going to cause a dramatic reduction in what doctors were reimbursed and dramatic reduction of benefits that were available to senior citizens. so what happened in 2003, mr. speaker, when it came time for those first painful cuts to go into place? the first effort to protect the medicare trust fund. congress kicked the can down the road. they delayed those cuts from going into place for one year.
11:43 am
what happened the next year? they delayed it for a year again. the next year they delayed it again. and next year again, and again and again and again. 17 times, mr. speaker. when we had come together and passed legislation that was designed to protect the medicare trust fund, when it came time to actually do the heavy lifting, we kicked that can down the road. all the while having the trust fund become more and more and more unstable. we all knew there was a problem. nobody wanted to take responsibility of fixing it. mr. speaker, in this divided congress, in this divided government, in this washington that supposedly can't come together to fix american problems, we passed h.r. 2. it was the first bill out of the gate. second bill out of the gate t came right out in front, h.r. 2 which was the first medicare reform proposal to be signed into law in more than 10 years.
11:44 am
and solved a problem that had been created almost 20 years ago and no congress before, no president before, had had the courage to permanently fix. mr. speaker, we talk about medicare's one of the third rails of politics. don't touch that rail or else you'll be defeated. mr. speaker, this body is not about who wins and who gets defeated. this body is about who can make a difference. we needed to make a difference for folks relying on medicare. 392 house members and 92 senators supported this bill. hadn't been able to fix it for almost 20 years. hadn't been able to fix it so the can had been kicked down the road 17 times. we came together, grappled with it, struggled with t. but ultimately came up a proposal that almost all of the house and almost all of the senate could support. that eliminated, they called it the sustainable growth rate, the s.g.r., that eliminated this failing piece of medicare
11:45 am
policy. that bends the long-term cost curve of medicare, mr. speaker, extending the life of the trust fund. in fact, it cuts the actuarial deficit in medicare by almost 10%. this is heavy lifting, mr. speaker. that congress has punted on and punted on and punted on. but with the leadership we have here today, with the collaboration we have here today, not only did we pass t. not only did the senate pass it, but we were able to pass it into law. lots of parts of medicare, mr. speaker, part a, part b, part c, part d. . $2.5 trillion is the way we bent the cost curve on the various components of medicare in order to protect and insure americans for another generation that medicare would be there for them.
11:46 am
veterans, mr. speaker. again, you cannot open up the newspaper today without seeing the way the system is failing our veterans. but there is nothing that brings us together more in this chamber than standing up for those who stood up for us. it was the largest overhaul of veterans' health care in more than a decade. when republicans ran the whole show we couldn't get it done. when democrats ran the whole show, they couldn't get it done. we have come together and we have gotten it done for the first time, mr. speaker. for the first time in the history of veterans' health care, we said if the health care system is failing you, but you as a service man or woman did not fail us, we are going to give you a process to get udes of that veterans' system and give awe chance to see your own
11:47 am
doctor or specialist you need and give you the care that we promised you but the bureaucratic system has failed to deliver. in all of these many years of budget cutting that we have talked about trying to clamp down on spending, trying to make sure that all taxpayer dollars are being accounted for, so many accounts going down, veteran spending going up. why? because budgeting is about prioritizing and when we come together, not as republicans or democrats, but as americans, we prioritize those who have served us. biggest change in health care for veterans in over a decade, folks finally able to get health care. there's more. there's still a system in place that is failing veterans, mr. speaker. we couldn't come together on reforming the entire veterans
11:48 am
administration. but we did come together on saying if you work at the veterans administration and failing our veterans, there is no place for you on the federal payroll. you know how hard it is to get rid of failing federal employees. but we came together to say if you are in the upper levels of the v.a. we are asking more of you. if you are in charge of serving our veterans, we are asking more of you and if you fail, we are going to ask you to leave so we can get somebody else in there. streamline the process to get rid of ineffective employees as we had not done before in federal employment. let's talk budgets. you know in the budget deficits is one of america's priority. getting out of the business of mortgaging our future is one of america's priorities. from 1966 to 2009, i chose that
11:49 am
time because that was the beginning of medicare and medicaid which are two of the largest spending programs on the ledger today, two that have ba anded much larger than their authors suggested that they would. it's when we got into difficult entitlement spending decisions. from 1966 to 2009, that 43-year period, the debt in this country nt up by 55% relative to g.d.p. 55%. still these mandatory spending programs that are driving our debt, but over a 43-year period, our debt went up 55%. mr. speaker, in the first three years of the obama administration, our debt went up another 34. way too much, but a gradal increase in three years, it went
11:50 am
up 35%. we went from going up about 1% a year to 10% a year, mr. speaker. but today, with this congress, this house, this senate, divided government, from 2012 to 2015, when we have been dealing with this issue together, when we have been looking for answers together, when no side had complete control but we had to work together to find solutions, we have collapsed that increase back down to that 1% a year. there is so much more to do, but we disagree. the president presents a budget. it never balances, not this year, next year, 10 years from now. the president has different priorities. we do a budget every year, it always balances. i have budgets that balance and
11:51 am
budget that never comes to balance, that is a big gap to bridge. collapsing the tremendous increase in the debt to levels that are still too high, but don't threaten our security as years past have. no one ever believed we could work with the president to get that done and yet we have. mr. speaker, a lot of that comes from the budget control act, one of the best votes i have taken in this institution. it was the largest reduction in federal spending in the history of the republic. hear that, mr. speaker. in divided government, in fact, there was a republican house, democratic senate, democratic president, dramatically divided government. power of the filibuster, hard to
11:52 am
get anything done. we came together because america needed us to, to reduce spending in the most dramatic way in the history of the republic. not because somebody had all the votes and they jammed it through but because we worked together to find a policy that made sense. mr. speaker, people always think when you talk about big budget and deficit reductions, you are talking about phony math. you have seen the examples where we raise spending by $5 and have seen that math. when i talk about budgets i'm talking about real numbers and money going out the door. i'm talking even though we have 10,000 men and women a day qualifying for social security and medicare, 10,000 new applicants every day for social security and medicare working together, we reduced the total amount of money going out the
11:53 am
door. not just for one year, but for two years. that's not funny washington, d.c., math, those are real numbers and real dollars going out the door. we bent the curve together. some of my colleagues would say we have done too much. i would say we haven't done enough, but we came together and made a reduction in deficits. mr. speaker, one of the biggest differences is putting folks back to work. ou can't pay and we focused on creating america jobs and putting families back to work. it does not divide us. we have done it in the spirit of trade, mr. speaker. we have done it in the spirit of manufacturing. we have passed legislation here that the president has signed
11:54 am
into law that is working today to make sure if you work in a manufacturing industry, in america, you are not disadvantaged relative to foreign competition. if we are trying to export the best products made in the world today that are manufactured by america's hands, we are tearing down the trade barriers that are preventing those products of getting into the hands of customers who want them overseas. we have done it together. when it comes to tearing down the trade barriers, america is virtually a free trade zone. we say we will play fair with other nations. so this congress empowered the president to go out and to tear down those barriers and make sure that american working families get a fair shake on the global scene. mr. speaker, we haven't seen that happen in a decade. and a republican congress came
11:55 am
together to work with a democratic president to say we are all in this boat together, putting families back to work is not a republican priority alone, not a democratic priority but america priority but america's it e and we were working on together. mr. speaker, that takes me back to where we started. put america's to do list back up on the board. i talk about the dreary spirit sometimes when i talk to about folks about how congress is operating and how america in the spirit of self-governance is succeeding or failing in addressing america's priorities. mr. speaker, we did the first roads and bridges bill, $305 billion in more than two decades, more long-term
11:56 am
certainty than america had seen in 20 years because it was the right thing to do. we updated the national water policy. we have done more, the more substantial positive improvement to delivering clean water to american citizens that we have seen in more than a decade we did that together. tax relief. preventing taxes from going up on 99% of american families, working together, we did things that george bush and the republican congress couldn't do because they didn't have the votes 15 years ago. we did that because it was the right thing to do in this tough economy. mr. speaker, we came together on medicare reform. 17 short-term extensions, kicking the can down the road, congress and the president afraid to take a stand and solve a problem. we came together and did that. republicans and democrats, house and senate. president obama and america's congress. improving veterans' health care, for the first time in american
11:57 am
history. veterans' health care system is failing you, we give you an exit amp to see your physician, the specialist, the best has -- america has to offer. we made promises to you and we are committed to keeping those promises, biggest reforms in more than 10 years and mr. speaker, we have cut spending. we have cut spending not with phony washington math but with real dollars going out the door. biggest deficit package, we did it together, divided government, divided congress. but it's the right thing to do fothe american people and that's what this congress is about. that's the beginning of the to-do list. i'm not tooting the horn of bipartisan. i didn't have education reform on that list. didn't have education reform on that list.
11:58 am
but we have done it. we have come together with the white house, signed into law, the devolution of education policy that we have seen in 10 years. more than a decade since it has been that we have come together that principals, parents and teachers have more control over the education of children in our communities. we repealed 49 different programs, mr. speaker. i'm not saying hard core conservative republicans repealed them or liberal democrats repealed them, i'm saying together we scoured the entire landscape looking for ways to do better for our families back home. and when we rolled up our sleeves and took off the labels and all sat down as parents and grandparents and community leaders about how to do better, we found 49 programs which had a
11:59 am
constituency out there and somebody making a buck off of them, but programs that were failing our children and we ended them. we ended them together because it was the right thing to do. biggest education reforms, mr. speaker, again, in more than a decade. i don't have the time to go through the difference we are making together. from our veterans, h.r. 91, h.r. 313, h.r. 2499, on and on and on, not bills that we passed here in the house, though we have, bills we passed in the house, bills that have been passed in the senate, bills that the house and senate have come together, bills that have been sent to the president's desk and bills that were signed into law making a difference. reducing the size and scope of government. h.r. 1626, h.r. 2029, h.r. 2048
12:00 pm
and the list goes on and on and on, doing things together for our bosses back home because they are going to make a difference. creating jobs and creating economic activity. 135.2029, h.r. 1,000, s. some bills originated in the senate that are delivering for the american people. there are a few senate bills in there. good ideas from the other body that we took on that we made better that we sent to the president's desk that he signed. defending america's security. patient-centered health care solutions. you are either for the president's health care bill. there are parts of the president's health care bill that i believe are broken from the hard core right and my friends from the left believe re broken,
12:01 pm
too. we have come together multiple times to repeal parts of the president's health care bill that we all agreed were not serving the american people. at the end of the day, mr. speaker, it's not about who can be a good republican or a good democrat, it's about who can be a good public servant. bopp bopp bopp it's never going to be part of the election cycle, it's never going to be in a commercial on tv talking about how successful we are when the cameras go off, when the labels come off and when we're focused on what we all came here to do and that's make difference. we're going to keep going on through this election cycle, there's going to be more division, more strife, more finding out who's to blame ands who fault it is but i've gotten to know the men and women in this chamber, mr. speaker. i confess, there are some of
12:02 pm
them i wanted to dislike from the get-go. i wanted to dislike them. i had seen them on tv, i knew they didn't have any merit, didn't have any business being here. my confession here today, mr. speaker, is, i was wrong. i was wrong. there are colleagues on the other side of the aisle with whom i disagree about vir -- who i disagree with about virtually everything. but for that one small issue on which we find some common ground they'll roll up their sleeves an they will bleed with me and sweat with me until we find a way to make a difference for families back home in their district and mine. there are folks on the other side, mr. speaker, who come down here on this floor and rail and rail and rail and it's every partisan tag line that you can imagine. but when the camera goes off, they roll up their sleeves and they get to work. making difference.
12:03 pm
for their district and for mine. my voice is not loud enough, mr. speaker, to drown out all the division that's in a presidential election campaign my voice, mr. speaker is not loud enough to drown out all the commercials going on all over the country, all the headlines all over the country that talk about how washington is big cesspool and it's broken and we should just give up on self-governance all together. but it's not me. my voice may not be loud enough but it will be tireless. i believe in self-governance. i believe that my district has priorities that are going to be different from priorities in another district and that's ok. i believe that division sometimes brings out the best of ideas and that's ok. i believe that my colleagues believe that there is no challenge too big for america to confront when americans confront it together. i do not know what november
12:04 pm
holds but i know this. we have the best system of governance on the planet. it's not easy, it's not clean. it's not simple. but when you put the american people in charge, it's effective. you're not going to sell good newspapers, mr. speaker, talking about the difference that we make together in self-governance. but we are going to make that difference together. folks here didn't come for the headlines they came to do the things that matter and i'm proud to work with folks on both sides of the aisle to get that done. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the chair will receive a message. the messenger: mr. speaker, a message from the senate. the secretary: mr. speaker.
12:05 pm
the speaker pro tempore: madam secretary. the secretary: i have been directed by the senate to inform the house that the senate has passed, without amendment, h.r. 2908, an act to adopt the buy sovepb as the national mammal of the united states. the speaker pro tempore: thank you. under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2015, the gentlewoman from texas, ms. jackson lee, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader. thank you. lee: thank you very much, mr. speaker. as i listened to my good friend, and i think it's important that we note that our colleagues are good friends and
12:06 pm
americans who care, that's why i've come to the floor to challenge the hearts and minds of my colleagues. for my discussion today, as the gentleman that preceded me, will be in the congressional record. for my colleagues to peruse and for the american people to peruse. i do take note of the fact that the gentleman recounted the history of budgets and i might say that i, too, spent time working on the 1997 budget. i've been privileged to serve from that time. when a bipartisan effort with everyone in essence putting down their obstructionist perspectives, generated one of the best health insurance programs for our children called chip that the nation has seen. that millions of american children are now insured.
12:07 pm
but it is important to note that the present republican majority failed to put a budget on the floor for us to vote up or down. primarily because there were members in their own conference that would not vote because the cuts were not sufficient even though trillions of dollars were cut from education. many other services that the american people need. now, i know that the american people are very independent. there are states that have worked very hard to ensure that their particular citizens in their state are well taken care of. but the one thing i know about the federal government, it is the umbrella on a rainy day. i will go home to my district having suffered the terrible impact of major flooding. 20 inches of rain, devastating young families. devastating people who flooded
12:08 pm
just less than a year ago, in may of 2015. we pulled ourselves up by our boot straps,er to our carpet, threw out our personal possessions, but we needed the umbrella, fema, that is en route to my district now, to help those who cannot help themselves, those who had never flooded in 50 years. so we cannot discount the role of the federal government, the united states military, the finest in the world. a affordable care act that, yes, we have to fix in certain areas but 20 million americans have gotten insurance and more americans have private insurance because they said you know what? it's the right thing to do. so it troubles me when we talk about a budget that should have been put on the floor that was a combination of the efforts of democrats and republicans and when we listen to the president
12:09 pm
and work together but no budget has come, because they realize the draconian budget that is/ing government, throwing people out in the streets, is not a budget that america can even tolerate. they could not overcome those that didn't even want that budget they wanted to cut and slice education, resources to our military, and health care and the environment even more. so i stand in the backdrop of that challenge to challenge this congress again. i was one of the first members of congress to deal with raising the need for serious attention to the ebola virus as it hit texas in dallas, the first american to have diagnosed was in our state of texas. and i began as a member of the homeland security committee to ask what our airports were
12:10 pm
doing, how were we assessing those traveling into our country, and making sure that the centers for disease control were at my airports, both in dallas and in houston, texas. now, i'm one year later a couple of years later, and we are now facing this issue called the zika virus. and i want to be very clear. we are not paying the attention to this that we should. a headline reeds, scarier than we initially thought. the c.d.c., the centers for disease control, sounds a major alarm, a warning, regarding the zika virus. public officials use their strongest language to date in warning about a zika outbreak in the united states at the -- as the obama administration lobbied for $1.9 billion to combat the mosquito born-borne virus. what did i start out saying?
12:11 pm
the federal government should not run our lives, but it is the umbrella on a rainy day. it is the only entity that can must they are eresources to deal with what the c.d.c. has said is a far more serious issue. if we look at puerto rico, they are the eye of the storm. texas the eye of the storm. florida, the yie of the storm. -- the eye of the storm. it is important to note that we have not done what we should be doing. as a senior member of the house committee on homeland security which has a core mission of emergency preparedness of state and local governments to be equipped to react to emergencies, make me acutely aware of the potential for the zika rye vuss -- virus to be a real challenge for state and local governments in the coming months. you need our help. this house has done nothing to respond to the govern -- to the president's request for $1.9 billion in emergency funds. my friends, this is not a frivolous request.
12:12 pm
what does emergency funds mean? some have said, just go write a check out of the operating budget of the united states. you want us to be more fiscally responsible than that. we have a budget, we have funding that we have to obligate to the other needs of this nation. the reason why the president rose to the level of the emergency funding because emergency funding can come immediately outside of the budgeting process and begin to get these dollars to community health entities in our states and the centers for disease control who will have to be dispatched to our state to help the ep -- if the epidemic becomes uncontrollable. no action. one lead for the this house said they're doing absolutely nothing in response to the president's request. they don't want to give him the money. thank goodness the senate has just passed a compromise. the other body. $1.9 billion in emergency funding. for this important theafert we
12:13 pm
must have. now, i come from houston that has a tropical climate with many climatic similarities with other states on the gulf coast, parts of central and south america, as well as the cribaian. tropical cly mats are -- as the caribbean. crop kohl climates are hospitable to mosquitos that carry the zika virus. not to mention, houston has a population that travels to many mosquitoes' here transnoifings zika virus is a primary source of the illness. people coming back to the united states will travel across this nation. there's no reason to point to these individuals and make them scapegoats. we should be prepared. what about vacationers? no matter how much you have spoken about the zika virus, there will be vacationers who will still be going to places because they planned their
12:14 pm
vacation. they're going right into the heart of the storm. and as we well know, those women who will become pregnant will be the prime target for a devastating impact on their embree yow, their baby, that may be born with severe brain damage, lifelong brain damage. so we held a hearing early in march because i knew that i could not wait to educate my community. i called the zika virus planning meeting along the gulf coast that would include doctors, agency officials, community service and faith-based organizations to start to build the bridges between those communities to defeat zika. as you well know, the olympic the summer olympics, with all our american athletes will be going to brazil. brazil is also one of the serious sites of the zika-carrying mosquito. it is a very serious and important effort. communities across america
12:15 pm
should not be panicking, but they should be preparing their community health centers, the public health system, to confront the zika virus if it comes to their community, either by way of an individual who needs treatment or by chance of this mosquito. so i called for a national task force on prevention of the zika virus infection. target funding to tropical climate areas like houston, south texas, florida, and other places in the southern region of the united states that have the -- that have a tropical population. focus environmental cleanup of sitting water and trash near populated areas. most people are aware of the extreme flooding, 20 inches of rain, that hit my community large amounts of sitting water, large amounts of trash in a tropical area, tires. i visited a site in my district after the rain of sitting water, just an open welcoming place for
12:16 pm
the zika-carrying mosquito. i asked for a public education campaign targeting public and private industries, clinics for pregnant women. any mosquito repellant does not have the name on it -- if you seas, it must over have deet and we worked to make sure you knew whether you had that rehe pell ant and must be careful in using it as well. want to provide it to corporations. the products will increase because zika virus is in the
12:17 pm
news. we may run out. it's important that companies need to be alerted to set aside product along the south texas coast, going along the gulf coast, alabama, florida, mississippi and others and keep children's wading pools empty of water, my friends. these are goals that should be met. and encourage stakeholders to be calm, but to meet with your physicians who are in your communities along with your public health leaders and others to educate about this particular disease. it is important that we move on this call by the president. this is not frivolous. this is an effort that is as clear as if we had called the battalion in to operation, the united states military, because
12:18 pm
we were under attack. his is prevention, being prepared for this potential devastating impact. these are not my words. one of the most renowned deantious disease doctors, of the national school of tropical medicine and professor of pediatrics, baylor college of medicine said, zika virus infections will increase. the effects of the infections on pregnant woman's first trimester will be dangerous. impact on the poor. leadership to fight the spread of the zika virus must be local and start now. he said that this particular mosquito are the greatest killer of people in the world and
12:19 pm
called the yellow fever mosquito. the doctor said we are expecting four million zika cases in the next four months and to date there are over a million cases in brazil. we are traveling back and forth. this is a small world. no one is kept from traveling internationally. we don't close our borders in terms of americans traveling on business. the zika virus, pregnancy during the first trimester of pregnancy if the mother is exposed, it can invade the central nervous system. in pregnancy, if the mother is infected in the first trimester of pregnancy, it can invade the central nervous system of a developing baby and inhibit brain development, which can result instillbirth.
12:20 pm
damage, ult in brain occurs in one of 10,000 births. the exposure far exceeds that number and that brain damage undermines the development either at birth or the brain fails to develop the -- properly after birlingt. the child will have difficulty in walking, hearing, difficulty with speech and not all developmental consequences are known. this is the doctor. three factors make it a threat to poor communities, high concentrations of poverty, sitting trash and tires that may be found in many of our more depressed areas. the presence of the mosquitoes, environmental conditions that support mosquito breeding and lack of resources for people to
12:21 pm
isolate themselves, such as screens, replants, air conditioning. we all know that on the continent of africa, they have been able to bring down the epidemic of malaria by making ure that chart -- charity, the gates foundation, give mosquito nets to be able to assist them. well, in the united states, i know a lot of people think everybody has air conditioning and their doors and windows are closed. it's not true. there are people who have no air conditioning and windows open or have screens with holes in them. sad to think, but it is true. or they're outdoors and walking along places that have this kind of circumstance. not because we want it to be that way, but after a terrible and devastating storm like we
12:22 pm
had in houston, we have mounds of trash. and i want to thank the mayor of the city of houston and the harris county judge for working, but that is why i asked for tra money to clean up this trash. people are still out of their homes and trash is still piled up in many places. we need partnerships that are critical in defeating the zika virus mosquitoes. it requires more than spraying. use the best methods for preventing the spread of disease. we can no longer say disease is a problem in a foreign country because it will be a problem here. the important lesson from ebola and zika is there is a strong connection between global health and domestic health. so, my friends, i'm sounding the
12:23 pm
alarm, not for panic, but for preparation and preparedness. education outreach, personal precaution, understanding how to move around during this time, cover up to prevent mosquito bites, prevent the bite day and night, environmental cleanup. if you do not have air conditioning, use a mosquito net that you can purchase. it's important to note that the virus is not a local mosquito population, but it will travel. travelers must be educated regarding the zika virus. and if you are wondering about our local atmosphere, let me tell you of the latest news. 13 zika virus cases now reported in virginia. two new cases reported on thursday, both of them in the northern region of virginia according to the virginia
12:24 pm
department of health. i did not say brazil. i said in virginia. there are now 388 cases nationwide as of thursday, according to the centers for disease control. 33 with the virus are pregnant. this is an action that we cannot avoid. and for anyone that has not seen carrying irus mosquito, this is a mighty powerful mosquito. this isn't the size of it, but see the elements of it and what we are taught is that it is a pretty strong mosquito, not to be detered. we must get prepared. and so, as we look to the
12:25 pm
elements of preparedness, let me share some other issues that i think need to be addressed. i thought this was so important and the national media has helped us try to bring attention that we have put an article in "time" magazine and by myself, congress must act immediately to combat the zika virus. we are serious about this. we cannot have the senate in a compromise of $1.1 million on the emergency supplemental that the president has asked for and this house has not done anything. we are now going for work recess. i will be going home to my district and visiting those individuals that are under water, whose properties are outside their home. mosquito gathering sites where
12:26 pm
trash is left, not because they want to, but because so much has been torn up because of the water, that we are waiting for it to be picked up. my community, my city, needs these resources to do massive pickup, massive cleanup of sitting water. most osquito is the dangerous. you can see that it's none too friendly looking. and that is why i came to the floor today. i want to leave with information directly to pregnant women, to give the information that we ow, to provide them with the importance of the issues that we are confronting. i also want to introduce into the record a -- letters that i wrote in march to the secretary
12:27 pm
of health and human services, pleading for the task force and as well, a number of other items along with president obama to look closely at the southern region and rim where states like texas, louisiana, alabama, mississippi and floridar because hey will be the epicenter even now there are 388 cases nationwide, as the summer goes, this is going to be of serious concern. let me suggest to you that this women who on where are pregnant are taking heed. in houston, texas, pregnant women in houston and their doctors weigh the risk of the zika virus. this is a very real circumstance .
12:28 pm
and our climate is very tropical. and this mother, tracy smith and her children at their home. smith is pregnant with twins and worried about the approach of the mosquito season. doctors are preparing the mothers, what kind of protection should they take, what kind of mosquito repellant and what measures -- should they have nets inside their house, even though they be living in an air conditioned facility. what you say for one mother who may have a more economic level of opportunity than others, you need to say for the entire population of pregnant women, because there is no doubt, the doctor said, that this is going to be a season that we have to be extremely concerned about the zika virus and the zika-carrying
12:29 pm
mosquito. what we are suggesting is that the mosquito travels and they will be in these areas that are attractive to their environment and their friends, sitting water, dirty water, wading pools, they're not prohibited, if i might say, from getting an airplane ticket, they'll get here on their own and we have to take it very seriously. so i want an immediate response by this house to pass the president's emergency supplemental, work with the senate on the $1.1 billion that has been requested. it is money to save lives of americans. it is money to give pregnant women comfort that their newborn
12:30 pm
child can be born in this country with the best opportunity for survival and of course, to reach their fullest potential. many of you have seen the video, tragically of those babies with small brains, that now have been born in countries in south and central america. that is a sentence we should not render to an unborn child, and to a mother who is looking forward to raising that child, either her first or along with other children. let me tell you what the zika virus will do to pregnant women. the primary way pregnant women get the zika virus is through the bite of a mosquito. it can be passed by a man to
12:31 pm
sex partners. it can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus, either during pregnancy or at delivery. if a pregnant woman is exposed, we dent know how likely she is to get zika. if a pregnant woman is affected, we don't know how it will affect her or her pregnancy. we don't know how likely it is zika will pass her fee ta. if the fetus will develop birth defects. it means they cannot cure this in the womb. we don't know whether her baby will have birth defects. we don't know if sexual transmission of zika virus poses a different risk of birth defects than mosquito borne transmission. because we have these question, we need the $1.1 billion, the $1.9 billion the president asked, but we need it to begin to answer these questions and
12:32 pm
we need it to be able to have doctors like dr. hortez, a major leader in infectious disease, to begin major resource in terms of what is the best repellant, not mosquito repellant, but the best scientific response to this dastardly and predictable potential of the zika mosquito or the zika-carrying mosquito coming to the united states and having an impact on all of those who are excited about looking forward to the birth of newborn baby. i hope that as we return from our work recess, that this house, the republican leadership, as was said earlier on the floor, end any partisan bickering, any debate or disafleement with the president of the united states, and accept the fact that he is the
12:33 pm
commander in chief and that his expert the centers for disease control, who are the entity of which all of nuss our respective communities immediately turn to for assistance on infectious diseases, on natural disasters as it relates to health care. we call upon them to come to our districts and our states. we ask them to help us. and to make sure that we in our health care system is doing all we can to be able to be helpful. i do want to end on saying, the reason why we are in such an alarm, there is now novak seen to prevent or medicine to treat the zika infection. so that if you're infected as a mother, there's nothing right now, so we have to work on the research and the preventive aspects in order to protect these unborn children. the illness can be mild, with symptoms lasting several days
12:34 pm
to a week. but it is that unborn child right now and the larger impact we have yet to understand, people may not be sick, they may not be sick enough to go to the hospital, they may not die. for this reason, people may not realize they have been infected. and that means we don't know whether their infection can cause someone else to be affected because we need to do more research. we know it's transmitted by this mosquito, we need to make sure we understand whether there's any other kinds of transmissions that we have. we know that there have been zika travel advisory notices, we know this is not a happy experience for the countries we have listed. but i feel compelled to say, zika virus has been noted in cape verde, the caribbean,
12:35 pm
aruba, barbados, the dominican republic, guadeloupe, haiti, martinique, st. martin, st. vincent, the grenadines, st. martin. trinidad-tobago, and the u.s. virgin islands. costa rica, el salvador, nicaragua, panama, mexico, the pacific islands, american samoa, marshall islands, so moea, south america, bolivia, razil, colombia, french gi nee, paraguay, and venezuela. i'm not condemning these places. i'm only asking that travelers take caution and pregnant women need to take counsel from their ob/gyn. so, my friends, our job and task here in this country is to be the umbrella on a rainy day.
12:36 pm
it is to ensure that the american people have all of the information that will help them make very important decisions. it is to make sure that our health system and our doctors were in their offices in general medicine or internal medicine that they have all the information and tools to be able to determine whether a woman has been infected and happens to be pregnant. so my task here today was to say to we cannot wait. i'm disturbed that we now have a week we have not yet passed the emergency supplemental to help our friends in puerto rico, which as i indicated have serious, serious opportunity to be without the resources that they need in the tropical climate that they are in to be able to confront the zika virus.
12:37 pm
that is a u.s. territory and how unfair that is. to my friends in this house you cannot wait any longer. when we come back, there needs to be on the floor of the house a bill passing the senate compromise or the $1.9 billion emergency supplemental the president has asked for as the commander in chief. we need to roll up our sleeves, we need to ensure that the american people are taken care of, and i just want to add this. our military personnel are in tropical cly mats. we can treat them with limited dignity, absolutely not. they must have both the medical personnel and as well the equipment to either be of assistance to places where they are, where the epidemic may be,
12:38 pm
as they did when they were sent to africa, to help set up a hospital structure that did not exist. we don't know where this will be the worst. and i can assure you that our military personnel may be called on, working with the centers for disease control. are we going to leave them without the resources they need? i hope not. i take my role on the homeland security committee very seriously. it is our responsibility. to deal with the security of this nation. we have excellent members who are working hard, such as my dear friend donald payne, the ranking member of the comm on emergency preparedness. we work together to ensure that south america prepared. carrying this zika mosquito has potential for
12:39 pm
being here in the united states and creating havoc among pregnant women and possibly others. what is our task? it is, mr. speaker, to do our job and to prepare the american people. we owe that to the great and wonderful people of this nation. to the mothers and fathers expecting that bundle of joy. we owe that to all of them. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the entlelady yields back.
12:40 pm
under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2015, the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. gohmert, for 30 minutes. mr. gohmert: thank you, mr. speaker. it's an interesting time, ometimes i think about the literary quote, these are the times that try men's souls. but there have been trying times before, and there will be again.
12:41 pm
but our congress continues to be urged to do things that sound like a great solution, sound like a good, compassionate thing to do, but when you get to the bottom of them, sometimes they're the st uncompassionate things we could do. for example, reports of sexual abuse victims who are female there eply troubled, are f.b.i. statistics that indicate that perhaps 18%, maybe 20% of women in america have been sexually assaulted. other types of crimes on females raise the percentage even higher.
12:42 pm
and there are statistics that indicate transgender may be .3%. who knows what the right numbers are. but i think we should be far more compassionate with female sexual abuse victims that in rise such a large number weighing whether you want to have men come walking in on women in restrooms, dressing rooms. also, the talk has been this year that we are going to have sentencing reform because it's the compassionate thing to do. we're told that there are massive, massive numbers of people who have been incarcerated in federal prison for simple possession cases. and that, you know, we've moved
12:43 pm
on. we've evolved in this country where we don't look on those as critically, so it's time to start releasing some of those people and having been a judge of a felony court, i can't say i did the right thing on sentencing in every case, but i can say i struggled, i got all the information that was available, i considered it before we ever undertook the sentencing hearing, i considered everything submitted at the sentencing hearing, and wrestled and tried to get to a just and appropriate sentence. judges do that all over the country. some think they're being compassionate and quickly , not being nals
12:44 pm
quite as dedicateded to reviewing backgrounds and the indications of repeat offenses to come, but -- so they release people too quickly. sentence them too lightly. and they go back and commit other offenses. we know from the recidivism rate that's going to happen. but you try your best as a judge to do the right thing. and the tissue and then the thought of someone in washington that never, ever reviewed all the facts of the case, never heard all of the evidence, that you or the jury heard in assessing sentence, who have just got some big picture that they think they may be able to apply and generalize sufficiently, the thought that they would come in
12:45 pm
and say, we're going to have this blanket set aside or reduction in the sentence that was achieved through a very deliberative process is repugnant. there is a lot of fiction thrown out regarding sentences. many that have been sentenced to and sitting in federal prison for having a little bit of marijuana. we got to let those go. well, anybody who has prosecuted knows whether you prosecute it as a state or federal prosecutor, federal prosecutors have traditionally not been interested in small possession cases. they're not interested.
12:46 pm
-- they weren't in east texas and when i was a prosecutor and a judge, the state prosecutors in east texas and the federal prosecutors actually work very well together. every now and then, there might be a rare case where the state prosecutors would realize that there was a very heinous offense that was committed, but the federal court may have a higher range of punishment and because this person is a threat to society, might ask the federal prosecutors take a look to see if this is something you would be interested in pursuing. more often than not, it was not. but most of those cases are andled in state court.
12:47 pm
i don't have any doubt that we ould be reviewing drug offenses when it comes to the new opium-related cases. there has been so many developments. we have the development of synthetics now that were not nown, so they're not listed as items that would generate a prison sentence that do enough damage to individuals that they should be considered to be listed. and a crime to possess. those are things we need to be constantly looking at. but there's an article in "the free beacon" from yesterday,
12:48 pm
headline, obama administration freed 19,723 criminal illegal immigrants in 2015. it says the obama administration released nearly 20,000 illegal immigrants convicted of crimes in custody in 2015. according to new figures published by the immigrations and customs enforcement bureau. the 19,723 illegal immigrants freed from custody during the 64,197 r had a total of convictions between them, according to the data. his included 8,324 violent convictions and 208 homicide convictions. those are people who came into
12:49 pm
the country illegally, not only broke our immigration laws to come into the country, some of them coming in more than once illegally. some after they have been deported and come back in to commit more crimes, but nearly 20,000 released in 2015 according to immigration and customs enforcement, according to i.c.e. and it doesn't appear that there -- they're being all deported and certainly if they were, there's no bar to them turning around and coming back as the one man who had i think it was nine d.w.i. cases that came before me in the felony court
12:50 pm
and the federal authorities had never been interested in deporting him until he had a violent accident and he came fore me and i sent him appropriately to prison and within six months he's back in my court. so i had to ask through the interpreter that since i sent him to prison, how is he back in my court for a new crime of iolence on other people and it turned out that very shortly after i sent him to prison, finally the federal authorities acted just much too late for victims that were involved and they deported him and according to what he said through his interpreter, they took him down
12:51 pm
to the border and watch him go across the border and then as soon as the people that deported him left, that same day, that same hour, he came right back across the border. what about all the victims? we wants to talk about compassion. what about all the victims of the people who have been harmed, of people being killed because we don't secure our border. and instead of letting people rve out the sentences that a court very deliberately sentenced, let them go like we are some group here in washington somehow that once you
12:52 pm
come into the district of columbia, we are so much wiser than any judge sitting on any courtney where in the federal system, that we know better than they did. and i can tell you, i have heard from judges around the country that if i had known that some jerk in washington was going to come around and reduce my sentence that i agonized to arrive at, i would have sentenced much more appropriately so the appropriate sentence would have been that was arrived at by the brilliant, wise jerk in washington that set it aside too early. this article from april 12, sentencing reform legislation would disproportionately favor noncitizens. says u.s. prison data clearly
12:53 pm
shows two things, one, the majority of low-level drug offenders are serving their sentences in state, not federal prisons. two, most of those incarcerated in federal prison for drug charges are noncitizens. it may be worth while to pursue reform at the federal level, it will do very little to address the problems identified by proponents of sentencing reform and would do almost nothing to reduce sentences for u.s. citizen drug off offenders. further down, it says as of pril 7, 2016, there were 196,285 prisoners in the custody of the federal bureau of prisons, with 46.5% of these
12:54 pm
prisoners or 91,270 sentenced for drug offenses. the percentage of prisoners incarcerated for drugs is just ver 2 1/2 times greater than the state prison population. however, overall there are fewer prisoners serving time in federal prison for drug charges than in state prisons, which have 212,000. federal government collects data differently for state and federal prisoners in order to get the breakdown of offenses for federal drug prisoners, data from the u.s. sentencing commission is available. looking at the sentencing statistics from fiscal year 2007 to fiscal year 2015, a clear distinction between federal and state prison populations is that the proportion of federal prisoners serving time for drug possession is much higher than that for state prisoners and
12:55 pm
hispanics are disproportionately represented among federal drug inmates. there is a higher ratio of hispanics serving drug offenses for trafficking in federal prison as daniel points out, this is because many of the drug offenders in federal prison are serving sentences for drug convictions for the illicit drug trade on the border. drug offenses -- the u.s. sentencing commission sent data showing that 95% of the 305 individuals serving time in federal prison for simple drug offenses are noncitizen. only 13 simple possession cases were tried in nonborder districts in 2014. in a letter sent to senator jeff
12:56 pm
sessions last fall, the federal ureau of prisons reported that 77% of individuals convicted of federal drug possession charges and more than 25% of the individuals convicted of federal drug trafficking charges in 2015 were noncitizens. give us a s graphs good look, a better picture of what we are talking about, than a word picture does. here's what the federal bureau of prisons reported last fall that of all the people in prison in federal prison, u.s. federal prison for drug possession 77% areand convictions,
12:57 pm
noncitizens of the united states. that's right. we're using our united states prisons when it comes to federal possession of drugs, 77% of them are noncitizens. 23% of those in federal prison for drug possession charges, convictions are citizens of the united states. the profile for federal drug prisoners is different than that at the state level and this is why congress needs to recognize and address these differences when crafting legislation that will affect its population. federal drug and immigration enforcement are now tied together and makes -- drug
12:58 pm
cartels are a serious threat. a serious debate on how to best address the war on drugs and its effects on american communities cannot ignore the immigration component. sentencing reform bills, reducing penalties for some federal prisoners are being portrayed by their supporters as long overdue corrective to harsh sentencing laws for individuals who violate federal drug laws, which they argue create disparities in the nation's prison population. reforming drug sentencing laws is one thing. releasing criminal aliens back into the united states interior is quite another. the obama administration has shown its willingness to do the latter. including those who were deemed to be criminal threats to the public. without a bill with strong clear
12:59 pm
language and most importantly a congress willing to extend oversight over the executive branch, it's plain that the sentencing reform legislation likely to soon come before congress will accomplish little more than to provide early release for dangerous criminal aliens while still failing to hold president obama to account or his failure to enforce u.s. immigration law. ticle from daniel horowitz this month said yes, it was an top fool's joke and the legislative priority of the d.c. built is an illusion. there is no widespread epidemic of people being locked up. the entire debate over the
1:00 pm
entire prison population on the federal level is absurd. proponents speak about the issue in the abstract and have all sorts of myths as to who is sentenced for federal crimes. this is a verifiable population. why don't we stop talking past each other and look at what is the 800 pound gorilla behind the federal criminal justice system. . from there he goes on to talk about illegal immigration and the affect on our prisons. he says, what is clear when you juxtapose the total convictions to the large number of immigration-related sentences, and the drug trafficking convictions, the 800-pound gorilla in the room when dealing with federal crimes is illegal immigration. both directly, by clogging up the system with immigration
1:01 pm
cases, and indirectly, through the open border and drug cartels and proliferation of drugs, more than half of all federal sentences are a byproduct of immigration and the drugs that are brought in as a result of the border. hence, the entire premise of federal jail break legislation, that there are infinite numbers of individuals serving time in federal prison for nonviolent drug offenses, is complete bunk. if we would deal with the immigration problem and keep out much of the drug infestation by building a fence, doesn't have to be a wall, and implementing visa tracking, both the direct effects of immigration and the drug problem, which is a byproduct of immigration, would reach a manageable level. we would save a lot of money. on incarceration costs and dramatically reduce the prison population. all without risking the safety
1:02 pm
and security of americans by indiscriminately and retroactively releasing violent criminals into our communities. and people should understand what most prosecutors will tell you is, especially in the federal system, they don't have plea agreements like normally you find in most states. they agree on what charges they will allow a defendant to plead o and which ones they'll drop. so if there is violence in an offense, if there's a gun used in a drug offense, or violence in a drug offense, and a federal prosecutor is trying to get someone involved or carrying out that violent drug offense, but they know they
1:03 pm
want to get the guy that's over this one, they want to get the bigger fish, and the even bigger fish, they're going to have to have some kind of negotiation at that level, and what they negotiate is, all right, we'll leave off the violent part of this offense and let you plead to that. or we'll leave out the burglary or we'll leave out this other -- we'll leave out something plead to e'll let you this and the state has agreed they won't pursue that burglary and, you know, they work out an agreement so that part of the offense that would have gotten them a much more severe sentence is left out in return for their cooperation to go after the bigger fish. so when somebody in w.a.r. that has not analyze -- so when somebody in washington that has not analyzed the facts in each case, and the reason for the
1:04 pm
recommended charge to be accepted by the court, and they go about and just release somebody, they're normally going to do an injustice to the victims. some say drugs are a victimless crime. some are tempted to think that. until they look at the involvement of drugs and olent crime in burglaries -- the phenomenal. and with a pouress border the way we have, we see the drugs pouring in. and i literally say, we see. we had a hearing yesterday with a lady who lived down near the border, actually she pointed out that our federal law enforcement, immigration
1:05 pm
officials, are about 25 miles north of the border before they do enforcement. we're not enforcing the border there in arizona at where she was pointing out. and she and her husband put up video cameras and was displaying in the hearing, clearly these were guys carrying big amounts of something, apparently drugs, passing by back and forth. just bringing drugs into america because we were not enforcing and securing our border and our country. so, if we want to have true sentencing reform, it should not be undertaken until the border is secure, so that we know we're not releasing more criminals to the interior of the united states to commit more crimes and to be back involved in the drug trade.
1:06 pm
i know some years back, after i got here, congress decided to make it more difficult for sudafed because it was used in the process of making methamphetamines. in east texas, cooking methamphetamines was a problem. but most of the cooks stunk and so when people would smell something vial and they'd call in, -- vlie and they'd call in, immediately law enforcement would think, -- vile and they'd call in, immediately law enforcement would think, maybe some meth being cooked and often that was the case, so we made it hard for law-abiding sudafed. get that some of the d.e.a. and law enforcement back in texas tell me, well, what's happened, we were able to shut down a lot of
1:07 pm
methamphetamines cooking in texas, but since our border is so pouress, the drug cartels in mexico, right across our border, are pouring through synthetics and far more potent drugs, they're hooking our young people, our americans on drugs that are harder to get ff of, and induce more unpleasantness and crime. so we really didn't solve anything because we didn't deal with what was called the 00-pound gorilla in the room -- 800-pound gorilla in the room. it's illegal immigration. the an unsecure border -- the an unsecure border. and -- it's an unsecure border. and of course some can't help but raise questions about political motivation because
1:08 pm
when you're trying desperately to win, say, a presidential election or a local election, say, in virginia, and you know from surveys that have been one if you can restore the voting rights to people that have been in prison, a big majority of those will vote democrat. and then when you think about the potential, wow, so if we let -- we just cut loose a massive number of illegal immigrants that are in prison, and then you have a governor like you have in virginia who says, hey, we're going to let felonies have voting rights, never mind -- felons have voting rights, never mind you're not supposed to vote unless you're a u.s. citizen, we're finding that there is fraud in elections, despite
1:09 pm
what some say. my friend john fund had a good book on the fraud involved in elections. and the voting process around the country. look, if we're going to stop disenfranchising real voters and real american citizens, then we have to make sure that we have legitimate voters. that means voter i.d. why not? i mean, you got to have an i.d. to do much of anything in this country. why not have one and make sure that the disenfranchising process is not happening, because we make sure that every voter is a legitimate voter? those who were worried about it preventing minorities from voting can look at places like georgia. it's been established that when
1:10 pm
photo i.d. requirements were added, there were actually more minorities that voted after that. it didn't disenfranchise minorities. what it disenfranchised were people who wanted to vote as illegal aliens or illegally. but i can't help but wonder, if you were the head of a political party, hypothetically, if you were the head of a political party, and your party believed their hope for winning the next election was to get people who were felons to vote, whether they'd reformed or not, maybe it's time to take a look at what your party stands for. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the chair lays before the house nswer rolled bill.
1:11 pm
the clerk: h.r. 1493. an act to protect and preserve international cultural property at risk due to political instability, armed conflict or natural or other disasters, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2015, the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. mcgovern, for 30 minutes. without objection. mr. mcgovern: mr. speaker, i rise today to honor the foundation based in massachusetts and the extraordinary model it provides of what americans and cubans working together it accomplish. over the past 13 years, this special collaboration has restored and protected the home , documents and related materials of ernest hemingway's home in cuba, located 12 mimes outside of havana, in the village of san francisco depaulo like so many stories on
1:12 pm
capitol hill this began when a visitor from massachusetts walked into my office. jenny phillips had an interesting story to tell, because her grandfather was ernest hemingway's editor and long-time friend, maxwell perkins. she and her husband, frank, had traveled to cuba earlier that year to visit the home, which the cubans have lovingly cared for and operated as a museum since hemingway's death. and we are grateful to those cubans. because there would be no hemingway house without their decades of devotion to his memory and his legacy. in addition to touring the house and grounds, jenny and frank also saw thousands of hemingway documents and photographs that were in boxes and containers in the basement, most unknown to writers and researchers. they recognized the priceless value of these papers to hemingway's scholars worldwide. but they also knew that the political divide between the united states and cuba made their preservation a problem.
1:13 pm
listening to her scribe what was at stake, we took the first steps that would result in a wonderful, binational process to save hemingway's documents. preserve the architecture and physical structure of his home, restore his famous boat, and conserve and protect the don'ts of his home, including -- con nents of his home, including original -- contents of his home, including clothing, his library, manuscripts, and over 4,000 photographs. time and tropical climates are not kind to these delicate materials. partnering with the social science research council here in the united states, the cuban ministry of culture and the cuban national cultural heritage council, the cnpc, a plan of action was outlined to carry out a joint preservation project in cuba and to conserve digitized and microfilm copies of all documents located in hemingway's home to the john f. kennedy presidential library
1:14 pm
and museum and to the cuban national cultural heritage council. in 2002, a memorandum of understanding was signed dr. n eric herschberg, mattera herona perez of the cnpc, and witnessed by frank and jenny phillips, sandra spania, with pennsylvania state university, and general editor of the hemingway letters project, sean, angela and hillary hemingway, who are the grandson, daughter-in-law and niece of ernest hemingway. president fidel castro and myself. dozens of cubans and americans attended the signing, including my wife, lisa. since then scores of cubans and americans have worked together to make the dream of preserving this priceless legacy of ernest hemingway a reality. this includes officials at the state department, commerce department and department of treasury in both the bush and
1:15 pm
obama administrations, who recognize the importance to america and the world of saving hemingway's cultural history in cuba and helped the project navigate the complicated requirements of u.s. regulations and license applications. i would especially like to note and thank the many cuban cultural officials and preservation -- cultural officials and preservation, architectural, museum and technical experts who made this dream come true. and i apologize if i leave anyone out. . i'd like to begin with president castro who was essential in moving this project able. especially one in washington and later following her return to havana. i want to highlight the role of then minister of culture, the iconic bell prieto who was such an encouraging voice when we
1:16 pm
began reaching out to cuban officials in 2010 as well as his successors, rafael bernal and the current minister of culture, julien gonzalez toledo. central to the success of the restoration and preservation of hemingway's house and grounds re martin hirona perez, who is deceased, who was voice when she was part of the cuban museum council. gladys, the current president of the cnpc as well as her predecessors, manuel palazzo soto and margarita brandy. vice president of the cnpc and chief conservator of the hemingway papers. gladries rodriguez ferrero, long associated with the hemingway collection and building and former director of the finca vigia museum, has been one of the most
1:17 pm
influential actors in the restoration project. ada alfonso, and isabel ferrero, the current department ute director of the museum. inrika castillo, instruct rale engineer. ivan deez. nd marco antonio vidal garcia. conservatives lisa serrano gonzalez. lizbetn perez. siglan.aballan manuel lopez from the institute of foresty research. their leadership and their participation and expertise, vision and generosity have been the essential heart of the successful collaboration. and i know i speak for many americans when i say that we share their pride and joy and
1:18 pm
having participated day by day in the restoration and preservation of hemingway's legacy in cuba. i count each of them as a valued colleague and friend, and i feel honored to have had the privilege, even in a small way, to work with them on this hoice toric project. -- historic broe ject. known as the hemingway restoration foundation, the finca vigia foundation has been the coordinating agent of u.s. professionals and technical experts who have contributed their expertise, skills, time and passion to this major preservation underwage. since 2004, they have harnessed the talent, skill and collaboration of the national trust for historic preservation, the social science research council, mystic sea port and the northeast document conservation system to create teams of engineers, architects, preservationist and document conservators, botanists, builders and photographers to
1:19 pm
architectually restore hemingway's home to its 1950's splendor. restore hemingway's famous yacht, the pilar, conserve and the distinguished gentleman from ties more than 10,000 documents, 4,000 photographs and five rare hemingway scrapbooks. preserve these original documents in cuba and bring digital images to the united states to the john f. kennedy presidential library and museum in boston and design in a joint u.s.-cuban collaboration an onsite archival storage facility with wet and dry conservation laboratories. you know, there are so many individuals, u.s. companies and foundations that have made thest ration of hemingway's -- made the restoration of hemingway's house a passion. they have dedicated time, talent, materials and funding to this initiative for over a decade. just like to mention a few. first, are the foundations whose early contributions allowed this project and the finca vigia foundation to get its feet on the ground, explore
1:20 pm
with its cuban partners how to bring this dream to fruition and to -- and put the first cornerstones in place. they are the ford foundation, the j.m. kaplan fund, the stuart trust and the rockefeller foundation. next, i would like to recognize the national trust for historic preservation, which has recognized the finca vigia in cuba as a u.s. historic preservation site, the only such site -- the only such site outside of the united states and whose experience and technical expertise and preservation in cultural conservation have been invaluable. i'd especially like to note the contributions of richard moe, former president of the national trust, and paul edmondson, current general council for historic preservation. several foundations and u.s. companies have been involved directly on the preservation projects or in providing financial support for this work. the lead sponsor for document conservation has been the e.m.c. corporation,
1:21 pm
headquartered in massachusetts. and especially bill tuber, chris goode and joel schwartz from the company. hey reached out to intel and immulux, who provided support for the project. caterpillar foundation and caterpillar, ink, along with the -- caterpillar, inc., american express. participants in the technical document conservation, construction and architectual teams are william dupont, former chief architect with the national trust for historic preservation and currently professor at the university of texas-san antonio. hitect planners, leeland haus. michael henry with michael and henry associations. structural engineer robert sillman with robert sillman and
1:22 pm
association. patricia o'donnell with heritage landscapes. and preservation architect mary denadae with john milner architects and ronald staley, chrisman company in lansing, michigan. also very much involved are collections conservationists wendy claire jessup. and occur ator dana huson with mystic sea port. in the first years of this project, attorney thomas d. herman provided invaluable probono advice and other provided essential services throughout the project. the special recognition must be paid to the tireless work of mary jo adams and robert villy. she is the founder of the finca vigia foundation and its very heart, soul and beating blood.
1:23 pm
without her efforts this project would not have been possible. a villa is a builder, well-known host of "this old house," a recognized building consultant. bob has been involved on the ground in cuba with overseeing every phase of the restoration of hemingway's house and grounds. along with jenny philips he's the co-chair of the finca vigia foundation, but more than anything, we know that when bob is on site in cuba, all is right with the world. and if it isn't, he'll make sure that it is. finally, i'd like to recognize the work of michael mershan who left my staff and worked with me over a decade on the hemingway project. you know, right now u.s. and cuban technical teams are constructing a facility on the ground to carry out onsite archival storage with wet and dry conservation laboratories. llar, which means
1:24 pm
workshop in spanish, will be the first building constructed in cuba using u.s. materials and ingenuity since the 1950's. the cuban ministry of culture views this project as a possible prototype to be republic indicated across the country in the preservation of cultural heritage. the construction of this critical facility is possible because of the new regulations announced by president obama in december of 2014. you know, with very little money and largely during a period of daunting obstacles created by a tense political climate, the finca vigia foundation and its team of experts in close collaboration with cuban professionals and experts have done a great service for the american people, the cuban people and indeed all the people of the world. with passion and professional skill, they recognized that the life, memory, books, papers and home of ernest hemingway are above politics and policies, which are fleeting while art is
1:25 pm
eternal. they understand that the legacy of ernest hemingway is a shared heritage belonging to both cubans and americans, and in one of the best models of what can happen when americans and cubans collaborate, they have made sure that it will never be lost. so i am so very grateful to jenny and frank philips for walking into my office 13 years ago and sparking a remarkable and personal journey for me. it has offered me the rare privilege to meet and work with so many extraordinary cubans and americans and to participate in preserving our shared heritage around the life and artistic achievements of ernest hemingway. i cannot wait to see what the next chapter brings. thank you, mr. speaker, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of
1:26 pm
representatives, sir, i steve israel am submitting my res. ig ration to the board of visitors to the united states army academy. it's been an honor to serve in this position and one that i will never forget. i believe strongly in the importance of robust programming for the future and current military leaders facing ever-evolving threats and challenges at west point. and west point exceeds this standard with top-notch education provided to cadets. in my visits to the academy, i have been profoundly impressed by the leadership, students and staff who should be commended for their service to our country. i look forward to continuing to work with the academy moving forward as a member of the house appropriations committee and value my time on the board of visitors tremendously. signed sincerely, steve israel, ember of congress. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts rise? mr. mcgovern: mr. speaker, i move that the house do now adjourn.
1:27 pm
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. accordingly, the house stands adjourn until 3:00 p.m. on tuesday,
1:28 pm
it was so great. it was great, too, because we had a strong democratic vote in support of the fiduciary rule, a rule to protect and strengthen retirement security and confidence of millions of americans as they invest for their future, for their pensions, for their retirement with the -- i don't even know why the republicans would put forth a measure to undo that. it had such broad support in the private sector. the secretary, secretary perez deserves tremendous credit for the manner in which he listened to concerns, ramifications of the rule in the private sector, accommodated those rules, putting the beneficiary first is the theme of the rule and at the end of the day, that's what
1:29 pm
the fiduciary rule will do. and i'm very proud we had a 100% vote in support of that yesterday. again, it's a waste of time. it's a sad state of affairs because time is of our most finite quantity, how we use it, how we underutilize it is a judgment that should be made about us and right now the republicans are underutilizing the time the public has given us to act on their behalf. here we have a per functry gesture yesterday that had no prospect of success, wasting the taxpayers' time and congress' time. instead, we're once again going leaving ving congress, for another break, for another break without addressing the zika crisis, the flint crisis, the opioid crisis all of which
1:30 pm
require the full attention of the congress. we have -- we're working hard on solutions in that regard. in many cases the republicans are in denial and, therefore, have their inaction on these subjects. do your job. the american people are saying that. one way or another saying to congress, do your job. do your job on zika. do your job on flint. do your job on opioids. do your job. and do your job on the budget. again, the budget should be a statement of our national values. what is important to us as a nation should be demonstrated in how we write a budget. we have the ryan road to ruin budget, the republican budget, and even that is not cruel enough for some in his party. but, again, if a budget is a statement of values, we say to the republicans, show us your values, show us your budget.
1:31 pm
the president has put forth and democrats have put forth democrats that are a statement of our values, about how we invest in the future. if you needed to know one thing about the ryan budget, the american people needed to know one thing about it, it makes -- it takes away the medicare guarantee. gives seniors instead of a guarantee a voucher. very, very seriously undermining the good health, the pillar of financial and health security for america's seniors and working families. we should not leave until we address the public health issues i mentioned -- zika not one of them -- and taking money from one public health initiative and going to another. taking money from ebola to zika. i don't know, it's stunning to , e the disregard for fact
1:32 pm
evidence and substantiation of what the zika challenge is to us. so here we are again. we were leaving for a three-week easter vacation. wednesday coming in tuesday night three weeks later, here we are leaving again without acting. do your job, congress. any questions? yes, ma'am. reporter: you didn't mention puerto rico. i wonder if you had any discussions with speaker ryan about addressing th problem? i know there is a bond payment that's due sunday. ms. pelosi: there's a bond payment that's due on sunday and the entrance to be drawn from the statements of the governor is that they're not going to be able to make that payment. as you know, we had a commitment from the speaker when congress went out at the end of december that we would have something by the end of
1:33 pm
march. they asked for a little more time, and if that time was going to produce a better product, let's use that time well. we are still trying to reach that solution. the administration has been actively involved in trying to address some of the concerns that have been brought up by some in the republican caucus and i'm still hopeful that we can come up with a bipartisan piece of legislation that will address the puerto rican challenge. it's really important to note that this bill that we're talking about doesn't cost one red cent, one wooden nickel, one thin dime, not one dollar of taxpayer money. this is about enabling puerto rico to have the ability to restructure their debt, and they need that authorization from us.
1:34 pm
and so to see these ads on tv almost immoral in terms of the misrepresentation of what they are saying and the fact is that we do have to have legislation so that we can enable puerto rico to do what it needs to do for itself and concerned time be about how pensions are treated there. yes, sir. reporter: on the same topic, given it appears there is a lack of urgency around here. sunday on puerto rico. are you not insist -- do you have regrets that it was not in the omnibus? ms. pelosi: i don't have regrets. we just didn't get it. what i would have hoped is my
1:35 pm
colleagues would have accepted is my privileged resolution to have a stay of litigation while all this was going on and that would have been a very important part of addressing the problem, that stay of litigation. you may recall that was the proposal that i put forth on the floor of the house, but they rejected that. i think a sign of good faith would have been to support the stay of litigation and then the time was not as important. we still need a stay of litigation in whatever legislation we put together. reporter: follow-up. to you do i speaker ryan and republicans broke their promise? ms. pelosi: they're operating in good faith. it's difficult -- it's hard to get anything done if you're a drive-by congress. we're barely here. these deadlines, as indicated, may 1 is one deadline.
1:36 pm
ly is another deadline for a bigger traunch of probably around $2 billion in hopefully not default but potential default on that day. but the -- to see the misrepresentations on tv which make some of the, you know, the persuasion of the american people, we are a reflection of the american people. we sometimes have to take difficult votes that have to fly in the face of serious misrepresentations that are put out there by the -- are the hedge funds paying for those ads? having a woman say she's going to lose her pension. she will be worse off without a bill, that's for sure. for those who say, well, let's not have a bill, that's not a good scenario. so we have to come to terms. i think the speaker -- the speaker has an overriding,
1:37 pm
shall we say, principle in which the committees shall do the work. at some point there's going to have to be a moment where there's going to be a leadership decision that this is as good as it gets and this is what we're going to take to the floor. hopefully that will be very soon. yes, ma'am. reporter: do you have a problem with the defense authorization bill, switching $23 billion from o.c.o. funding to the base defense? and what will democrats do if that's reflected in the defense appropriations bill? ms. pelosi: i do have a problem with it because as the secretary of defense testified in -- on the senate side, this is just not the way to go. i mean, what is our national security mission? what are our needs? how are they -- how do we allocate our resources to that? this is silly what they are doing, it's silly. if in fact they want to -- hopefully they will understand
1:38 pm
that by the time we get to the appropriations process. but it's -- it's one of those things where they have gotcha things that they do and this is one of the gotchas. they voted for what they support in the bill, weighing the equities against what they don't support in the bill and the o.c.o. is something we don't support in the bill. but we'll take it one step at a time, but we cannot, we cannot go forward with what we need to do for the american people in every way. we cannot honor the budget agreement that we all agreed to last year which was a compromise that established caps on what we spend domestically and what we spend from a national security standpoint by violating it in the first authorization bill that comes up. yes, sir. reporter: leader pelosi, you mentioned speaker ryan's sort of leadership style and i'm
1:39 pm
wondering, with all these issues that congress is dealing with, with puerto rico, with zika, do you think this would be going any differently under perhaps speaker boehner, who is in the news this week for a different reason? second question to that, just on zika, would you be willing to accept less than $1.9 billion? i know there have been talks on the senate side just north of $1 billion. if it meant swifter action to address the public health crisis? ms. pelosi: well, first of all, you don't give away your leverage. if people say it's half a loaf, it's not half a loaf. it's half a shoe. you just can't function that way. in other words, we have a public health issue. it's global. it's growing. it's dangerous. it's dangerous to children, expectant moms and to our whole population. so why are we ignoring what we need to do, what scientific basis do these people have to say i'll take half a shoe and
1:40 pm
see how i hobble around on that rather than getting the job done? d so we believe that there should be a supplemental, mergency supplemental that funds the full justification, the $1.9 billion that also addresses flint and addresses the opioids. we're making good progress on opioids authorization bill but there's no money in there. and so we really need to have some money. otherwise, it's going to be coming out of, what, maternal health and child health? where will they get the money? that's one of their suggestions. so we do need the supplemental, and also gives us leverage for the other initiatives that we need. we need a challenge to the conscious of our country is what's happening in flint, michigan, and what are we doing just a little here, little
1:41 pm
there, maybe. but not really recognizing the responsibility at the federal level that we have and demanding matching funds from the state level as well. so while i don't think that's the way you pose it, why don't we just take some -- why -- we're taking money from ebola and then saying we're going to do -- there's something wrong with this picture. do they not believe in science? do they not believe in evidence? do they not believe in the fact that this is a public health challenge? and that's why yesterday we had a press conference with -- was that yesterday? it seems like it was a long time ago. yes, it was. with senator reid and the leadership of the house and senate saying fund -- fully fund zika. then when we come back, sadly we'll have to continue this later instead of having it being done now, we'll have a
1:42 pm
steering and policy meeting which will address the zika crisis that we're in and once again put on the record the justification for the money that is there so that the republicans cannot say, we don't know -- we haven't seen why we need it. no, the evidence has been presented to them over and over again. clearly we have to present it in a way that the public sees what the evidence is and that is well-known to the republicans in congress. this shouldn't even be an issue. this shouldn't be talking democrats and republicans. this should be something that it's so clear and evidence there is a public health menace. we have a responsibility to protect the people from it. do your job, congress. one more question, two. reporter: standard & poor's reporter told my colleague if
1:43 pm
ernie sanders doesn't have a pack in his state he should -- ms. pelosi: somebody told one of your colleagues -- reporter: senator merkley who backed senator sanders said he should drop out if he doesn't have a pact for -- ms. pelosi: when was the timetable? reporter: after your hometown in california. ms. pelosi: california. reporter: do you see anything for bernie sanders? ms. pelosi: the election has to play itself out. i have never in my whole political career, which is a long one, said to someone you should drop out. they have their own call to service, their own purpose. they have their supportser and they have their own time -- supporters and they have their own time tabble and hopefully that's one to elect a
1:44 pm
democratic president of the united states, whoever she may , and to also help elect a democratic governor, state house and the rest. that timetable is not one that comes from the outside but from the inside, the campaign and inside the person. the candidate. i'm so very proud of both of our candidates for president. the dignity they have brought to their presentations. the differentiation that they have is very slim compared to the chasm between democrats and republicans when it comes to meeting the needs of the american people and i respect the broadening of universe of participation of the young people that bernie sanders has brought to this election cycle. yes, sir. reporter: madam leader, do you have a response to donald trump's comments that hillary clinton is playing the woman's chart? ms. pelosi: you all want to talk politics all the time when
1:45 pm
we come here. let me just be very clear about that. i don't know what card he's playing with the joker's card? that doesn't even count in a deck of cards. but here's the thing. i do not think that anybody should campaign on the basis of -- when i was running for leadership myself, the last thing i could say to my colleagues was, you should support me because i'm a woman. it's not a winning message. the winning message is you should support me because i think i can do the best job and here's what i can do and i think that's what hillary clinton is presenting. perhaps some of the republicans do not recognize a skilled leader when they see one, but that's exactly what hillary clinton is. and her message, her call for support is about being the best prepared person to serve as president of the united states.
1:46 pm
if i were -- i haven't made an endorsement in the race so -- but i do recognize as i said of bernie, the contribution he made, drawing many more people, young people who are civic-minded, community-oriented but not politically interested, now they are because of bernie sanders. and that's real leadership, to inspire. a leader has to have a vision, judgment and knowledge, a plan how to go forward and to communicate that to the public in a way that inspires. and i am so confident that whoever our nominee is, whatever -- whoever that is, whatever the gender, will be able to do that. the -- elections are about the future. they're not about slogans like this. so what is it that the two candidates when they emerge have to say about the future?
1:47 pm
and i know that it would be a wonderful, glorious thing to have a woman president of the united states, but that is not the credential to be elected or to be -- have the confidence of the american people. the credential is your leadership, your knowledge, your judgment, your vision, your strategic thinking, your connection to the american people. i don't know in the history of our country that probably few people compare with the preparation that hillary clinton has to walk into that oval office. so that may be cute, you know, that kind of thing, but the fact that trump is saying and that may play in certain quarters but the fact is the responsibility we have in the campaign is to elevate the debate to a place that, again, honors the vision our founders had for this country, respect the sacrifice our men and women
1:48 pm
land o keep us this great and the freedom we enjoy and addresses the aspirations of our children. i think this is going to be a very interesting year. i hope the debate will be elevated to a place like that so when the next president takes office it will be with an understanding to the public what the legitimate differences we have between us, between the parties and where the public comes down on those issues but -- in cute statements about i don't even know which one you're referring to because he's made so many statements. eporter: you said that hillary clinton was playing the woman's card. ms. pelosi: i think hillary clinton is playing the experience card. thank you all, very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.
1:49 pm
isit] >> former virginia governor bob mcdonald was convicted of federal corruption charges for accepting gifts and loans from a businessman in exchange for giving the businessman access and influence. the former governor has appealed his conviction all the way to the supreme court saying that he did not commit any official acts in exchange for the gifts and money. the supreme court heard the oral argument in the case this week and you can hear it tonight on c-span starting at 7:45 eastern. and then the 400th anniversary of william shakespeare's death. the folger shakespeare library here in washington, d.c., marked the anniversary with actors, writers and literary scholars discussing the impact of the english playwright. you can see that tonight on c-span starting at 9:00 eastern. >> it's known as one of washington's premiere events, bringing together government officials, members of the press and hollywood stars. c-span has live coverage of the
1:50 pm
2016 white house correspondents dinner. our live coverage from the washington hilton hotel includes red carpet arrivals, background. 2,700 are expected to attend. and the host of "the nightly show" will headline and president obama will give his final speech as commander in speech. join us for the twouks white use correspondents' dinner starting at 6:00 p.m. on c-span. the u.s. pentagon said the u.s. military did not knowingly bomb a doctors without borders hospital last october in afghanistan. the pentagon says the internal investigation said it was a mistake caused by human error and equipment failure. defense secretary ashton carter will be speak being the bombing today at 2:30 oorn. you'll be able to watch that live. right now the results of the investigation of that bombing.
1:51 pm
>> thanks for being here, everyone. general votel from central command is here and is prepared to deliver an opening statement regarding the investigation. he'll be prepared to answer your question on that and other topics as well. general rther adore, votel. well, good l: morning and thank you all for being here today. i have a statement to provide and take your questions. today, u.s. central command is releasing the results of the investigation into the strike on the doctors without borders promise center in afghanistan which occurred october 3, 2015. let me first state again our deepest condolences to those injured and to the families of those killed in this incident.
1:52 pm
i am sure we are committed to learning from this tragedy and minimizing the risk of civilian casualties during future combat operations. general john cam ben, then the u.s. forces afghanistan commander, directed the investigation into this incident and william hickman was the lead investigators along with sean jenkins and u.s. air force brigadier general robert armfield. these general officers were selected because of their years of professional experience and understanding of the complex operational environment in afghanistan. they were also selected because they came from assignments outside of afghanistan and could bring an objective and independent perspective to the investigation. these officers and a supporting staff of more than a dozen associated subject matter experts visited the doctors without borders trauma center in afghanistan and various other key locations in kunduz
1:53 pm
city, interviewed more than 65 witnesses and engaged each echelon of the command in this investigation. this investigation was done with painstaking detail followed with an in-depth review progress. the progress of the investigation was guided by a pursuit for an accurate account of the facts and contributing factors associated with the incident. following his review, general campbell approved the investigation on november 21, 2015. subsequently, we were able to begin the process of redacting the more than 3,000 pages making up the report and its exhibits to ensure no classified or otherwise protected information was released while we maining true to our commitment to be as transparent as possible regarding the investigation. in line with this commitment, following today's briefing, u.s. central command will post the redacted investigation report to central command's freedom of information act reading room website which is
1:54 pm
accessible to the public. before i get to your questions, i'll briefly provide an overview of the investigation findings and outline the actions that have been taken to reduce the risk of a similar tragedy from occurring again in the future. importantly, the investigation concluded that the person involved did not know they were striking a medical facility. the intended target was an insurgent controlled site which was approximately 400 meters from the doctors without borders trauma center. the investigation found that an ac-130 gun ship aircrew in support of a u.s. special forces element that was supporting an afghan partnered ground force misidentified and struck the doctors without borders trauma center. the investigation determined that all members of both the ground force and the ac-130 aircrew did not know that they were firing on a medical facility throughout the engeagejiment. the engagement -- throughout the engagement.
1:55 pm
this engagement was human error and equipment failures. understanding the context is important. leading up to this incident, u.s. special prays pragses forces and their afghan special operations partners had been engaged in intense fighting for several consecutive days and nights in kunduz and had repelled heavy and sustained enhe attacks. the ground force was fatigued from days of fighting, still engaged with an aggressive enemy and running low on splice. in response to this urgent tactical situation, the ac-130 aircraft and crew launched from its base 69 minutes earlier than originally planned. as a result, the crew did not get all the preparatory information they would normally have received -- excuse me -- before a mission to include identification of no strike areas. their ability to receive this information while in flight was lost when one of their satellite radios failed. shortly after arriving on scene, the aircraft was fired
1:56 pm
on by a surface air missile and subsequently moved several miles away from the city center. from this distance, the aircrew received coordinate coordinates of a taliban building. when they attempted to plot the coordinates of the building, they were directed to the open field which was obviously not the correct location. the aircrew attempted to find the intended target in the nearby area. instead, they found the doctors without borders trauma center that generally matched the physical description of the building relied over the radio by the -- relayed over the radio by the ground crew. the crew mistakenly believed that it was the building. the investigation found throughout the engagement that followed, the ground force commander and the aircrew mistakenly believed that the aircrew and aircraft was firing on the intended target. i want to emphasize that the trauma center was a protected facility and was on a no-strike
1:57 pm
list. our forces did not receive fire from the trauma center during the incident, nor did the investigation find insurgents were using it as a base for operations. some insurgents were treated at the trauma center but hospitals and patients are protected on the battlefield. the trauma center was a protected facility. but it was misidentified during this engagement. the investigation concluded that certain personnel failed to comply with the rules of engagement and the law of armed conflict. however, the investigation did not conclude that these failures amounted to a war crime. the label war crimes is typically reserved for intentional acts. intentionally targeting civilians or intentionally targeting protected objects or locations. again, the investigation found that the incident resulted from a combination of unintentional human errors, processed errors and equipment failures and that none of the personnel knew they were striking a hospital. the investigation identified 16 u.s. surface members whose
1:58 pm
conduct warranted consideration for appropriate, administrative or disciplinary action, including a general officer. general campbell took the action he deemed appropriate regarding 12 of the 16 personnel involved in this tragic incident who were in afghanistan including the general officer. the actions included suspension and removal from command, letters of reprimand, formal counseling and extensive retraining. general campbell also forwarded the investigation to me at u.s. special operations command where i was serving as the commander at the time to consider action regarding the five personnel who had returned to the united states. i subsequently took action with respect to four of these five personnel by issuing letters of reprimand and admonishment and directions that the flight crew be referred to a u.s. air force flight evaluation board to assess their suitability for future flight duties. i referred the fifth service
1:59 pm
member to the lieutenant general, the commander of u.s. army special operations command who issued a written reprimand and directed recertification in the job specialty. it's important to say they can carry severe repercussions on the careers and personal qualifications of these individuals that could include denial of promotion or advancement and possible separation from the service. in light of the report's conclusion that the errors committed were unintentionally and after considering other mitigating factors such as the intense combat situation and equipment failures that affected the mission, from a senior commander's perspective, the measures taken against these individuals were appropriate to address the errors they made. let me add that we are not publicly releasing the names of these service members to protect the privacy of the individuals and because some of them remain assigned to overseas sensitive or routinely
2:00 pm
deemployable units. in addition to these personal -- deployable units. in addition to these personal measures, general campbell -- rules of engagement and the commander's tactical guidance, all which were designed to minimize the risk that a tragedy like this would occur. this training was delivered to over 9,000 personnel and completed in november of 2015. . he also directed a comprehensive review of the process and posted an order about the application no strike list. they are loaded with applicable information including the no strike list to minimize this kind of problem. u.s. forces afghanistan also provided the leadership of doctors without borders with a
2:01 pm
means to facilitate direct contact with our command centers. and today, secretary of defense carter will release a memo directing all of the services and senior commanders to take a series of correct i actions as a result of kunduz. it is clear we must take steps to reduce such incidents in the future. we have made it a priority to engage with doctors without borders and the afghan government to offer our support where we can. senior government and central command officials including me have spoke within doctors without borders officials over two dozen times to express condolences, explain how this tragic incident occurred and outline future steps. additionally, u.s. forces afghanistan lead verse offered their sympathies and provided condolence payments to more
2:02 pm
than 170 individuals and families affected by this tragedy. these modest payments are not designed to compensate victims or place value on their lives but are a gesture of sympathy. he department of defense has approved funds to construct a to ar structure in kunduz be used as a medical facility. we are committed to learning from the mistakes that were made and will work hard to train and put systems in place to reduce the risk of such an accident occurring again in the future. i'll be happy to take your questions now. >> general votel. on the matter of accountability, given the number of mistakes and severity of the consequences and despite the fact that as you said these actions were unintentional, could you explain in your own
2:03 pm
words why this did not amount to negligence warrant manager severe punishment? and also could you , in your own words, explain why this was not a war crime. general votel: let me take the last part of your question first. as i mentioned in my remarks re, by the interpretation, the legal interpretation and our understanding of this, the fact that this was unintentional, an unintentional action takes it out of the rem of actually being a deliberate war crime against persons or protected locations system of that is the principle -- principal reason we do not consider this to be a war crime. to your earlier part of your question, i personally expended a great amount of effort and time in adjudicating the cases that were provided to me. i had the opportunity to review the investigation in great
2:04 pm
detail. i consulted with my legal advisors. i consulted with my chain of command, both the army and air force side. and i personally met with the four officers that i adjudicated against. and what i concluded after that was that this was an extraordinaryly intense combat situation. ground force commander, as i mentioned in my remark, and his force had been engage for about four days in intense combat and up until the time of this particular strike had been actually fighting at the will lo -- at the location where they were. this was an extraordinaryly intense situation. they were doing a variety of actions at the same time, they were trying to support their afghan partners, they were trying to execute resupply operations and they were trying to defend themselves. so the picture i'm painting for you is a very intense situation on the ground. the air crew, as i mentioned, arrived over kunduz, shortly
2:05 pm
after arriving there was engaged by a surface to air missile. that's a significant thing, doesn't happen very often in afghanistan. they took appropriate measures, got off station and it so happens that the coordinates for this location were passed while they were off, due to some technical aspect of the system, it flew to a location that was not the right oning and they went thrit process of communicating by air and ground to do their best to locate the location. they ultimately arrived at the wrong location. in my evaluation of that, as i talked to each of these individuals that were involved, their intention was true, they were absolutely trying to do the right thing, they were trying to support our afghan partners, there was no intention on any of that are part it is take a shortcut or violate any rules that were
2:06 pm
laid out for them and they were attempting to do the right thing. unfortunately, they made a wrong judgment in this particular case. and ended up targeting this doctors without borders facility. >> general, you -- the written statement here talks about one of the -- the fifth service member who was referred to you, you referred that case to the commander of army special operations command. and he was directed to -- he was recertified. does that mean he was, this one officer who, i believe, is described in here as the ground commander, was he kicked out of the special forces? general votel: no. and let me just correct, let me just state this. the fifth member i referred to
2:07 pm
general tokol was an enlisted member a noncommissioned officer. in my estimation as i went through this, the yen had all the right tools available to him to adjudicate this. my interest as the socom commander at the time was to specifically address the actions of the officers involved in this, including the ground force commander and three officers who were in the aircraft. >> just a couple of clarifications. the flight evaluation board for the air crew, what did that determine? are they still flying? general votel: to my knowledge, up to the time i left socom a little over four weeks ago, they had not flown. my understand is the flight evaluation board is in progress and should be completed. i'm not aware, that is an air force process, so i'm not aware of what they have concluded from that.
2:08 pm
>> their boards are not complete? general votel: in the process of being completed. >> and can you say how much the condolence payments were? general votel. they were $3,000 for wounded and $600 for those killed. >> you mentioned that the ground commander, he'd been fighting at that location for several days, i think a lot of people would be surprised to hear that, that he was actively engaged in combat in afghanistan when they're not supposed to be engaged in combat. general votel: this special forces element wasn't permanently positioned up in kunduz. they were actually at another location in afghanistan. so when the situation in kunduz as a result of the taliban attack that took place there really presented a very significant security threat, he was directed by his chain of command to take his team an move up to kunduz and link up
2:09 pm
with an afghan partner force on the ground so he did that. he was very clearly in an advise and assist role there but of course they are in -- they are having to do that locations that brought him under, he and his team and the afghans sperp supporting under direct fire. and so they were very much in an intense situation here. >> the port -- the report by john campbell listed problems with the ac-130 communication systems, some sort of problems that resulted in bad targeting after an evasive maneuver. are you undertaking any awe tit or evaluation of the equipment on the ac-130 to see how systemic this is? investigating
2:10 pm
whether on ground communication is required? general votel: we are always making a constant effort to check that our systems are appropriate. air force special operations command has looked in great detail at that particular problem. in my estimation, this was not a systemic problem, this was a failure at that point of this specific radio system and antenna designed to receive data and transmit data to the ground. i'm unaware that this is a systemic problem. it was a problem that night obviously that contributed to this issue right here. with regard tohe other part of your question on jtacs, the processes that we use, of course, do account for the fact of whether we can see the target that we see or that we cannot. i remain confident in our procedures to do it either of
2:11 pm
those ways. so i do not foresee us changing anything with respect to those particular techniques and procedures that we use. i think the key point that i would highlight to you here is that the procedures are good. what does need -- what we do need -- what we did learn from this is the significant importance of clear communication between the ground and the air and that is a specific area that i and my previous -- that i in my previous role as socom commander focused our commanders on, and one we'll continue to press on. >> did the aircraft crew have a visual feed of the hospital and see that there was no fire coming from the hospital? general votel: yes, but that's not unusual, frankly. as an individual who looked at a lot of sensor you don't always see fire coming from a building. that in and of itself, the fact that they don't see fear coming from a building which is
2:12 pm
difficult to see in my estimation, is not particularly unusual. >> if you step back for a minute and look at -- you talk about the strain the forces were under after four days of combat, there's a limited american footprint in other stan compared to times, what does this say about the strain on u.s. forces in afghanistan, given the variety of attacks they've been asked to carry out? and what about reducing that burden further? general votel: i won't comment on discussions that are ongoing in terms of what our force levels will be going forward here. but i would add that the capabilities that we have on the ground now that allow taos pursue our counterterrorism objectives and allow us to continue to work with our after began partners to advise, assist, i think are appropriate to what we have.
2:13 pm
this i would highlight to you was an extreme situation. and i can't sit here and tell you we won't have more of those in the future. but this was an extreme situation we were dealing with. and an area where we did not have a normal presence of american soft forces. >> i wanted to follow up on that very point because while it's not a direct comparison, you've had another incident like this with a battle down in the south where the team has remained out overnight with wounded because you were unable to get to them, though i know you had air support for them. i guess the question is you've now had two of these instances where your teams are in the field in extreme combat, running short of supplies, is this still a risk, are you satisfied with the risk right now or now that you have two incidents, does it raise concerns for you and some
2:14 pm
adjustment in your mind? and i have a quick followup, sir. general votel: first, i remain extremely confident in our forces and leadership to make ight choices on the ground and to evaluate risks and make proper risk calls. and so this is a topic that we talk about incessantly in our train, in our preparation to deploy people about how we make those kinds of digs, how we assess risk. certainly the fact that we don't have as many people on the ground now as we did several years ago does affect how we do things system of what it requires us to be is more deliberate, more thoughtful in how we are applying our forces and how we are managing the risk with that. but in my estimation, i am re-- i remain very, very confident in our leadership's ability to
2:15 pm
do that. >> can i ask you a quick isis followup? the president has said he can no longer target mosul being centers of attacks, the secretary of talking about having enough iraqi forces to envelop mosul, having them assembled by the beginning of ram dawn. what's your assessment about the ability to get moving against mosul in iact and if you could meet the president's objective of not tolerating them if you could get mosul and iraq back out of isis' hands, what is your assessment of what that would do to them? general votel: it would take away one of their key pillar the ability to have terrain. so i'd -- as secretary pointed out repeatedly and others have pointed out, raca and mosul remain extraordinaryly
2:16 pm
important object is we are focused on. there will be other areas that we will have to work on as well. but those two are -- remain extraordinaryly important to us. >> i want to go back to the equipment question. the american public spends $100 billion a year on pro curement, they expect the equipment to work. in your press release you lumped it all together, process, human error, equipment failure. if the equipment had worked this radio system, it worked properly, would the tragedy have been averted in your view. -- in your view? >> possibly. let me -- the equipment failure that, let's talk about equipment failures here. the first equipment failure we talked about was the radio system. the antenna system that prevented them from receiving digital information that would have told them of no strike areas and other things and then would have been able to -- allowed them to send a picture to the ground. that's an important aspect right there. and that may have contributed
2:17 pm
to it. but i would also just remind you that as the aircraft got up on station, it was engaged by a surface to air missile system of they followed the proper procedure, got off station, and then we are given the grids. and the angle, again, i won't get involved in the technical aspect bus the angle they were trying to awire that caused the system to come up with a wrong location. so there are, i wouldn't point you to any specific thing that if we had not done this would have prevented this, but the combination of all of these things and an intense combat situation i think contributed to this very unfortunate ccident. >> they did not have a chronic problem over the years, this was an acute, one time only from what you saw? general votel. i'm not aware of the meantime
2:18 pm
for the failure of this political system. i'm not -- it's not something i'm aware of as a systemic problem we've seen on these aircraft for a long period of time. >> i want to be clear that i understand the authority under which the strike was conducted. as it's been described to us at the pentagon, u.s. authorities in afghanistan are limited but air strikes can be conducted to protect u.s. forces on the ground, to go after remnants of al qaeda and in cases where afghan forces are in extremis. which of those criteria applied in this case and can you explain why? >> the the ground force commander made the decision to conduct the strike under self-defense authority because he considered himself and by extension the afghan forces in proximity that he was support rting as part of his force. he chose to apply the self-defense authorities to orchestrate this strike.
2:19 pm
>> if i can follow up for a moment, in that scenario, we've seen it several times in afghanistan, it almost appears that commanders in afghanistan are getting around the limitation against supporting afghan forces in the field by simply embedding u.s. forces with them and then authorizing the strike under the self-defense authority rather than the -- to get around these restrictions against helping the afghans in their combat operations as they were trying to repel the taliban attack. general votel: i have not reached that conclusion, would not reach that conclusion at this point. i think our commanders attempt to apply the rules of engagement and the authorities are in exactly the right way they're intended but unfortunately we get in situations like this that are confusing. there is a lot on the ground. it's a fast-moving situation and we have young people, young leaders out there that are
2:20 pm
trying to make the right decision in the heat of combat and sometimes it comes up wrong. but i don't -- i would not tolerate, frankly, our commanders trying to use go-arounds to apply fires in ways other than they're intended. >> i have two questions, one the m.s.s. doctors say they called military headquarters to say they were under attack within minutes of it starting and that the attack continued for 60 to 90 minutes later. can you explain how that happened -- was that a result of radio communications being down? why did they not get that message in the air and stop? d second -- can i get your thoughts on the green beret eing reinstated who attacked
2:21 pm
an after began commander who raped a young boy. general votel: i'm not familiar with that and won't comment on that that that would normally be a service responsibility, not a u.s. central command responsibility. to the first part of your question, what the investigation reveals is the strike, lethal effects lasted for 30 minutes. what the investigation established was that at about 10 minutes into it, the doctors without borders contacted one of our command centers and passed that information to us. that went through a series of layers to get to the people on the ground. frankly, the ground force commander was not tracking medical facility so when that information first got to him that didn't immediately register. so it took a few moments, a few minutes to figure that out, that they were firing at it. but what i would add, as soon as they made that determination they stopped firing.
2:22 pm
>> that's different from the original investigation which said that the attack was over, completed by the time anybody in the airplane realized that what they were shooting at. general votel: what the investigation characterizes is when they were notified, they stopped firing. >> you talked about errors here, technical human errors. walk us through, when you look at this report, is there something in particular with a human error that jumps out at you? is it the fact that these guys had a visual on a target that they thought looked like the intended target? is it the doctors' frantically trying to call u.s. military officials to get them to stop shooting, when you read this report, with your experience, is there one thing that jumps out at you and you say to
2:23 pm
yourself, how could this possibly have happened? general votel: i think the one thing, as i went through this, that jumped out at me was the communication between the air and ground. and it was relatively concise, brief communication back and forth and in a, i think in a confusing situation like this, what i think it meritted was more discussion between what was going on. there was not complete situational awareness on the ground with what the aircraft was seeing and there was not complete situational awareness from the aircraft with what was happening with the ground force. so to me in a is about chune case and i think, again, i think both these elements were exactly trying to do the right thing, trying to get to the right answer here and do the exact right thing in accordance with the authorities they had. unfortunately, they came up short. i think communications contributed to that.
2:24 pm
>> they were shooting at this hospital for quite some time, a half-hour. were they using all the guns? were they using the 105? were they using everything? general votel: to my knowledge, i think they used all the systems available on the aircraft. >> clearly when they're looking at this build, there's no indication of enemy fire, there's no indication of fighting around there. are you concerned that they were hitting a target but there's no indication of any hostile intent? general votel: this is an area we examined in some great detail as we went through this. as i mentioned earlier, it's not uncommon to not see fire coming from a building or from a location through a sensor system. and that is my own personal experience. me trained analysts who have looked at this over a lifetime may be able to do that but it's not uncommon to not be able to identify that. so you know, yeah, the other
2:25 pm
aspect that we looked at was what was the pattern of life around this particular facility? and i think one of the contributing factors here was that what was being described by the ground force commander happening at the intended target was very closely being replicated at the doctors without borders. so they found about the same number of people, about the same general locations outside the building. and so they -- >> nobody was shooting at the hospital, correct? general votel: nobody from the afghans -- right. right. it was at a different location. >> wouldn't they think there's something wrong here? general votel: again, there's a mistaken identification of the target. so the aircraft is looking at one location, the ground force is thinking they're looking at another location. there's no way to visually confirm that back an forth between them. and their discussions, as you
2:26 pm
look at the transcripts don't add clarity to that. >> i don't want to belabor this but looking at what they saw, there was no one shoot, no one running around with r.p.g.'s, there was no fire fightin' the ground. so why would they keep hitting it? >> again, that is -- you know, again in the experience of these individuals right here, who have done these types of operations before, what they were seeing was, frankly , in line with what was being described from the ground and with their own experience. i mean, the enemy does atapt to how we operate. so they don't operate in quite an open fashion where we can always see everything we have. that is a known factor that is mixed into this with the crew. >> we have time for two more. >> i want to walk through a couple of issues that i have starting with the equipment failure, the satellite radio.
2:27 pm
i understand that was a video down link that would have gone to the jtac. is that correct? general votel: that's correct. >> surface air missile, that's a loose term. was that a manpad? general votel: that's our assessment. >> next, moving on to the hospital, what the aircraft can see what the ground forces can see. the jtac talking to the aircraft, did they have united nations the n.d.s.? i understand they were supporting a raid. >> to my knowledge he, did not have eyes on either of the locations, intended facility or the other one. >> ok. did any american have eyes on the intended target? >> they were all locate wrd the jtac was, so my understanding is no, they did not. >> and from i understand, you know you had afghan forces forward, that's who we were supporting, this air strike was authorized in self-defense of
2:28 pm
americans, so if there were no americans near the target location -- >> as i mentioned, the ground force commander made the determination that the afghan forces that he was partnered with were part of his force and so he made the decision to apply self-defense in support of his force that included these afghan partners? >> the afghan partners at the national directorate build wrg under heavy fire, right? general votel: on their way to that facility. >> so the facility was targeted y the ac-130 in extremis, when there were no effects -- what i don't understand, you're using ac-130 with full suite of guns, you pick the gun fers the situation. they're not taking -- general votel: the report is they were taking fire from the n.d.s. build, that's what prompted the call for self-defense fires.
2:29 pm
let me clarify one thing. on the jtac actually seing the building. as you are probably aware, we have a variety of techniques that allow us to call for fires properly, safely, whether we can see the intended location or whether we can cannot. in this case, they were using hose procedures. >> the release of this report occurs at the same time that another doctors without borders facility has been struck in aleppo. can you affirmatively say the u.s. had no role in that attack? general votel: i can affirmatively say the u.s. had no role in the attack on that facility. >> can i clear up one thing, hey said the force was
2:30 pm
notified they were targeting the wrong hospital but they remained fixated on the hospital because of the physical description of the building but that fact is, different than what you're saying. that they were never notified during the actual boming of the hospital. they were never notified they were strike oge the wrong target. general votel: that's my understanding. they had no idea that the facility they were striking was a medical facility. when that was determined by the ground force commander he, stopped their firing. >> thanks, everybody. thank you, general. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] >> live this afternoon to a defense department briefing with defense secretary ashton carter and joint chiefs of staff chair general joseph dunford, air force secretary debra lee james also making a
2:31 pm
personnel announcement this afternoon. we expect them to talk about the bombing of a civilian hospital in afghanistan last fall. the pentagon said the u.s. did not knowingly bomb a doctors without borders hospital. the pentagon saying its internal investigation found the bombing was a mistake caused by human error and equipment failure.
2:32 pm
2:33 pm
2:34 pm
>> just so you know, the secretary will make remarks,
2:35 pm
secretary james will make remarks. three people will make remarks.
2:36 pm
>> good afternoon, everyone i'm very honored to bring to this room a tested warrior, one of the most proven strategic thinkers across our joint general dave t is goldfein. i want to extend my congratulations to him by president obama as next air force chief of staff. secretary carter: he wrote in his book, sharing success and earning failure, quote, the most important part of success is leadership. it was because of his leadership over a demanding succession of roles, including commander of u.s. air forces, central command, director of joint staff and most recently vice chief of staff to the air force, that i recommended him
2:37 pm
to serve as next air force chief of staff. in each of these positions, dave has led with the courage and commitment of a combat-tested pilot that he is, one who logged 4,200 hours in the cook pitt, flying in the balkans, afghanistan, and iraq. centcom xperience in and his experience as component commander, he developed a deep knowledge in a region where the u.s. air force is now carrying out the vast majority of air strikes against isil. it was during that tour he end grate -- integrated the air testifies othe asiaian gulf working closely with nations who are today partners in the counterisil campaign. if confirmed as air force chief of staff, dave's extensive political military experience will be to our benefit as we continue to accelerate our
2:38 pm
efforts to deal isil a lasting defeat. as director of the joint staff and vice chief of staff for the air force, dave has also demonstrated superb skill as consensus builder and manager. during a time when our joint forces need for the air forces global reach, global power and global influence has only increased, general goldfein has helped to command the forces in an era of exceptional demand. i myself have worked with general goldfein frequently as secretary, deputy secretary, we go back quite a ways. i've seen howday's strategic approach and management skill has helped the air force maintain investments in near-term readiness while making sure we continue also the air force's vital modernization efforts. i've seen dave bring creative problem solving to bear in
2:39 pm
helping the air force manage our enterprise during a time, as i said, of insatiable demand for these resources. and as we workled together to move forward with critical new platforms including k.c. 46 tanker, the f-35 joint strike fighter and b-21 long-range strike bomber, i've seen dave's ability not just to manage current demands but to steer a course twoord the air force of the next five years, the next 50 years. from his experience at the highest levels of the air force he understands deeply the evolving nature of warfare and the threats we face. dave knows how the security environment today is far different from what we've confronted over the last 25 years. he's developed a keen appreciation for the strategic horizon and in particular, the need to develop resilient cyber and space capabilities as well, which will allow the united
2:40 pm
states to continue to dominate across all domains. he know house to foster innovation by conducting what then-chairman dempsey called a campaign of learning, program -- it's a program which drills tunnels through the twhifles pentagon and brings in experts from academia and private sector to lend insight to our efforts. across dave's career work all of that, he's also never forgotten where our greatest strength lies, and that's in our people. and in fact, on tuesday, when his nomination went to the hill and was announced publicly, he was with one of the people who has been so vital to his own career, and one might even say to his own longevity, to his being here in the first place. he was at a summit for wounded warriors and care givers at the time and jeremy hardy, one of the airmen who rescued him after his f-16 was hit in serbia 17 years ago was at his
2:41 pm
side. just happened to be at his side. great, great, meaningful coincidence. dave has never forgotten the men and women he served alongside or his responsibility to the people under his command. that's important to me, i know it's important to the president and to all of you. his nomination will ensure that the air force of the future remains as strong as the air force of today. he's demonstrated the ability to recruit and maintain talented men and women in some of the most critical fields of the future, including cyber, intelligence, battlefield airmen, from cyberspace to outer space to the defense of the global commons, every one of us benefits from the security and peace of mind the united states air force provide. -- provides. when there's no -- there's no one more qualified to serve as our next air force chief of
2:42 pm
staff. to lead the 660,000 men and women of the air force as they confront today's full spectrum threats and prepare for future challenges. it's my hope that his nomination will move through quick -- will move quickly through congress. i'm sure it will. i also want to congratulate an thank dave's wife, dawn, and not here, but daughters diana and his other daughter dani. you're getting the pattern, this will be easy to remember. this is good. dave, dawn, diana and dani. we'll all be in the same row boat here for quite a while, good to have a way to remember that. dani is an air force captain herself, caring for a -- carrying forward a proud family tradition. i want to thank them also for their continued service and support. and finally, while there'll be ample time for celebration and
2:43 pm
congratulations, i also want to thank general mark welch for his strong and steady leadership as air force chief of staff over the last four years. mark and his family, especially his wife betty, have given so much to this country over so many difficult tours. i've work sod long with him that i hardly know what it will be like around here without mark welsch. on behalf of this department and a grateful nation, i want to say thank you to mark for four decades of selfless and skillful service. to this country. let me now turn it over to a leader who knows general goldfein very well and will be a great partner in the time to come and that's our excellent air force secretary, debbie james. secretary james: thank you very much, secretary carter. i too would just reich to take a few moments with all of you today and echo secretary
2:44 pm
carter's comments but i'd like to begin with just a few comments about general welch. first of all i want to thank you, mark, and you, betty, for the 40 years dedicated service to our nation and as the secretary said, we are looking forward to celebrating your combined legacy extensively later on this year. but from day one on the job, as our chief of staff of the united states air force, general welch has made it his daily mission to ensure that we maintain the greatest air force on the planet and because, precisely because of his steadfast leadership and the ability to rally our approximately 660,000 airmen of the u.s. air force, we've done exactly that. you see, it was his strategic vision that established global vigilance, global reach and global power as air force hallmarks and we were able to deliver these combat capabilities to the joint force in operations enduring freedom,
2:45 pm
freedom sentinel and inherent resolve. it was under general welch's watch that we advanced the ball in so many ways. we improved our nuclear enterprise while maintaining a safe, secure and credible nuclear deterrent. we're working also diligently to modernize air, space and cyberspace capabilities. but most importantly of all, mark and betty understand the importance of taking care of people which is always number one with us. and together, they have championed our push to improve wounded warrior care and to professionalize airmen development, to improve diversity and inclusion in our air force, take care of our families and the liths go -- list goes on and on. these are true people individuals. as i look forward to the future and examine today's tra stiege -- strategic landscape, i can think of none other better suited to follow in general welch's shoes than our next
2:46 pm
chief of staff, general dave goldfein. president obama certainly nominated a battle proven and highly respected airman in dave, someone who also cares very, very deeply about our people and as secretary carter noted, i, too, hope his nomination will move swiftly through the process. as the 21st chief of staff of the air force, he will bring his extensive experience and unique qualifications to bear as the air force seeks to address today's increasingly complex and very challenging geopolitical environment. as you already heard, earlier in his career he was flying combat missions and later on led the entire middle east air campaign in his time as the combined forces air component commander. then as director of the joint staff he helped ensure the u.s.'s ability to defend the homeland and conduct missions abroad despite what i think everyone would agree has been a highly challenging fiscal environment.
2:47 pm
and most recently as vice chief of staff together our undersecretary he, had played a major, major role in developing our air force budget, in developing the air force's input and contribution to the third offset strategy, and also has worked tirelessly to increase our capabilities in all three of our war fighting domains. moving forwarding i know we'll be able to rely on dave's ability to partner with the congress and other stake holders to serve some of our most pressing national security oncerns. i know if confirmed this will be an honor, it will be a privilege and it will be a challenge. i know that you, dave, and you, dawn, are up for that challenge
2:48 pm
and you and your family are lso thankful for that unt. so general goldfein, many, manien co granulations on your omination. general goldfein: thank you for your trust and confidence. i'm reminded of a time when i was young squadron commander and our then chief of staff of the air force, john jumper, came and talked to all of us and he said something i've never forgotten he feel looked at all of us and said, never forget, it's truly an honor to be chosen to lead in the united states air force. and your job every day is to be worthy of that honor. that's my commitment to you. to ensure i am worthy of this honor. not only for you, the president, madam speaker, but for -- madam secretary, but
2:49 pm
also for the active duty, guard and reserve who make up today's greatest air force. if confirmed i'm also looking forward to joining my fellow chiefs and the chairman to offer creative sloughs to many of the complex challenges we face as a nation. so i look forward to getting started and i thank you again for your trust and confidence. >> secretary carter, can we ask ou -- >> former virginia governor bob mcdonell was convicted of federal corruption charges for accepting gifts and loans from a businessman and in exchange giving the businessman access and influence.
2:50 pm
former governor has appealed his conviction to the supreme court saying he didn't commit any official acts in exchange for the gift theansd money. the supreme court heard the oral argument in the case this week. you'll be able to hear it tonight on c-span starting at 7:45 eastern. then it's the 400th anniversary of william shake spire's death. the foal jer shakespeare library marked the anniversary with actors, writers, and others discussing the life of the playwright. watch that tonight on c-span starting at 9:00 eastern. the white house correspondents' dinner coming up saturday. live coverage starts at 6:00 p.m. this will be president obama's final speech at the dinner. we'll also here from "nightly show" host larry willmore. >> independent media is the oxygen of democracyful it's essential. holding those in tower accountable. we're not there to serve some kind of corporate agenda.
2:51 pm
when we cover war and peace, we're not brought to you by the weapons manufacturers. > sunday night on "q&a," amy goodman, host and executive producer of "democracy now" talks about the book she co-authored, "democracy now" which looks back at some of the shows an people the show has covered. >> it hasn't changed. bringing out the voice of people at the grass roots in the united states and around the world. and they very much represent, i think, the majority of people. i mean, i think people who are concerned, deeply, about war and peace, about the gring inequality in this country, about climate change, the state of the planet, are not a fringe minority. not even a silent majority. but the silenced majority,
2:52 pm
silenced by the corporate media, which is why we have to take it back. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q&a." >> immigration and customs enforcement director sara saldana testified before the house oversight and government reform committee yesterday about the agency's deportation practices. some committee members question why those quicked of violent offenses were released. she said 2/3 of the releases were ordered by a judge. utah congressman jason chaffetz chairs the committee. mr. chaffetz: the committee on government and oversight reform
2:53 pm
will come to order and without objection, the chair is authorized to declare a recess at any time. preparing for this hearing has -- i'm telling you, it's hard to keep your cool in preparing for this meeting. let me tell you the heart of why we're here today. immigration-customs enforcement. i've met with the men and women who work there. wonderful, hardworking, dedicated people who do a hard and difficult job. but i've got to tell you, what's going on at homeland security, what's going on with immigration-customs enforcement is one of the most infuriating things i think i've ever seen in this government yet. in a three-year period, immigrations and customs enforcement has released more than 86,000 criminal aliens into the american public. these are people that were here illegally, got caught committing a crime, were
2:54 pm
convicted of that crime, and then instead of deporting them they were just released back out into the united states of america. all told, they had more than 231,000 crimes that they were convicted of. 86,000 of these people. in 2015, 196 of these people and onvicted of homicide i.c.e. released them back into the public rather than deporting them. 124 of those that were released between fiscal year 2010 and 015 went on to commit homicide . let me give you some other stats. n 2013, i.c.e. released 36,007 criminal aliens who were here unlawfully and present in the united states. as of september, 2014, 5,700 of
2:55 pm
those individuals went on to commit additional crimes. in march of 2015, i.c.e. director saldana testified before this committee that in fiscal year 2014, i.c.e. released another 30,000 individuals with criminal convictioned. 58 criminal sed 30,5 aliens who had convictions instead of deporting them. criminal e 30,558 aliens, 1,895 were charged with another crime following their release. their convictions included sex offenses, assault, burglary, robbery, driving under the influence, and i.c.e. told us in 2015, the agency released 19,723 criminal aliens with a combined 64,19 convictions, ncluding 934 sex offenses, 804
2:56 pm
robberies, 216 kidnappings and 196 homicide-related convictions. and that's on your watch. they were under -- they were here illegally, got caught committing a crime, convicted of the crime and instead of following the law and report -- deporting them, they were released and committed more crimes. how do you release those people? how do you go back to families and say, we thought it would be better to let them out into the united states of america. that is so wholly unacceptable. i want to show you this, this is notre dame football stadium. you've released more people that were quicked of crimes that should have been deported than you can fit in that stadium. you'd still have people waiting outside. those are the criminals that you released instead of deporting. one of the people that's very passionate about this issue and spent a lot of time on it is
2:57 pm
our colleague, mr. desantis of florida, i'd like to yield time to him. mr. desantis: we in this country, the government at all levels, has a responsibility to protect the safety of the american people. for the federal government most of the crimes committed, particularly violent crimes, are handled at the state level. i wish we could prevent every crime from happening. i wish we could. but the fact of the matter is we rely on derternts, we rely on penalties to prevent people from committing crimes. but in this case, this is an of where government could have prevented all of these crimes. you have somebody, and the story that came out, i thought, was shocking, where between fiscal year 2010 and february of 2015, there were 124 individuals who were in the country illegally, had been previously detained by i.c.e. and were released that were charged with homicide. you look at the number of convictions that we've seen for
2:58 pm
people who have been released by i.c.e. even after being convicted of rape, of homicide, of domestic violence, violence against women. other sex offenses. this is putting the american people at risk. something is wrong, something needs to change, we've tried to highlight this over and over again. we get the numbers of convictions. finally given to us for 2015 and it's startling. we're told that, oh, we're going to focus on getting these criminals, yet you have criminals in your possession, don't have a right to be hering should be returned to their home country, yet they're released into american society and then they reoffend. so mr. chairman, i thank you for having this hearing, this is immensely, immensely frustrating issue to see this, because some of these crime victims, the families, you can say to them, had the federal government simply done its job, maybe your loved one would be here today.
2:59 pm
yield back. mr. chaffetz: i thank the gentleman. director saldana who is about to testify before us, testified before us before and said, we welcome any resources, we welcome any amount of money. we are doing the best we can with resources we have. except in june of 2015, department of homeland security leadership took $114 million from i.c.e.'s enforcement budget and asked them to reprogram it to other d.h.s. components with no role in immigration. in the latest budget justification, homeland security seeks $185 million less, less for deportation and transportation. despite a mandate in the law requiring i.c.e. to maintain 34,000 detention beds, i.c.e. only wants funting for 30,913. this administration's failure
3:00 pm
do secure our border and hold criminal aliens accountable reecreates an ongoing threat to our public safety and sometimes delays consequences for innocent americans. many of those losses are preventable. the numbers became real in 2015. during the hearing, we heard testimony from mr. shaw whose 17-year-old son was murdered by pedro espinosa, an alien living in the united states illegally. he had been released from jail on a conviction for brandishing a weapon before the shaw slaying. this is a weapons conviction. we also heard from the unck of grant. grant was killed in mesa, arizona, while working an overnight shift at a local convenience store. just trying to do the right thing. alleged killer was in removal proceedings due to burglary co


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on