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tv   U.S. House of Representatives Legislative Business  CSPAN  December 6, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm EST

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the united states senate and this is still a fitting memorial to mr. evans and recognition of his life in public service. reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from mariana islands. mr. sablan: i yield myself such time as i may consume. visitors visit rain forests and to climb some of the tallest peaks of our country. were it not for the forward thinking of individuals who sought protection for these wild lands decades ago, this could have been destroyed. today, we recognize one of the forward-thinking individuals, senator daniel j. evans of washington state, and thank to senator evans, these areas are maintained in perpetuity due in no small part through the passage of the wilderness bills
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that protect them. a staunch supporter of the bipartisan wilderness act, senator evans helped establish this bedrock environmental law which ensures this increasingly rare and pristine lands are protected permanently for enjoyment by all. thanks to the members for supporting this legislation. i recognize the important work of one of the great public lands champion, senator daniel j. evans. i ask my colleagues for support of this bill and having no more speakers, i yield myself -- i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from utah. mr. bishop: this is another excellent bill and i urge adoption and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass senate 3028, as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no.
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in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. mr. bishop: mr. speaker, on that i ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those favoring the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this question will be postponed.
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the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from louisiana seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i move that the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 875, the cross-border trade enhancement act of 2016, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 875, a bill to provide for alternative financing arrangements for the provision of certain services and the construction and maintenance of infrastructure at land border ports of entry, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from louisiana, mr. boustany, and the gentleman from texas, mr. cuellar, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from louisiana. mr. boustany: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and
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include extraneous material on h.r. 875, currently under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. boustany: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. boustany: h.r. 875, the cross-border trade enhancement act of 2016, is a commonsense, broadly supported bipartisan bill that will provide a mechanism for increased trade enforcement while enhancing the facilitation of legit mate trade in travel. i'm pleased to note the other body passed an identical bill the last week signaling widespread support. through this legislation we continue to demonstrate our commitment to providing the necessary tools to maintain american economic competitiveness while preventing the entry of illicit goods into the united states. u.s. customs and border protection is a federal law enforcement agency responsible for facilitating international travel and trade at our nation's ports of entry as well as detecting and interdicting
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counterfeit, unsafe and fraudulently entered goods. last year, c.b.p. processed more than 382 million passengers at the nation's 328 land, sea and land ports of entry and over $2.4 trillion worth of goods. c.b.p. estimates that inbound trade and traffic will continue to grow. in 2013 and 2014, congress created a five-year pilot program authorizing c.b.p. to enter into reimbursement -- reimbursable agreements to deal with increased trade and traffic at the ports of entry. these allow for additional inspection services beyond what c.b.p. would normally have allocated at ports of entry. they provided additional resources to increase enforcement and processing capacity and to improve data infrastructure at our ports. since 2013, c.b.p. has entered
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into reimbursable agreements with 29 stakeholders and land, sea ports of entry. they contributed to more than 125,000 additional processing hours to meet stakeholder demand during the -- during which three million travelers and almost 460,000 vehicles were processed. the pilot programs have been widely regarded as forward-leaning and an effective way to enforce our laws at the border and to meet the demands of increased trade and travel. today's legislation would move beyond these tested pilot programs to establish a more permanent authority for c.b.p. to enter into these arrangements, providing the opportunity to make c.b.p. more efficient and effective at our borders. i urge my colleagues to support this legislation and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. without objection, the gentleman from massachusetts will control the time. >> thank you, mr. speaker and i yield myself such time as i may
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consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. >> mr. speaker, i stand in support of the cross-border trade enhancement act of 2016. this bill offers a pragmatic and bipartisan solution to a real and growing problem, customs and border protection simply has not been able to keep pace with and they need the resources that we can provide to help them keep pace with the dramatic growth of travel and trade in the united states. in the last fiscal year, for example, c.b.p. processed more than 384 million passengers and more than $2.4 trillion of imported goods through our air, land and sea ports, but c.b.p. staffing levels have not kept pace with growth over the years. the result has been substantial and unnecessary delays as passengers and cargo ships wait to be processed. not only is this a bipartisan issue, but just as importantly i think it calls into meeting how we might solve some of the problems that confront america
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economically. mr. neal: case in point, it is generally large businesses, medium-sized businesses and small businesses who tend not to take a position in support of more government but in this instance ask for more government. there's nothing wrong with that inconsistency. in fact, i think in this particular instance it works quite well because they will ask for more agents for the purpose of moving cargo faster. i think that's an entirely reasonable position. this bill will help to address those delays by increasing trade and travel inefficiencies and by eliminating unnecessary red tape in the hiring process at no cost to the taxpayer. this approach already has been tested and has passed the test. in 2013 and 2014, congress authorized pilot programs, as dr. boustany has noted, to enable c.b.p. to enter into agreements with the private sector, state and local government entities that would
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reimburse c.b.p. for customs-related personnel services at ports of entry. these public-private agreements are believed to have decreased wait times by an average of 30% at ports where they were implemented. the bill also allows for more of these agreements and for a longer period of time. for this reason i support this bipartisan bill and urge my colleagues to vote for later on this afternoon. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman reserve? mr. neal: i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from louisiana. mr. boustany: mr. speaker, i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the gentleman from texas, mr. hurd. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized for two minutes. mr. hurd: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today in support of h.r. 875, the cross-border trade enhancement act. this bipartisan bill is the product of significant work throughout the course of the 114th congress, across both chambers and across committee jurisdiction to ensure a program that many border communities rely upon and continues to return dividends.
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i'm proud to represent over 800 miles of the u.s.-mexico border, including the communities and the businesses that thrive on cross-border trade. over the past two decades, our nation's trade with mexico has grown by leaps and bounds. much of it through our land ports of entry. businesses e, texas exported $92 billion in goods and services to mexico. that's $92 billion with a b. more than the next four largest markets combined. however, border infrastructure has not kept up with the growth. the lack of infrastructure and staffing mess to support increased levels of trade crossing into this country has a very real impact on those we serve and work there daily. this legislation fixes a problem by empowering local leaders and increasing flexibility with little to no cost to the federal government and taxpayers. by allowing local communities
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and organizations to form public-private partnerships with the federal government and to make improvements to our ports of entry, we are investing in the infrastructure that supports our economy. similar legislation passed the house in a bipartisan manner earlier this year and was passed out of the senate unanimously. failure to capitalize on this momentum merely leaves this kitcal program adrift right -- critical program adrift right when its benefits will be realized. this will have a tremendous impact on not only the region but on our nation. i want to thank the leadership of fellow texans and my friends, senator cornyn, mr. cuellar, mr. o'rourke, and i urge my colleagues to support this legislation. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from louisiana reserves. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. neal: thank you, mr. speaker. at this time i'd like to recognize the gentleman from texas, mr. cuellar, who has been a leader on this very issue and has helped design the
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very product that's in front of us today, and i think he can take great satisfaction from the bipartisan nature of the legislation that we are about to entertain and i recognize mr. cuellar for five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. cuellar: thank you. thank you very much. thank you for the time. thank you, again, for you and your staff, for helping to put this together. i appreciate this. i also want to thank mr. boustany, again, and the staff, also, for putting this in a very fast-moving track and i thank you very much. and in particular, a good old friend and i say good old friend in a nice way, chairman brady. we go back in the state legislature. we had been working in texas on these issues for so many years. i want to thank chairman brady and the staff for moving this bill quickly. in particular, i want to thank my colleagues. i have mr. hurd over here that has a lot of border and he's got a lot of ports of entry and i want to thank him for his leadership on this bill. also want to thank beto
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o'rourke, my friend from el paso who knows, just like mr. hurd does, understand the importance of trade so i want to thank them and, of course, our senate sponsor, senator cornyn, that has done a great job on this particular bill. . this act is a bill that builds on the work that chairman john carter and myself added in the appropriation bill back in 2013 and 2014. to ease the delays and improve the infrastructure at our nation's land, sea, and airports of entry. as it's been said, trade and travel to the u.s. has been increasing for the last 10 years. in fiscal year 2015, our nation saw 382 million travelers that process -- that were processed at the nation's 328 land, sea, and airports of entry. in fact, if you look at the -- in particular i want to emphasize the land ports of entry. over 80% of all people coming
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into the united states, all the goods that come into the united states come through land ports of entry. this is why this bill is very important. as was mention add few minutes ago, $2.4 trillion of trade was processed at our ports of entry, and just as an example, i know mr. hurd mentioned it. i know mr. o'rourke has entioned it, but in my port of entry, laredo, small town of 250,000, but it handles 14,000 traders a day of trade between the u.s. and mexico. and if you look at customs districts, you have l.a., new york, and then you have laredo. this bill is very important to laredo anti-rest of the border itself. but despite this growing trait that we have in our ports of entry, c.b.p. staffing levels have been stagnant. back in 2014 the appropriation committee, congress, authorized
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ver $255 million to increase c.b.p. work force which includes hiring 2,000 new c.b.p. officers. however, they have been struggling to hire those 2,000 c.b.p. officers due to attrition, but also due to the time that it takes a long time to hire these new officers itself. the other part that's important is that if you look at the land ports of entry, for example, there are a lot of challenge, and i'm talking about the southern and northern port of entries that we have, in fact, it will cost us about $5 billion of capital improvement to make sure that we do this work. what are we doing in congress? we are adding about $146 million a year to this $5 billion that we need. so at this rate of $146 million a year, it would take 34 years to meet those -- that $5
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billion that we need. therefore the federal government is not going to add those appropriations. i understand money's tight. we need to bring in the local government and especially the private sector to make sure that we address this undersized facilities, outmoded technology that we have, the officer safety issues we have, the long wait times we have which i call parking lots because a lot of times it's trucks waiting in the middle of the bridge to have this. so therefore what we did is on section 559 and 560 what we did is we said we are going to bring the private sector and it's worked well. it's worked well in doing this. we have seen, and i think it's been mentioned, but i'll mention it again, we entered into 29 of those stakeholders reimbursement service agreements, and we saw more additional processing hours to make sure that we move three million additional travelers,
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and almost $460,000 -- 460,000 new vehicles. this is going to help us. what does this bill do? it will expands the pilot program in many ways and authorize it for 10 years. this bill will limit the number of reimbursable service agreements that we have at the ports of entry. but more importantly it's going to allow us to hire c.b.p. officers faster. and i know the chairman knows this very well, imagine if we have this, as my time is about to finish, but we got to bring eople into the c.b.p. office -- officers faster and this is what this bill will do. again i want to thank the house sponsors, the senate, senator corn yirn in -- cornyn in particular. chairman michael mccaul also, and mr. hurd and mr. o'rourke, and also on the senate side, senator cornyn and senator klobuchar to make sure we did it and doing it in a bipartisan way.
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again i yield back the balance of my time and i ask we pass this bill. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the chafment massachusetts reserves. -- the gentleman from massachusetts reserves. the gentleman from louisiana. mr. boustany: i'm pleased to yield three minutes to the gentleman from nevada, mr. amodei. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from nevada is recognized for three minutes. mr. amodei: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you to my major league from the pelican state and my colleague from the bay state. i'm nervous, i don't want to break up this lone star reunion here, but speaking from a small 34r5eus in the inner mountain west, section 481 addresses the c.b.p. staffing issue at smaller land port of entry parptse. as we all know the c.b.p. mission at our numerous ports of entry is growing and adequate staffing at the larger ports needs to be augmented. however airport authorities in smaller land ports of entry are also increasing their international passenger counts and need additional c.b.p. personnel to adequately screen their passengers.
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the language contained herein allow small land port airports to reimburse c.b.p., the actual cost of assigning up to five more c.b.p. screening personnel, thereby keeping screening times within reasonable limits for those air passengers. this language represents bicameral, bipartisan nationwide consensus on a needed staffing reimbursement option for c.b.p. similarly, i urge your bipartisan nationwide support. god bless the state of texas and the other 49 also. thank you very much. i yield back, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from louisiana roist. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. neal: at this time i'd like to introduce another individual who has profound influence on this legislation and a long time interest as well. the gentleman from texas, mr. o'rourke, for five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized for five minutes. mr. o'rourke: i thank the gentleman from massachusetts and our new ranking member on the committee for yielding. and for his work on this
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important bill. there are few things as important for us in this congress to work on than in creating more jobs and sustaining those that we have right now. u.s.-mexico trade today supports more than six million jobs in every single state of the union. 500,000 jobs in the state of texas alone, and one out of every four jobs in the community that i have the honor to represent, el paso, texas. but the men and women who serve in the customs and border frokes, the officers in blue at our ports of entry, are understaffed and overstressed. they need our help. and what we are doing in this bill is allowing local communities and local stakeholders who have an interest in the success of our ports of entry and u.s.-mexico trade and creating more jobs to fund the necessary overtime hours and infrastructure improvements at those ports. i want to thank my colleagues pr both sides of the aisle and -- from both sides of the aisle and both chambers, senator cornyn in the other chamber,
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members cuellar and hurd and others in this one who see the wisdom in allowing local communities to fill the gap where government has been unable to do so. hether it's the $90 billion in u.s.-mexico trade that passes the el paso port of entry or the 32 million inspections conducted there, this is a way to grow our economy. it's a way to ensure that we are more secure because we know precisely who is coming in when we have the manpower and infrastructure to inspect all those who want to cross in here. and we are allowing local communities, and not the federal government, to pick up the tab in a way that's going to benefit this country as a whole. i couldn't help but notice the current chair of the house veterans' affairs committee, the incoming chair and the ranking member, who are all here. i know they are all pleased to see in this bill an expedited process to hire our veterans, to transition them from active duty service to meaningful employment as a customs officer through a spited process n this
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bill that means -- expedited process. in this bill it means we put more veterans to work, better for this country. this is a bill that should have the support of every single member of this congress. i urge its quick passage. i yield back to the gentleman from massachusetts. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from massachusetts reserves. the gentleman from louisiana. mr. boustany: we have no other members wishing to speak on the bill. we are prepared to close. i'll reserve at this time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from louisiana reserves. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. neal: i want to thank dr. boustany, who has been a friend on the ways and means committee, i assume this might be his last time handling legislation on the floor. it was great to work with over the years. i take some satisfaction, mr. speaker, that having either been chairman or ranking member on the tax subcommittee of ways and means, that i simply wore them all down because every two years they would send somebody else over to share that responsibility. dr. boustany is a real
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gentleman and he's been a friend and very nice guy to work with. with that being no further speakers on our side, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from louisiana. mr. boustany: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. i want to thank the gentleman for his very, very kind words. it's been a true pleasure working with him on the tax policy subcommittee. i want to congratulate him on becoming ranking member of the ways and means committee. i know you're going to do a fabulous job. i'm only sorry i won't be around next year to work with you and beyond. congratulation, godspeed. get tax reform done. mr. speaker, i urge my colleagues to support the cross border trade enhancement act of 2016 to strengthen our ability to enforce u.s. trade laws. i'm pleased our solution has such strong bipartisan support and makes good on our commitment to stop the blow of illicit goods while also facilitating legitimate trade that is vital to american economic competitiveness. i urge passage of this bill and
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i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 875, as amended. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from louisiana seek recognition? mr. boustany: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that the committee on ways and means be discharged from further consideration of h.r. 6438, and ask for its immediate consideration in the house. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 6438, a bill to extend the waiver of limitations with respect to excluding from gross income amounts received by wrongfully incarcerated individuals. the speaker pro tempore: is there objection to the consideration of the bill? without objection, the bill is engrossed, read a third time, and passed. the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table.
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without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from tennessee seek recognition? mr. roe: move to suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 6416. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 6416, a bill to amend title 38 united states code to make certain improvements and laws administered by the secretary of veterans affairs, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from tennessee, mr. roe, and the gentleman from
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california, mr. takano, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from tennessee. mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and . tend their remarks the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. roe: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. roe: mr. speaker, i rise today in support of h.r. 6416, the jeff miller and richard blue men tall veterans health care and benefits improvement act of 2016. this bipartisan, bicameral legislation represents a significant portion of the committee's hard work throughout the 114th congress and contains numerous provisions that would improve health care benefits and services for those that are most deserving -- our nations heroes. i'm proud to report so far this congress the house has passed 60 veterans related bills. the close of business tomorrow that tally will be 68. the text of many of those bills can be found within h.r. 6416.
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while we do not have enough time for me to go through every worthwhile section of this legislation, do i want to touch on just a few. among the provision that is would improve disability benefits is one that would allow physicians who are under contract with the v.a. and who have unrestricted licenses to conduct disability examinations in any state regardless of where that facian is licensed. another provision would extend the temporary expansion of the court of -- court for veterans claims to nine judges through 2020. which would help the court address the growing number of cases and ensure the veterans receive the court's decision in a timely manner. three proposals sponsored by chairman miller would ensure that all veterans have the opportunity for -- to have future generations remember and respect their lives and their service by directing v.a. to provide a medallion to be affixed to the head stone in a private cemetery that signifies that a deceased person is a
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veteran. . permitting them to have a medallion or marker for the deceased medal of honor recipients and providing presidential memorial certificates who serve in the national guard and reserve even if they were never called to active duty. other provisions of the bill would make needed improvements to education, vocational rehabilitation and employment benefits to better support veterans by one prioritizing rehabilitation services for the most disabled veterans, increasing approval and access to oversight processes for education programs and schools, improving coordination between federal and state agencies who provide employment services to veterans, expanding eligibility for work study programs, extending the amount of time spouses of fallen service members have to use the g.i. bill's benefits and by extending in-state tuition rate limit to dependents of those
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still serving on active duty, a policy change that will allow v.a. to fully cover their tuition charges. finally, this bill also contains numerous provisions that would improve the health and care of v.a. -- the v.a. provides our veterans. to increase accountability, oversight and transparency of the v.a. health care system, it would require v.a. to produce and provide an annual report on a number of critical measures of care. to improve the provision of care to those facing a health emergency, it would clarify v.a.'s responsibility to provide medical screenings and treatment to individuals requesting to be seen in a v.a. emergency room, including women in labor, and ensure that v.a. emergency room physicians are afforded the schedule flexibility that their private sector colleagues enjoy and the nature of their work demands. to address ongoing concerns about the potential impact of
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toxic exposure on descendents would require v.a. to enter of o have a report of those toxic exposure and establish v.a. to establish an advisory board to advise the secretary on further research. that provision is strongly supported by vietnam veterans of america, and i'm glad to see it included here. the bill also includes provisiones that would require reforms to v.a.'s medical facility construction processees and procedures. the many failures of v.a.'s current construction program had been well publicized and continue to be a focus of this committee's oversight next congress so that we can all be assured that v.a. both has the facilities it needs to provide the care our veterans deserve and is responsible -- a responsible steward of taxpayer
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dollars. unfortunately, we're unable to get every provision that cleared this chamber or the committee included in this legislation which only means there's still work to be done next year and beyond. i am grateful to all the members who have contributed thought of the and most importantly needed legislation throughout this congress in support of our veterans. mr. speaker, i urge my colleagues to support me and supporting h.r. 6416 a bill named in part after chairman miller and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from california. mr. takai: mr. speaker, i rise in support the jeff miller and richard blumenthal veterans health care and benefits improvement act of 2016. this is a testament to the house and senate veterans' affairs committees. the bill contains numerous pieces of legislation supported
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on both sides of the aisle. i want to thank chairman miller, both democrats and republicans forks their hard work putting together an omnibus bill that will improve the care and support we provide to america's veterans. mr. takano: i want to specifically acknowledge our committee members, representative brown, representative titus, dr. ruiz, representative o'rourke, representative rice, representative walz and representative mcnerney, and many other democratic colleagues. representative pingree and representative frankel, senator-elect duckworth, representative gallego, representative hahn and representative sinema all who made valuable contributions to this bill. i also would like to take this time to congratulate dr. roe on his selection as the next chairman of the house veterans' affairs committee. i look forward to working with you, sir, in order to preserve the bipartisan nature of this committee in the 115th congress so we can do what is best for
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veterans. it is fitting that we are taking this bill up on the eve of the attack on pearl harbor. december 7, 1941, is remembered not just for the 2,300 americans who lost -- that we lost that day, but also for the heroic response of so many americans that followed. it is a reminder of sacrifices -- of the sacrifices of millions of young men and women -- of the millions of young men and women that have made -- that made in the service to our nation. it's a reminder the debt we owe them. as the ranking member of the economic opportunity subcommittee and as a former community college trustee, i am pleased that this bill contains several provisions that will improve veterans' education and employment prospects after they serve. i've enjoyed collaborating with chairman wenstrup and i'm proud of the bills our subcommittee has moved forward. this bill before us today contains language from h.r.
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2360, the career-ready student veterans act, which i introduced last may, tone sure veterans who use their hard-earned post-9/11 g.i. bill will attend programs that will prepare them for their career in their chosen field. and has proper accreditation, licensure and certain requirements in order to serve student veterans who are using post-9/11 g.i. bill benefits. the department of defense already has this policy in place to protect service members using tuition assistance benefits. it only makes sense that congress should protect student veterans in the very same way. this provision is supported by the american legion, the v.f.w., iava and other v.s.o.'s. this bill also includes h.r. 2361, work study for student veterans act, which i introduced along with chairman wenstrup, and it re-authorizes certain work study activities for individuals receiving educational assistance through
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the v.a. the current authorization expired in 2013. this bill re-authorizes the program through 2021. through the v.a.'s student work study allowance program, qualifying student veterans in college degree programs or vocational professional programs are paid to work in a variety of capacities on campus, at v.a. facilities and at other veteran center organizations to assist other veterans. this provision will reinstate expired activities to allow participating veterans more options when entering v.a.'s work study program. the work study program achieves two important goals -- offering student veterans a way to earn a little extra money and providing transitional veterans of the help from other veterans who know what that transition is like. peer-to-peer support someone of the most effective methods we have to help veterans meet the challenges of civilian life. i worked with congresswoman rad wagan to introduce --
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congresswoman radewagen, to introduce a bill which requires the v.a., the department of labor and the department of defense to study the effectiveness of veterans' transition programs for women veterans and other minority groups. this policy will help us learn how we can specialize transition programs for minority veterans in order to meet their unique needs and overcome barriers to employment. the specific groups that will be included in this study include women veterans, veterans with disabilities, native american veterans, insular island veterans from the u.s. territories and other groups as determined by the secretaries. this generation of veterans is the most diverse in american history, and we must be prepared to support every person who has served. i am pleased to have worked on this legislation in a bipartisan fashion, and i'm glad it was included in the omnibus before us today. i believe it will ensure the best outcome for all veterans during their transition from
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military to civilian life. frye 146 improves the scholarship for the children and spouses of fallen soldiers. the bill includes h.r. 2531, introduced by representative and now senator-elect tammy duckworth, an iraq war combat veteran. this provision will provide surviving spouses whose husband or wife died in the line of /2001 the time to use the 36-month benefit from the frye scholarship without fear of it cutting short. the frye scholarship is given to children and spouses of our fallen troops. currently, public law cuts off frye scholarship eligibility 15 years from the date of a service member's death. unfortunately, this means that spouses who lost a loved one shortly after 9/11 could be out of time to use an educational
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benefit that is good for 36 months of enrollment and is normally used over the course of four years. this policy will allow gold star families whose eligibility will end before they can fully use their benefit to complete their education. there are several very important provisions in h.r. 6146 that i'd like to highlight in the area of claims processing and how we as a nation honor and memorialize our nation's heroes. chairman abraham and ranking member titus of the subcommittee on disability and assistance and memorial affairs, have worked hard for the last two years and it shows by the almost two dozen provisions produced by their subcommittee that are included in this bill. one of these is the long overdue -- the honor america's guard reserve retirees act, introduced by my friend from minnesota, tim walz, which confers honorary veteran status
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to guard and reserve members who served for 20 years and who would otherwise not meet the full requirement for veteran status under the u.s. code. these service members wear the same uniform, receive the same training, subject to the same code of military justice and in many cases fight and die alongside active duty troops in war. it's clear why receiving this honor is so important to them, and i'm very happy to be here today to support mr. walz's legislation. i'd also like to highlight four bills introduced by minority members of the veterans' committee intended to expedite veterans' claims for various types of benefits. .r. 6146 also contains the veterans access to speedy which requires the board of veterans appeals. again, this simple, sensible approach can speed up the
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benefits appeal process for veterans who are comfortable with video -- with a video conference format. this will mean that many veterans will no longer have to wait for an in-person hearing and will no longer have -- will no longer need to travel, saving them time, money and the stress of traveling, which is particularly difficult for a disabled veteran. this bill also includes two sections drafted by congressman o'rourke and ranking member titus that will increase v.a. transparency so that congressional policymakers and the public know how the v.a.'s doing with its processing of veterans' claims and appeals. the first section requires that the v.a. publish average times for processing claims and appeals, including those that are timely and overdue. the second section requires a g.a.o. study of the veterans' benefits administration regional offices to determine the management and communication factors that distinguish higher performing officers from the average and
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lower performing offices. there's another group of veterans that deserve our greatest respect and that is the men and women left permanently wounded, ill or injured as a result of service in the armed services. i believe we'll hear later from our colleague from florida, ms. frankel, about her resolution to honor these veterans which is included in today's bill. as you know, mr. speaker, making sure veterans get the care and benefits they have earned and deserve is the mission of this committee and this bill helps keep that promise. for the past two years, the health subcommittee has been focused on improving access to care, strengthening mental health care, recruiting and retaining quality providers and reducing veteran homelessness. these priorities reflected in -- are reflected in the bill before us today. v.a.'s construction program has been the target of several hearings and reports for many years now. they have exposed cost overruns, poor oversight and a
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host of management issues. this bill would address some of the issues brought up over this past congress. i want to thank congresswoman kathleen rice, for her leadership on these issues and for introducing a provision that would require a forensic audit when a project exceeds its authorization by more than 25%. . .r. 6416, ensures veterans can access health care. i would like to thank representative sinema from arizona for introducing this issue as part of 421, the classified veterans access to care act. in addition it adds professionals who have a doctoral degree in mental health counseling to the qualified -- to the lies of qualified v.a. licensed mental health counselors. on the issue of veterans homelessness we all agree that one homeless veteran is one too
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many. and for the past decade, v.a. has been working diligently to dramatically reduce the homeless population among veterans and those efforts have been successful. but we can always do more. an important part -- an important provision of h.r. 6416, introduced by representative hahn from the state of california, would help many of our women veterans by expanding the definition of homeless veteran. this will ensure that veterans who are victims of domestic violence are able to access emergency housing and are not penalized under the law. mr. speaker, as we move forward i want to acknowledge that while h.r. 6416 does, indeed, do a number of good things to help veterans, there is still much more that we can do, that we need to do. i know that finding ways to pay for new programs without cutting existing support for veterans has been one of our biggest challenges in this congress. but i look forward to working with our members and our colleagues across the aisle to advance big policy issues that
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will help millions of vet rans. issues such as appeals reform, leasing, and proyvider agreements, and caregiver support. once again, i urge my colleagues to support h.r. 6416, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from tennessee. mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. as we begin debate on these important bills, i'd like to take a moment to thank outgoing chairman jeff miller for his tireless work on behalf of our nation's veterans and of course on behalf of florida's first congressional district. chairman miller has led the house veterans' affairs committee through tumultuous times at the v.a. through his service and extensive oversight, he's exposed a bureaucracy that's failed veterans time and time again. his commitment to veterans has never waivered. and he has started the v.a. on a path to reformser form an agency so debt prattly needed. it is han been an honor to
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serve beside him. i know i have big shoes to fill. he leaves behind a legacy of a statesman who has never compromised his principles or forgot the people he was elected to serve. on a personal note, jeff has become a dear friend and i know our friendship will continue long after he's left these halls. for the last six years, veterans have had a friend in jeff miller, and so have i. i wish him well in his future endeavors and thank him for all he's done for this body, for floridians, and our heroes in the 15 years he served honorably in the house of representatives. the people's house. i'd also like to thank his wife as well as his children, grandchildren, and great grandchild. as we all know, none of the work we do here would be possible without the support and understanding of our families. and there's no question jeff has a special family. with that, mr. speaker, i yield as much time as he may consume to the chairman of the veterans' affairs committee, jeff miller of florida. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. miller: thank you very
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much, mr. speaker. thank you, dr. roe, for those extremely kind words. thank you, especially, for recognizing my family. we both know how important they are to the success that we are able to attain here in the halls of congress. i do rise in support of h.r. 6416. this legislation contains over 90 sections, many of which originated in almost 70 veterans bills, that the house will pass in the 11th congress. though h.r. 6416 reflects just a fraction of our cleb braive efforts, it -- collaborative efforts, it contains provisions we can all be pleased to support. for example it includes the ext of h.r. 1380, that would expand eligibility for medallions to veterans who passed away before november 1 of 1990. under current law the
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department of veterans affairs personishes medallions for veterans buried in private cemeteries who passed away the first of november of 1990. many families whose loved ones passed away prior to that date have requested that v.a. provide a medallion to distinguish their loved once' grave so that all will know it is the burial place of a veteran. this bill would authorize v.a. to to just that. h.r. 6416 would also authorize the department of veterans affairs to furnish medallions designed especially for veterans who have received the medal of honor, our nation's most prestigious award for military valor. this will ensure that future veterans will be able to -- generations will be able to identify the final resting place of our nation's most revered heroes. 6416 also includes a provision to he provide more time for widows and widowers of service
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members who have died in the line of duty to use their post never g.i. bill, educational benefits under the frye scholarship. the spouses of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice deserve nothing less. what's more, h.r. 6416 contains a provision from h.r. 1994, that would increase accountability by limiting the amount of time that the secretary can place a v.a. employee on administrative leave to only 14 days in a single year. it makes no sense that a v.a. employee who commits a wrongdoing can continue to collect a taxpayer funded paycheck for, in some cases, years while the department drags its feet, determining disciplinary action. the bill further contains a number of provision that is would improve the care that v.a. provides to our veterans, including a provision that would address a long-standing
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concern of many of our vietnam veterans by requiring v.a. to conduct research on the possible effects of toxic exposure during military service on veterans' children and their grandchildren. importantly, h.r. 6416 also contains a provision from h.r. 3106 that would require v.a. to use industry standards, standard designs and best practices when constructing v.a. medical facilities. to provide ongoing professional development and training to v.a. employees involved in constructing v.a. medical facilities, and to regularly audit and report on the largest v.a. medical facility projects. before yielding back, i want to take a moment publicly to thank a number of individuals who have been instrumental not only in advancing this legislation, but also throughout my time as chairman of our committee. serving as chairman of the
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committee on veterans' affairs has been an immense honor and i'm grateful to all those who put their trust and faith in me to fulfill that role for the last three congresses. i hope that i have done each of you proud. i'm particularly grateful to my fellow committee chairmen and ranking members in the house, including mike michaud, corrine brown, and mark takano, and in the senate including patty murray, richard burr, bernie sanders, johnny isakson, and richard blumenthal. i'm also grateful to the house leadership including john boehner, paul ryan, kevin mccarthy, and all the committee members who strive day in and day out to do right by america's vet van -- veteran heroes. it is nothing less than what our veterans deserve. much remains to be done. we can all be proud of the work that we have together accomplished so far.
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i have every confidence, mr. speaker, that the next committee chairman, dr. roe, who i'm grateful to call a friend, will continue the work that we have started and i look forward to seeing all that he and the house will continue to accomplish for the men and women who have worn the uniform and born the battle and who without a doubt are most worthy of our appreciation and our support. again, mr. speaker, i thank my family, most especially my wife, for the support that they have given during my service here in this congress. with that, i urge all of my colleagues to support this legislation and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from tennessee reserves. the gentleman from california. mr. takano: mr. speaker, might i inquire how much time remains for debate on each side? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california has 7 1/2 minutes. the gentleman from tennessee has eight minutes. mr. takano: thank you, mr. speaker. at this time i'd like to yield two minutes to the
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distinguished ranking member of the -- memorial affairs subcommittee, the gentlewoman from nevada, ms. titus. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized for two minutes. ms. titus: thank you. i thank the acting ranking member for recognizing me and all the important work he's done on this bill. i rise today in support of h.r. 6416, which includes a number of provisions offered by my colleagues on the committee and beyond to help our veterans. it actually includes two measures that i authored, one requires the g.a.o. to conduct a study to find out the causes of underperforming b.b.a. regional -- v.v.a. regional offices. the other extends authorization for g.m.e. slots at the v.a. this is a provision that will be especially valuable to unlv's brand new medical school which is hosting its inaugural class this fall. unfortunately, however, the bill fails to address a major priority of both the v.a. and veterans themselves.
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and that's reforming the broken appeals process. right now there are 470,000 appeals languishing somewhere in the v.a. system. veterans have to wait two to three years for them to be resolved as these cases churn through the process that congress hasn't updated since the 1980's. if we don't act now, we'll soon be telling our veteran constituents that they are going to have to wait 10 years before their appeals can be resolved and it will be the fault of this congress. despite having a solution that's ready to go, that is wisely supported by the administration and the v.s.o.'s, the republican leadership refuses to bring the bill i sponsored on appeals reform to the floor without tying it to an accountability bill that strips the v.a. employees of necessary civil rights protections. we are told that passing an
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appeals reform without accountability just won't work. using that specious argument, we shouldn't pass any v.a. reform bill without accountability because it just won't work. so while i support this measure, i would urge my colleagues to address the appeals reform process before it's too late and we do further disservice to our nation's heroes. thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from tennessee. mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. at this time i'd like to request two minutes for dr. brad wenstrup, who is currently on the committee and seeing active duty military patients as a doctor. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio is recognized. mr. wenstrup: thank you, mr. speaker. on behalf of our veterans i rise today in support of h.r. 6416. this bill would expand benefits and provide improvements to help america's greatest assets, our veterans and their families. i'm especially pleased to support sections in the fourth and fifth titles all but a few of those provisions passed
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through the subcommittee on economic opportunity which i'm honored to chair with ranking member takano. seven provisions from legislation that i had the honor to author were also included in h.r. 6416. when enacted, these provisions would streamline and simplify how schools and training programs are approved for the g.i. bill. improve disabled veterans' access to services under the vocational riblings and employment program. survey g.i. bill users about their experience with the v.a. and their use of the post 9/11 g.i. bill. provide conditions for expanded in-state tuition requirements for dependents of active duty service members. require the department of labor to conduct a longitudinal study to track long-term outcomes of veterans who have used the employment services and expand the amount of time that a surviving spouse can use post-9/11 g.i. bill benefits under the scholarship. the last g.i. bill provision is
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estimated to help nearly 2,000 surviving spouses that use the post-geffen g.i. bill to go back to school. our veterans' families will be better off because of this bill. i support this bill and the efforts of dr. roe, chairman miller, and others. at the same time i know that we will continue to work hard for our veterans in the house we crafted and passed many important initiatives that were not in the final bill. as the 115th congress approaches, i ask my colleagues in both the house and the senate to reaffirm their commitment to put the interest of our veterans first. and i look forward to continuing that work. i'm proud of my colleagues on the house committee on veterans' affairs. we crafted good bipartisan policies, we worked hard on behalf of our nation's veterans and will continue to do so. i'm also grateful for the staff of the veterans' affairs committee. i want to especially thank my own staff on the economic opportunity subcommittee for their expertise and untiring work on behalf of our veterans, special thanks to chairman miller, your leadership, and friendship here in the house, and spernl dr. roe, i look
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forward to your leadership. once again i support h.r. 6416, i urge my colleagues to pass this bill. thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from tennessee reserves. the gentleman from california. mr. takano: at this time, mr. speaker, aid like to yield two minutes to my good friend and member of the veterans' affairs committee, the gentleman from california, mr. mcnerney. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. mcnerney: i thank them for bringing the omnibus bill to the floor. there are five million-owned veteran businesses. the veteran who is 100% disabled and owned a veteran small business passes away, the surviving spouse has 10 years to transition the business away from small business status. if the veteran business owner is rated less than 100% disabled or
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dice from a nonservice-connected injury, the surviving spouse has one year. current law unfairly punishes these businesses and places them at an economic disadvantage and i introduced h.r. 1313. my bill allows service disabled veteran small businesses when he passes away and rated at less than 100% disabled with the reasonable three-year transition from service disabled status with the v.a. we provide our heroes and families and employees with the flexibility and certainty to ensure their businesses continue to thrive. .r. 1313 is supported by the paralyzed veterans, v.f.w. and the american legion. i want to thank the chairman and ranking member for including my legislation in the omnibus
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veteran bill 6416 and i hope my colleagues will join me to pass this commonsense bill. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from tennessee. mr. roe: at this time, i would like to recognize a very hard-working member of our committee, the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. costello: i rise in support of legislation that will bring critical improvements to the way our country serves its veterans. in my district, thousands of veterans are served by the department of veterans affairs on a range of issues critical to h.r. 6 16 would make improvements by increasing the amount of time i hados have
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to ut liz education benefits and treatment at v.a. emergency rooms and tracking programs. i would like to thank my colleagues on the committee and our committee staff for working to include provisions to strengthen the u.s. court of appeals for veterans' claims. we have been working to meet the needs of our veterans and efforts to do this are included as part of the bill. i want to thank chairman miller for his dedication and service to our committee and to our nation's veterans. his leadership has been exemplary. i would like to thank our committee staff for all of their hard work over the course of this congress. my legislative aide for this session, katherine bruce, for her hard work. the veterans affairs committee in large measure has accomplished and improved a great deal in a bipartisan way. so i want to thank not only my
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republican colleagues but the democratic members of the committee as well. we should be proud of the work we have done. there is a lot more yet to do, but we have accomplished a lot, i believe, because we have focused on what needs done, left politics at the door and worked in good faith on behalf of our nation's veterans. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from tennessee reserves. the gentleman from california. mr. takai: i would like to -- mr. takano: i would like to yield to the the gentlewoman from maine, ms. pingree. ms. pingree: and thank you to my friend, mr. takano for yielding. i thank chairman miller and thank him on his retirement and service to our congress and representatives roe and takano. i'm glad the ruth miller act was included in this bill.
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we need to fairly treat our veterans. mr. speaker, almost every day i hear from another veteran who is a survivor of military sexual trauma. these are men and women from all ages and every branch of the service and veterans from world war ii to the war in afghanistan and every era in between. those assaults leave indelible marks in the form of ptsd, anxiety and depression. despite progress at the v.a., too many are denied the disability benefits they have earned. i'm glad the defense department and the v.a. increased training efforts. let me be clear, the problem is not yet fixed. survivors have been shamed and suffer continued harassment. far too many have been invol tearly discharged in retaliation for reporting sexual assault and harassment. meaning the survivor and not the
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perpetrator has paid the price. before i close, i would like to recognize a very brave woman, rooth moore. rooblingt fought for 23 years before she was finally given the benefits we owed her. there are thousands and thousands of ruth moores who have been fighting for their benefits for years or even decades. we can and must do better. this issue is too important to ignore and this bill knows that congress is watching. i'm glad the language from my bill was included in the legislation. i thank the committee again and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from tennessee. mr. roe: i have no further speakers and i'm prepared to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california. mr. takano: i have no more speakers and i'm prepared to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. takano: i would like to encourage all of my colleagues
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to support this legislation and join me in passing h.r. 6416 and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mr. roe: i would like to thank both staffs of the committee and the hard work that both sides of the aisle that mr. costello said, this has been a bipartisan effort. i thank you, mr. takano and i encourage all members to support this legislation and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 6416. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. 2/3 being in the affirmative -- mr. roe: mr. speaker, i request the yeas and nays on this bill. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those favoring a vote will rise and remain standing.
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a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8, rule 20, further proceedings on this question will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from tern see seek recognition? mr. roe: i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 5399 the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 639, h.r. 5399, a bill to amend title 38 united states code to ensure that physicians at the veteran of affairs report to state licensing authorities, impaired, incompetent and unethical health care activities. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from tennessee, dr. rowe and the gentleman from california, mr. takano each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from tennessee. mr. roe: i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection.
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mr. roe: i yield myself such time as i may consume. i rise in support of h.r. 5399 the ethical patient care veterans act of 2016, which i'm proud to sponsor. there is no higher priority than ensuring that our nation's veterans receive safe high quality care from the department of veterans affairs. the vast majority of v.a. employees are upstanding and well qualified and want to do right by the veterans in their care. in the last several years we have heard too many instances where v.a. employees have failed to live up to the standards of care that our veterans deserve and many of those cases a culture of silence or fear of retaliation by superviseors has prevented other employees from reporting those transgressions in a timely manner. to protect our veterans, h.r. 5399 would require v.a. to ensure that every v.a. physician is informed of his or her duty to report impaired, incompetent
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or unethical behavior that the physician witnesses to the applicable state licensing authorities within five days. this is consistent with the long standing practice of the american medical association and existing v.a. policy and would improve the quality of care v.a. provides by making sure that the poor performer, those who put the lives of veteran patients at risk are reported to relevant authorities within a reasonable time frame so the appropriate action can be taken to safeguard the patients in their care. mr. speaker, this is commonsense legislation. more importantly, it's the right thing to do for veterans. i urge all of my colleagues join me in supporting this legislation. i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from california. mr. takano: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized.
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mr. takano: i rise in support of the 5399 introduced by the gentleman from tennessee, dr. roe. this bill would ensure that physicians of the department of veterans affairs fulfill the ethical duty to report impaired, incompetent and unethical health care by their colleagues. i appreciate the gentleman bringing this attention to our attention. it is the instance of legal imperatives that v.a. physicians are under while serving those who have dedicated themselves to protect our freedoms. all physicians have a duty to report impaired colleagues who continue to practice despite reasonable offers of assistance. this obligation appears in professional guidelines and in laws and regulations governing the practice of medicine. all physicians are accredited by the american medical association and their policy states and i
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quote, physicians have an ethical obligation to report impaired incompetent and unethical colleagues, unquote. the federation of state medical boards of the united states policy on physician impairment states that the physician health programs have, quote, a primary commitment to help state medical boards protect the public. these programs demonstrate an ongoing track record of ensuring safety to the public and reveal deficiencies if they occur, end quote. the physicians who care for our veterans take their duties and ocean to help their patients very seriously and i'm glad for this opportunity to reiterate the top-notch quality care that the v.a. provides each and every day. thank you, mr. speaker. and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the
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gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mr. roe: i have no further -- anyone else to speak and i'm prepared to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. takano: mr. speaker, i have no further speakers and in closing, this is one of the final opportunities that i will have to discuss veterans' legislation on the floor. with my colleague chairman miller who appears to have stepped off the floor for a moment. i want to offer my sincere gratitude for his leadership on the committee. i think it's fair to say that we have not always agreed on the best path forward, but i think this bill demonstrates our ability -- the ability of this committee to put aside our differences and get things done for america's veterans. the committee has long been a model in bipartisan at a time
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when cooperation can be hard to come by. i appreciate the chairman's commitment in continuing that tradition and i wish him all the best in the next chapter of his career. so i have no further speakers and i do encourage my colleagues to support this legislation and join me in passing h.r. 5399 and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from tennessee. mr. roe: i encourage all members to support this legislation. i practiced medicine for almost 40 years under these same requirements right here and expect no less for the care of our veterans. i encourage support and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 5399. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and without objection,
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the motion to reconsider is laid pon the table. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from tennessee seek recognition? the resolution. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from tennessee, dr. roe and the gentleman from california, mr. takano, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from tennessee. mr. roe: i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. roe: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. roe: i rise in support of h.r. 4352 as amended, the faster
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care for veterans act. the wait time scandals that continue to plague the department of medical affairs highlights the need for veterans to be able to scheduler that own opponents. a self-scheduling ability would allow v.a. to use resources more efficiently and grant veterans the ability to schedule their own appointments the flexibility to do so. it would give veterans verifiable records of their own appointment bookings. v.a. has been considering self-scheduling since 2013. however, project starts and stops andnology usable has emerged from those. it seems to be a tug of war between v.a. officials who favor an off the shelf system and
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those who favor a v.a. developed one. they plan to rl out a system in january of 2017. i have high hopes but v.a.i.t. -- the v.a.'s i.t. development record is mix, to put it mildly they feel time has come to set they will issue once and for all. h.r. 4352 as amended establishes capability standards reflecting the state of the art that apply to any commercial or government self-scheduling system in v.a. it also directs v.a. to pile up the best available commercial software in three locations. the bill tasks an independent expert to verify whether the commercial system and government system meet those standards and by the end of 2017 v.a. must certify whether or not they do. the concept is, in other words, a breakoff to create the most effective possible -- a bakeoff
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to create the most successful possible sft ware for our veterans. ideally, both systems will meet the standards but if the government system cannot make the grade, v.a. will have a commercially -- a commercial alternative, thoroughly piloted and ready to go to work for v.a. patients. h r. 4352 as amended is sponsored by congressman seth moulton of massachusetts and congresswoman cathy mcmorris rodgers of washington. i thank them both for their leadership on this issue. this broadly bipartisan legislation is an efficient, timely solution to a long standing problem and i encourage all of my colleagues to join me in supporting it. thank you, mr. speaker and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from tennessee reserves. the gentleman from california. mr. takano: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. takano: i rise in support of
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h.r. 4352 as amended, sponned -- sponsored by my friend, the gentleman from massachusetts a veteran himself, representative moulton. this important registration authorizes the v.a. to administer a pilot program where veterans use an internet website to schedule and confirm medical appointments at medical facilities of the department of veterans' affairs. the v.a. has been working to bring the pow over scheduling to veterans since the wait time scandal at the phoenix v.a. medical center in 2014. the department of veterans' affairs has developed and is rolling out the veterans appointment request, otherwise known as v.a.r. for primary care. this is a mobile application and the approach will allow veterans to directly schedule or request primary care appointments and request mental health appointments at facilities where they are already receiving care.
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with the app, veterans can also view appointment details, track the status of requests, and send messages about the requested appointments, get notifications about appointments and cancel most appointments. the v.a. has also implemented the audiology and optometrist direct scheduling -- and optometry direct scheduling initiative. this began testing at three sites and is being expanded to all v.a. medical centers. veterans can schedule a routine appointment directly by calling the scheduling department or by speak directly with audiology and optometry staff. the covered services include hearing tests, eye exams, vision prescriptions, eyeglass fittings and other routine appointments this important legislation will allow veterans to better control their v.a. experience no matter what services they need. ensuring veterans are comfortable with the scheduling
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platform used is a critical factor. whether that is a smart phone, internet website or calling directly to make the appointment , the primary consideration is the ease of use by the veteran. the only way to make sure it works is to test it. this legislation will ensure that the technology fits the veteran and also fits the v.a. for those reasons, i support this legislation and urge my colleagues to do the same. thank you, mr. speaker, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from tennessee. mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. i will yield myself as much time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. roe: this is long overdue. one of the problems we have in v.a., we know the scandal in phoenix where there were secret waiting lists for honorably discharged veterans to get in to
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see a doctor. this is one of the ways we can put vetens -- veterans back in charge, i want to put veterans and health care providers in charge of health care, not bureaucrats and schedulers and so fort. this puts the power back in front of the veterans. we're at the christmas season. many of us order packages on amazon or wherever. and guess what we can do? we can track that through our own device anywhere that package is until it reach ours doorstep. a veteran should have that command so they can have an appointment when they want it, they can make it, the technology is available. i can't think of a better thing to do than to have a private and public competition to see which is the most effective for the veteran andic this -- i think this -- in a year we're going to know, it'll be simple to implement and almost everyone has a smart device that they can use for this process. i will reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from tennessee reserves. the gentleman from california.
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mr. takano: at this time i'd like to yield five minutes to the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. moulton. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. moulton: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today in support of h.r. 4 52, the faster care for veterans act which i introduced with congresswoman cathy mcmorris rodgers. the idea behind the bill is simple. our nation's veterans deserve the same technological innovations and level of service at v.a. health care facilities as patients in the private market. one such innovation is patient self-scheduling technology. patients can log on to an app on their phone or on a website, indicate the type of appointment they need, select their location, and schedule their own appointments at a time convenient for them. no middlemen, no obnoxious hold music, no unending carousel of options on an automated phone
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menu. just a quick and easy medical appointment that works for your schedule. this technology is not just beneficial for patients, it's good for medical providers as well. in the private market, the introduction of patient self-scheduling has dramatically decreased wait times, saving time and money. the v.a. ought to chase these same innovations so our veterans receive the best health care and user experience in the world. as a member of congress, i decline congressional health care and plenged to receive my care at the v.a. i -- pledged to receive my care a at the v.a. i receive terrific care at my home v.a. facility in bedford, massachusetts. however scheduling an appointment here in d.c. or at home in bedford has never been easy. my veterans liaison in my office in se lem, massachusetts, learned this the hard way. shortly after i introduced the
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faster care for veterans act, dennis called to make an appointment for himself he listened to the options -- ooptions on the automated menu and pushed one to make an appointment. after several more push button, rather than connecting him to the schedulers, the automated menu started over again. it went into an endless cycle. he hung up and after multiple unsuccessful further attempts, he recorded himself doing this in a video. i put this video on my facebook page and the response was astonishing. four million people saw the video. 35,000 people shared the video. and 2,000 people commented. people from all over the country shared their experience trying to schedule their own appointments at the v.a. the frustration is nationwide. a veteran from arkansas said, i can't tell you this is for real, it happens every time i call. i usually give up and drive to
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the clinic 18 or 20 miles away so i can talk to a person face-to-face. a veteran from el paso, texas, said, this is exactly what happens every time you try to call for an appointment or even get general information about an existing appointment. this is exactly why lots of us vets end up giving up on the system. a veteran from philadelphia, pennsylvania, said, the longest i've been on hold with the v.a. was an hour and 45 minutes before i gave up. this is not an issue of quality of care, it is an issue of access to care. the faster care for vets act is a solution. first, this bill directs the v.a. to conduct a pilot program to test commercial off-the-shelf technology at three locations across the country while allowing the v.a. to continue developing its in-house solution. second, the bill requires the pilot program and v.a. solution
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to meet several capabilities currently available in the private market. these requirements will ensure our veterans get the same level of service as every other american. third, the bill provides for an independent assessment to verify if the pilot program or the v.a. solution meet the minimum capabilities. lastly, the bill requires the v.a. to replace any system used by the v.a. that does not meet those minimum requirements with a commercial available, off-the-shelf technology that does meet those capabilities. the bill is supported by the iraq and afghanistan veterans of america, the american college of neurosurgeons and the american osteopathic association, and this bill is co-sponsored by more than half of the house of representatives. our veterans are demanding a 21st century v.a. health care system. this bill is one step in that direction. mr. chairman, i urge my colleagues to support this
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legislation and thank you, mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time to the ranking member. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from tennessee. mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. at this time, with great pleasure, i will give as much time as she may consume, our conference chair and passionate supporter of veterans issues, cathy mcmorris rodgers. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized. mrs. mcmorris rodgers: i rise today, more than two years after we were all shocked by the fact that phoenix veterans had tied after waiting for an appointment at their v.a., yet after all this time, little has changed. every week, veterans contact my office seeking help to get the care they need. like the veteran who couldn't access urgent care and was afraid he'd be billed if he went to the hospital for help. or the veteran who got cancer from atomic testing but had to jump through all kinds of hoops to prove it.
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is this how a grateful nation should treat its veterans? absolutely not. the best way we show our gratitude to those who served is to get them the care they earned. when a veteran contacts the v.a., they should have the red carpet rolled out for them, period. but instead, these stories are repeated over and over and over. in communities all across the country. the v.a. won't listen. the v.a. doesn't return calls. we can't see a doctor. there's a disconnect a disconnect between the service of our military and the service they receive when they return home. mr. moulton of massachusetts and i introduced the faster care for veterans act to leverage technology to cut back on wait time. our veterans should have the same options that people have in doctors offices across the country. they should be able to use an app, go online to schedule, or if they want to call, they can do that too. the point is the technology to make it easier to self-schedule
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already exists. why not provide it to our veterans. with this bill, we're demonstrating to the v.a. that innovative technology can work. it can get our veterans the care they've earned more quickly, without all the red tape. but wait times are just the tip of this bureaucratic iceberg. the terrible story this is past week of h.i.v. exposure, of veterans diing with maggots in his wounds are graphic reminders to all of us that the v.a. has lost sight of its sole mission. serving veterans. . veterans should be in control of their health care. that is not what is happening right now. after all the years, all the money, no more excuses. it's time for a deeper look into rethinking this outdated government bureaucracy. mr. speaker, i never again want
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to hear a war hero cry because of how the v.a. has treated him. so i urge my colleagues to join us in the faster care for veterans act. thank you, and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from washington reserves. the gentleman from tennessee reserves. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. takano: i have no further speakers and before i close, i would like to say i fully appreciate the work of my friend and colleague, the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. moulton, for the work he has done on this bill, for the way in which he is able to reach out to veterans and those who care for veterans across the country. i'm especially pleased that included in this legislation is a specific way to independently assess the off the shelf technology as compared to the technology that's being
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developed in-house at the v.a. these provisions will ensure that the taxpayer is protected and rms of cost efficiency effectiveness and of course, bottom line, this means effectiveness for our veterans. we want to make sure that the best technology is put forward nd i think whether it's in house or whether off the shelf choice, we have a way to independently verify which is best. i want to encourage my colleagues to support this important legislation and join me in passing h.r. 4352 and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california yields back. the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mr. roe: i want to thank mr. moulton from massachusetts and one of our leaders for bringing this very important piece of legislation to the floor. and one of the reasons, it shows
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when you bring someone with real world experiences who uses the v.a., how they can take that and convert that into meaningful legislation that will help veterans around the country. with that, i encourage all members to support this legislation and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 4352 as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from tennessee seek recognition? mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. i move to suspend the rules and pass s. 3492 the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: senate 3492, an act to designate the traverse city, michigan outpatient v.a. clinic
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in traverse city michigan as the colonel demas t. craw v.a. clinic. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from tennessee and the gentleman from california each will control 20 minutes. mr. roe: i ask unanimous consent unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days to revise and sterned their remarks and add extraneous material the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. roe: i yield myself such time as i may consume. i rise in support in support of senate 3292 a bill to designate the department of veterans affairs community-based outpatient clinic in traverse city, michigan as the colonel demas t. craw v.a. clinic. i thank gary peters for introducing this bill. i want to thank my colleague and friend and chairman of the subcommittee health, congressman dan benishek from michigan, for his work on the house side to
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ensure that colonel craw is honored. demas t. craw was born and raised in long lake township, michigan. he enlisted in the united states army atlanta 18 years old and served in both world war i and world war ii, earning the position of senior pilot. colonel craw served our country until he was tragically killed in combat. in 1942, colonel craw accompany the accompany the leading wave of assault boats to shore in operation torch, the allied invasion of north africa. the mission was to pass through the enemy lines and suspend hostilities. sadly during the course of that mission, colonel craw was instantly killed by a sustained burst of machine gun fire at point blank range from a concealed position near the road. during his time in the army,
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colonel craw accumulated numerous awards including the world war i and world war i victory medals and purple heart and received our nation's highest honor, medal of honor, for his valiant actions in north africa. he was a michigan native who country with courage. it is only appropriate that the community-based outpatient clinic in traverse city be named in his honor. it satisfies the snaming criteria and supported by the michigan congressional delegation and various veterans' organizations including the veterans of foreign wars of the united states and the american legion. once again, i'm grateful to congressman benishek for sponsoring the companion to this legislation. i urge my colleagues to join me in supporting it and i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the
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gentleman from tennessee reserves. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. takano: thank you, mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. i rise today in support of this legislation sponsored by my colleague, dr. bean she can will name the out-patient clinic the colonel demas t. craw v.a. clinic. he has a distinguished military career. he dropped out of high school to enlist in the world war i. and he soon re-enlisted. after being promoted to corporal, he worked to continue to advance in the army and earned an appointment in west point in 1920 and graduated in 1924 as a second lieutenant. after being assigned to the army air corps, then first lieutenant craw served around the world and the united states. upon entering world war ii he
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was promoted to lieutenant colonel and assigned to north africa in 1942. he approached the french forces to negotiate a ceasefire when allied forces began their assault. he earned the medal of honor for his actions on his last mission. as the citation reads, quote, for con spic you cows gallantry and intrendity and action above and beyond the call of duty he accompanied the leading wave of assault boats and pass through enemy lines to loathe the french commander with a view to suspending hostilities. encountering heavy fire, colonel craw accompanied by one officer and one soldier landed on the beach. riding towards french headquarters, progress of the party was hindered by fire from
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u.s. naval guns. nearing his destination, he was instantly killed by point blank range from a concealed position near the road, end quote. not only was colonel craw a warded the medal of honor for his actions but the officer accompanying him, major hamilton who was captured before succeeding in suspending the hostilities was awarded the medal of honor for his actions in this mission. i'm honored to support this resolution to name v.a. facility in traverse city, michigan, the colonel demas t. craw v.a. clinic. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mr. roe: it's an honor to recognize dr. bean she can from michigan, a great friend and colleague, three minutes.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is recognized for three minutes. mr. benishek: thank you, dr. roe. i rise in support of the legislation to name the traverse city v.a. clinic after colonel demas t. craw, medal of honor recipient from my district in traverse city. as i soon will be retiring from congress, i want to say it has been an honor to work with the chairman, jeff miller and all the members of the house veterans affairs committee over the last six years. it hasn't been an easy flight but we made progress for a better v.a. for the men and women who have fought for our freedom. this work must continue as they still deserve much better. i have faith the next chairman of the committee, my friend, dr. rowe will continue this progress and break new ground in the fight for our nation's heroes. i have been very pleased to
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assist in the effort to honor colonel craw in the house along with a dedicated team of veterans and patriotic citizens ed by kerry hahn and dr. dan latrop and worked to get signatures to honor this truly deserving local hero. born near traverse city in 1900, he served in both world wars and as united states air force officers in world war ii, he served as a u.s. adviser to the royal air force prior to american entry into the war and captured by german forces for six weeks. he was killed in action described previously on november 8, 1942 after volunteering to lead a dangerous and ultimately
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successful mission behind enemy lines. he received the medal of honor and i'm going to quote with my colleague, conspicuous gal andous and action above and beyond the call of duty. we could have done this without the support of the entire michigan congressional delegation and the veterans' coalition, the american legion department of michigan, veterans of foreign wars in michigan and many other veteran service organizations. i want to thank senator gary peters of introducing the senate companion. and i urge my colleagues to pass this bill and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from tennessee reserves. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. takano: mr. speaker, i have no further speakers. before i do close, i do want to
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offer a word of praise and affection for my good friend, dr. bean she can for his service to this body and the committee ity congratulate his intrend on the floor of the house. with that i'm pleased to support this legislation and i encourage my colleagues to join me in passing s. 3492 and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california yields back. the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mr. roe: in closing, it's a great privilege for all of us to be here on the floor of this incredible house to speak. we would not be able to do that if it weren't for the heroics like the people of colonel craw and the sacrifice that he and his family made. we are entering the christmas season and i think about our armed forces that are stationed around the world, out there
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protecting our nation's freedoms and others' freedoms. it is with a great deal of honor, one of the most -- one of the things i have enjoyed doing the most are naming and hearing about the incredible heroics of some of these men and women that have been before us. i encourage all members to support this legislation wholeheartedly. and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from tennessee yields back. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass senate 3492. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid n the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from tennessee seek recognition? mr. rerow -- mr. roe: i move to suspend the rules and pass senate 3076. the speaker pro tempore: the read the bill.
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-- s. 3076 the clerk: s. 3076, to provide for caskets or urns for those vetens. the speaker: the chair recognizes the gentleman from tennessee. mr. row: i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on s. 3076. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. roe: i urge all members to support all members to support s. 3076, the charles duncan buried with honor act of 2016. the bill which passed the senate on september 20, 2016, would provide indigent families of
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deceased veterans with more choices as they make decisions about whether to lay their loved ones to rest without being penalized. it's a practical solution for a common challenge faced by too many veteran families. dr. wenstrup , my colleague and a valued member of the veterans affairs committee, has sponsored the house companion to this bill. under current law, a family does not have sufficient resources to buy as can debt -- casket or urn for the the ceased loved one, the v.a. can provide one if the veteran is buried in a national oretery, but not in a tribal other semiererity. but for some a national term terry is not an option. a national cemetery may be too far away to attend the service or visit the resting place of their loved ones this alouse the
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provide a mmittee to casket or urn regardless of where the veteran is interred. i urge my colleagues to support s. 3076. with that, i reserve the balance of my time. the vice president: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. takano: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. takano: i rise in support of s. 3076, the charles duncan buried with honor act which expands the cemetery options to the families of insolvent veterans and those with no identifiable next of kin. i want to thank my friend, the economic subcommittee chairman, dr. wenstrup, for sponsoring this bill in the house. we who serve on the veterans affairs committee hear over and over how important it is to the families of many veterans that they be buried near loved ones,
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near their home. this is particularly true in rural areas where burial in a national cemetery within manageable distance is not an option. for those indigent veterans who receive money toward a casket or urn when buried in a national cemetery. however, when a tribal or other cemetery is geographically closer to the veteran's home, that is currently not aloud this broad this is escope of the dignified burial and other veterans improvements act of to include the option of burial in a state or tribal cemetery which the department of v.a. has provided grant. mr. speaker, this bill enjoys the support of the american
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legion. it makes good sense and it shows we are doing everything in our power to provide the greatest honor and comfort for veterans and their families. i urge my colleagues to support it. thank you, mr. speaker, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mr. roe: at this time i yield two minutes to dr. brad wenstrup of ohio, an active member of the committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. wenstrup: thank you very much. i rise in strong support of senate bill 3076, the charles duncan buried with honor act this bill will have a direct and personal impact on the families of many of our veterans. i'm pleased that it's being considered today and i was proud to sponsor the house companion bill, h r. 6114. under current law, if a veteran dies without the resources to pay for a casket, the v.a. will provide one but only as long as the veteran is buried in the national cemetery. that means that in my district
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and throughout the country, families in need of this service may be transported to a national cemetery, often far from home, and far from family. this has caused heartache for many families in my district in ohio and across the country. it can mean that their loved one must be buried nowhere near their home. it can prevent friends and family from attending the funeral or from legry -- from regularly visiting the grave scythe. s. 3076 would amend current law to allow veterans who receive a casket purchased by the v.a. to be buried in a state or tribal cemetery for which v.a. provided a grant. we can better ensure they are laid to rest close to loved ones. let's provide this peace of mind to our veterans and their families. i strongly urge my colleagues to support this bill and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio yields back
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the balance of his time. the gentleman from tennessee reserves this egentleman from alifornia is recognized. mr. takano: i have no further speakers and urge my colleagues to support this bill. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mr. row: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield one minute to my good friend from arkansas, french hill. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. hill: i thank the speaker, i thank the distinguished incoming chairman of the committee, appreciate the time and i want to thank my colleague in the arkansas delegation, senator cotton, for his important work on s. 3076 cha we're discussing today. i support it enthusiastically. on saturday, july 25, 2015, u.s. navy veteran, little rock resident, charles duncan passed away at the age of 66, leaving behind a daughter, three grandsons and three great grandsons a brother and a sister, along with many grieving
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family, friends, and loved ones. sadly, like too many of our veterans, mr. duncan was financially insolvent and could not afford the cost of his funeral. thankfully, he was eligible for essential v.a. benefits to cover the cost, however these benefits require he be buried at the national cemetery at fort smith instead of close to his home and family in little rock. by expanding the cemetery burial option well, can provide they es with the help deserve. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mr. roe: i -- have you closed? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman has yielded back the balance of his time. the gentleman from tennessee is the only one with time remaining. mr. row: i once again encourage all member to support s. 3076 and yield back the balance of my time.
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the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass senate 3076. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended this eintill passed and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from alabama seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i send to the desk a privileged report from the committee on rules for filing under the rule. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title. the clerk: report to accompany house resolution 944, resolution providing for consideration of the bill h.r. 5 143 to provide greater transparency and congressional oversight of international insurance standard setting processes and for other purposes, providing for proceedings during the period from december 9, 2016, through january 3, 2017, and providing for consideration of motions to suspend the rules. the speaker pro tempore: referred to the house calendar and ordered privented.
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for what purpose does the gentleman from tennessee seek recognition? mr. roe: i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 4150 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 4150 a bill to amend title 38, united states code, to allow the secretary of veterans affairs to modify the hours of employment of physicians employed on a full-time basis by the department of veterans' affairs. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from tennessee, mr. row, and the gentleman from california, mr. takano, each will control 20 minutes. mr. roe: i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and add extraneous materialen of h.r. 4150 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. roe: h.r. 4150 as amended, department of veterans' affairs emergency medical staffing recruitment and retention act
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would authorize v.a. upon written request to modify the hours of employment for full-time physicians to be more or less than 80 hours in a biweekly pay period as agreed oto by the physician and hospital management. earlier this year, v.a. testified that there are nearly 4,000 physician vacancies across the v.a. health care system. v.a.'s ability to effectively recruit and retain high quality medical professionals to care for our veterans is threatened by the nation's worsening physician shortage which the association of medical -- of american medical colleges has stated could grow to just under 100,000 physicians by 2025. in light of this, it is imperative that we provide v.a. with every available tool to improve physician recruitment and make efficient use of the current physician work force. currently, v.a.'s ability in both regards is hampered by a rigid, 80-hour biweekly work
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schedule that is at odds with private sector standards. typically, emergency room e.r. providers in nonv.a. hops work flexible schedules to accommodate the irregular hours that emergency medicine demands. however, e.r. doctors in v.a. medical facilities are not afforded the opportunity to adapt the flexible schedules that their private sector colleagues enjoy this bill would correct the discrepancies and improve v.a.'s ability to recruit and retain e.r. physicians. h r. 4150, as amended, which has my full support, originated as a v.a. proposal and is sponsored by congressman dr. raul ruiz of california who is an emergency medical physician. i am grateful to him for his efforts to address this issue and i urge all of my leagues to support this needed legislation. with that, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from tennessee reserves. the gentleman from california is
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ecognized. >> i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. takano: i rise in support of this legislation sponsored by my good friend, dr. raul ruiz. this will improve the recruitment and retention of medical professionals at the department of veterans' affairs. h r. 4150 as amended allows v.a. to arrange flexible physician work schedules to allow for staffing and full implementation of a hospital physician system and to accommodate the unusual work schedule requirements for emergency medicine physicians. we all recognize the need for flexibility in working with the rigorous and irregular hours that are routinely required of emergency medicine doctors. giving v.a. the flexibility -- giving v.a. the ability to have
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flexible working hours that best suit the demand for delivering health care to the veterans who rely on those doctors just makes sense. the current 80-hour biweekly pay period limitation for these doctors creates challenges at the v.a. medical centers to adequately and sensibly staff emergency rooms. generally, most health care providers work a traditional 40-hour workweek. however, for hospitalist and emergency room physicians, they may need to work more than that in a week to provide safe quality health care to veterans who seek services at the v.a. ensuring access to care for veterans has been a major focus of this committee and this bill will help to eliminate the access barrier and provide a more efficient and effective way to ensure that the emergency rooms across the v.a. health care system are ready to take care of our veterans. importantly, the bill also
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includes protections for physicians by requiring their consent before they can move to the flexible schedule. thank you, mr. speaker, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mr. row: i thank the speaker and -- mr. roe: i thank the speaker and i too am strongly in favor of this bill. i don't know where dr. ruiz was about this 40-hour week. i wish he had been around when i was in training and practice. it would have been a joy to work just 40 hours. this particular bill allows the flexibility that every other hospital in the world has for staffing. and it -- this is with the consent of the physicians and the hospital. it just makes sense. i am so glad that dr. ruiz brought this up as a practicing e.r. physician himself. he knows about this, knows exactly what it is, i appreciate dr. ruiz, you bringing this up and making the committee aware
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of it and this will become a new law. i'll -- with that, i'll reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from tennessee reserves. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. takano: i would like to yield three minutes to my good friend and emergency room physician and a member of the veterans affairs committee, the gentleman from california, the neighboring district, that's next to mine, dr. ruiz. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for three minutes. mr. ruiz: i'd like to thank the chairman and ranking member. yes, mr. chairman, i, too, had had 100, 120 hour work weeks and months and i was the scut of course in my internships andres. dincy -- residency, i understand the words you have spoken. i rise in support of my bill h.r. 4150, the department of veterans' affairs emergency medical recruitment and staffing act. the point is the v.a. needs

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