tv U.S. House Meets for Legislative Business CSPAN May 24, 2017 1:59pm-4:00pm EDT
the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 419. the nays are zero. 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. the chair will receive a message. the messenger: mr. speaker, a message from the senate. the secretary: mr. speaker. i have been directed by the senate to inform the house that the senate has passed h.r. 375, an act to designate the federal building and united states courthouse located at 719 church street in nashville, tennessee, as the fred thompson building and united states courthouse. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, the chair will postpone further proceedings today on the motion to suspend the rules on which the yeas and nays are ordered or votes objected to
under clause 6 of rule 20. the house will resume proceedings on the postponed questions at a later time. the house will come to order. all members are asked to take their conversations off the floor. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? mr. ross: mr. speaker, i move the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 1293, to amend title 5, united states code, to require that the office of personnel management submit an annual report to congress relating to the use of official time by federal employees, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 71, h.r. 1293, a bill to amend title 5, united states
code, to require that the office of personnel management submit an annual report to congress relating to the use of official time by federal employees. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from florida, mr. ross, and the gentleman from virginia, mr. connolly, will each control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from n. -- the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida. mr. ross: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. ross: mr. speaker, i rise today in support of my bill, h.r. 1293, to amend title 5 of the united states code to require the office of personnel management to submit an annual report to congress relating to the use of official time by federal employees. mr. speaker, i'm here today to talk about a bill that will provide taxpayers with greater transparency of official time. official time is that term that describes when federal employees do union work on the
taxpayers' dime. the only standard provided by the statute authorizing official time is that the employees perform union work on official time in a manner that is, quote, reasonable, necessary and in the public interest, closed quote. currently federal law does not require agencies to report annually on the amount of official time their employees perform. until march of this year, the office of personnel management had not reported on official time since tweer 2012. -- fiscal year 2012. the data contained information from fiscal year 2014. while the office of personnel management may request agencies provide data related to official time, o.p.m. does not have any set of standards or procedures describing the collection of official time data. considering the burden that official time puts on the taxpayer, more stringent reporting is necessary. the latest data provided by the o.p.m. shows that taxpayers paid $162 million for salary and benefits related to work
done in official time in fiscal year 2014 up from $157 million two years earlier in fiscal year 2012. agencies reported that bargaining union employees spent a total of 3 1/2 million hours performing representational activities on official time. the current lack of stringent reporting requirements as well as the broad interpretation of the statute's sole requirement that official time be carried out in a way that's reasonable, necessary and in the public interest have clearly opened the door to abuse. the committee on oversight and government reform identified several cases that some engaged in all sort of inappropriate activities including everything from leisure to criminal activities. with greater transparency, employees will be leslie like to abuse the system -- less likely to abuse the system. it is far time we require agencies to provide this information to congress and to the public. taxpayers deserve clear, reliable data on how many employees are performing union
work on official time in lieu of their regularly assigned government duties. to accomplish this, h.r. 1293 requires agencies to provide more detailed information to o.p.m. regarding what their employees are doing related to official time. specifically, the bill requires agencies to report the total amount of official time granted to employees, the average amount of time each employee spends on official time, the specific types of activities for which official time was granted and the impact official time had on agency operations. h.r. 1293 requires agencies to report the amount of compensation employees receive in connection with the time they spent on activities in connection with official time. finally, the bill requires agencies to report a description of rooms and spaces agencies use to conduct official time. h.r. 1293 will provide taxpayers with the transparency they deserve when it comes to official time. mr. speaker, i urge my colleagues to support this bill and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the
gentleman reserves. the gentleman from virginia, mr. connolly, is recognized. mr. connolly: i thank the speaker. i must say, mr. speaker, i originally rose in support of what i thought was a simple reporting bill. listening to my friend from florida, this is part in par sell of the negative narrative that is sent in all too frequently on the other side of the aisle about hardworking civil servants and federal employees. they are not all somehow committing crime on official time. official time in fact has been used to the benefit of the work force and to the benefit of management. and if this bill, h.r. 1293, is nothing but a precursor to further encroachment on the rights of federal workers, then i will oppose this bill. and i will urge my members on this side of the aisle to oppose this bill. because by voting for it we're enabling something much worse to follow and have this thrown in our faces. so mr. speaker, i regret that under the circumstances and with the message i just heard,
i can no longer support this bill. i can no longer urge my colleagues to support this bill, and we will in fact urge a negative vote on this bill. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. ross: thank you, mr. speaker. and i might just suggest to my good friend from virginia that this is a reporting bill. this is the same bill, as amended, by their amendment that was passed out of committee overwhelmingly. that i believe the gentleman from virginia voted for. so there has not been any change. it's still a transparency reporting bill to make sure that we account for all the time spent in official time on the taxpayer dime. that is it. with that i am pleased to yield three minutes to the gentleman from georgia, mr. hice. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia, mr. hice, is recognized for three minutes. mr. hice: i thank you and i thank the gentleman from florida for yielding this time. and i agree with this great
reporting bill, the american eople have a right to at least have a reasonable expectation that the federal government knows what its employees are doing. unfortunately, we all know that doesn't always happen, particularly when it comes to the practice of official time. it's amazing to me how little information there is, particularly as it relates to the reporting aspect as to what is happening under official time. for those who don't know what it is, mr. ross mentioned it well. established under the carter administration, official time allows federal employee union members to conduct union activities during the work hours of the agency for which they were hired even if the union activity has nothing to do with their job description. and surprisingly, the federal agencies are not required to report to congress the amount of time that employees are spending conducting union
business. some of my colleagues may disagree about the value of official time. i get that. and the gentleman and i -- the gentleman from virginia and i see differently on this. i certainly oppose the abuse of official time. so we see differently on this, but i think we can all agree that the american people at least have the right to know the extent to which official time is being used. and so although we may disagree somewhat on policy, i thick we can certainly find common ground to promote accountability and transparency within the federal government. and as mr. ross mentioned a while ago, the o.p.m. has come out with a study 3 1/2 million work hours spent on official time. that's a lot if it's just dollars but when you take 3 1/2 million work hours multiplied by dollars involved, this is a significant issue that needs to
be addressed. and so this bill, h.r. 1293, grants the o.p.m. the ability to get necessary information from federal agencies so that we have a more comprehensive understanding of the official time usage. and currently there are no standards for o.p.m. to find that kind of information. so this bill does not eliminate nor does it restrict official time usage. it simply shines light on the practice and, again, i believe we can find common ground that the american people deserve to know how their taxpayers are being spent. this is good governance. i'm pleased to support this bill. honored and pleased to do so in the house oversight and government reform committee. i urge all our colleagues to support it now. and i yield back.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. ross: i reserve our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. connolly: i thank the speaker. my friend from florida is my friend and knows i respect him. when you give an opening statement on a bill that goes far beyond a reporting requirement that we thought weapon supporting and you use the occasion to -- we were supporting and you use the occasion in a negative way to really describe the civil servant and what they're up to, then this side of the aisle we take exception. and then it's no longer a simple reporting bill. it's a precursor of bad things to come, and we're not going to be party to it. we are not going to enable that. that's why i reluctantly must oppose this bill and urge my democratic colleagues and those on the other side of the aisle who want to protect fell
employees and honor them and give the dignity and respect they deseven also to oppose this -- deserve also to oppose this bill. meek, i'm pleased to -- mr. speaker, i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the gentlewoman from the district of columbia, ms. eleanor holmes norton. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for two minutes. ms. noton: you haven't heard any discussion of abuse of official time because there's no rod of abuse of owe -- there's no record of abuse of official time. my colleagues want to get rid of official time as they wanted to for decades. little background -- federal employees have no right to strike like as in the private sector so in return, though, the time-honored right to organize and represent employees in their owe filibuster capacity in matters relating to -- official capacity in matters relating to the workplace has taken place under republicans and democrats
alike. remember, there's also no requirement to join a union in the first place. yet, unions must represent all workers regardless of their membership or not. the bill on the house floor, 1293, h.r. 1293, is unnecessary. official time reports already -- already dy are are required. this is a redundant bill. if my friend said this isn't done timely he can do it administratively in this bill. the reason he doesn't do it in this bill, it's a cover. it's a cover for two pending bills that's already out of committee. i expect them on the floor any minute now, although notice the sequence. this bill, this seemingly vanilla bill will be followed by the real bills that my colleagues are of a.
they are parallel bills. theyy firblely eliminate -- they officially eliminate official time. why are they important? they are important for the operation of the federal government itself. eliminate -- and why is that? because there will always be disputes and contention between management and labor. so it takes away the time wasted and allows people to go to the table and work them out. . could i have another minute? mr. connolly: i would be glad to yield one more minute. ms. norton: these two bills are frontal attack on official time but they stab official time in the back. one would make it virtually impossible for union members to volunteer their time unless they want to give up parts of their retirement benefits. what kind of quid pro quo is
that? what do you want to do, replace them with no pay the next time so you start with retirement benefits? the bill designates employees who cannot represent other employees. this bill more and more looks like what you would expect from countries where there is no right to organize. this bill also reduces the amount of dues unions can collect even though they are collecting them on their own time and not official time. this is such a brazen attempt to eliminate the fair share fee and impose free rideers -- fee riders. and indeed it's an out and out attempt -- assault on the freedom of workers to organize. i thank -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. connolly i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: gentleman from florida virginia tech. mr. ross: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to be clear here i want to make sure we're talking about the same bill.
this bill doesn't do anything about union bills. this bill doesn't do anything other than retire the transparency of reporting official time. i would be delighted to engage my good friend from virginia who i have a great deal of respect for and worked diligently on this committee with for some time and inquire as to what transpired since this bill left committee until today that would cause him and others who were supportive of it in committee to now say that it is not. i don't mean to misrepresent anything. while i might have opinions of what i believe, i can actually factually this bill is merely and solely and exclusively a reporting bill. if i were managing a company and i wanted to know where my resources were, i wanted to make sure i manage those resources, including my human resources. so i would like to know where my time of my employees is spent. there is no prohibition of time
being spent. there is no restriction of time being spent. it is merely a reporting bill. it's a requiring reporting. it's something the o.p.m. has done before. it was started under president carter administration. and with that i would just reserve the balance of my time. again inquire of my good friend if there is anything that has changed to make his opposition now come to the floor. mr. connolly: does my friend yield to -- mr. ross: yes, sir. mr. connolly: i thank my friend. because i'm going to run out of time on my time. i must say to my friend -- my prepared remarks were designed to support this bill. and i must say to my -- mr. speaker, the gentleman from florida, who is an honorable man and a friend, we have collaborated, but his own words transformed what this really was. they persuaded us that by voting for this, we're not just voting for a reporting bill. that's just the beginning. he, my friend from florida is
the one who characterized criminal activity on official time. and unsavory things going on on official time. and allows that to dangle out there as if that characterized federal employees generally. i say to my friend, i thank him for yielding, that has transformed our perception of this bill. this is no longer a simple reporting bill although technically that's what it is. it's a precursor apparently to an assault of federal employees and on official time specifically. we cannot be partners to that. we cannot be enablers to that. therefore we must oppose this bill in light of the context my friend from florida himself said. mr. ross: if i might reclaim my time. while i understand where my colleague from virginia is taking my comments from, i must submit that at no time did i allege that the federal employees, all federal employees are critting --
committing crimes on official time. i think just the opposite by a vast majority of our federal employees are probably some of the best work force that we have out there. and i think that in any work force you are going to have some people that are not what the standard of their employment is what they have lived up to. so what i merely do in my opening statement is to say there has been a need for transparency that includes the abuse of time by some. not by all. and again the vast, vast majority of federal employees are exceptional employees, hardworking, and absolutely necessary to run this great country. so i would again reserve my time but ask my good friend from virginia to please reconsider. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida reserves. the gentleman from virginia virginia tech. mr. connolly: i'm he certainly gratified, mr. speaker, for the clarification of my friend. it now gives me great pleasure to yield three minutes to my good friend from massachusetts, senior member of the oversight and government reform committee, mr. stephen lynch. the speaker pro tempore: the
gentleman virginia tech. mr. lynch: i thank the gentleman from virginia for yielding. i join him in opposition to this bill. while originally my remarks would have been much kinder to the bill, and i may have considered supporting it,dy not consider it favorably in committee. i know we had a voice vote on that, but in light of the remarks, unfortunate remarks that implied there was illegal tivity going on by federal employees, and that's why we need this bill is before us right now, do i have to agree with the ranking member, the gentleman from virginia, that this bill is, indeed, a part of the vanguard of legislation to severely restrict and eliminate the use of official time. under the bipartisan civil service reform act of 1978, a federal employee who serves as a union steward or union representative may be granted official time to perform activities that, this is the important standard that's in the bill, the gentleman from
georgia indicated that we need this bill because there is no standard. the standard in the civil service reform act requires a number of things. it requires both labor and management to agree on the use of official time. and that official time be quote, reasonable, necessary, and in the public interest. that's the standard today. and every single federal workplace, management and labor have to agree that the use of official time is reasonable, that it is necessary, and that it is in the public interest. that's a great standard. and that's what's been going on so far. while there are those who seek to curb or repeal the statutory right, they may claim it amounts to misuse of government resources, let me offer you another concrete example of why official time is critical to the federal workplace and serves the interest of the american people and taxpayer.
in the wake of the devastating terrorist attacks on september 11, 2001, the nation also endured a series of anthrax attacks perpetuated through the united states mail system against media offices in florida and new york and also federal offices here in the nation's capital. the affected facilities included the brentwood mail processing and distribution center here in d.c. that is now named after two dedicated postal employees, thomas morris and joseph, who lost their lives to anthrax exposure at that facility. this is immediately after september 11. hey were postal workers. the guide of inhalation anthrax poisoning because of the jobs they were doing on behalf of this country. the risk of further anthrax attacks threatens the safety of our postal work force-.
i had two sisters with young children at the time, working at the post office. i knew of this well. one lso -- ranking member, more minute. mr. connolly: glad to yield one additional minute to my friend. mr. lynch: thank you. it jeopardized the safety of our postal work force and customers, as well as the free flow of information and commerce that the constitutional responsibility of the united states postal service requires. but rather than refusing to go to work in a dangerous work force, by the use of official time the management of the united states postal service and union representatives of the united states postal service sat down and worked out a measure where the union agreed to send their workers in , the mail kept running to every home and business in america, but the postal workers absorb that danger on their own
because they knew that steps were being taken to keep them and their families -- because the threat was anthrax would get on their clothes and they would bring that back to their own homes, we worked that out. that agreement would not have been worked out but for the use of official time. and a lot of official time that was used in that crisis. that's the responsibility that those union representatives have to the workers. they have to guarantee a safe workplace for those workers. that's why we should vote against this bill. this is a wolf in sheep's clothing. we ought to vote this down. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. connolly: i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida. mr. ross: thank you, mr. speaker. if i might just again clarify for the record this is a reporting bill. transparency bill. the standard that my good friend from massachusetts discusses and that i agree with is not affected at all by this bill. and i would have no doubt whatsoever that in similar circumstance that is happened
after 9/11 in those post offices, that those same employees regardless of the risk would do what they did because that's how valuable they are to this country. what i can't understand is what has transpired from voting out of committee to today that has changed the opinion. with that mr. speaker, i reserve the balance. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. connolly: i'm pleased to yield two minutes to our dear friend from michigan, brenda lawrence. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for two minutes. mrs. lawrence: thank you, congressman connolly. i rise today coming in saying i would support this bill. many people know i served 30 years as a federal employee rking and understanding, working in h.r., understanding labor relations, safety issues, environmental issues, diversity issues. knowing clear well that the official time that's allotted to employees to sit down with their representative of the union, to talk about if they
feel like they are being sexually harassed, if they feel like they are in an environment not safe for them, official time is extremely necessary. and what happens in official times? it allows a lot of grievances to be processed and resolved through communication between union and management. there has been several legislative reform proposals introduced to address the way union representatives are allowed to utilize official time. now, i was taken back when my colleague said criminal activities. ladies and gentlemen, mr. speaker, criminal activity is something that's in a whole different venue. if you are a federal employee and you create illegal activity, you do not need official time to do that. i have never known in the time that i served in h.r. in labor relations, and served in alt different capacities have i seen someone doing criminal
activity on official time. it would be a different thing if we were clear that this bill was about reporting the time, which i would not oppose, but when you present this scenario about official time as being something that is negative, something that is being used in a criminal, criminal capacity, that is totally something i will be opposed to. let me tell you some examples of what representatives can use it for. if there is a whistleblower accusation, an employee would go to their union steward and ask for official time. if there was a grievance on behalf of the employee -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. mr. connolly: 30 more seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. mrs. lawrence: if it's an osha issue, racial discrimination, sexual harassment, instead of allowing employees to complete nonpolitical activities, some my colleagues seem more
interested in preventing employees from doing their jobs by using official time. i urge my colleagues to defeat senseless attacks against federal employees. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida virginia tech. mr. ross: might i inquire, mr. speaker, how much time is left? the speaker pro tempore: 9 1/2. mr. ross: i reserve at this time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. mr. connolly: may i also inquire how much time is on our side? the speaker pro tempore: 8 1/2. mr. connolly: thank you. it gives me great pleasure now to yield two minutes to our friend from new jersey, bonnie watson coleman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. mrs. watson coleman: thank you to my colleague for yielding me time and this opportunity to discuss this bill. i want to thank the colleague from across the aisle here who has illuminated the future as it relates to undertaking this whole issue. it is with that in mind i want to speak to the value of use of
official time. while i am not concerned so much about the collection of the information as to what is happening, i am concerned with how it is being translated and will be used in the future. for decades both republicans and democrats strongly supported the use of official time because it streamlines the efficiency and quality of government. so we should be thanking our union representatives who use official time to address workplace problems and operational issues within our government. within our federal government official time leads to swift conflict resolutions that would earwise require costly litigation. it improves the relationships between labor and management, and protection whistle blowers who have exposed government waste and abuse. in some cases it has even saved lives, as any issue of president cath lean afge local president when there was a
breakout of legionnaires disease. furthermore, official time costs 1/10 of one percent of the cost of salaries and benefits for all federal employees. that's a fraction of employee compensation. it ensures transparency. so while we may be discussing today simplely a bill that will record the time that is spent in such a noble and important function, it is simply a precursor to the disparaging of union workers and federal workers as we move forward. with that i oppose any movement in that direction and i yield back my time. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from florida. mr. ross: may i inquire of my colleague from the other side as to whether he has any more speakers. mr. connolly: if the gentleman will yield? yes, i have two more speakers on the list. mr. ross: i verve.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. connolly: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from virginia, mr. john sarbanes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. mr. sarbanes: i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. speaker, i came to the floor today expecting to pport h.r. 1293 which has to deal with the official reporting time but the negative commentary we are getting against official time and the knock against federal employees today i'm anxious about supporting this bill because it appears what's happening is our colleagues on the other side are setting the table for bringing other legislation eventually to the floor that's actually going to attack and undermine official time. my colleague earlier referred to a wolf in sheep's clothing represented by this bill. you can look at at the camel's knows under the tent.
-- nose under the tent. whatever it is i'm worried the agenda is to undermine official time. let's remind ourselves the benefits of official time. it helps to resolve workplace disputes which is really important. it helps to improve efficiency within the workplace. it's what leads to negotiating positive agreements between labor and management. it's how our agencies, official time when it's used wisely -- and there's no evidence that it's not used wisely. there's no evidence of abuse of official time or misuse, when it's used the way it has been used, it helps our federal agencies help the american people. it helps these agencies function well. so i hope that we can reject whatever's coming down the pipeline. i was cautiously optimistic when i came to support this bill that these other efforts that seem to be under way were maybe being put to bed. but now i'm concerned that this -- there's an agenda coming.
and so we'll just have to see how it goes. i want to reiterate my strong support for official time, the use of it, the way it is used by our federal employees which is in a very, very positive fashion and urge my colleagues on the other side to protect official time and all of its benefits. with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from florida. mr. ross: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: he reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. connolly: mr. speaker, i agree with my friend from maryland. official time is a very useful, actually, tool in the federal workplace, both for management and for labor and has proved its worth over the years. it now gives me great pleasure to yield two minutes to my iend from california, mark takano. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. takano: after hearing the remarks from the chairman this morning, i'm afraid this bill
is just a precursor for what the majority will try to do to our dedicated federal employees. the sentiments expressed by the chairman are in light with the legislation that appeared before the veterans' affairs committee just this past week. legislation that would have undermine the use of official time for employees at the v.a. so there are attacks happening in other parts of the house. e committee marked up h.r. 1461, the misnamed vet protection act. this bill will limit the amount of time v.a. employees can use for official time to improve working conditions for themselves and for their colleagues. and in turn improve services for veterans. we considered this bill despite the fact we didn't have clear data on the impact of the bill on the v.a.'s h.r. capabilities. i know the bill we are considering today is about that data but the spirit it is being moved forward is not about trying to illuminate how
official time has helped our veterans. vacant e 49,380 positions at the v.a. rolling back the use of owe fish time will increase demands on the v.a.'s human resource staff making it hard to recruit and retain quality providers. official time benefits our veterans. in pittsburgh, as was mentioned before my colleague from new jersey, an a.f.g. president used official time to press the v.a. to address liege near disease. her actions helped saved veterans' lives and used official time to do it. at the phoenix v.a. there was a 29% turnover rate for licensed practical nurses. union officials used to cut the turnover rate in half. less turnover means better care for veterans. i warn my colleagues against
this bill and future misguided legislation to undermine official time and the function of our federal agencies. i yield back, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. ross: i want to make congressman connelly aware i have no speakers and i am prepared to close and therefore i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia. mr. connolly: in attempting to summarize, mr. speaker, i do want to reiterate my friend from florida's an honorable man. when he says this is about one thing, i believe him. perhaps in the introduction to a s bill there was characterization that was not intended, and i accept this explanation. federal workers are hardworking civil servants. they serve the american people, and i know my friend from florida agrees. the overwhelming majority of them are dedicated. they seize a mission every day,
whether it be at the veterans department, the social security department, whether it's our nation's parks, they are dedicated to the proposition that they're there to serve the american people. and it's important to honor their service, to respect their service, to not allow even the inference to be drawn that a negative example somehow could be construed, mischaracteristic of the whole. that's false. that's the narrative we democrats and hopefully a number of republicans want to change because it's not true. we want to honor those civil servants and all too often our civil servants have become pin cushions. again, i know my friend from florida does not intend that, but there are others who have intended that, and that sparks
something certainly on this side of the aisle and with this member who represents a lot of federal employees and who cherishes their service, for us a very personal matter. so with that, mr. speaker, i close and i yield back the balance of our time on this side of the aisle. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. ross: thank you, mr. speaker. i appreciate the comments from my friend from virginia. i will reiterate my comments made earlier here on this floor that we are very grateful for the federal work force that we do have, that they are by far one of the best human resources and employment in the world and we are grateful for their service. in any case there might be bad ones but more importantly all i'm requesting and all this bill requests is we just report transparency of their services on official time. it's not an indictment or restriction and can be used as a tool for federal employees to justify some of the official time they're doing for the benefit of not only their colleagues but also this great
country. and for that, mr. speaker, i would, again, request that the members of this house support my bill and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 1293, as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. 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. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? mr. ross: mr. speaker, i move the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 624, the social security fraud prevention act of 2017, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 624, a bill to restrict the inflution of social security account numbers on documents sent by mail by
the federal government and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from florida, mr. ross, and the gentleman from virginia, mr. connolly, will each control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida. mr. ross: thank you, mr. speaker. and i yield myself such time as i may consume. i also request unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend and include extraneous material on the bill under consideration. mr. speaker, i rise -- the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. ross: i rise in support of h.r. 624 introduced by my good friend from california, representative david valadao. i want to start by thanking chairman brady and ranking member johnson for getting this bill to the work. the unnecessary use of social security numbers is well appreciated by all americans across the country and especially members of this body. mr. speaker, we live in an interconnected world. personal identifiers such as social security numbers are used more than social security
benefits. social security numbers are widely used to receive government services and apply for services in the private sectors like opening bank accounts, credit cards and applying for college. the extent to which social security numbers are a national identifier has heightened concern about identity theft. in the wrong hands a stolen social security number can be used for devastating effects. this bill helps move the government closer to the goal of minimizing unnecessary use of social security numbers. all entities of the federal government will be prohibited from using a social security number by mail unless deemed necessary. the major agencies will have to issue regulations specifying the circumstances under which inclusion of social security numbers are deemed necessary. they will have to ensure numbers are redacted, partially where feasible an ensure no numbers are visible from outside the mail piece. finally, agencies will be required to report to congress on their progress in implementing the requirements into law. mr. speaker, this bill is very important. the social security administration alone sends
millions of notices containing a full social security number every year. we must take care to safeguard the personally eye debit football information of american -- identifiable information of american persons. a major data breach where the personal identifiable information for 22 million americans were compromised. mr. ersight committee -- speaker, this bill is a step in the right direction. i urge my colleagues to support this pill and i reserve the balance of my time. -- this bill and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. connolly: i thank the speaker. mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. connolly: i rise today in support of h.r. 624, the social security fraud prevention act of 2017, as amended. introduced by our colleague, mr. valadao from california, this bill is a commonsense step to addressing an enormously growing problem of identity
theft and protecting the personal information of every american. each year 18 million americans become victims of identity theft. 18 million. a leading cause of this problem is unauthorized acquisition of social security numbers by criminals. h.r. 624 will address the issue by restricting the instances in which agencies may include the full social security numbers on documents sent through the mail. the bill would prohibit agencies from including those numbers on mail correspondence unless the head of the agency, himself or herself, determines that inclusion is absolutely essential. agencies would be required to issue regulations delineating the situations in which social security numbers are necessary and would be instructed to partially redact numbers wherever feasible. agencies would also be
expressly prohibited from making social security numbers visible on the outside of any mail packages. in recent years, many agencies have taken steps to reduce their use of social security numbers, and this bill would simply codify some of those practices agencies have already adopted. for instance, the social security administration itself no longer prints social security numbers on its annual cost-of-living adjustment notices or benefit checks, and the centers for medicare and medicaid services is in the process for removing social security numbers from the medicare cards issued to beneficiaries. these steps are critical to ensuring that the federal government adequately safeguards the personally identifiable information of individuals and does everything it can to protect americans from identity theft. although this bill helps provide a lot of protection reducing the threat of identity theft by removing social security numbers from mailed items is not always as easy as it seems.
many agencies confront high costs when reprogramming outdated legacy information technology systems to allow mailings to be printed differently. . agencies across the federal government are reluctant to retire those systems because of funding constraints that limit i.t. investments, slow modernization shall and force agencies to defer needed i.t. upgrades in favor of some more pressing urgent problem. i would be remiss if i did not mention the important responsibility congress has to fund these i.t. modernization efforts as it considers this bill. mr. speaker, the social security it fraud prevention act is a good bipartisan bill necessary to protect the american public. i urge my colleagues to support its passage. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from florida. mr. ross: mr. speaker, at this time i'm pleased to yield as much time as he may consume to the gentleman from california and the author of this bill, mr. valadao. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is
recognized. mr. valadao: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today in strong support of my bill, h.r. 624, the social security number fraud prevention act. legislation to protect americans, especially children, veterans, and elderly from identity theft. not long ago i was approached by a constituent in my district who showed me a letter she received from social security administration. the document she showed me contained her full social security number, name, and address clearly printed. upon further investigation we found that the social security administration had also printed postcards which contained the full social security number of the intended recipient, clearly visible on the exterior of the mailing. even more concerning the practice of printing social security numbers on government documents is not exclusive to social security administration, but occurs throughout every department of the federal government. in today's digital age, we hear more and more about the importance of protecting our identity. identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the united states. it threatens the financial security of millions of
americans as well as the economic stability of the united states as a whole. in fact, every two seconds another american becomes the victim of identity fraud. even worse, these crimes tend to impact vulnerable populations such as children and elderly and veterans the most. despite these alarming statistics, there is high priffle lens of needlessly printed social security numbers on documents issued by the federal government. my legislation puts an end to this unacceptable practice and limits when the federal government can mail documents that contain an individual's full social security number. social security was established to provide older americans financial security during their retirement years. not to jeopardize the security negatively handling someone's personal information. my bill, the social security number fraud prevention act, would prevent the federal government from mailing documents that could be taint full social security number unless absolutely necessary. the -- this requires federal
agencies to partially redact social security numbers on the documents whenever possible. please join me in supporting this commonsense legislation that will help all americans avoid falling victim to one of the fastest growing crimes in the united states. thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from virginia. mr. connolly: mr. speaker, gives me pleasure to yield three minutes to our colleague from california, mr. costa. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. costa: i thank the gentleman from virginia for yielding. i also want to take this time to thank the gentleman from florida and my colleague and good friend, congressman valadao, for the introduction of this legislation. h.r. 624, which i support, identity theft as we know throughout the country is a very significant problem. and it becomes even more compounded in this day in the internet when we have to deal with a whole host of issues steal e the ability to
one's identity even more easily done. this measure attempts to try to address a part of that challenge by dealing with the issue of social security numbers. we all know social security numbers are key information that are used to identify ourselves. and we know if they fall into the wrong hands they can be used to commit identity theft. all of us remember when we were some point in our age we got our social security number. we memorized it, right? and it's something that is very important in our society today. but many thieves find these numbers are incredibly valuable because they are a link that can connect a person's information across a whole host of agencies, systems, and databases in this age of the internet. criminals can use stolen social
security numbers to file fraudulent tax returns, obtain loans, and commit other kinds of crimes. an estimated 13 million americans experienced financial identity theft in 2014 alone. resulting in over $16 billion, with a b, $16 billion lost to fraud. in 2004, to combat these issues, there was an identity theft task force that made recommendations to the administration, the administration on ways to eliminate the unnecessary collection, use, and display, the display which this legislation attempts to address social security numbers. yesterday the government accountability office released testimony on these efforts by the federal government to reduce the collection, use, and display of such social security numbers. in conclusion, the g.a.o.
testified that until the office of management and budget adopts more effective practices for public agencies, the social security number reduction efforts overall governmentwide reduction will likely remain limited and difficult to measure. and risk of social security numbers being exposed and used to commit identity theft will remain greater than it needs be. again, this legislation attempts to help address that. the social security number fraud prevention act would create measures to help protect american citizens, especially children, veterans, senior citizens, from identity theft and fraud. it does so by reducing the number of mailed documents that the federal government sends to individuals that include full social security numbers. i ask the gentleman to yield another minute. mr. connolly: pleased to yield
an additional minute to the gentleman from california. mr. costa: i thank the gentleman from virginia. in addition t. also takes steps toe ensure that if the inclusion is necessary, the number is not visible from the outside of the mailing. i think probably many of us have received mail that had our social security number there and identified. while as i said on the outset this is no silver bullet to stopping identity theft, it is a commonsense measure to reducing it. social security as we all know is a promise made to those who have worked hard throughout their lives to contribute to the system, to contribute to the american way of life. and it also provides those seniors who are living on their social security the ability to have dignity, and additional security during their golden years. as a result, congress must do what it can to reduce the strains on the program, particularly from fraud and
theft. and for all of those reasons i support this legislation, support congressman valadao's efforts and my good friend from florida and virginia for bringing this commonsense measure to the floor. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. ross: mr. speaker, at this time i'm pleased to yield three minutes to the gentleman from illinois, mr. davis. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from illinois is recognized for three minutes. mr. davis: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you to my colleague from florida and thank you to my colleague from virginia for supporting this piece of legislation put forth by our friend and colleague from california, congressman david valadao. the social security fraud and prevention act is a bill that should gain unanimous support in this institution. according to the justice department identity theft affects nearly 18 million people, costing more than 15 million in 2014 alone. this represents roughly 7% of all americans age 16 and older n my home state of illinois
alone, in 2014 it was recognized that the f.t.c. saw a 65% increase in identity theft. more than 14% of the victims are elderly. we all know that social security numbers are the link to a key piece of information that criminals use to steal people's identities. this commonsense piece of legislation takes a very important step to ensure that our federal agencies, our government funded by the hardworking taxpayers of this country are not making this problem even worse. this bill, as you heard today, would restrict the use of social security numbers on documents sent via mail by the federal government. unless the head of a department or agency determines the inclusion of such number is necessary. which i can't think of a single instance where that would be necessary, but i guess we have to put that in there anyway. this seems like a no-brainer. but we in this institution have to pass a bill to make sure it
happens. which is why i'm a proud co-sponsor of this bill. i want to thank congressman valadao again. i also want to thank congress' newest father, our colleague from california, eric swalwell, for being a co-sponsor of this legislation, too. this bill will have a real impact on reducing identity theft in this country. i want to commend, once again, everybody on the floor today for their support. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from virginia. mr. connellly: mr. speaker, might i inquire of my friend from florida if he has other speakers? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida. mr. ross: i have no other speakers. i'm prepared to close. i reserve. mr. connell-l-ily: -- mr. connolly: i thank my friend from florida and i'm prepared o close. mr. speaker, i think this is an important piece of legislation. this is one of the fastest growing crimes in our country.
the version of social security ecks and rebates and it is almost without any kind of corrective action. there are few prosecutions and even fewer convictions. so if you're a criminal and you are looking for something that's relatively cost free for you, this is the way to do it. this bill would provide some important protections to the person public. i would hope that we build on this. my friend from florida and i serve on the oversight and government reform committee, and we have heard testimony about this crime as it has grown exnoningsly over the last five or six years. it is my hope that u.s. attorneys all across america will put more emphasis on this crime and use their resources go after people who are predating on american taxpayers, especially many of our seniors, who rely on these
checks or these relates to augment the supplement their income. there are victims with this crime and they are the american taxpayer. i think it's important for us. i support the legislation. i urge our colleagues to support it as well w that i yield back the balance of my time. -- as well. with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. ross: we here have an obligation to provide for the common defense. that includes to provide -- we provide to defend our citizenry from such crimes as identity theft. this bill is a step in the right direction. i want to thank my good friend from virginia, mr. connolly, for his efforts. i want to thank mr. valadao from california in sponsoring this bill. this is a bipartisan measure that will allow us to address the concerns of modern day crimes of identity, of modern day crismse privacy. it's a bill that moves in the right direction while it's not the panacea, it is a good first step to protect our citizenry. with that i urge adoption by my
colleagues and yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 624, 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. without objection, the title is amended.
the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on h r. 593. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. pursuant to house resolution 348 and rule 18, the chair declares the house in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for the consideration of h r. 953. the chair appoints the gentleman from south carolina, mr. duncan, to preside other the committee of the whole.
-- preside over the committee of the whole. the chair: the house is in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for the consideration of h.r. 953 which the clerk will report by title. the clerk: a bill to amend the federal insecticide, if you thinkside and rodenticide act to clarify congressional intent of the use of pesticides in or near navigable waters. the chair: pursuant to the rule, the bill is considered read the first time. the gentleman from ohio, mr. gibbs, and the gentleman -- the gentlelady from california, mrs. napolitano will each control 30 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from ohio. mr. gibbs: i yield myself such time as i may consume. we are considering h.r. 953, the
reducing regulatory burdens act clarify use of pesticides near navigable water. this is the appropriate federal statute to govern safety in the use of pesticides. fifra first passed in 1910, 62 years before the clean water act was passed. the sixth circuit court decision in the national cotton council versus the e.p.a. changed how this all work. before, the pesticide was regulated under e.p.a. under fifra. they have full jurisdiction under fifra. e.p.a. previously ruled that using pesticides under fifra does not require a national pollutant discharge system,
mpes, permit under the act. because of this court decision in 2009, those who have been safely applying products to control pest populations now must comply with additional mpes permitting. some of my colleagues across the aisle have called this groundhog day in the past. i agree. time after time they have supported increasing the regulations just for regulations' sake. they're even willing to risk public health and outbreaks of zika and west nile virus. the sixth circuit court decision ignored congressional intent when fifra was passed. the court ignored sensible interpretation and years of regulatory precedent they expand the clean water jurisdiction beyond the scope set by congress and over areas already appropriately regulate this ecourt decision placed burden on the e.p.a., requiring a new and expanded mpes permitting process for products already regulated. the e.p.a. says there's about
365,000 pesticide aply kators affected by this ruling. they affect state -- they include state agencies, mosquito control district, farmers and ranchers, forest managers, scientists and even everyday citizens or homeowners. the e.p.a. estimates $50 million in paperwork to apply alone every year for this new regulation. the federal, state and local agencies forced to spend money on paperwork and compliance, aply kators like farmers and ranchers also face increased cost. this adds permitting costs and adds time and hurts productivity and efficiency. and it does not add any new environmental protections. this bad court decision affecting the budgetary decisions from local agencies, i can give you some examples here. in benton county washington, the mosquito control district serves 20% of its annual budget in case it's sued under the clean water act.
when the clean water act was passed in 19 2, it was set up with severe penalties to go after the polluters, the pollutes of the 1960's, to clean up our waters so we -- since we had severe problems. when it did that, it opened up the door for more litigation. under the benton county, washington, mosquito control district, $37,000 in permit costs and paperwork, they have spent. benton county who treated almost ,600 acres for mosquito abatement or pay for three seasonal workers. they spend three weeks a year tabulating and documenting seasonal applications relating to oversight and california's vector control districts estimated it costs them $3 million for mpes permit. they also spend 20% of their
operating fwounlt maintain computer software relating to the unnecessary permit. as a result, mosquito districts and state and local governments lawsuits. frivolous fines for paperwork violations which i obviously -- which obviously don't have any effect on the veerment can be as much as $50,000 a day. in jim county, idaho, they were forced to spend $450,000 to resolve a lawsuit. in my home state of ohio, the mosquito control district for toledo, currently embroiled in a lawsuit from simple paperwork violation. west nile operate proves costs are hindering the ability to protect the public. the first year of permitting requirement from the court case, west nile cases jumped from 712 cases to over 5,600 cases. that's nearly an 800% increase because of unnecessary permit requirements.
the states and communities affected by west nile had to wait until after a public health emergency was declared. only then would relief from the mpes permit be approved. only after the west nile had spread could local agencies use life-saving pesticides to kill mosquitoes carrying the virus. keep in mind when the local entity, municipality, declares an emergency they don't need a permit, they can spray. i like to say, it's after the fact when mosquitoes are out of control, then we d aerial spraying when we could have prevented it with surface spraying and been less harm to the environment. we shouldn't have to wait until it becomes an emergency. h.r. 953 gets rid of unnecessary red tape so communities can prevent outbreaks of diseases like zika and west nile. cities that need to conduct mosquito abatement shouldn't have to do it with one hand tied behind their bark. hr 95 provides a narrow, limited exception for those
pesticides already approved under fifra and use under compliance by the label approved by the e.p.a. the e.p.a. already regulates these pesticides. and imaproves them under fifra. it goes through a rigorous testing and reporting requirements an they set the label and make the determination. how it's going to be use and if it's a restricted pesticide who the aply kators are removing -- the undant permit is e.p.a. can handle this like theyed by before the court case. the e.p.a. assisted in drafting h.r. 953 which doesn't roll back environmental protections. it fixes a regulatory problem caused by the sixth circuit court's decision. similar legislation has passed the house every congress since the court's decision and i look forward to passing it again today and it passing the senate and having the president sign it
into law. lists of organizations, a snapshot of the many organizations, because i don't have enough time to list all the organizations. but the american mosquito control association, the american farm bureau fred ration, national farmers union, national association of state departments of agriculture, national association of wheat growers, national corn growers association and united fresh produce association. those are a few groups representing thousands of americans who depend on commonsense e.p.a. regulations for their livelihood. i also, mr. speaker, want to submit for the record, want to talk about here far minute, i have a letter that i'll submit for the record at the appropriate time here from former secretary of agriculture tom vilsack. in 2009 he was secretary of agriculture in the obama administration. when this court case happened , he sent a letter to lisa jackson, the administrator of the e.p.a. and in this letter he states , he urges the e.p.a. to
consider significant adverse effect of the sixth circuit court's 2006 decision, i think it's 2009, that's a misprint, will have on american farmers and usda agency. by broadening the clean water's burden them ey with new requirements. it encumbers the ability to do business while reaping little or no environmental benefit in exchange. the secretary of agriculture in the obama administration said that this court case has little environmental benefit and it hampers american farmers to do their job to produce the most wholesome, safe, affordable food in the world. subjecting fifra compliant pesticides to additional regulatory regime , he goes on to say, is duplicative and will not help protect the environment. so mr. speaker, i want to submit that to the record, this letter dated march 6, 2009 from
secretary of agriculture vilsack and his opposition to the court says and what this bill does. the chair: without objection, ordered. mr. gibbs: also i have, mr. speaker, i have, nearly 120 organizations that support h.r. 953 representing a wide variety of public and private entities and thousands of stake holders. i have a letter from nearly 120, i listed some of those, additional names include -- i guess i've got to list them, agriculture retailers association, american mosquito control association, association of equipment manufacturers, family farm alliance, national agriculture aviation association, the national aslines -- alliance of forest owners, national association of state departments of agriculture, national farmers union, national pest management soccer, national association, i submit those to the letters and
also a letter from the national association of counties be included in the record and that request -- counties have reported either significantly scaled back or discontinued mosquito abatement programs due to additional, duplicative, and that's from the national association of counties. mr. speaker, i also want to thank the ag committee chairman, mike conway and transportation and infrastruck -- conaway and transportation and infrastructure committee shuster, and collin peterson as well. i urge all members to support this commonsense effort to reform this e.r.a. -- e.p.a. regulation. the chair: the request is covered under general leave they the gentlewoman --
gentleman reserves? mr. gibbs: i reserve. the chair: the gentlewoman from alifornia. mrs. lowey: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentlelady is ecognized. > the clean tano: i -- water act in no way hinders, delays or prevents the use of approved pesticides for pest control operations. in fact, the clean water act ermits, i repeat, permits -- permit provides a specific emergency provision to prevent outbreaks of disease such as zika virus. under the terms of the permit,
pesticide aply kators are covered automatically under the ermit and any spraying my be performed immediately for any pest emergency situations. in most instances, sprayers are only required to notify e.p.a. of their spraying operations 30 days, 0 days after the beginning of spraying operation. most pesticide applications in the united states are done in accordance with fifra, the federal insecticide, if you thinkside and rodenticide act which only requires proper labeling. however, fifra labeling is no substitute for ensuring we understand the volumes of pesticides we seem to apply to our rivers, our lakes, our streams on an annual basis. according to 2006 usgs report, pestsides, commonly used
pesticides frequently are present in springs and groundwater at levels that exceed human health benchmarks and include in many streams at levels that may affect fish life and also human life. in the data that the states provide e.p.a. more than 16,000 miles of rivers and streams, 1,3 00 bays and estuaries, 337 achers of lakes in the united states are currently
are creating the exception from water quality without considering the impacts of the waters that are already impanthed by pesticides as they are in california. this in turn costs our water agencies, our ratepayers, hundreds of millions of dollars to get pollutants out of the water before i is pottable. this is something i deal with on a regular basis. we currently have al qaeda what
fierce that are contaminated by the continued use of fertilizers. millions of dollars have been spent of the superfund site in my area that has pesticides as one of the contaminant. we cannot should not take away one of the only tools to monitor for adverse impacts of pesticides in our rivers, streams and reservoirs. over the past six years, this tool has been unreasonable and unworkable to pest control operators and i urge my colleagues to vote no on this bill. and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlelady reserves. the gentleman from illinois is recognized. mr. davis: i rise today in support of h.r. 952, the reducing regulatory burdens act of 2017. the house committee on
agriculture, which i serve on as does chairman gibbs, passed this bill out of committee every congress since the 112th congress. the bill language was likewise included in the 2012 farm bill reported out of the committee as well as the 2013 farm bill and included in the committee reported text of the f.y. 2012 appropriations bill. but it has never reached the president's desk. for more than 100 years, the federal government has administered its responsibilities under the fifra review and review pesticides that protects human health. the e.p.a. or state authority issues a national pollute ant discharge elimination permit. and that regulates the discharge of pollutants. the permits specify on what
pluse ants may be discharged from point sources and what amounts. since the passage of the clean water act in 1972, the e.p.a. has interpreted its responsibilities related to use such that compliance with fifra would duplicate the need under the clean water act. they began use such to challeng interpretation, the e.p.a. promulgation the of a regulation on november 27 of 2006 to clarify how these two laws operated. under e.p.a.'s final rule, the agency codified its earlier interpretation that permits for pesticide application under the clean water act were unnecessary where pesticides were used in accordance with their regulation under fifra. following the regulation, it was challenged and the case was heard in the 6th circuit where the government's interpretation of the interaction of these two
laws was not given the deference we would normally expect. final court order nullified e.p.a.'s regulation and imposed process and duplicative . this order has imposed a burden on the e.p.a., state regulatory agencies and pesticide plaketors costing our economy in terms of jobs as well as several threatening the budgetary situation facing governments at all levels. it is particularly unfortunate this court order imposed a new requirement that has imperiled our water resource boards and mosquito control boards and agricultural sectors and provided no additional environmental or public health protection. on the contrary, by imposing this costly burden on public health pesticide users, it has jeopardized public health as it relates to protection such as zika virus, west nile virus and
lyme disease. i recently heard from the makeon mosquito abatement district and they can attest that complying with the permitting is very high. they hadn't placed tracked chemical usage, the added burden of the requirements have caused them to spend a large portion of the district's annual budget on software strictly just for compliance and reporting processes. the reoccurring fees associated with the software are a never-ending burden needlessly placed on abatement districts. and diverts funds from the actual purpose of controlling mosquitoes. e.p.a. has provided technical assistance to draft this very
narrow legislation. the goal of this legislation has been to address only those problems created by the decision of the 6th circuit and to be entirely consistent with the policy of the e.p.a. as stated their november 27, 2006 final rule governing application of pest pesticides. i urge all members to vote for this legislation and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentlelady from california is recognized. mrs. napolitano: i leeled one minute to the gentleman from california, mr. costa. mr. costa: i rise in strong support of reducing regulatory burdens act of 2017. this requires two permits for the same pesticide application under two separate laws. and i might add if you live in california, there is a separate
requirement under the california clean water act that requires an additional permit. that would still apply regardless if this legislation is passed. in order to be permitted to use a pesticide, that pesticide must be approved under fifra which includes an analysis that must be performed that finds that it will not generally cause unreasonable adverse affects to the environment or health. there is another permit to be acquired. if you happen to live close to a water body and that's where the duplication occurs. not only are these requirements are redundant and the permit ranges from $250,000. no one wants to risk human health, not i, not anyone. in my opinion this would not do so. we have zika, west nile and a host of spreading of these
diseases by mosquitoes in which this can address those issues. mr. speaker, i urge my colleagues to support this bill to remove this unnecessary unneeded regulatory burden expense and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from illinois. mr. davis: mr. charle, we agree that no one, no one thinks this bill is going to harm anyone. we are looking for commonsense provisions and i'm thankful to my colleague for making this a bipartisan solution. i yield two minutes to mr. yoho. the chair: the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. yoho: this is an absolute necessity of reducing regulatory burdens act, the 6th circuit overstepped its authority adirecting the e.p.a. to have duplicative process.
fifra, already requires the e.p.a. to review the data and evaluate risks and exposures sociated with the certain of pesticides, fungicides and rodenticides. after a given use of a pesticide, fifra prohibits its use its use. approved uses are requiring additional reviews under the national pollute ant discharge elimination system is simply unnecessary and burdensome. unless the body sets the record straight and overturns the 6th circuit decision, we will be opening a tried and true permitting process to numerous citizens' lawsuits that will be bad for agriculture and all such bad decisions results in increased costs paid for by the american consumers. i urge my colleagues to stand behind mr. gibbs and this bill.
stand behind the science and help him pass this. when he came, he started to work on this in 2010. his hair was brown and it's gray. and let's help him get this bill passed. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentlelady from california. mrs. napolitano: i yield a minute to mr. peterson from minnesota. mr. peterson: i rise to support this bill. it would restore congressional intent regarding the relationship between the fifra act and the clean water act. historically, congress has viewed fifra as sufficient to protect human health and the environment. until the early part of the past decade, even e.p.a. scombrepted its ability related to pesticide use as compliance with fifra would reduce the need for dupela
-- duplicative permitting. the pesticides used under fifra and permits for application under the clean water act were unnecessary. but unfortunately, this historic interpretation has been overturned by activists' litigation. in 2009, a decision by the sixth circuit court of appeals upended the space between these two laws. the sixth circuit order created a new permitting requirement that provides no additional environmental or public health protection. the goal of this legislation has been to address only those problems created by the sixth circuit decision. and to be consistent with intent and the e.p.a.'s long-held interpretation. it is a commonsense solution to a court-imposed regulatory burden that congress never intended to be applied.
i urge my colleagues to support this legislation. and i yield back my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from ohio is recognized. mr. gibbs: i appreciate my colleague and friend for his bipartisan support. at this time, i would yield to the majority whip, the gentleman from louisiana, as much time as he wishes to consume, mr. scalise. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. scalise: i thank my colleague from ohio in bringing forth this important legislation to help us focus more resources on killing mosquitoes especially as the mosquito season starts as we see threats with zika and west nile and the damage we see happening around our country from mosquitoes. we decided to put resources into killing mosquitoes and we come about and find out about these regulations that were imposed by the courts in a way that
actually makes it harder for us to kill mosquitoes. what you hear so often from people from around the country, why you have things happening in washington that make no sense. and congressman gibbs identified one of those areas and said it doesn't make sense. we tried to work through a different remedy and tried to get the administration to fix it and pointed to a court case that keeps from fixes it and it actually takes an anth of congress to bring congress into the process of killing mosquitoes. but at least we are spending the people's business on doing something that actually injects common sense back into the things that people do in their daily lives. all all across the country, we have local governments that are the ones that focus on killing mosquitoes. we started hearing thabt problem and we asked the e.p.a. to
identify how much this is costing. as everybody scrambles and fights, agencies are saying i need more money to do this, need more money to do that, we need to be responsible, people are saying live within your means. what we have identified, and we asked the e.p.a. the e.p.a. said the cost of implementing these regulations are an extra $50 million a year. think how ludicrous that is. because of the way the e.p.a. is implementing the law, as we try to kill more mosquitoes, it's costing $50 million a year to comply with burdensome, duplicative regulations rather than killing mosquitoes. we should be spending money, $50 million, killing more mosquitoes, not killing trees to comply with ridiculous regulations. i want to commend my colleague from ohio for bringing this back. the house passed this in a bipartisan way last congress. we didn't get it all the way to the president's desk. so this year, hopefully we will get this bill not only passed through the house but through the senate and to president
trump's desk where he will sign a bill that injects common sense back into the process of killing mosquitoes. let's spend our money killing mosquitoes, not killing trees and having to comply with ridiculous regulations that come out of washington and make no sense. let's pass this bill. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yolds back. the -- the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentlelady from california. mrs. napolitano: i yield such time as he may consume to the the gentleman from oregon, mr. defazio. the chair: without objection the gentleman from oregon is recognized. i thank the gentlelady. this is the fifth time the united states house of representatives has considered this bill. now we heard a lot of alternative facts today, let's have some real facts. killing trees, well, first off, here's the extensive application.
it's slightly over three pages long and it can be filed electron igcally. we don't need to kill any tree. allegations that somehow that slows down control of mosquito abatement or zika virus are absolutely false. anybody can apply a pesticide in a public health situation. they have 30 days to file the paperwork online afterwards. it takes about five minutes. it has such technical things as your name and address, your pesticide aply kator license, verified with a certain state, where you're going to use the pesticide or herbicide. now why would we want to know that? maybe why wouldn't we want not to know that? because that's what they're saying on that side of the aisle there is nothing registered with the department of agriculture. yes, we have fifra. these pesticides and herbsides have been reg -- and herbicides
have been regulated. we trust the aply kators to follow those rules. but when they actually use the herbicides and pesticides absent this form this burdensome, 3 1/2 page form, we won't know. why would we care? well, this is essentially the 20th anniversary of a massive fish kill in jackson county, oregon. in that incident, an operator applied an aquatic herbicide in aner gace canal that when it leaked into the nearby creek killed 92,000 steelhead. we kind of care about our steelhead in the northwest. that was a problem. so then the federal agency said, well, this is, you know, this is kind of a problem when someone does that, 92,000 steelhead plus anyone who drank the waters was
poisoned, etc., etc. but hey, we don't want to know about that. we don't want to know about that on that side of the aisle because dow chemical doesn't like it. now, we have data now, because of these forms and know about areas that are impaired. in my state which is like the clean, green state, 8,500 miles of rivers and streams in the state of of orge are imbared -- of oregon are impaired by pesticide contamination. that's something we should do something about. people are drinking that water, swimming in that water, kids bathing in that water. but we don't want to know about that. this is a horrible restraint on pesticide application. we heard a will the of other hooey here. this is so difficult, so difficult to do, i was talking to the ranking member on ag, he said, farmers don't want to file the forms. if they hired a pesticide aply
kator could file the form -- aply kator, that person -- aply applicato are, that person could file the form. this is an incredible thing. we have take then up numerous times. it was pest management and fire suppression flexibility act in the 109th congress. same bill. exactly the same bill. oops. then in the 112th and 113th congress it was the reducing regulatory burdens act. still didn't work. didn't become law then. well, wait a minute. last congress it was called the zika vector control act and we just heard a lot of hooey about how this will inhibit killing mosquitoes which is not true but
now, whoops, we're back to here. the zika control act, the pest management fire put presentation act is back to the -- fire suppression act is back to the regulatory reduction act. in the past six years since this paperwork was required, or electronic work, do you know how ny pesticide appilc -- applicators have raised problems with the general permit through through e.p.a.? none, zero. in fact, i specifically asked this question of the e.p.a.'s ad of water treatment -- water, at a transportation and infrastructure subcommittee. no specific instances where the clean water regulation was causing problems. yet here we are again. one more time under the guise of reducing this horrible regulatory burden, name, address, phone number, what did
you apply? what's your -- where are you registered to apply? these sorts of permits. and you know, that is useful information. had a couple more instances in oregon. tiller, oregon, again, right in the same area where the steelhead were killed. and that same creek was contaminated with atorzine. local residents who drank the water complained and they also complained of the overspray. and then in 2013, helicopter in curry county, oregon, oversprayed residents. now if they didn't have to file form, we wouldn't know who did it and when they did it and what the chemical was. i guess that's what the republicans want. someone oversprays your property, sprays stuff on you, jeeze, i don't know, that was one of those black helicopter well, don't know where it came from, who it was, we don't know what they dumped on you, sorry, that's burdensome paperwork.
we wouldn't want to require that kind of burdensome paperwork. that's why we're here again today for the fifth time with the fifth renaming and rationale for what we're doing here today and it still fails the smell test. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oregon yields back. the -- the chair: the gentleman from oregon yields back. the gentleman from ohio. >> can i inquire how much time remains? the chair: the gentlelady has 10 minute the gentlelady from california has 16 minutes. mr. gibbs: speaking of my friend of oregon , he talked about the fish kill in 1996 this esteelhead, i inquired into this tragic incident and came to the conclusion that the oregon fish ds kill would not -- the meps permitting would not have prevented this in 2003 the
office of pesticide programs published a report which looked that the potential risk posed by the herbicide used in the fish kill. sufficient information has been provided, it appears it's the fault of misuse, the form of misuse is that water was released from the irrigation canals too early. in some cases this was because the gates were not properly closed or they leaked. n other cases the applicator opened them intelligencally but too soon. in one case they may have been removed because children were playing. the e.p. a-- e.p.a. addresses affected, it says it's unlikely it would have affected steelhead or salmon if it was used in accordance with label requirements. completing mpes paperwork does not prevent fish kills nor does it improve water quality.
pesticide applications, pesticide labels avoid adverse environmental impacts. if a pesticide is improperly applied there's enforce. mechanisms in place to address this violation. in the case of the 1996 oregon fish kill, i understand the party was subject to more than 400,000 in fines and reimbursements for the incident. at this time, mr. speaker, i yield one minute to the gentleman from georgia, mr. allen. the chair: the gentleman from georgia. mr. allen: thank you, mr. speaker, i thank the gentleman from ohio for his work on this important legislation, today i rise in support of h.r. 953, the reducing regulatory burdens act. this legislation will bring much needed relief to american farmers. they put in a great deal of time and money to deal with duplicative regulations like the one we're addressing here today this bill would take away needless provisions regarding pesticide regulations under the clean water act. pesticide applications are
already federally regulated by the environmental protection agency under the federal insecticide, if you thinkside and rodenticide act. if it's unnecessary and due public ty, punishing american farmers due to a misguided court decision. in my district in georgia, farm verse to deal with a variety of environmental difficulties like the devastating freeze this past march. the government should not be adding mandates to overburdened farmers. this has been passed out of the house agriculture committee five times. it's time to give farmers and pesticide applicators much-need relief. i urge my colleagues to support this important legislation. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentlelady from california. mrs. napolitano: i ask unanimous consent that the following letters be made part of today's record. a letter from 46 national and
state conservation and public health interest groups opposed to h.r. 953, and secondly a list of over 150 different organizations who oppose efforts to undermine the clean water act protection for direct pesticide applications. they include the alabama river, san francisco, the list goes on, nd the organizations lands for -- alliance for nurses for healthy environment, the earth cost organization, from california, an many others from alabama, alabama rivers, from colorado, colorado river keepers from district of columbia, potomac river keeper, from florida, emrolled coast keeper. altameha river and coast keeper from idaho, the idaho conservation league, the illinois council of charter unlimited and the list goes on,
mr. speaker. the chair: the gentlewoman's request is covered under general leave. mrs. napolitano: there is one other thing i want to bring to the attention of this committee. one of the potential human health applications related to unregulated discharges to water is drinking water. may of 2017, natural resources council released a report entitled threats on tap. the harmful effects of tap water in every state of the union. this report, based on information obtained from state and local public drinking water utilities, documented tens of thousands of drinking water violations related to chemicals and other contaminants currently found in our domestic water supply. e report included a focus on synthetic, organic compounds commonly found in a wide variety of products from household
cleaners to industrial, commercial and agricultural prunths, including pesticides and herbicides regulated under fifra. according to this report, exposure to these can lead to cancers. epeat, lead to liver and kidney problems. according to the append discs. 6,864 water e were violation associated with compounds potentially affecting 2.6 million drinking water users. of these, a number were health violations affecting 300,000 individuals. this report documented ongoing drinking water violations for the worst of the worst preponderance of the evidence
and black coal phosphate. we have more information on where these drinking water violations are occurring and how increased use of pesticides increases the risk that humans will be exposed to these chemicals which begs the question, why do you want to educe public disclosure in monitoring pesticide applications. do they want to let the applications of chemical companies to go back on the shadows. for the record -- the chair: the gentlelady's request will be covered under general leave. mrs. napolitano: i reserve the balance of my time. mr. gibbs: i reserve.
the chair: the the gentleman rom ohio reserves. mrs. napolitano: i'm ready to close. the chair: the gentlelady is ready to close. the gentlewoman from california s recognized to close. mrs. napolitano: mr. chairman, i just implore all our colleagues to take a good look at what this has an effect to our general population and human impact and trust they will vote no. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from ohio. mr. gibbs: i want to re-emphasize the importance to pass this bill and get it signed health the human
safety is at risk. e have over 100 zika outbreaks currently in the united states and west nile outbreaks. this bill puts a tool in the tool box for mosquito control districts to help eradicate or control the mosquito population and protect human health around our citizens. there has been a lot of talk about pesticide chemicals in the water. and some of these chemicals that have been mentioned are what we call legacy chemicals that were used years ago. as a farmer, some of the chemicals when i started farming n 1975, they didn't break down or biodegradeable. we have safer chemicals and many these degradeable and legacy issues -- the contaminant in the water isn't from chemicals being used in today's
agricultural environment but past years because of those chemicals just last in the environment for many, many years. i think it's the former secretary of agriculture was very concerned about this and he sent a letter to the e.p.a. administrator that this court case doesn't do anything to help protect the environment or protect water quality in the united states and adds additional costs and burdens to our agricultural producers in wholeefforts to produce a some. this is commonsome sense and vote for h.r. 953. as has been said earlier. this has been up several times and strong bipartisan support. unfortunately the senate did not move on it and take action. hopefully we will see it
especially with the outbreaks of zika and west nile. and it was mentioned about the cost of getting the permit. obviously, doing the permit, actual applying it isn't costly, but to get the stuff lined up, the consult apartments and the paperwork they have to do to get the information is quite costly mosquito control districts coming in, the thousands of dollars is blowing their budget and spend it on mosquito eradication. we have hundreds of groups around the country that support this legislation and it's needed and i urge my colleagues to support it and move on and protect the environment and also human and health and safety. the chair: pursuant to the rule, the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule, the bill shall be considered as read and shall be in order to be considered as an
original bill an amendment in the nature of the substitute consisting of the committee rule. that amendment in the nature of a substitute. no amendment to that amendment in the nature of a substitute shall not be considered. each such amendment may be offered in the order of that report shall be considered read, shall be debatable, equally divided and controlled by the opponent and not subblet to amendment and not subject to a demand for division of the question. it is now in order to consider amendment number 1 house report 115-145. ms. esty: i have eastern amendment at the desk. the clerk: amendment offered by ms. esty of connecticut. the chair: the gentlewoman from
connecticut, esty and a member opposed each will control five minutes. ms. esty: i rise in support of my amendment to h.r. 953 the reduce regulatory burdens act of 2017. the underlying bill is overly broad and not only risks public health and endanger our lands by contaminating our water. let me be clear, i support eliminating unnecessary regulatory burdens. if you ask every representative whether they support of getting id of unnecessary regulations, you would get 435 iowas. the regulations are far from warranted. there is a compelling why they stepped in to protect the american public and our water from unnecessary harms from pesticide. under the fifra, the e.p.a. is
charged with registering all pesticides that are made and sold in the united states. but fifra does not take into account when, how and where pesticides are applied, applying a pesticide to plants has dramatically different consequence to the environment than when it is sprayed into, over and on bodies of water. under the clean water act, pesticide certainly permits are now required for pesticide applications in over on water. our only required to apply for pesticide general permit when they want to release chemical pesticide over and into waters of the united states. d mosquitoes, vegetation and algae, area-wide pests. i would like to clarify some misconceptions we heard
discussed here this afternoon. recklessly harms american agriculture. six years now, the pesticide general permit has been in place. they have had successful growing seasons and congressional testimony has revealed no report of a pesticide plaketor being unable to apply pesticides in a timely manner. assertions that the general permit prevents us from combatting the zika virus. when special circumstances arise, public outbreaks like zika and west nile, it allows them to apply for permits after the fact. the post-pesticide application process is simple and it works. the bottom line is that limiting the amount of pesticides that are sprayed into our lakes,
rivers and streams into our drinking water supplies is common sense. my home state of connecticut, pesticide contamination in residential drinking water has been a statewide problem for a long time. some of my constituents have lived with stomach pain, hair loss, skin rashes not knowing the cause. test results have revealed pesticides were the cause. that's why i stand here today to offer an amendment to ensure that we keep existing clean water protections in place so we can protect our waters and agricultural lands in the long run. my amendment would retain existing clean water act accountability for the most toxic chemicals and hazardous substances commonly used in pesticides today. should we find a way to streamline the application process for a pesticide general permit? of course. but a plampinget exemption for a
disregard for clean water makes this bill unwarranted and unwise. we must work together in this congress to protect our waterways, ensure a healthy food and water supply while also protecting our public health. i encourage all of my colleagues to support my amendment. and i reserve. the chair: the gentlelady from connecticut reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio rise? mr. gibbs: rise in opposition to the amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. gibbs: couple of points i would like when my colleague talked about spraying chemicals, pesticides over water, the e.p.a. has full authority, full jurisdiction to restrict those pesticides, how they are used and when they are used and who is using them and restrict the manner in where the plaketor has to have specific training and if
you are going to spray over a body of water, you have to notify the e.p.a. they have the jurisdiction to do that. and it's interesting to mention when talking about spraying and getting a permit after the fact, yeah if the local entity declares an emergency, they can go in, but my argument is since this additional red tape bureaucracy is stopping the preventive programs so we don't get to an emergency situation and get to the permit after the fact. r amendment eliminates the duplicative unnecessary permit process and frees up local governments to combat the spread of diseases. this amendment undermines these efforts. the amendment intends to make the bill's exemption from the clean water act by carving out from the bill those waters that may receive the discharge containing any one of several
hundred listed chemicals substances. the substances are not even a pesticide and nothing to do with the regulation of a pesticide. additionally, a discharge covered under this amendment does not have to be related to any way to the use or application of a pesticide. the net effect of this amendment is to undermine the bill based on circumstances that have nothing whatsoever to do with the use of a pesticide. further, the amendment would require a pesticide user to conduct extremely expensive monitoring. this reduces the regulatory burdens and i oppose this amendment and i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from ohio reserves. the gentlelady from connecticut. you have one minute remaining. ms. esty: i yield to the gentlelady, the ranking member. mrs. napolitano: thank you for yielding. i rise in support of the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from connecticut.
the amendment would help ensure the protection of public health and discharges of toxic chemicals. in my view, the protection of our families and children from limitless exposure to chemicals should be paramount. yet here we are today concerning legislation to weigh the pesticide filler providing notice before he intends to spray known toxic chemicals are own to have toxic effects on humans. we should disclose and monitor the dangerous chemicals for toxic effects. hese chemicals are extreme hazardous substances. we should want to make sure that these dangerous chemicals do not wind up in our rivers and streams and contaminate our local drink iing water sources