tv U.S. House of Representatives U.S House of Representatives CSPAN April 27, 2018 8:59am-10:08am EDT
talked to him and he is not given a a lot of specifics, but he wants to remain a voice in the veterans community. it is not something he just wants to step away from. a lot of the electronic medical record initiatives he was trying to put in place which would have linked military records, he saw as not just transformative but transformative for the country. to cut between the fight without sharing, so that patients of any sort could go to one hospital or another. it would not surprise me to see him working on that issue and talking about his concerns with privatization, some things we have seen after his dismissal. host: leo shane, following these
issues. the capitol hill bureau chief. thank you for your time. host: the houses gaveling in for their legislative session. we will bring you their lives, now. there lives, now. the chair lays before the house a communication from the speaker. speaker's rooms, washington, d.c. april 27, 2018. i hereby appoint the honorable mike johnson to act as speaker pro tempore on this day. speake washington, d.c. signed, paul d. ryan, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: thank you. the prayer will be offered by our chaplain, father conroy. chaplain conroy: let us pray. god of the universe, we give you thanks for giving us another day. as the members of this people's house deliberate these days, give them the wisdom and
magnimity to lay aside what might divide us as a people to our a secure future for country. we pray for all people who have special needs. may your presence be known to those who are sick that they might feel our country. the power of your ealing spirit. inspire the men and women who serve in this house to be their bestselves that they may, in turn, be an inspiration to the nation and to the world. may all that is done this day be for your greater honor and glory, amen. the speaker pro tempore: the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1, the journal stands approved. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition. mr. thompson: pursuant to clause 1 rule 1, i demand a vote on agreeing to the speaker's approval. journal. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on agreeing to the speaker's approval of the journal.
so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the journal stands approved. mr. thompson: mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition. mr. thompson: mr. speaker, i object to the vote on the grounds that a quorum is not present and make a point of order a quorum is not present. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this question are postponed. the pledge of allegiance will be led by the gentleman from utah, mr. curtis. mr. curtis: i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker pro tempore: the chair will entertain up to five requests for one-minute speeches on each side of the aisle. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? mr. thompson: mr. speaker, request unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. thompson: mr. speaker, i rise today during national park
week to celebrate america's treasures, our national parks. for one week each april the national park service joins with the national park foundation, the official charity of america's national parks, to celebrate national park week. this is a time to explore amazing places. discover stories of history and culture, and take in all the beautiful public lands our nation has to offer. national park week began last runs y, april 21, and through sunday, april 29. the theme for national park week in 2018 is park stars. run hrough celebrating everything from starried skies to superstar volunteers, parks, programs, and partners nationwide i vite people everywhere to explore stories, experiences of sites that brighten the national park service celebrating and public lands. parks across the country have host add variety of events throughout the week. today is military and veteran recognition day. the national park service employs more than 5,800 active duty military and veterans in a wide array of careers.
our national parks are truly remarkable and encourage everyone to experience their breathtaking beauty. happy national park week, thank you. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition. >> thank you, mr. speaker. unanimous consent to address the house for one minute, revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you. mr. speaker, i rise today to recognize the national day of silence. a day of silence to bring attention to the discrimination and harassment faced by our lgbt youth across our country. eight out of 10 lgbt students are harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity by the time they graduate from high school. students like annie suh, at santa cruz high school in my district, who has said we must be unafraid to stand up against pargalization. mr. panetta: this months, those of us on the lgbt equality
caucus took the stand by introducing the student nondiscrimination act. this bill would prohibit discrimination in public schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity and protect students from the intimidation and violence they may receive. by standing up and speaking out, annie and other lgbt students give us motivation to push forward and pass laws that will protect every student in every school across every community so they are not afraid to be themselves. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from utah seek recognition. >> unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, i rise today to introduce the poppy study act, which will improve research and awareness of opioid use, disorder during pregnancy. mr. curtis: the opioid edmonton is a national crisis and has hit particularly hard in utah. unfortunately, utah's drug overdose rate is ranked among the highest in the nation. six utahans die every week from
opioid overdose. sadly, utah also has the ghest rate of opioid prescriptions for pregnant mothers in the country, double the national average. women have been disproportionately affected by the opioid epidemic and little is understood about the effect it has had on pregnant women. that's why i have intertuesdayed the poppy study act to improve understanding of prescription opioid use during pregnancy, the effects it can have on a mother and child, and how we can best help those who are pregnant and suffering from opioid use disorder. it is my hope that the poppy study act will improve the care and well-being of our expected mothers and their children. mr. speaker, i yield my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentlelady from wisconsin seek recognition? >> unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. i rise : mr. speaker, today to commemorate the life a phenomenal woman, vel
phillips, who hailed from my hometown, milwaukee, wisconsin. vel phillips passed this month at the age of 95. but not before she led a phenomenal life. she was the first of so many things. first african-american and the first woman to become an elederman in the city of milwaukee. the first to graduate from the university of wisconsin, madison. first african-american. first african-american judge in milwaukee county. first and only african-american to win statewide. and you may have heard of father james groppy who led 200 days of marches for open housing, well, that was in upport of vel phillips' open housing ordinance in the city of milwaukee on the common council where it was defeated
repeatedly 18-1. and that led to the signature of open housing legislation nationwide. she was the first black person to serve on either of the d.n.c. or r.n.c. i hope the house will join me in honoring the great life of vel phillips. i thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from louisiana seek recognition. >> unanimous consent to, revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. this sunday marks the beginning of small business week where as a nation we come together to show support for the many risk takers, entrepreneurs, and mom and pop shops who make america great. more than 99% of all businesses in the united states are classified as small businesses, and they are responsible for two out of every three jobs created in this country. that's why we often refer to small businesses as the backbone of the u.s. economy. thankfully the passage of the tax cuts and jobs act is giving a boost to these operations, which is directly translating
into more jobs and better pay and ew investments expansion across america. i traveled all across the 15 parishes of my district, mr. speaker, over the last few months, no matter where i go our constituents tell us how the historic reform has helped them. mr. johnson: hardworking americans everywhere are reaping the benefits of our reforms anti-best is yet to come. for this small business week we come into next week, i want to thank all those who truly are the backbone of our economy, work, and good we'll continue to fight for you here in washington. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back.
pursuant to house resolution 839 and rule 18, the chair declares the house in the committee of the whole on the state of the union for further consideration of h.r. 4. will the gentleman from louisiana, mr. johnson, kindly take the chair. the chair: the house is in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for further consideration of h.r. 4, which the clerk will report by title. the clerk: a bill to re-authorize programs of the federal aviation administration, and for other purposes. the chair: when the committee of the whole rose on thursday, april 26, 2018, amendment number 87, printed in house report 115-650, offered by gentleman from massachusetts, mr. lynch, had been disposed of. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? mr. shuster: i offer amendments en bloc. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendments en bloc. the clerk: en bloc number four
consisting of amendments number 102, 103, 105, 106, 10 , 111, 113, and 116 printed in part a of house report number 115-650, offered by mr. shuster of pennsylvania. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 839, the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. shuster, and the gentleman from oregon, mr. defazio, will each control 10 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. shuster: thank you, mr. chairman. i support considering these amendments en bloc, all of which have been approved by both the majority and minority. these members put forward thoughtful amendments and i'm pleased to be able to support moving them en bloc. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from oregon is recognized. mr. defazio: mr. chairman, i yield myself such time as i may consume. i support adoption of the amendment en bloc and recommend them to my colleagues w that i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields
back the balance of his time. mr. shuster: i yield back. the chair: the question is on the amendments en bloc offered by the gentleman from pennsylvania. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the en bloc amendments are agreed to. it's now in order to consider amendment number 104 printed in part a of house report 115-650. for what purpose does the gentleman from louisiana seek recognition. >> mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 104, printed in part a of house report number 115-650, offered by mr. graves of louisiana. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 839, the gentleman from louisiana, mr. graves, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from louisiana. mr. graves: thank you, mr.
chairman. in the aftermath of tiss as terse, billions and billions of dollars in claims are often worked out between local governments, state governments, and fema. in many cases because disasters are inherently unpredictable, volatile, and folks are doing what they need to do to help their communities recover and address these urgent needs, in some cases not every i is dotted, not every t is crossed. these minor issues often become obstacles to these communities being reimbursed in their ability to recover. fema has an appeals process, mr. chairman. and in that appeals process you basically have fema reviewing fema. and i don't think that that is the appropriate approach. section 618 of the underlying bill has an arbitration process. with that arbitration process has already homeland security officials reviewing the work of homeland security. there was a better model that was used after 2005 disasters ereby an outsideboard that
exists, civilian board of contract appeals, which is an independent body, was brought in to help review some of these appeals that local and state governments brought forth to the corps of engineers. it was a better approach. provided for more thorough evaluation, again the independence of having an outside entity review this. our amendment simply improves upon the process in section 618 of the bill. i want to thank the chairman, i want to thank the ranking member for the work on this legislation. i think it's very important, and i urge adoption of the amendment reserve. . the chair: the gentleman reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from oregon rise? mr. defazio: i rise time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. defazio: i yield myself such time as i may consume. obviously, the gentleman has had, you know, significant experience with these problems
in his part of the world that i think are somewhat unique. you know, i can honestly obviously we want to expedite the review of people's claims. major concerns we have is one that it appears under the wording that there would be no time frame. so 20, 30 years after a disaster, someone could come in and file for arbitration. and secondly, by lowering the cost to any project that's $100,000, we have no idea what the scope of that would be or how many appeals that might generate. but i think the general idea about using the civilian board of contract appeals does have merit to expedite citizens' claims against the government agency. so with that i would yield to my colleague from pennsylvania two minutes. the chair: the gentleman is
recognized for two minutes. >> i thank the ranking member and i'd like to thank the committee, also, for including the prepare act in the bloc package. i'd like to congratulate congressman lance on the prepare act for the past two congresses and congressman webster, sanford, meadows for being co-sponsors and supporters of my amendment, the prepare act. i also like to thank the over 50 outside organizations, companies, and think tanks who have supported the prepare act and finally, thank you to chairman shuster and chairman gowdy for passing the prepare act out of the t&i and o.g.r. committees, respectfully. mr. cartwright: weather is expensive. we saw $300 billion in damages from major extreme weather events. congress had to spend an comprar $120 billion in
disaster is up limital appropriations so we can get our ravaged communities back on its feet. our public buildings to our supply chain, the federal government itself has an enormous amount of assets that are vulnerable to extreme weather events. i have been working for five years to build upon commonsense g.a.o. recommendations to help our federal government and our nation better prepare for extreme weather events. this amendment will save lives and will save money by helping get our government coordinated, improve planning and facilitate a better working relationship with state and local officials. we know extreme weather events are happening more frequently and they're causing more damage. we owe our citizens better planning, better engagement, and a better response. in passing the prepare act, the house of representatives is taking a responsible, important step in that direction. thank you, again, for including this amendment in the en bloc
package. and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from louisiana rise? mr. graves: mr. chairman, i just want to make note i do appreciate my friend from oregon's comments, and i appreciate his sensitivity to timelines but that's what this amendment addresses, timelines. in many cases our local government simply cannot continue to carry these debts and not get reimbursed. in regard to the amount of money, perhaps $100,000 is not a lot of money to the city of portland, but i am going to guess to the city of coos bay it's important. in regard to the details of the amendment, mr. chairman, look, i am from louisiana. if the gentleman from oregon can help us make it more better, then i'd be happy to work with him on that. i think this is very, very important. access to due process is important. the existing process does not allow is up limital material to be considered to respond to concerns who were raised by agency officials. this is a goodle.
it has proven effective in the past. i urge adoption. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from oregon is recognized. mr. defazio: i yield myself the remainder of my time. well, i will say to the gentleman, my staff tells me they did contact his staff. they did express concerns. they said, thank you for your concerns, and then next thing we knew it was, you know, the amendments were filed. she said -- still said would be happy to work with you and we got no response. i think there may be a staff issue going on here. 'm -- again, i have concerns about particularly the unlimited time to apply. and other details, perhaps. and with that i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from louisiana. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it.
he amendment is now agreed to. it's now in order to consider amendment number 107 printed in 650. a of house report 115- for what purpose does the gentleman from louisiana seek recognition? mr. graves: mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 107 printed in part a of house report 115-650 offered by mr. graves of louisiana. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 839, the gentleman from louisiana, mr. graves, and a member opposed, 50e67 will control five minutes -- each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from louisiana. mr. graves: mr. chairman, thank you. this amendment once again is a bipartisan amendment. my good friend, congressman richmond, congressman gene green, congressman ralph abraham, congressman clay higgins, congressman babin, all support this. this is a simple amendment. following our august, 2016,
floods in south louisiana, fema came in and provided housing solutions. the solutions included the utilization of trailers, and because fema has to have an acronym, they were called m.h.u.'s, mobile housing units. when you added up the coast to purchase, to transport, to set up these -- the cost to purchase, to transport, to set up these things, they were in the hole from $120,000 to $200 per pop. mr. chairman, you can -- $200,000 per pop. mr. chairman, you can buy these from the vicinity of the flood, the highest cost was $40,000, including setup. look, it doesn't take a rocket scientist, mr. chairman, to realize that you can get it faster, you're helping to revive the local economy by using local solutions as opposed to the case when fema is doing this. when it took months and months and months to give people even a single housing option in some
cases. and so what this amendment does, it simply says that if a local entity, a local government entity, state entity, can provide a housing solution for 50% of the cost or less as compared to the alternative that fema provides, then they can be reimbursed. mr. chairman, this is faster, it saves taxpayer dollars, it stops this fleecing of american taxpayers that is occurring in the aftermath of disasters. and specifically, mr. chairman, in livingston parish, the sheriff, his deputies were flooded -- literally families didn't have anywhere to go, they had looting in the parish. the sheriff stepped up, established mobile housing units, trailers, for his deputies to live in, so they could get back to what they were supposed to be doing, enforcing law in these destroyed communities and fema is rejecting them. i will say it again, the only way they're reimbursed if the cost of their solution was 50% or less than that of the
federal government alternative in regard to the mobile housing units. i urge adoption of the amendment and i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from louisiana reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from oregon rise? mr. defazio: i claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. fastfas -- mr. defazio: again, i look at the drafting and my staff said they did reach out to your staff, i am confused when you get to the 50% part. if it has to be 50% or otherwise. i agree -- and i think it would be good to push for more flexibility. for instance, we make -- i have a manufacture of yirts in my district which are used in many places around the world as temporary housing, military use them, and others. i was approached by someone about vacant houses they had, they had vacation houses in puerto rico that could have been used. when they were saying there was absolutely no housing for any
emergency workers anywhere. and certainly there could be lower cost alternatives. i still remember when fema -- i think it was under the bush administration -- bought a bunch of trailers that couldn't be used because they had some that crappy chinese formaldehyde exuding wall board in them and they weren't inhabittable. we are still importing that junk, by the way. i agree they could be much more flexible. this amendment, again, as written is problematic but i certainly agree with the intent of the amendment to look at other lower cost alternatives. however, they should meet at least some minimal standards for, you know, sanitary facilities and other things. so i, again, have concerns about the drafting. with that i yield two minutes to the gentlelady from texas, ms. jackson lee. the chair: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. jackson lee: let me thank the distinguished ranking member and the manager of this
floor bill and rise to support the jackson lee amendment that has been included in the en bloc legislation. i am thankful to mr. defazio and the chairman for that. my amendment made in order -- deals with a g.a.o. report of 240 days following any disaster a long-term recovery efforts plan. these disasters are examples of the most challenging and catastrophic events in our nation and i am reminded of august, 2018, in houston, texas, where hurricane harvey was defined as the singular most catastrophic incident and disaster, natural disaster in the continental united states. we're still suffering. people are still in hotels, still without their homes. and so to the list of long-term recovery experiences, this g.a.o. study would have us learn a lot. we need to learn from our past to do better to secure our
future. this g.a.o. report would define a federal disaster long-term recovery, define the stages of long-term recovery and report on the competence and capacity of fema to manage two or more disasters of the magnitude that happened at the same time. i do want to take note of the fact that my amendment that did not authorize the fema response and recovery was not made in order. i look forward to introducing legislation that will respond to that, but i'm also concerned two amendments dealing with the endangered species. the rules committee did not make in order, and in this time i believe it's time to stand up to protect our endangered species. one of my amendments had to due with trophy products coming across international airways, and the other was as airports are built and many of them are built in wetlands, for those building those airports to collaborate with a number of agencies to address the question of protecting the eng dengered species.
we -- endangered species. we live on this earth and we live with many endangered species. i think the example of cecil the lion, we would look at this. i hope to debate sometime on the floor of the house the value of protecting our endangered species. i thank the gentleman and i yield back. the chair: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from louisiana is recognized. mr. graves: thank you, mr. chairman. i'm sure the gentlewoman from texas would be supportive of this, representing many of the flood victims from hurricane harvey. it's important to keep in mind, mr. chairman, in many cases these flood victims don't have other options. so you may have a trailer from your local trailer dealership, you may have a tent. in many cases that's very attractive compared to being homeless. i would love to work with the gentleman from oregon and see if we can work together to perfect this amendment, to address any concerns that he
may have. in regard to the chinese formaldehyde, i can agree with you. if we can get good old american formaldehyde in our trailers it would be good. i'm kidding. i urge adoption of this amendment. we should be commending leaders like sheriff art who are stepping up and providing efficient solutions for disaster survivors. i yield back. the chair: the question is on the mendment offered by -- gentleman is recognized. mr. defazio: i yield myself such time as i may consume. i look forward to working with the gentleman. just on the issue of the formaldehyde, we have laws and standards in this country, still, despite mr. pruitt, that regulate the amount of formaldehyde that can be put into plywood. i have many people in my district who make plywood without using formaldehyde glues and the chinese put in massive amounts of formaldehyde glues that don't meet our standards. we don't enforce the
importation. although we are about to file a case on that issue to prohibit them poisoning the american people. so that's another subject for another day. with that i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. and the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from louisiana. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. . it's now in order to consider amendment number 10 , printed in house report number 115-650. for what purpose does the entleman from louisiana seek wreck >> i have an amendment at the desk. the clerk: amendment number 10 printed in part a of house report number 115-650, offered by mr. graves of louisiana. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 839, the gentleman louisiana, mr. graves, and
a member opposed, each louisian a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from louisiana. mr. graves: thank you, mr. chairman. first of all i want to state in response to the formaldehyde issue. it was major issue after hurricane katrina in the trailers. we certainly learned from that and we absolutely don't need anyone exposed to t i agree with that. i think there have been better standards and lessons learned from hurricane katrina when folks were in these trailers for long periods of time. i do agree there. on this amendment, mr. chairman, let me be clear, this is once again bipartisan amendment. we have congressman sedge rich richmond of louisiana. congressman ralph abraham of louisiana, congressman gene green of texas, and other o co-sponsors. all supporting this amendment because it's common sense and responds to true on the ground problems we're seeing in the aftermath of disasters. what happens the current law in the stafford act says that any time you have a flood, if you have a facility like a school that fema may deduct $500,000
from the recovery for rebuilding that school. well, what fema has done they have taken the law that congress established, where it said per facility, and they have taken it and they have abused it. they have now determined if a facility is an individual building. mr. chairman, you may have a classroom building, you may another feteria, classroom building, a gymnasium, a storage room, you may have a concession stand. in that case fema is applying $500,000 to each individual ano classroom building. what adds insult to injury or makes this situation untenable is the fact that these schools generate the revenue from property taxes in the destroyed community. they are losing property taxes, fema's hitting them with bills some cases in baton rouge parishes, tens of millions of dollars each. what this does is it victimizes the survivor children. the kids can't get back in schools because the schools can't afford to re-establish their facilities.
bottom line is, this is all about preserving congressional intent. congress spoke on this, fema has trashed the interpretation, and this is all about preserving congressional intent and getting our kids back in schools to where they can have the education or opportunities they need to have and should no longer be further victimized by fema's flawed interpretation of the law. i urge adoption of the amendment and reserve. the chair: the gentleman from louisiana reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from oregon rise. mr. defazio: claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. defazio: i've got to say i read the amendment. i can't follow t my staff can't quite follow t your staff couldn't quite explain it. you explained it in a way the language may or may not reflect. fema has said they don't understand it. they may well be doing something regarding public facilities that is not following the i tent of the law, but i -- following the intent of the law, but again i'm not certain about this as
the solution. with with that i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from louisiana is recognized. mr. graves: thank you, mr. chairman. once again my friend from oregon, i'm more than happy to work with you to address any concerns that you have to ensure that we have the best solution on this moving forward. i will tell you that republicans and democrats in florida, in texas, in puerto rico, in virgin islands all across these disaster areas we have experienced in the last two years are running into this exact same problem. let me just reiterate, mr. chairman, what this interpretation, this flawed interpretation is doing, it is putting an unaffordable bill before a community that has been destroyed, and it is only victimizing children because they can't get back into their schools. they can't resume their education. it's disrupting the resumption of their normlal lives. and just further affecting them and delaying restoration and recovery of these communities. i urge adoption and yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from louisiana.
so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed . n order to i consider amendment number 110, printed in part a of house report 115-650. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition. >> mr. speaker, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 110 printed in part a of house report number 115-650, offered by mr. babin of texas. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 839, the gentleman from texas, mr. babin, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizings the gentleman from texas. mr. babin: thank you. this amendment has bipartisan support. the support of my colleagues from louisiana who have also been hit hard by hurricanes. mr. rich month and mr. graves. i'm from texas. your word is your bond in the
state of texas. i would hope that everyone here in congress or across this great country who would want to say the same thing about their own state. credibility, trust, and keeping your promise is always important. but especially in times of disaster and crisis. when federal agencies like fema are called in to help communities ravaged by a natural disaster, we should expect nothing less. anyone who has ever experienced a federally declared disaster knows that after ensuring the immediate health and safety needs of those who are affected, the top priority is to get the hazardous and dangerous storm damage cleaned up. as long as tree limbs, trash, and other degree remain in the streets, things cannot get back to normal. and there are health and safety hazard. kids cannot go back to school. restaurants and shops can't open for business. the economy is at a stand still.
so when a fema employee like a technical assistance contractor or t.a.c., lays out a path for a mayor, county judge, county commissioner, or any other state or local official to get the federally funded degree removal process under way, they can and should be counted on to honor their commitment and their responsibility. y amendment will ensure that that will be the case by holding fema accountable to the and the contracts authorized by its own employees. under my amendment, if a local government entity can can show, and the department of homeland security inspector general can certify, that a local government was acting at the direction and the consultation authorized by its own of a fema technical assistance contractor, regarding disaster relief efforts, government bureaucrats here in washington can cannot simply change their
minds a few years down the road and de the speaker pro tempore: to foot the locals with the -- decide to foot the locals with the bill. while this amendment is certainly about fairness, equity, certainty for local governments, it is also about accountability for federal officials. fema officials will know that the advice and the recommendations that they offer actually matter. local officials will rest assured knowing that the contracts and work that they are doing is valid and reimbursable. this means getting disaster damaged municipalities up and running sooner, shortening the time frame their citizens and businesses need federal assistance and save taxpayer money. i urge all of my colleagues to help ensure our government can be trusted to do what they say it will, by supporting this bipartisan amendment and the underlying bill, and i reserve. the chair: the the gentleman reserves. for what purpose does the ntleman from oregon seek
recognition. mr. defazio: claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes for opposition. mr. defazio: i have in my district office casework st. we do have disasters in oregon, particularly floods. we have had instances, apparently like the one this legislation is trying to address, where we have gotten these improper decisions reversed and my communities reimbursed. handled by my casework staff. here we're going to legislate. apparently there was a problem in his district. too bad his casework staff didn't take care of it. this is written, here's the language, notwithstanding any other provision of law, fema shall deem any covered disaster assistance this is wri been properly procured, provided, and utelelized and shall restore any funding of covered disaster assistance previously decided and subsequently withdrawn. it isn't specific to the gentleman's problem. this would be any community, anybody, anywhere who might have legitimately misspent some
disaster assistance gets it back. this is so global we might as well just not have a process to review disaster assistance and see whether it's properly spent this. says if you got it and spent it, that's all proper. it's deemed, deemed every expenditure is legitimate. even if the money was diverted somehow. i'm not certain who the other side is using for drafting assistance, but i recommend leg counsel. with that i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. babin: thank you. i appreciate the gentleman from oregon's opinion, but remember that this is an inspector generals. they have to pass on this. this is not just a mistake. all the t's were crossed, all the i's were dotted. the babin amendment protects
our communities because it requires fema to keep its word. under current practice, a local community can follow all of the fema rules and restore your community after a disaster, but then years later fema can come back and say, oops, we know we told you to do it that way, and we personally approved and reimbursed you for every bill it sent to fema, but we did wrong. we know that you did exactly what we told to you do, however we should have told you something different. please pay us $3 million. i think that this is not just pertinent to the district 36 in the state of texas that was hit by hurricane years ago, but this is pert nint to -- pert nint -- pertinent to every district across this country. anyone who has a fema disaster this year or next will no doubt be here on the floor in the future to offer this very same amendment. please join me today in passing
our amendment and let's make fema keep its word. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from texas. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to it. it is now in order to considered amendment number 112 printed in part a of house report 115-650. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition. mr. mcclintock: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 112. printed in part a of house report number 115-650, offered by mr. mcclintock of california. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 839, the gentleman from california, mr. mcclintock, and a member opposed, will each control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california for five minutes. mr. mcclintock: mr. chairman, i have offered this amendment
whenever the opportunity presents itself because it tests whether there is any program in the federal budget that congress can bear to cut. emention air service is perhaps the least essential program in the entire government. it's a direct subsidy paid to airline companies to fly empty and near empty planes from small airports to regional hubs nearby. there was supposed to be a temporary program to allow local communities and airports to readjust to airline deregulation in 1978. instead, it has grown to include 173 communities in a program that has doubled in cost in the last decade. i want to emphasize, this program has nothing to do with emergency medical evacuations. it solely subsidizes regular scheduled commercial service that is so seldom used it cannot support itself. why can't it support itself?
in many cases the small airports in the program are less than an hour's drive from regional airports. essential air service flights are flown out of merced airport in my district in california. yet merced is less than an hour's drive from fresno regional airport offering regular scheduled commercial air service. subsidized services available from lancaster, pennsylvania, just 31 miles from harrisburg international airport. subsidized flights from pueblo, colorado, are just a 45-minute drive from colorado springs regional airport. i could go on and on. there are supposed to be subsidy caps of $200 per passenger and a minimum of 10 passengers per day, and yet every request to waive these requirements has been granted. every one. for passenger subsidies can can go as high as nearly $1,000 per passenger. by comparison, you can charter
a small plane for around $150 to $200 an hour. over the next five years, this program will cost taxpayers nearly $1 billion in direct appropriations which this amendment would cease. the program also gets another $100 million a year from overflight fee that is would otherwise be available to fund high priorities in the aviation system like 21st century air traffic control technology. the argument for abolishing this program is simple, if a root cannot generate enough passengers -- route cannot generate enough passengers to support its costs, that means the passengers themselves are telling us it's not worth the money to thefment perhaps we should listen. our country is drowning in debt. billion a us $475 year just to pay interest costs on the $21 trillion that we have already borrowed. debt and taxes are driven by
one thing -- spending. in the last 10 years, inflation and population combined to have grown 26%. revenues have more than kept pace growing 29% in the same period. but spending has grown 46% and it has doubled under this it program. if we don't get control of spending soon, our nation could enter a death spiral that threatens our very future. -- he or well yan orwellian named essential services is one we can't afford. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from oregon seek recognition. mr. defazio: to claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman from oregon is recognized for five minutes in opposition. mr. defazio: as the gentleman pointed out, the essential air service to assure all americans have access to something that's criticalle to economic development -- critical to
economic development and livibility for many smaller isolated communities. is paid for out of the trust fund. trust fund is composed it's paid for by fees, by airlines, by passengers, and foreign airlines over flying in the united states of america. this doesn't add to the debt, unlike this tax bill we passed. i note that the six largest banks in america saw a $4 billion windfall in tax cuts in one quarter. it's projected they will have a $20 billion windfall by the end of the year. we are going to borrow $20 billion to give it to profitable banks including wells fargo who just paid $1 billion fine and now they are getting the money back because we gave them a tax back. we have to screw the small communities in america and take away their air service. there are ways to deal with our debt and deficit.
this is paid for out of the trust fund. with that i will yield one minute to the chairman of the committee, mr. shuster. mr. shuster: i thank the gentleman. i appreciate the gentleman's attempts and work to try to decrease the deficits and the debt in this country, but essential air service is just that. these communities -- you named a few, and they are close to -- i can't make a -- i guess i can't make a great argument about those but places like alaska, nebraska, north dakota, south dakota, montana, iowa, these folks live miles and miles, hours and hours away. several hours in many cases from the nearest airport. as mr. defazio pointed out, this connects these communities for economic development. as a conservative, when you pay user fees into a trust fund and it goes to that intended purpose -- in this case, a small piece goes to essential air service -- that's what we should be doing in america is people that use something are
contributing to that service or whatever that government agency's providing them. again, under the bill in 2012, we put reforms in to reform essential air service. and in this bill, underlying bill directs the g.a.o. to study and find out the effects of those reforms. so, again, while i support and applaud the gentleman's efforts to help get the debt under control, this is not the place to start. with that i urge rejection of this amendment and yield back. the chair: does the gentleman from oregon reserve? mr. defazio: i would yield one minute to the gentleman from arizona, mr. o'halleran. the chair: the gentleman from arizona is recognized for one minute. mr. o'halleran: mr. chairman, i strongly oppose this amendment. i am acutely attuned to the responsibilities of financial responsibility. the attacks on the e.a.s. program demonstrate a complete lack of concern for realities
of life across rural america. supporters of this amendment claim that in many cases an alternative airport is a short drive away. his incorrectly assumes that point-to-points on the map is the same as road miles. e.a.s. remains just as important today as when it was created. it supports economic development in small and rural communities. as it connects businesses to larger markets. page, arizona, in my sdrigget, is one example for this type of need of critical infrastructure. the challenges are real. so is the prom niss page. taking away vital e.a.s. dollars in places like that all over the country are trying to attract business and capital would be devastating and undermine the critical work being done. let's work to support these communities, not exacerbate the stark economic disparities in rural america. i urge my colleagues to reject that shortsighted amendment, and i yield back.
the chair: does the gentleman from oregon reserve or yield? the gentleman from oregon reserves. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. mcclintock: mr. chairman, three points. first, these amendments don't cut the fee support. only the $1 billion in direct taxpayer subsidies that will be paid into this program in the next five years. this program has doubled in cost over the past decade. and all americans do not benefit from this program. let's take the remote communities like those in alaska. this program subsidizes 61 small communities in a state with 259 airports. that means there are roughly 200 airports and 350 local communities in alaska alone that seem to do just fine without essential air service. if alaska or any state believes that air service should be subsidized within their state, they certainly have the ability to do it themselves. so do individual towns.
the states choose not to pay for the service. the local communities choose to not pay for the service. most importantly, the passengers themselves choose not to pay the actual cost of the service. perhaps as we approach $1 trillion annual deficit we should consider choosing not to pay for it either. we hear it helps prop up small airports and small airlines that service them. well, sure. if you hand somebody wads of cash, that person does very well. the problem is the people you took that cash from do very poorly to exactly the same extent. a $275 million program out of a $4 trillion federal budget seems like a drop in the bucket, and i agree we're not going to balance $1 trillion annual deficit just by cutting programs like this. but if we can't cut a 40-year-old temporary program that has doubled in cost over the last 10 years, this is the kindest and easiest cut at all
then i fear we will never summon the courage to get our government back to balance before we bankrupt. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from oregon is recognized. mr. defazio: i yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. thompson. the chair: the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized for a minute and a half. mr. thompson: i thank the ranking member for yielding. mr. speaker, i rise in opposition to this amendment. we've been down this road before. yet, again, we're witnessing attempts to remove rural america's connectivity to the national air transportation system. those who would look to scrap the essential air service program often felt acknowledge reforms have been put in place to modernize and streamline the program. this re-authorization does the same. mr. speaker, for too long rural america has received the scraps of our suburban and urban counterparts. last year the airport improvement program, another program, not essential air service, issued more than $264 million in grants to 95
airports and 31 states. among them, $2 million was issued for sacramento international airport in sacramento, california to purchase five shuttle buses to take passengers between airport peculiarities and terminal buildings. -- parking lots to terminal buildings. mr. speaker, these type of projects are nice. but the fact is $2 million is the amount that a small rural airport requires for commercial service for two years. let's get serious here. striking the essential air service program is bad for rural america. it's time to stop the witch-hunt on rural america, and i urge my colleagues to vote against this amendment. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from california. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the nays have it. mr. mcclintock: mr. chairman, i'd like to ask for a roll call vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings
on the amendment offered by the gentleman from california will e postponed. it's now in order tore consider amendment number 114 printed in part a of house report 115-650. for what purpose does the gentleman from tennessee seek recognition? mr. duncan: mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 114 printed in part a of house report 115-650 offered by mr. duncan of tennessee. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 839, the gentleman from tennessee, mr. duncan, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from tennessee, mr. duncan. mr. duncan: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, this is a very simple amendment to establish a national standard of care for hiring freight shippers. this is purely and simply about highway safety and everything carried on planes, of course, goes to and from on our highways. currently, there is no law that requires freight brokers or others to have any sort of
standard when hiring a carrier for a shipment. under this amendment, a broker or other entity would be deemed to have acted in a reasonable and prudent manner if they made sure the carrier met these three requirements. one, authorization to operate by the federal motor carrier safety administration. two, the minimum insurance coverage required by federal law. and three, that the carrier had no current federal unsatisfactory safety fitness determination. this amendment does not prohibit or limit in any way any type of lawsuit, and in fact, a lawyer could show a broker or company had acted in an unreasonable man fer they did not comply with this hiring standard. -- manner if they did not comply with this hiring standard. they could get stronger grounds to sue brokers who did not comply with this standard and try to get cheaper rates by using unsafe or uninsured carriers. but this amendment would also make it less likely that a person or company that hired a safe legal motor carrier would
be held liable for an accident that happened through no fault of their own. this amendment also will help make it far less likely that unregistered, uninsured, unsafe freight carriers get any business in this country in the future. and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from oregon seek recognition? mr. defazio: claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes for the purpose of opposition. mr. defazio: there is a problem here. the problem actually is the department of transportation. they launched a new carrier monitoring system known as c.s.a., to make data available, but they have yet to establish a test and apply that data. so even though the data is available, you know, the republicans have adopted amendments -- other republicans that are here today -- that prohibits d.o.t. from finalizing a safety fitness determination rule.
so there's data out there but there is no bright line test. the best relief we could provide would be to force d.o.t. in the very near future to issue a safety fitness ruling as soon as possible, raising -- and also raise the minimum insurance requirement. $750,000. it's been that since 1980. doesn't cover much in truck accidents. so, you know, we want to have people be able to get recourse and compensation, but we also don't want to give the brokers an impossible task, which is what they have now. how do they choose someone who meets the safety fitness requirements that the administration has yet to promulgate and congress is preventing them from promulgating? with that i will yield to the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. carter wright. the chair: the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. cartwright: mr. speaker, on june 1, 2011, sal and helen
were sitting in traffic in northern pennsylvania when suddenly without warning a loaded tractor-trailer rammed into them from behind, cutting their car in half, killing helen instantly, and debilitating and giving horrible, severe to sal. he ended up spending the next 15 months in the hospital and then he died. and he left $1 million in medical bills, which medicare had to pay for. what we know about this accident is that the driver of the tractor trailer -- tractor-trailer had a horrible driving country. the fly-by-night trucking company he worked for had an insanely bad safety record, and it was one that anybody could have discovered by going on the safety website because there were flashing yellow icons next to the name of that company. but the broker and the shipper in this case didn't care, mr.
speaker. they didn't check. they didn't care about the safety record, about the driving record. the only thing they checked was who had the lowest price. the only thing they cared about was who had the lowest price. mr. speaker, we, americans, care about personal responsibility and accountability. it's something we teach our children. this is an amendment that would take away accountability and responsibility for the brokers and shippers. this is a long-standing time-honored part of american law that brokers and shippers are responsible and accountable for picking safe companies and safe drivers. this amendment would take away that. it would make american roadways much more dangerous because of this exact type of situation. i oppose the amendment. i urge a no vote on it. i yield back. . mr. defazio: i yield the balance of the time to mr.
raskin. mr. rassclin: -- mr. raskin: americans shouldn't care about this duncan amendment if you don't go on the high. but if you go on the highway, watch out. this amendment makes it far more likely that there will be reckless and neglect -- negligent truckers on the road and you won't be able to sue for damage it is they smash up your car. take the shocking case of a 19-year-old whose car was totaled by a truck driver who was high on crystal meth. he was injured and blinded for the rest of his life. the truck company never drug tested or road tested its employees. that didn't stop the shipper from hiring that trucking company to do business with. the duncan amendment would reward the shipper by immunizing it from any liability for hiring a low road truck they're doesn't drug test its employees or even knowingly hires employees who are high on crystal meth or have a drug problem. this would give the shippers
even greater incentive to hire reckless and negligent truckers making our roads and highways more dangerous. in "born to run" bruce springstein talks about cars that are suicide machines and a deathtrap. mr. speaker, this amendment would make that vision of our highways the law. there is no way that the american people support excusing shippers from liability for their decision to hire low-road truckers, low-road trucking companies that do not drug test or do background screening on their employees. i yield back. mr. defazio: i reserve. the chair: all time has expired. mr. duncan: i yield for such time he may consume to the chairman of the committee. chairman shuster. mr. shuster: i appreciate the amendment. it does remove the confusion. with the hysteria the other side is proclaiming that roadways will become a
slaughterhouse because if this away or clarified, truckers are going to be out aw truckers are going to be out there running into people left and right. it's ridiculous. it's not a good business model for any company to just want to -- have incentive, which is the other side said, to hire unsafe drivers. that's not a good business model. in fact, you go out of business most likely if you go out there that's not a good business and hire drivers that are bad drivers, dangerous drivers. the facts don't bear out. of the otto accidents that include trucks in it, over 75% of them are not the trucker's fault, it's the person in the car's fault. truckers are professionals. to impugn this whole class of people, this whole group of people that go out in these roadways and work hard every day and try to do it as safely as they can is plain wrong. ain, as i said, truckers are professionals. 75% of those accidents that truckers are involved in, it's
not their fault. we continue to hype up and to put these things out there. for again another class of worker, that's the trial lawyers. they make millions and millions of dollars going out there and doing -- suing these people that, again, do their best every day to try to be safe on roadway. this is a sensible amendment. this clarifies it. and it helps to make our roadways safer not more dangerous. with that, roadway. this is a sensible amendment. this i urge adoption and thank the gentleman again. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from washington is out of time. recognize the gentleman from tennessee. mr. duncan: i simply say this. neither of the case is cited by the opposition -- cases cited by the opposition would be stopped. this amendment would make it more likely that brokers would be required to hire safe, insured carriers for their shipmentses. so it would make the highways
safer. i urge support for my amendment. it's an amendment about fairness and justice because all lawyers -- i was a plaintiff's lawyer before i came to congress and i supported the trial lawyers in every way possible in my 30 years here. can i tell you, no lawyers want people sued who have done nothing whatsoever wrong -- i can tell you, no lawyers want people sue hod have done nothing whatsoever wrong. the chair: the question son the amendment offered by gentleman from tennessee. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. mr. defazio: i ask for a vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from tennessee mlb postponed. -- tennessee will be postponed. the chair understands amendment umber 115 will not be offered.
for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition. mr. shuster: mr. chairman, morph that the committee do now rise. the chair: the question is on the motion that the committee rise. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is adopted. accordingly, the committee rises. the speaker pro tempore: mr. chairman. the committee of the whole house on the state of the union having had under consideration h.r. 4 directs me to report that it's come to no resolution thereon. the speaker pro tempore: the chair of the committee of the whole house on the state of the union reports that the committee has had under has eration h.r. 4 and