Skip to main content

tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  December 15, 2011 10:00am-1:00pm EST

10:00 am
, it is hard to say. onithey want to cut back and limit benefits to 59 weeks, but everything is so tied up in negotiations. host: where can folks find out this report that you did? guest: you can go to, and if you search under "kaiser," there is the study with a lot of information. host: marilyn geewax, thank you. we now go to the house of representatives. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] the chair lays before the house a communication from the speaker. the clerk: the speaker's rooms, washington, d.c. december 15, 2011, i hereby appoint the honorable renee l. ellmers to act as speaker pro tempore on this day. signed, john a. boehner, speaker of the house of representatives.
10:01 am
the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the order of house of january 5, 2011, the chair will alternate recognition between the parties with each party limited to one hour and each member other than the majority and minority leaders and minority whip limited to five minutes each. but in no event shall debate continue beyond 11:50 a.m. the chair recognizes the gentleman from oregon, mr. blumenauer, for five minutes. mr. blumenauer: thank you, madam speaker. james serrecki outdid himself in the current issue of the new york's financial page. as he contrasted the decision of american airlines to take bankruptcy versus the expectation of american business for how homeowners should
10:02 am
behave. it wasn't that american airlines couldn't pay its bills with $4 billion in cash, it's just that it would be in a stronger position if it took advantage of the bankruptcy laws where working with the bankruptcy judge it could restructure union contracts, pension plans, and bank loans to its advantage. for example, it's perfectly acceptable and legal for a judge to reset the current value of an asset and to permit loans with high interest rates to be set at current market. unfair as it may seem to people who made the loans, it was part of the principle of bankruptcy to allow to not be mired hopelessly in debt but to start again under existing market conditions. it's part of what keeps our economy vital, keeping people not tethered to mistakes of the past or bad luck, even if those
10:03 am
mistakes were self-inflicted. contrast this with what business expects from the 25% of homeowners whose mortgages are under water. where the financial institutions have argued about the responsibility of homeowners to avoid the stigma of defaulting, that it was their duty and obligation to pay even if it was financially irrational and extraordinarily difficult. he pointed out that the mortgage bankers association at the same time it was exorting homeowners to hang in there and keep paying their loans, even if their mortgage was under water, that it walked away from a $75 million loan on its headquarters, sticking the lender with a $34 million loss
10:04 am
on a short sale. but he missed the real outrage. the expectation where homeowners under bankruptcy simply cannot do what american airlines and other american businesses can do. homeowners under law cannot take bankruptcy and have a judge reset the loan value of their residence to conform to what the current value is, and to reduce the interest rates to reflect today's record low rates. that would have been the onerous, quote, cramdown provision so vigorously resisted by banks and financial institutions when we were discussing bankruptcy reform. do as we say not as we do. as a result, we have what i think is truly an insane
10:05 am
situation where a speculator could buy six units in a condominium building and have a bankruptcy judge reduce the loans' amount and interest rate on each one of the speculators' six units, but the poor soul who bought his unit just to live in it cannot have that same privilege. if there was bankruptcy equality for homeowners, i don't think we ever would have had the financial bubble in the first place. you can bet that the masters of the universe that poured billions of dollars into secured mortgages would have been more careful if they knew that homeowners would have been treated the same way as a business is and could have had
10:06 am
unfair onerous provisions modified under bankruptcy. this is one of the reasons why the occupy wall street people are so outraged. this dual standard telling homeowners to stay the course while large businesses don't. fighting for the change under law in the guise of reform which made it impossible for homeowners to be treated as well as speculators. if some of our friends on wall street are perplexed about the frustration and the outrage, they might look in the mirror. maybe, just maybe this is something that the occupy wall street and the tea party advocates can agree upon. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia, mr. broun, for five minutes. mr. broun: thank you, madam
10:07 am
speaker. today i rise to commemorate the 220th anniversary of the adoption of the bill of rights to our u.s. constitution. some of our most basic freedoms and governing principles are laid out in this precious document. the amendments listed were meant to protect our individual liberty and our private property . they serve as a constant reminder that our nation was meant for its citizens to have liberty with very little government intrusion into their lives. today's modern government has so sadly strayed very far away from the vision that our founding fathers had. when they ratified the bill of rights. it seems like every day we lose a little bit more of our freedom
10:08 am
to the ideals of big government and to the standards of socialism. in isiah god says my people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. we have a tremendous lack of knowledge in this nation about the principles that our founding fathers gave us in the u.s. constitution and the bill of rights. and we are being destroyed because those foundational principles are being eroded day by day. here in congress by presidents and by the federal court system. please read the u.s. constitution, read the bill of rights. teach them to our children and our grandchildren so that we can come together and demand a actually limited government as our founding fathers intended. we need to begin to rebuild the principles that has made this nation the greatest in history, the greatest political experiment in the history of
10:09 am
mankind. it's those principles are what have made this country so great, so powerful, and so successful. the only way that we will retain that is if we become knowledgeable and start demanding actually limiting government as our founding fathers meant it. so please read the constitution. please read the bill of rights. read what our founding fathers said about it. demand that kind of governance from our elected representatives all across this country and all levels of government. our freedom and liberty depends upon it. thank you. god bless you. god bless america. thank you, madam speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. neal, for five minutes. mr. neal: permission to address the house for five minutes, revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. neal: mr. speaker, i want to
10:10 am
talk about a program that's set to expire at the end of the year if congress does not act. it's the new market tax credit program. i have fought for this edition since enacted in 2000 because of the cost-effective way to create jobs and drive investment in communities with high rates of poverty and unemployment. i have seen the amazing results of this initiative first hand back home in massachusetts and today i want to highlight one of those massachusetts projects, the colonial theater in pittsfield, massachusetts. let me tell you a little bit about the new markets tax credit. the program was designed to stimulate investment and economic development in low-income communities that are traditionally overlooked by conventional capital markets. the new markets tax credit program attracts capital to low-income communities by providing private investors with a 39% federal tax credit for investments made in business or economic development projects located in certain areas with
10:11 am
individual poverty rates at least 20% of where median income is low. according to the general accounting office, 88% of the new markets tax investors said that they would not have made the investment in a low-income community without new markets tax credits. every project or business financed by new markets tax credits is located in a low-income community or has benefits of low-income individuals. the vast majority, over 90% of investment dollars, generated through new markets, has gone to communities with levels of economic distress that far exceed the minimum requirements of the law. 60% has gone to communities with very high unemployment rates that are at least 1.5 times the national average. through 2009, new markets cost the federal government in terms of lost revenue less than $4 billion. that $4 billion is -- it should be treated as a government investment because it has resulted in $50 billion in
10:12 am
capital projects in those low-income communities and create or retained an estimated 500,000 jobs. according to the treasury department, every $1 of tax revenue under new markets leverages $12 of private investment in distressed communities. that is results in my opinion. unfortunately, new markets is a temporary program and unless congress acts this month, it will expire on december 31. i am and have been the lead democratic sponsor of legislation to extend this program for five years and i have been leading the charge for years to make this a permanent initiative. i once again call on our colleagues to extend new markets. let's talk about this excessive new markets -- success of new markets in massachusetts. over 170 businesses in massachusetts have received new markets financing. hot momma schools in spring feemed, the river valley market,
10:13 am
and now the high performance computing center in holyoake as well. i want to focus on pittsfield, massachusetts. pittsfield is a city in western massachusetts with a population of 42,000 people. it's the largest community in that region of the state. it has struggled with unemployment and urban plight. the colonial theater is a rare architectural gem and one of the great accoustical houses in the world located in the heart of pittsfield. it was built at the turn of the century and it was closed for more than 50 years. periodic attempts to redevelop it failed for lack of money and sustained public support. however thanks to new market tax credits, financing of $16.7 million of a total project cost of $21 million, this 70,000 square foot theater with adjacent building were magnificently restored. with 823 seats, the theater reopened in 2006 and now
10:14 am
features an impressive lineup of place and musical shows. james taylor is currently performing there as part of a cast of a "christmas carol" since its renovation the theater has hostedar low guthrie, four tops, and bob weir of the grateful dead will perform this spring. recent musicals include the who's tommy, "wizard of oz" and "rent." the independent research firm center for creative community development estimated that the colonial theater sustains a direct economic impacts of $4 million annually and 100 full-time jobs in the area. the colonial theater is a symbol of the re-emergence of piltsfield as an economic and cultural center. ankoring the comprehensive strategy for downtown revitalization, the restored theater along with the six screen beacon cinema complex also financed with new markets tax credits has created jobs, attracted new businesses,
10:15 am
spurred residential development, and added vitality to this city. widespread street level vacancy in downtown piltsfield has been virtually eliminated and 45 new businesses and restaurants have opened. the restoration has helped -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. neal: 400,000 new visitors to downtown pittsfield. let's rejuvenate the new market tax credit program. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from west virginia, mr. mckinley, for five minutes. 7. mr. mckinley: thank you, madam chairman. today i want to announce that company c 150th aviation united of the west virginia national guard are on their way home to their families and should arrive this afternoon after serving our nation for the past 12 months in kosovo. truly there could not be a better christmas present. company c is based in the first
10:16 am
district of west virginia in my hometown of wheeling and was deployed one year ago to kosovo on a peacekeeping mission. while overseas, the unit was responsible for all aerial operations within their area of responsibility. company c soldiers, all 2,899 flight hours, 951 missions. they ran multiple mechanical missions and refueling missions and dispensed 246,260 gallons of fuel. the west virginia national guard plays a key role in the defense of our country and interest around the world. america could not be prouder to have these men and women as our representatives. today i'm thrilled to say, welcome home, company c. thank you, madam speaker. i yield back my time.
10:17 am
the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from maryland, mr. hoyer, for five minutes. mr. hoyer: thank you, madam speaker. yesterday we passed a defense authorization bill. that defense authorization bill had a 1.6% increase for our military personnel. that was an appropriate thing for us to do. however, at the same time we are looking at reducing very substantially the pay and benefits available to our civilian federal employees. madam speaker, i rise out of a deep concern that this congress continues to ask one group to sacrifice to bring down our nation's deficit while not asking others to contribute as well. that one group are average working americans. now, they work for the federal government. some perhaps the state and local governments.
10:18 am
and there is an antipathy towards government by many, many of the public, many members of this house. that antipathy is therefore focused on the workers, but we have substantially less federal employees today than we had 20 years ago. not in terms of real numbers but in terms of per capita where the population has substantially expanded and the number of federal employees per person to be served has been substantially reduced. with all of the challenges we face today on a national scale, we ought to ensure that those who help have solutions and carry them out should -- we talk a good game on this floor but we turn it over to the people to carry out or policies. we don't do it. they do. they should not be subjected to verbal attacks and assaults we
10:19 am
have seen over the past couple of years and that are included in the bills that have passed this house this past week. i am speaking, of course, about america's public servants. those who work in civilian government positions are no less important to our safety, health, prosperity and general well-being as their military counterparts who protect our freedom. i honor our troops. i'm going to be wearing a yellow ribbon later today to welcome home those troops who have fought to protect our country defeat terrorists and stabilize the international community. they have blessed america with their courage and their commitment and their service, but federal civilian employees make certain that the products we buy and prescription drugs we use are safe. they perform critical research to fight against cancer and other diseases. they help our farmers and ranchers access new markets for their goods. they see millions of passengers travel safely across our skies and keep watch over our ports and border crossings.
10:20 am
they ensure a fair playing field for barnings and businesses and enforce the -- banks and businesses and enforce the rules of our air and water from pollution. so many of the public functions we often take for granted is the purview of the hardworking men and women who constitute our federal work force. they're middle-class americans, working americans, who have in many cases chose to serve their country by lending their talents and skills. some for a short time. others for their entire careers. as an american i am proud of the work they do, and as a member of congress from maryland i am proud to represent a great number of them in this house. but for those who believe that a significant number of our federal workers live here in washington, maryland and virginia, let me set the record straight.
10:21 am
85% of federal employees live somewhere other than the washington metropolitan area. 85%. they provide essential services to neighbors and communities in all 50 states and every single one of our districts. while everything must be on the table when addressing the budget -- and by the way, i put on the table a zero cola adjustment two years ago sitting in the white house, having talked to our federal leaders and said, we need to tighten our belt. americans are having trouble. we have a lot of our neighbors out of work. taking it two years in a row. $60 billion contribution already by federal employees. $60 billion. while we say we can't raise a nickel of additional taxes from the most well-off in america but we can take $60 billion
10:22 am
from average working men and women in this country. everything must be on the table. i'm deeply disappointed, however, that we continue to attack these public servants unfairly and single them out. now when i say we, the republican bills that have been offered on this floor and have been discussed. when middle-class families across the country are struggling to make ends meet, federal employees have already accepted two-year pay freeze. that was appropriate. that was acceptable. but continuing assault from just one segment is not. this comes on top of salaries that are already lower than those for comparable private sector jobs. let me repeat that. because there is a prejudice that somehow federal employees are vastly overpaid. in fact, the federal salary council's annual report last month found that federal workers are paid on average
10:23 am
26.3% less than comparable private sector jobs. now, some people don't understand that because what we ask our federal employees to do requires for the most part high skills. we have a lot of engineers, scientists, doctors at n.i.h., at nasa, in the f.b.i.. highly skilled, highly educated people. 26.3% differential in pay for comparable work that is done in the private sector. now, most of you -- many of you sitting there and perhaps our viewers say, oh, that's not true because i see what the average salaries are. what they don't see is the average requirements for skills. madam speaker, america's public servants are already making a contribution because they love this country and recognize that when times are tight, everyone, everyone, everyone has to pitch
10:24 am
in, even the best off in america. a belief in smaller government does not grant one license to diminish the contribution made by those who serve in government. if we cut government we need less people to run it, that makes sense. but what does not make sense is to undermine the ability to recruit and retain the quality of people that we need to continue to make this country a long and partnership with the private sector the greatest country on the face of the earth. we must always remember that we are blessed, asselin consaid, with a government of the people, by the people and for the people. that these -- that this is us together the one who serves and the one who benefits from that service. it is the bond of a neighbor and that of a fellow american. let us remember that. yes, we need to notch the belt
10:25 am
in a notch. we need to make sure that we are on a fiscally sustainable path, but let us do so in a way that has everybody contribute, not just an unfavored few who serve us well. and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. mcclintock, for five minutes. mr. mcclintock: thank you, madam speaker. one of the items of unfinished business remaining to this congress is extending the payroll tax cut of last year that funds social security. it doesn't change economic incentives and therefore it doesn't produce lasting economic growth, but it does provide great relief to working families, allowing them to keep more of their earnings at a time of declining incomes, shriveling assets and rising prices and it should be extended but it must be extended responsibly to avoid
10:26 am
doing further damage, either to the economy or to the social security system this tax supports. that means we have to make up the lost revenue. now, the democrats have said, no problem, just tax the rich. in fact, they say that a lot. the problem is that the tax increases they propose are marginal tax increases. precisely the kind of tax increase that does enormous damage to the overall economy. remember, more than half of net small business income would be subject to their tax increase. at precisely the moment when we're depending on those small businesses to create 2/3 of the new jobs that our people desperately need. now, the measure passed out of the house this week also does far more harm than good. unfortunately, the house added 167 billion dollars to this year's already crushing deficit, mostly to pay for the payroll tax cut, purporting to
10:27 am
pay one year's tax relief over the next 10 years. and how does it do that? well, in part a fax on additional fees backed by fannie mae and freddie mac. this shifts the cost to homebuyers who will pay far more in new taxes that are hidden in their mortgage payments than they'll ever get back from the tax cut. true, under the house version the average family will save $1,000 in payroll taxes, but if that family takes out a $150,000 mortgage backed by fannie or freddie, they'll end up paying an extra $3,000 as a result of this bill. $1,000 of tax cuts for $3,000 of extra mortgage payments. put more bluntly, the house version kicks the housing market when it's already down, making it that much more expensive for homebuyers to re-enter that market and adding to the pressures that have
10:28 am
chronically depressed our home values. worse, the house version would turn fannie and freddie into tax collectors for the general fund. if the house bill's enacted, we will have constructed a cash machine for government with an adjustable knob. and given the insasheyabble appetite of this government, that knob will be turned up and not down in coming years. ironically, one of the reasons to continue the payroll tax cut is because of shrinking family assets, mainly the values of their home. this adds to the downward pressure on their home values while telling them we're doing them a favor. some favor. fortunately, there is a way to extend the payroll tax cut, protect the social security system and avoid doing further harm to the economy. and that's the measure offered by mr. landry of louisiana, h.r. 3551. that bill was given short shift in the house last week and that's a shame. mr. landry's bill would give
10:29 am
every american the choice to receive the year of tax relief in exchange for delaying their retirement by a month. according to the social security chief actuary, this would pay for itself. it would give every family in america the choice of deciding for itself whether the benefits of the tax cut are worth the cost of working a month longer. it would provide fax relief for those families -- tax relief for those families that need it without doing harm to the social security system that the tax supports and without shifting the burden to pay for it to homebuyers, as the house version does, or to job creators, as the senate version would have done. it's not too late to fix this problem the right way. and i would strongly urge the house to take mr. landry's bill more serious plea in the closing days of this session. -- seriously in the closing days of this session. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from tennessee, mr. cohen, for five minutes.
10:30 am
mr. cohen: thank you, madam speaker. today is the 20th anniversary of the passage of the bill of rights. it was declared bill of rights day by franklin roosevelt back in the 1940's and an over too often overlooked. ken paulsen at vanderbilt university campus recently wrote that the bill of rights is a document that guarantees core personal liberties. freedom of expression and faith, a fair judicial process, the right to bear arms and protection against unreasonable government seizures. no one takes time to reflect on the importance of december 15, the anniversary of these fundamental freedoms, particularly and what they really are. that's why i wanted to come to the well today and spend a few minutes reflecting on this amazing document and the freedomes that we derive from it. . it's easy to take the bill of rights for granted. of course we have the right to speak our minds. we don't live in fear that the
10:31 am
police will break down our doors without exingent circumstances or warrant. it would be ridiculous to imagine a church of america to which we must all belong and worship according to its dictates. you only need to look across the globe to the arab spring and elsewhere to see millions of people protesting and risking their lives just to have a taste of the freedoms we take for granted. an you realize how fortunate we are. when the constitution was ratified, there were very few individual rights guaranteed. it was mostly about setting up the structure of government. but thomas jefferson and others argued that the bill of rights was necessary to protect individuals from government. think about how wise the founders were to ensure the very government they were establishing would not encroach on certain fundamental liberties of the people. as jefferson wrote in a letter to james madison, a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth. since jefferson was not part of that constitutional convention, james madison took up the task
10:32 am
of drafting the bill of rights. after much debate and compromise, 10 amendments were approved and added to the constitution. right at the very beginning we find the bedrock of the bill of rights, the great five freedoms of the first amendment. religion, freedom of speech, press, to peacefully assemble and petition the government. those are the most basic freedoms we have. they are not always without catastrophe. from the so-called war on christmas to government-led prayer in school we continue to debate what the free exercise of religion and establishment clause meant. that is not new. thomas jefferson found himself deep in the war over religious liberty as well. in response to attacks he was insufficiently religious he wrote in a letter to benjamin rush, for i have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. he went on to explain in his famous letter to the dan bury baptist, there is a wall of separation between church and
10:33 am
state. since religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his god. but that does not put the issue to rest. we continue to wrest with these issues today -- wrestle with these issues today. but the bill of rights is what enables us to work our dimpses out peacefully through the democratic process. we have a right to speak our mind without the fear the government will stifle dissent. hold the government accountable with a vibrant free press because an informed citizenry is what keeps democracy strong. and the right to protest when we are dissatisfied with our government. whether actions by the tea party or the ok pie movements, the people are exercising their right to assemble and petition their government for redress of greevenances. as elect the officials it's up to us to their causes while also protecting their rights. i remember back in 1993 when i was a tennessee state senator and one week i stood on the legislative plaza and defended the second amendment urging the passage of a tennessee the's right to carry bill.
10:34 am
the next week i was on the plaza supporting a woman's right to choose which comes through the ninth amendment. no two people at either of those rallies were the same. they were indeed very different. but what they were advocating was both in the bill of rights and both supported such and the bill of rights supported them. i devoted most of my career to fighting for you fairness in our criminal justice system. it's the bill of rights that builds fundamental issues in the system. it guarantees we'll have a reasonable bail. a fair chance to prove our innocence. have a lawyer. and if convicted we won't be subject to torture or cruel and unusual punishments. the bill of rights embodies the core values of this nation, freedom, fairness, justice, and equality. we need to remember, though, we have always -- not always upheld those values. for example, the fifth amendment continues garne -- guarantees we won't be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, but many of the same people who drafted the bill
10:35 am
of rights in the constitution own slaves, treated them as property, and gave them no rights whatsoever. it took almost 100 years to abolish slavery. then another to get beyond the jim crow laws that continued such. we must honor the bill of rights and respect it for what it's done and recognize it today. i thank thomas jefferson and james madison and others who gave us the bill of rights and i swore upon the altar of god eternal hostility towards all forms of tyranny over the mind of man. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. poe, for five minutes. mr. poe: madam speaker, when most people think of smuggling, they envision outlaws in the dark of night, law leslie shuffling around guns and money to other outlaws. most people would never imagine that the government of the greatest nation in the world would be engaged in a stealth smuggling operation by sending guns and money to narcoterrorists. a pierce a group of people in the a.t.f. and the d.e.a. all
10:36 am
under the supervision of the department of justice facilitated trafficking of guns and money to the drug cartels, the national enemy of mexico and of the united states. these vicious cartels have inflicted terror on both sides of the border, they are literally at war with the mexican people, the people to the south of us, our neighbors. first relearn that the justice department with the help of the a.t.f. apparently facilitate the smuggling of over 2,000 weapons to the drug cartels. these guns included semiautomatic weapons and sniper rifles. people have died because of this activity. these weapons were used to kill at least 200 mexican nationals and two u.s. agents. the attorney general admitted to me in the judiciary committee last week more people are going to die. all because our government is helping the drug cartels in mexico obtain automatic weapons.
10:37 am
of the 2,000 weapons smuggled to mexico, most are still unaccounted for. we don't know where they are. the attorney general is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer in the country. but he claimed last week in the judiciary committee he didn't know about fast and furious until recently. he either didn't read the memo or he didn't get the memo. what is more remarkable, madam speaker, he claims he doesn't know who authorized the smuggling ring. to coin a phrase from secretary of state hillary clinton, the idea that eric holder, the head of the department of justice that oversaw this operation was not involved or was unaware what took place, requires a willing suspension of disbelief. the question is, is there a rogue group of moles operating stealth activity in the department of justice? apparently no one really knows. the attorney general also admitted last week that this
10:38 am
operation was, in fact, reckless. it's worth noting, madam speaker, when a person recklessly causes the death of another person, it's a crime of manslaughter. if people under the attorney general violated u.s. or international law, they need to be accountable for their actions. it's been almost a year since agent brian terry was murdered and first learned about this foolish operation as we know now, call it fast and furious. terry was killed by one of these smuggled guns to mexico, but yet no one claims to know who's responsible. the second part of the rogue operation was the apparent laundering of money to the mexican narcoterrorists, facilitated once again by the united states government. according to "the new york times" report last week, undercover american narcotics agents from the d.e.a. laundered or smuggled millions of dollars in drug money to the drug cartels. how many millions? no one knows.
10:39 am
they allegedly handled the money on its path to the hands of the drug lords. this failed operation like with the guns was an effort to track the money and bring down the cartels. of course the cartels are a strong -- as strong as ever. the administration claimed in a statement last week it was working with the mexican government in the operation. on joint investigations to detect and dismantle money laundering networks. however, according to a spokes person for president calderon of mexico, they had no idea the d.e.a. was involved in this drug money laundering operation. the d.e.a. and a.t.f. were under the control of the justice department. these disturbing operations facilitated the worst kind of result, they have resulted in people dying. and millions of money and hundreds of guns are unaccounted for. the drug cartels are the narcoterrorists, they are the enemy of mexico and u.s. they exist to obtain money and
10:40 am
guns and the united states helped them get both. somebody needs to go to jail. we need an independent council to investigate the justice department and the a.t.f. the justice department cannot be trusted to investigate themselves because the agency has lost credibility. even washington insiders responsible for fast and furious and laundry smuggling cannot hide from the long arm of the american justice system because, madam speaker, justice is what we do in this country. and that's just the way it is. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york, mr. rangel, for five minutes. mr. rangel: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. rangel: i rise, madam speaker, to share with the house the importance of extended unemployment insurance, increasing disposable income,
10:41 am
and to try desperately hard to shatter the myth that some of the opponents of extended unemployment have expressed. that is that americans don't want to work and would prefer to receive a check and that receiving this check is a deterrent for them to go out and search for jobs. i can't believe that this is a republican doctrine. because outside of these halls most americans don't wear on their sleeves whether they are republican or democrat or liberals or conservatives, most americans just want to be a part of this wonderful american dream. and while we work in order to have wages, so much a part of
10:42 am
having a job is self-esteem. that's what our great country is about. not since the depression have americans felt so embarrassed because their kids are being asked questions as to did your daddy and mom lose their job? people who thought they made it into the middle class, which is the economic heartbeat of this great nation, moved into communities with higher rents or higher expenses in terms of their homes. and then they were hit by this economic nightmare through no fault of their own. they lost their jobs, their homes, their savings, their hope. and they are out there and we are saying that they don't want to work, that they enjoy being unemployed.
10:43 am
you know, this great nation has the constitution as its foundation, but there's something that's not written there and that is, if you can make your way to america, you can improve not just your status but the status of your kids and grandkids. something has happened with this dream. as it becomes a nightmare. and it has to do with dis-- disparate of the income because if you are born into poverty, chances of getting out of it in the united states of america is far less than in some other countries. that's not us. that's not what we believe in. and no one is asking for a class war. we are talking about a class of understanding the economy of this great nation.
10:44 am
less than 1% of americans owe -- own 42% of americans' wealth. and worse than being poor, more americans who thought they reached the middle class wake up each and every day and find out that they are back into poverty. can't we find some way to realize that this is not a party issue? this is the principles of the united states of america. don't we know that these debates that we are having as to who can be the meanest and most ridiculous is causing us as a nation to lose the principles? and aren't these principles, how do we treat the lesser of our brothers and sisters in this country? is it a question of how we treat our children?
10:45 am
is that thrown out of the window? our aged are sick and those in poverty. isn't there something middle class people have to watch the cash register when they are paying out at the counter to make certain that they didn't pick up more than they could pay for? what about having your possessions put in the street for nonpayment of rent? they are looking for unemployment compensation, checks as they -- as a way of life. . they have to explain this? no. we have to get back our dignity as a flakes and it doesn't include the gridlock that we have in the house of representatives. sure, getting elected is important, but fulfilling the american dream is far more important than anything this nation's based on. yes, god bless america. yes, in god we trust. let's hope that god trusts us.
10:46 am
the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. olson, for five minutes. mr. olson: thank you, madam speaker. last week seven former planned parenthood employees wrote a joint letter to the energy and commerce committee dealing the facts that many of my colleagues and i have long believed to be true. planned parenthood is grossly misusing taxpayer funds. these former employees revealed that clinic staff failed to properly follow correct billing procedures to prevent federal tax dollars from being used to fund abortion services as demanded by law. there are other violations including failure to properly
10:47 am
notify parents when a young girl may have been a victim of rape and is seeking an abortion. these former employees also wrote that abortion is indeed offered as a means of family planning, in blatant violation of federal law. for years we feared that planned parenthood was engaged in several of these abuses and now we have inside information from brave folks who have confirmed these fears. an effort to shed light on how much taxpayer money is at stake and to keep a promise i made to texas 22 when i was first elected i requested a report to give the public a full accounting of exactly how much federal money is sent to organizations that perform abortions each year. we learned that over a seven-year period the taxpayer
10:48 am
price tag to these organizations is almost $1 billion. and last week i was further sickened to learn that according to the former planned parenthood employees between federal and state contributions, planned parenthood alone receives roughly $1 million per day of taxpayer funds. and yet they're accountable to no one, including the taxpayers who more than oppose these funds being used to end an innocent life. i thank my energy and commerce colleague, subcommittee chairman, cliff stearns, for launching the investigation into this matter and i'm confident that the full committee will do a thorough audit of this corrupt organization. an investigation is sorely
10:49 am
overdue. madam speaker, behind me is a picture of one of the largest planned parenthood clinics ever built. tradgecally it's located right outside of the district i represent in houston, texas. it's surrounded by four low-income minority neighborhoods. planned parenthood's target audience. this massive building has an entire floor dedicated to abortion services and rumored late-term abortions. and because of the seven former planned parenthood employees, we know that doctors and clinic employees have illegally encouraged young girls to abort an unborn child as a means of family planning, all on taxpayers' dime. americans should be outraged to
10:50 am
learn about the possible illegal use of their taxpayer dollars. planned parenthood must be held accountable. i will continue to fight to cut off every single tax dollar that planned parenthood and similar organizations receive. we can never tire, we can never rest in our moral obligation to protect our nation's unborn children. federal tax dollars are illegally being used for abortions. under our constitution, the obama administration has a duty to enforce these laws. under the same constitution, the congress has a duty to ensure that the executive branch follows the law of the land. i applaud those americans who bravely raised their voices on behalf of innocent children who don't have one and maybe never will. thank you, madam speaker.
10:51 am
i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from washington, mr. mcdermott, for five minutes. mr. mcdermott: madam chair, i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. mcdermott: madam speaker, today we celebrate an action that took place 220 years ago when we passed the bill of rights. but i rise today to express my dismay at the passage of the national defense authorization act yesterday. not only did this bill curb our ability to keep america safe, it made a mockery of our constitutionally protected rights. but there is a larger point about the state of this country which is worth noting. over the past several months, this body has wasted precious time, writing a defense authorization bill with so many safory provisions that the president is threatening to
10:52 am
veto. many condemned it as dangerous and unnecessary. in the end the bill was watered down in response to many of the serious concerns about the bill though it did not go as far as it should. the final bill still contains restrictions on guantanamo detainees and grants the president to indefinitely, indefinitely detain without trial america h american citizens in military custody. it shows just how far along the slippery slope our country has moved since 9/11 in authorizing sweeping powers to the president at the expense of our civil liberties. let's be clear. the overmilitarization against our counterterrorism efforts goes beyond our civil liberties though some continue to justify it through fear mongering. we saw this after the horrific events of 9/11 when president bush signed into law the patriot act that draw matcally expanded law enforcement
10:53 am
agencies -- dramatically expanded law enforcement agencies to get telerecords, emails without a court order. it allows the f.b.i. to look at library records to see what books you're reading. we have embraced national secrecy over national security. and the n.d.a. bill took the bill to a whole new level. when advocates of this bill don't seem to realize is that the american people are already paying a price in the name of keeping our nation safe. in september the center for investigative reporting at n.p.r. conducted a joint investigation into private security at the mall of america in minneapolis. they found that the mall security personnel stopped an average of 1200 people a year, nearly 2/3 of those people belonged to racial and ethnic
10:54 am
minorities. personal information from the suspicious activity reports from the mall were sent to the f.b.i. so they got an f.b.i. file. some these people were reported for looking at the security guard in a, quote, suspicious way. an army veteran was questioned for nearly two hours about a video he made inside the mall. one man left his cell phone on the table at the food court and they showed up at the family's home asking anyone if they know anyone who wants to hurt the united states. this creates a chilling effect that causes law-abiding americans to think twice about exercising their right to speech and assembly. james madison, as you heard, wrote the constitution and the bill of rights and he once said, quote, the means of defense against foreign danger historically has become
10:55 am
instruments of tyranny at home. that could not ring truer than yesterday. this is a sad day for our liberty and freedom when we give to the president -- we may like the president. we may think he's a great man. but to give that office the power to hold americans without trial in military custody indefinitely is eroding our right to a free trial and the ability to confront our accuser. those things that are in that bill of rights are being taken away from all of us. now, we think it won't happen to me. be careful. that's what people thought in a lot of other places in the world and suddenly, as deet rick bonhoffer said in the german prison camps, and then they came for me and there was no one to stand up. i yield back the balance of my
10:56 am
time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from virginia, mr. wolf, for five minutes. mr. wolf: madam speaker, i was pleased this morning that "the washington post" did a story on a shameful development here in washington. bart fischer, a washington lawyer, was granted a license by the office of foreign control at treasury to represent the genocidal government of sudan. i submit a copy of the "post" article for the record. the sudanese people have long been brutalized, marginalized and terrorized by their own government. and yet unbelievably it seems the same regime has been afforded the flinch of legal representation in washington -- afforded the legal representation in washington. mr. fischer was hired with the expressed purpose of, quote, trying to lift american sanctions against it. the documentation posted on the
10:57 am
department of justice website, it appears that mr. fischer was granted a license by the foreign of asset control at treasury to provide this representation and that he plans to engage in political activities among them, quote, representations including petition to u.s. government agencies regarding sanctions, end of quote. i'm appalled that this has been permitted and someone -- some of mr. fischer's political contributions were a factor. the administration should reverse this approval. martin luther king famously said, quote, in the end we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends. the obama administration should remember the words, the silence of our friends. what must the people of sudan be thinking at this particular juncture when the obama administration struggles to find its voice on their behalf while at the same time
10:58 am
seemingly to empowering the voice of the oppressors. bashir's crimes are well-known and documented. this sat same man that is accused by the international criminal court -- this is the same man that is accused by the international criminal court what is accused of five counts of murder, rape. i have been to sudan five times, including in july of 2004 when senator brownback and i were the first depellgation to go to darfur -- delegation to go to darfur. we had spoken to women that had been raped days earlier. the government of khartoum of sudan told these women that they wanted to make, quote, lighter skinned babies. in addition to horrific human rights abuses and crimes committed by bashir and his national congress party, sudan remains on the state department's list of state sponsors of terrorism. it is well-known that the same people currently in khartoum
10:59 am
gave safe haven to osama bin laden in the early 1990's. moreover, car human was a revolving -- khartoum was a revolving door for hamas and other terrorist groups. but bashir's crimes are not the thing of the past and the recent tom lantos human rights commission hearing on the crisis in the southern city, former member of congress and president of united to end genocide spoke about his experience while visiting the region. he said there are reports, and i quote, sudanese armed forces and their ally militias going door to door targeting people based upon their religion and based upon the color of their skins. and yet the obama administration gives them the right to have somebody in this town to represent them. a recent delegation from the u.s. commission on
11:00 am
international religious freedom visited sudan and met with refugees in a camp. they returned with similar reports, all with pastors with whom they spoke said they fled after learning that the sudanese military was undertaking house searches for christians and splm north supporters. we stand just blocks from the museum that cries out never again. meanwhile, it appears that this administration is complicit in allowing a genocidal government to have an advocate in washington. the people that have the authority and the power to stop this from happening are president obama, secretary state clinton, secretary of treasury geithner, the head of the office of ofac, and david cohen, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at treasury. . history will be their judge if
11:01 am
they fail to act. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the the gentlewoman from california, ms. woolsey, for five minutes. ms. woolsey: thank you, madam speaker. now this war in iraq is drawing to a close, this is the perfect moment to reset our national security strategy. to change our underlying approach to protecting america. unfortunately on the very day that the president visited fort bragg to affirm our full military withdrawal from iraq, this body approved without my vote the national defense authorization act which will continue to dedicate billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars to warfare and weaponry. while it's true that the bill represents some modest attempt at cuts, authorizing less than current law spending and less than the president requested, we
11:02 am
are still talking about $662 billion in defense programs. $662 billion is a lot of money. it is particularly a lot of money at a time when the house majority won't part with a thin dime to create jobs and is committed to scaling back unemployment benefits. the mdaa includes funding for the continued prosecution of the war on afghanistan. a disastrous policy that proves to be a bigger failure with each passing day. we continue to spend enormous amounts of the american people's money on a war the american people don't support. and in so doing more young americans are either killed or maimed. and to what end? for what benefit? for a policy that has emboldened the insurgents, inflamed
11:03 am
anti-americanism, and done little to bring peace, security, and stability to afghanistan. authorization of military spending flies through the congress while the domestic investments we need to put our people back to work are dead on arrival. on the other side of the aisle. authorization of war spending exorbitant, excessive amounts of war spending is rubber-stamped by this body when we could be spending pennies on the dollar to protect america more effectively with diplomacy, development, and other smart security tools. to make matters even worse, the national defense authorization act includes unacceptable provisions relating to handling of detainees. it grants the president, any president, and the military broad powers to throw a u.s.
11:04 am
citizen in jail indefinitely for suspected terrorist ties without a swift civilian trial, without full rights of due process, without the proper presumption of innocence. i emphatically reject the idea, madam speaker, that defending the nation requires an assault on civil liberties and rule of law. madam speaker, it makes no sense to say we are defending freedom by undermining freedom. to say we are going to defeat authoritarian forces by adopting authoritarian tactics of our very own. just the opposite, in fact. we protect american interests and values by showing our nation's compassion and honor. the better angels of our nature and not our darkest instincts. the united states security depends on winning hearts and
11:05 am
minds around the world. but we'll never do it with military occupations and repressive detention policies. we'll do it by bringing our troops home and immediately adopting the principles of a smarter security policy. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. murphy, for five minutes. mr. murphy: thank you, madam speaker. a few months ago the prime minister of israel, benjamin netanyahu, addressed a joint session of congress in this very chamber. he was welcomed by members with a standing ovation. several times during his speech congress responded with applause. when a person in the gallery attempted to disrupt his speech, the entire house stood and applauded to show support for the prime minister over the disruption. the prime minister noted that
11:06 am
people can speak out in a democracy that supports free speech. we all know what happens when citizens challenge their government in syria, iran, and libya and other repressive countries. the prime minister clearly laid out his concerns for the middle east, support for a two-state solution, and a clear and unequivocal message against iran's nuclear weapons development, and following his speech the joint session of congress gave the prime minister a closing standing ovation. now, recently new york sometimes columnist, thomas friedman, commented on congress' response to the prime minister. he said, and i quote, i sure hope that israel's prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in congress this year was not for his politics. that standing ovation was bought and paid for by the israel lobby. now, madam speaker, i don't know if mr. friedman was in the chamber at the time and i do know know if he interviewed members of congress following
11:07 am
the prime minister's speech. i certainly know he did not speak with me nor many of my colleagues, before he came to this wrong conclusion. so for the record i wanted to make it clear what i and others stood when the prime minister of israel addressed the joint session of congress. i rose for the prime minister because he is the leader of a state. we always show respect for such leaders. but in this case there were greater reasons for our action. i also rose because prime minister netanyahu is the leader of a nation i respect, of a people i admire, and of a culture that i cherish. i stood up and support of a nation that protects religious freedom for all religious, even when they are surrounded by other nations that will not permit christian churches nor synagogues to be built and are surrounded by those whose people burn down coptic christian churches. for israel's tenacity, courage, intelligence, creativity, inventiveness, and endures over thousands of years, i stood in respect.
11:08 am
when iranian leader, ahmadinejad, said israel must be, quote, wiped off the map, and quote, the uniform shout of the iranian nation is forever death to israel, and quote, when he said the western powers, quote, launched the myth of the holocaust, they lie, they put on the show, and support the jews, unquote, i stood up in support of israel and stood against those hostile and hafle and false comments. -- hateful and false comments. while israel continues to develop -- while iran continues to develop nuclear weapons and ultimately threatens israel and the immediate immediate and europe, while some may cowher in fearful silence, we will -- cower in fearful silence, we will stand -- that is why we passed strong sanctions against iran and support all options to protect our frnds. we stood in support of israel continuous support of the safety and security of the people of the united states. when we were attacked by terrorists, israel stood by us and continues to stand by us and
11:09 am
they take personal risk in doing so. we stood to show our gratitude to the people of israel. now, like any relationship ours is not perfect, nor without differing thoughts and opinions. to be sure there are times when we honestly disagree. that is the nature of governments elected by the people. there will be debate, but we must use these as opportunities to learn from each other, to reaffirm our promises, and to grow. all of that strengthens our bonds because we put respect, truly resolution, and commitment to peace above all else. mr. friedman would do well to understand the true wishes behind our support. we are jointly committed to peace, to a two-state solution, to fighting terrorism, to supporting tolerance of other religious, to supporting democracy, to standing up against those who would rain thousands of rockets on innocent people. we will not be swlent, we will speak out against terrorism. and we will stand together. so, for all of these things i and others stood in respect, in
11:10 am
support, and in open show of our joint commitment to peace and civility. and together we will stand again. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. schiff, for five minutes. mr. schiff: madam speaker, i rise today to honor the memory of staff sergeant vincent j. bell, united states marine corps. he was 28 years old, the son of pamela alexander bell, and james bell the husband of karen navaret and brother of lyndon bell and andrea roe. staff sergeant bell enlisted in the marine corps on july 7, 2001, and became an artilleryman. during his career he served his country with distinction and deployed in support of operation iraqi freedom with battalion landing team 21, second battalion, 11th marine regiment, battalion landing team 24 and
11:11 am
fifth batalian 11th marine regiment. on october 31, 2011, staff sergeant bell deployed with the second battalion, 11th marine regiment where he served as a howitzer section chief for a 10-man team in support of operation enduring freedom. on november 30, staff sergeant bell was in helmund province, afghanistan, when he stepped on an improvised explosive device while on a dismounted patrol. he succumbed to his wounds, making the ultimate sacrifice for his country. staff sergeant bell loved being a marine. he said that the ability to serve is the greatest calling an american could have, even more so to be a united states marine. staff sergeant bell was well respected by his seniors and subordinates alike. his company commander, captain joshua cling said, he can't remember one conversation with staff sergeant bell where he
11:12 am
wasn't smiling and telling me how great it was. to suffer hardness and adversity with good cheer is the quality of a fine man. he was a rocket man, a can in the air, platoon sergeant, trusted marine, who always got the job done. his platoon commander, first lieutenant david waters, said all marines who serve with staff sergeant bell understood his sacrifice and will miss him as a brother and friend. he faced the fear and danger of his profession with a true part. he had the part of a warrior and the spirit of a true patriot. i know he will be in heaven guarding the way. staff sergeant bell loved his marines and being a mentor to them. previously he served as instructor with the 11th marine regiment's artillery training school where he provided advanced training to the section chiefs for the regiment. upon returning to the second battalion, 11th marines, staff sergeant bell was excited he was with a unit getting ready for deployment.
11:13 am
captain cling noted was chomping at the bit to be challenged for an opportunity to train, teach, and mentor marines. sergeant eric grenados described him as an outstanding marine, a great leader, and most of all a good man. firm but fair, guidance was always there when we needed it, but he let us do our job. he empowered his marines to take responsibility and lead others. staff sergeant bell was devoted to his family, fellow marines, and friends. his mother said that vincent was an outstanding marine and a good man. he had courage, commitment, and strong values. he believed in following orders, loved his country, and served our country with pride. he believed in doing the right thing for the right reason. vincent had an amazing sense of humor, even in the tough times. he had a very caring and nurturing personality and was a mentor to young people since he was a young man.
11:14 am
staff sergeant bell told his mother it was a privilege to serve under both president george w. bush bush and president barack obama. in 2009 vincent called his mother from iraq and told her that he had re-enlisted because he wanted to have the privilege to serve under the first african-american president of the united states. staff sergeant bell's wife, karen, said that vincent was a kind, giving man, i'll miss my husband every day of my life, but his spirit will remain alive with me, his family, and his marines. karen's brother and sister considered vincent to be their big brother. her parents shared a respect, mutual respect for vincent. they knew how much he loved and cared for her. in addition to his family and friends, staff sergeant bell was also devoted to the family's wonderful dogs. staff sergeant bell's personal declarations include the purple heart, the navy and marine corps achievement medal with one gold
11:15 am
star, the good conduct medal with two bronze stars, and the combat action ribbon with one gold star. since staff sergeant bell's death was announced, his unit has received condolences from marines across the globe who served with him this. reflects his professionalism, leadership, and the lives he touched as a united states marine. our nation has lost a good man. a son, a brother, husband, and a marine who gave his life in the defense of freedom. he will be missed. and his sacrifice will not be forgotten. i yield back. . the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida, mr. nugent, for five minutes. mr. neugebauer: mr. speaker -- mr. nugent: madam speaker, i rise to say we have troops in harm's way. as the iraqi wrar comes to a close, we prepare to drawdown in afghanistan, we cannot forget -- we cannot forget
11:16 am
those that serve us, the men and women. we cannot forget those that are still being held captive in those foreign lands, and these are our volunteers. these are young men and women that went to the fight and volunteered to go there willingly because america called. you know, several weeks ago i sent a letter to the president asking him for his continued commitment about those that jeff left behind, those that -- have been left behind, those that have been held against their will in iraq and afghanistan. unfortunately, i never got a response, never received a response. you know, most recently, if you read the british tap lloyds, one of the british -- tabloids, one of the british papers talked about one who escaped from his taliban captures in
11:17 am
afghanistan and was on the run for three days. unfortunately he was recaptured. it shows you that we still have those in harm's way as we pull out of both iraq and start withdrawal from afghanistan, but we can never forget. we should never forget the sacrifice that these young men and women have given to this country. they truly are the 1% that needs to be talked about because they have volunteered, at great risk to themselves and to their families. i have three sons that are currently serving in the united states army and i know what it's like to have a son go to war on numerous -- go to war. on numerous occasions my sons have been called and one is still in iraq today.
11:18 am
we can't only forget about the sacrifice but what about the families they leave behind? one says, we never leave a man behind, and i call upon the president, i call upon this great body to make that same statement that we will never leave a man behind, that we will do everything within our power to make sure that we get these kids back home. i call them kids because i have three sons and i still call them kids even when they're 30 years old. it is about doing the right thing. so today we're going to -- we're putting forth a resolution, this resolution asking for the house to exert its will, to talk about our unending commitment to those that are so willing, have given up their freedoms to protect us.
11:19 am
this season of christmas, we need to think about the families that are still out there and their loved one is being held captive either in iraq or afghanistan. we cannot forget them. we should not forget them. in -- and this great country should stand up for those who have stood up for us. we should express our outrage and our feeling that we will never leave a man behind on the battlefield ever. and madam speaker, i just want to implore this body to stand up and vote for this resolution , talking about the sense of this congress in supporting those men and women who have given so much and have asked for so little.
11:20 am
so god bless america, and thank you so very much, madam speaker. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from texas, ms. jackson lee, for five minutes. ms. jackson lee: thank you very much, madam speaker. i rise today to join some of the calls of my colleagues but to indicate that i thought this very special day, december 15, 2011, a few hours ago in iraq secretary leon panetta performed the casing of the colors ceremony which is to acknowledge the colors, the red, white and blue, that our brave men and women fought under in iraq. we have soldiers still fighting around the world, and i was just speaking to my
11:21 am
constituency and we know that one brave soldier even lost his life from north carolina in the waning hours of the ending of this war. and so at the beginning of december in houston i called for the yellow ribbon campaign and for america to wrap herself in yellow ribbons, both in respect of our returning soldiers, to acknowledge a job well done and to welcome them home to an unsilent america. i would like to thank speaker boehner, leader pelosi, whip hoyer and majority leader cantor for joining and indicating that they would support the wearing of yellow ribbons by our members today and tomorrow, both in celebration and recognition of the heroism of our troops and, yes, acknowledgment of our fallen heroes.
11:22 am
this war was almost nine years, one of the longest wars that america's ever fought. it was, of course, a war that used $800 billion, moneys that i hope we will invest in our returning troops and their families and all americans as we go forward. the loss of life was very painful. the idea of the burden on families. so i believe these yellow ribbons, although meager, will symbolize this congress being unified as americans, saying thank you to our troops. and frankly we have many other challenges that we should be addressing and making sure that our troops come home to a place that is welcoming. this morning our whip made a very important point of the maturity of america. for many remember the days of
11:23 am
vietnam war, we know the passion in that war, but unfortunately it appeared that those who were called to battle by the commander in chief were the ones who received the ire of those who had a different opinion. america's now matured and we recognize that whenever our soldiers accept the call of battle they are for all of us. the treasure that they shed, the blood that they shed has no respecting of anyone's political affiliations. so i am grateful to have the opportunity to call upon us in a bipartisan manner to wear these ribbons that were put together by the young scholars academy in houston, the founding principal is dr. coleman. they worked very hard on these ribbons.
11:24 am
it's good to teach our children early on to appreciate the democracy they live in and appreciate the freedom that they have and to realize those who are on the frontlines. i call upon the iraqi government as well. my point is that the soldiers have left them a gift, a gift to which they can build on or they can undermine, a gift of democracy, freedom, justice, the understanding of friendship, taking care of children, even in spite of what may be violent outbursts. will they have a democratic government? will they allow those who are in camp ashraf who are stated to be in a camp that will close by december 31, will they resettle the refugees in this camp nonviolently, peacefully, iranian exiles who fled to iraq? they are concerned about their refugees in many countries.
11:25 am
as they do these refugees, i will be calling upon countries to treat the iraqi refugees fairly as we would, but it's on them to live peacefully, promote religious freedom and the first amendment and the right to the dignity of life. and so let me thank the leadership for joining us and the members will find these ribbons in their cloakroom, each cloakroom. let us join together and say thank you, welcome home to our troops, a job well done. god bless you and god bless america. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois, mr. shimkus, for five minutes. mr. shimkus: madam speaker, i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. shimkus: thank you, madam speaker. madam speaker, what does the iranian nuclear threat to
11:26 am
keystone -- nuclear the keystone pipeline and payroll tax have to do together? i will spend these minutes to talk about them. yesterday we addressed the concern of the iranian nuclear threat. we did it with h.r. 1905, the iranian threat reduction act, and h.r. 2105, the iran-north korea-syria nonproliferation reform and modernization act. why did we bring these bills to the floor? we brought these bills to the floor because of the concern of a nuclear iran that has threatened its neighbors and one of our closest allies, israel. so what's the iranian response? well, i would turn your attention, madam speaker, to an article published yesterday, december 13, from
11:27 am
entitled "iranian official threatens military drill in the strait of hormuzz." an official said that iran will practice sealing off the strait of hormuzz, the world's most important oil transport channel in a provocative move that demonstrates their capability of disrupting the world's oil supply. the announcement monday by one sent oil prices up about $3 to $100 a barrel based on the speculation of a disruption during the military drills. this is quoted of saying, soon, we will hold a military maneuver on how to close the strait of hormuz, part of the national security committee said in a statement reported by
11:28 am
reuters. if the world wants to make the region insecure, we will make the world insecure. so the keystone x. l. pipeline, which is the second part of this discussion, we heard on the floor yesterday and it was acknowledged by both sides that at a minimum 20,000 jobs would be created. maybe up to 110,000 jobs. we also heard about organized labor being all in on the keystone x.l. pipeline. i quoted a couple members of organized labor, one would be brent bookers, director of the construction department at the labors international union of north america, and he said for many members of the playboyers, this project is not just a pipeline, it is a lifeline. but what doesn't get told about keystone x.l. pipeline enough is its importance for energy security.
11:29 am
now, look if iran can shut down the strait of hormuz. why do you think we're in the gulf? why is the middle east so important? we know why that is. because that's where all the crude oil is. so why would we not access the third largest oil supply on the earth from our neighbor north in canada? and the map's right here. right here you have the great canadian oil sands in alberta. the red line is already a pipeline called the keystone pipeline. what's being proposed is the keystone x.l. pipeline which would help bring canadian crude to the oil refineries in texas. now, i already have keystone crude oil coming to my refinery in wood river, to the terminal in patoka, and to the marathon refinery in robinson, illinois. and that crude oil, once
11:30 am
refined through pipeline goes to cleveland, goes to detroit, goes to chicago, goes all over the country. there can be no more secure route for crude oil for this country than the keystone pipeline and the keystone x.l. pipeline. do we dare as a country still have to fret over threats by a member of the iranian parliament because they want to shut down the strait of hormuz? we have to continue to worry about this unless we continue to build and work with our canadian allies on the keystone x.l. pipeline. . we know it's a jobs issue, we know it's an organized labor issue, and we know it's an energy security issue. and i just thought this story was timely with respect to our vote to hold iran accountable so
11:31 am
we are on the record, we need energy security, we need the keystone x.l. pipeline. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from california, miss speier, for five minutes. -- ms. speier, for five minutes. ms. speier: i rise again today to highlight the epidemic of rape and sexual assault in the military. this is the 14th time that i will stand on this floor to tell the story of yet another victim. each has proudly served their country. each was violently attacked. and each was subjected to a system of justice that protects the perpetrators and punishes the victims. make no mistake, the united states military is the finest in the world. but even the department of defense recognizes that there is a deep rooted problem of military sexual trauma. that must be addressed. d.o.d. estimates that there are some 19,000 soldiers who were
11:32 am
sexually assaulted or raped each year in the military is a staggering figure. sexual assault in the military is a cans they're is undermining readiness, unes cohesion, and morale, and fixing this broken system will strengthen our military, not weaken it as some have argued. today i want to tell the story of specialist andrea nutsling, originally from a small town on the banks of the ohio river, she served in the army from 2000 to 2004 and then served in the army reserves from august 2004 until april, 2010. she has served her country in korea and twice deployed to iraq. in 2002, while serving in korea, specialist n newtsling was assaulted by a colleague outside the latrine. she reported the assault to her command and her assailent was
11:33 am
sentenced. sentenced to five days of base restriction. that was it. in august of 2005, specialist newtsling was deployed to iraq and women gwen one of her fellow soldiers sexually assaulted her, but after learning what justice meant for a previous perpetrator and not wanting to be seen as a troublemaker, she decided not to report the sexual assault to command. instead she simply slept on a cot, her rifle pointed towards the door, for days. several months later she was deployed again to iraq after being in the country for two weeks, specialist newtsling was brutally raped and physically assaulted by two soldiers. the two soldiers were from a unit scheduled to depart iraq and their unit was being replaced by specialist newtsling's unit. the soldiers were drunk when they raped her and threatened to beat her if she struggled. specialist newtsling suffered serious bodily injuries from the
11:34 am
rape. again learning what justice meant from her previous perpetrator, specialist newtsling decided not to report the rape to command. she didn't say a word about a rape for a week until another woman in her unit informed her that her perpetrators were showing a video of the rape and bragging about it. after learning this, specialist newtsling reported the rapes to her command. so what happened this time? her command told specialist newtsling that they did not believe that she had been raped because she, quote, didn't act like a rape victim, unquote. and, quote, did not struggle enough, unquote. her unit commander also told her that he decided not to disclose specialist newtsling's allegations of rape to the investigative services because he didn't want the men separated from their unit. if the men were charged, they would have to stay in iraq and would then have to go to kuwait. additionally, specialist
11:35 am
newtsling's command unilaterally downgraded her complaint of rape to sexual harassment. her assailents were scheduled to leave in three weeks and they left on time, facing no charges. in the current military chain of command structure, the commander did nothing wrong. commanders can issue virtually any punishment or in this case no punishment at all. command has complete authority and discretion over how a degrading and violent assault or rape under their command is handled. they are the judge and jury. we need to end this unjust and horrific pattern and we need to end it now. that's why i have introduced h.r. 3435, the stop act. because it's time, it's time to stop this horrific culture in the military. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from connecticut, mr. murphy, for five minutes.
11:36 am
mr. murphy: thank you, madam speaker. you know, i have listened to a lot of republicans here on the house floor and back in connecticut talk about how they think that the only way to build up america is to tear down government. and start divesting from our public institutions. that's simply not the history of had country. over the last 100 years we have become the world's leader by layering massive private investment on top of massive public investment. and yet day after day i listen to the right wing come down to this floor and tell the american people that we can no longer afford to make these kinds of investments that we used to make in roads and rails and schools and in new technologies. and so it's time that the rest
11:37 am
of us stood up here and told them that they are simply wrong. that america is not broke. we have all of the resources and all of the will power necessary to make the investments we need in order to regain our global competitive edge. but only if we start dealing with facts rather than just with political rhetoric. so over the next few minutes i want to show you four pretty simple charts that is going to debunk this myth that our nation is broke, that we can't muster the resources necessary to meet the challenges of a global century. and so let's start here. the united states is still the richest country in the world. in fact, our g.d.p. ranks at the top of the list amongst g-20 countries. for all the talk about the rise of china and india and brazil, our country is still wealthier than all three of those nations combined on a population adjusted basis.
11:38 am
and so we have wealth in this nation. what we have done, though, is make a conscious choice to make our government poor. we are going to spend about $1 million a year more than we actually take in in revenue. and it's important to talk about why that is. first of all, the notion that discretionary spending is out of control, which is the popular belief, just isn't true. in fact, discretionary spending since 1980 has remained pretty static. you don't believe that? think about this statistic for a second. if you thought the government spending was running amuck, you would expect that federal employees were increasing as well. that's not true, either. since 1970 we actually have 16,000 less federal workers than we did then. now, this doesn't mean that the government can't get leaner, can't get meaner, it just means there is another culprit at work when we talk about why our government is so broke, even if
11:39 am
our nation is not. and that's revenue. today as a fraction of g.d.p. this country is collecting less taxes than it has in 60 years. in fact, today we are collecting only about 15% of taxes as it relates to g.d.p. now, we are spending more, but the bigger problem is that we are collecting less revenue. so if the problem is that the government isn't broke, that our -- the government is broke but that our nation isn't, why does it feel like so many people are out there that are broke? well, let's explore that with the last chart. here's the essential problem, over the last 30 years the incomes of the bottom 90% of americans have remained virtually flat. well, the incomes of the top 1% of americans have grown by 300%. this is a recipe for economic disaster, because if the bottom 90% of americans don't have
11:40 am
enough money to spend, then pretty soon they are not going to be able to buy what the top 1% are selling. everybody fails if this economic equation continues. and the economic history of the last 100 years tells us one thing, that the government has a pretty important role to play in helping create wealth amongst the bottom 90%. we create real widespread wealth when we invest in education to move kids more quickly through quality higher education. we create real widespread wealth by investing in businesses that create technologies before they become commercially viable. and we create real widespread wealth by investing in infrastructure so that once again people and goods in this country can move from economic center to economic center without delay. yes, these investments cost money, but this country isn't broke. prosperity in this nation is never -- has never appeared out of thin air. it's never come from gutting consumer protection or environmental regulations, it's
11:41 am
never come from slashing taxes on the wealthiest americans, and it's never come from government just sitting by on the sidelines and letting other countries eat our technological lunch. it's come through an innovative partnership between public investment and private ingenuity. america can recommit ourselves to this partnership. but only if we wake up to the reality that we are not broke. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess until noon today. >> the house is basically in a
11:42 am
holding pattern as they wait for action in the senate on the payroll tax cut extension and federal spending for the rest of 2012. the holiday recess was to start this week, but members are staying in session until at least the spending issue is settled. federal government funding runs out tomorrow. the senate is working on a judicial nomination dade along with defense authorizations setting pentagon programs and policy for next year. passed in the house yesterday. you can see live coverage of the senate on c-span2. and c-span3 will be live at 1:00 eastern with former new jersey governor john corzine returning to capitol hill to answer questions about the bankruptcy of m.f. global, a company he headed after leaving the governor's office. again that's live at 1:00 p.m. eastern. there is news out of the senate this morning on the spending and tax cut deals. the majority and minority leaders both expressing optimism that they are nearing an end to disputes over renewing a payroll tax cut and extra benefits for the long-term unemployed and
11:43 am
avoiding a federal shutdown. majority leader reed opened -- reid opened today's session saying he's been in talks with mitch mcconnell. they hope to reach an agreement within the next few days. >> house speaker john boehner expressing confidence that bipartisan agreements will be reached on avoiding a government shutdown, unemployment insurance, and the so-called doc fix legislation. this started just a few minutes ago and wrapped up just a couple minutes ago. >> good morning. >> good morning. >> this week the house passed a bipartisan bill to extend the payroll tax relief and to help create new jobs in our country. this bill had everything that republicans wanted, certainly
11:44 am
not. democrats didn't get everything they wanted, either. but that's how divided government works. at the same time just about everything in the house passed bill has bipartisan support. the payroll trach and unemployment insurance -- tax break, and unemployment insurance, both bipartisan. ensuring seniors still have access to their doctors with the doc fix in the bill, bipartisan solution. commonsense measure to halt job destroying boiler regulations. members of both political parties support it. our bill's fully paid for. a bipartisan idea. and even the offsets. 90% of the offsets are based on ideas from the president. so for example there is a provision in the bill that eliminates taxpayer funded benefits for millionaires and billionaires.
11:45 am
again, bipartisan idea that's in this bill. there's a provision that allows businesses, small and large, to expense new equipment and other capital purchases. this was in the president's jobs plan. the provisions speeding up the keystone pipeline project will help create thousands of new jobs in our struggling economy. it's supported by the assistant democrat leader, jim clyburn. there are even unemployment insurance reforms in this bill which -- some of which have been supported by the president in the past. so there's no need to shut down the government. i see senator reid has already signaled that they may not do that after all. look, i have been here for a while. this is not the first time seen year-end work get knotted up, but i think everyone needs to step back and take a deep breath. i think there's an easy way to untangle all of this. we just need to let the members
11:46 am
do their jobs and we need to let the two institutions do their work. first, i think democrats should join republicans and sign the conference report to fund our government. house and senate appropriators have done their jobs. there is an agreement on a bill that we keep the government opened. they worked out all the details and shook hands. the bill's done. it's bipartisan. it's bicameral. democrats and republicans in the house and senate are both ready to vote on this. we just need the president and senate leaders to do our work. frankly it's the right thing to do. similarly i think there is an easy way to resolve our issues on the payroll tax cut bill. the senate should proceed with an open process. allow amendments and work its will on the house passed bill. the senators have their voices heard in an open way, i think it would help us get to a resolution much more quickly.
11:47 am
no more show votes. i think it's just time to legislate. i think america needs to see us earning our paychecks. this is the way this institution has worked for more than 200 years. i think it's the right way to resolve our differences and get something done to help create jobs for the american people. i think we need to use them. we can extend payroll tax relief for american workers to help create new jobs and keep the government running and frankly we can do it in a bipartisan way. i'll be happy to answer your questions. >> mr. speaker, as you may know there are negotiations reportedly between the two senate leaders. even that are you still committed to moving the spending bill through the house tomorrow morning? >> there is an agreement amongst the appropriators on the conference report. it's just time for democrats to sign the conference report and
11:48 am
we can move that process. >> congressman paul ryan and senator ron wyden introduced a plan that kind of takes a step back from the path to prosperity combining premium support with savings for traditional medicare. do you support that? do you think house republicans could support -- those ideas were on during the supercommittee discussion. some were on the table in my discussions with the president. know that medicare needs and needs to be saved. and i think this is a bipartisan idea that's worthy of our consideration. worthy of members getting to understand it. but i think certainly it's a step in the right direction. >> mr. speaker, if i could follow up on that question. it sounds like you are not committed to bringing the conference report as an individual legislation tomorrow, is that right? >> if -- it's my hope that the conferees will sign the conference report and we can
11:49 am
bring it to the floor of the house. if it does not happen, we have taken the essence of that bill and put it into a house bill and we are prepared to move that, if necessary. p if i'm confident that the bill will pass in a bipartisan fashion. >> poll out this morning shows 50% of americans this congress has accomplished less than other congresses. [inaudible] >> welcomele to divided government. american people provided a republican house, democrat senate, democrat in the white house. as a result we've got to work overtime at trying to find common ground to do what the american people sent us here to do. it's not -- it's not easy, it's not pretty, but it's the process
11:50 am
our founders gave us and my job is to help make it work. >> democrats are concerned that appropriation legislation does pass, house republicans will leave town and leave senate democrats to pass the house passed bill. you said the senate should have an open process. does that mean you would be committed to keeping the house members in town? >> make this perfectly clear. i thought it was clear all week. once the house passes an appropriation bill to keep our government funded, there is no reason for house members to sit around here. if the senate acts, i am committed to bringing the house back and we can do it within 24 hours if -- to deal with whatever the senate does. and there is absolutely no interest in our part in trying to be strident about this. we believe it's important to keep the government opened and we believe it's important to
11:51 am
finish the work, the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance, and doc fix. >> mr. speaker, thank you. you view what the democrat suggested droppingle millionaires tax as a concession, and is the keystone provision in the house-passed bill a nonnegotiable demand? >> clearly i think the white house and democrat leaders realize that they never did have the votes to pass their so-called millionaires tax. they didn't have it when they had 60 votes in the senate. didn't have enough votes to pass it. so their dropping it, they were dropping something that they never had. but i do believe there was some movement yesterday from the white house and democrat leaders to begin to sit down and have some conversations, as i understand, with the republican leader in the senate,le to try to come to some common ground. as far as the keystone pipeline is concerned, it's the very definition of what the president
11:52 am
has continued to call for. he said americans can't wait for jobs. i certainly agree. the keystone pipeline will put at least 20,000 people to work immediately and there are about 115,000 other jobs that are directly related to it. and if the decision is not made and put off again, we have layoffs going on in arkansas. we'll layoffs for those producing parts, whether it's pipe, whether it's pumps, and other things for this pipeline, those layoffs are going to occur if in fact this pipeline is not approved. so we believe strongly that this is the right thing to do for the country. >> democrats said they were frustrated, they offered to drop the surtax and basically looked across the table what, are republicans willing to do, and the response seemed to be, what else are you willing to try? >> they never had the votes -- they never had the votes for
11:53 am
their so-called millionaire surtax. they didn't even have the votes in 2009 and 2010 when they controlled everything. so i appreciate the fact they gave up on their millionaire surtax, but they didn't give anything up because they didn't have it. >> you don't seem to have the vote for keystone in the senate. >> there is a bipartisan, i believe, that there is a bipartisan majority in the united states senate for the keystone pipeline. just like there is a bipartisan majority in the house for the keystone pipeline. >> one of the social security trustees recently said extending the payroll tax cut is a step further towards moving social security from the benefit earned by worker contribution and making it more like welfare. do you agree with that? and -- >> i do not agree with it. i believe that offsetting the social security tax break for next year, offsetting it with reductions in spending, that it
11:54 am
be used to transfer to the social security trust fund is a responsible way to proceed. >> mr. speaker -- >> i haven't called on you for months. >> there you go. i was wondering -- >> so i'm calling on you right now. >> thank you so much, mr. speaker. i was wondering if harry reid gave you any assurances he was going to give the ok to his democrats to sign the appropriations conference report? >> i have no indication of that. >> no indication. >> thank you. >> house speaker john boehner finished up a short time ago. before him house minority leader nancy pelosi gave her weekly briefing. the latest on the payroll tax cut extension and chances for avoiding a government shutdown. we will show you as much of this as we can until the house gavels back in. they'll be back in in about five minutes. noon eastern. [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
11:55 am
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> today is a very special day, one that we have looked forward to for a very long time. it marks the ending of the war in iraq. secretary panetta officially took down the flag and handed full responsibility over iraq to the iraqi people and its -- their government. with this act because of the bravery of our troops, the sacrifices of their families, and the leadership of president obama we were able to say the war in iraq is over. our troops are coming home. coming home for the holidays with their families. president obama promised to end the war in iraq responsibly. promise made, promise kept. 150,000 troops were in iraq when president obama took office.
11:56 am
that number will now be reduced to just a couple thousand. as we mark the end of the war, we want to always thank our troops and their families for their service and sacrifice to our country. we honor the nearly 4,500 americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in iraq and the tense of thousands of -- tens of thousands of our service people who were wounded there. it was a great honor for me in the two previous congresses, over sessions of congress which did more for our veterans than any initiative since the g.i. bill was passed in 1944. our commitment to our troops and to their families is not one that ends when their service ends in the military. or ends when they come home. it is a commitment that we have made to them not during their
11:57 am
service and not just during their lives, but forever. to their family and to their memory. in the military at one war the military said, on the battlefield we will leave no soldier behind. and when they come home, we will leave no veteran behind. christmas is 10 days away. the president and democrats in congress have been very clear, we are not going home without enacting a payroll tax cut for america's working families and extending the unemployment insurance for millions of americans. the payroll tax cut that the president proposed would put $1,500 in the pockets of 160 million americans. unemployment insurance extension is not only good for
11:58 am
individuals, it has macroeconomic impacts. macroeconomic advisors have stated it will make a difference of 600,000 jobs to our economy. after avoiding the issue and opposing the payroll tax cut the republicans reluctantly passed through the house a bill that was doomed from the start. it had the seeds of its own destruction there. best analogy i can use, it's like a -- someone saying to her fiance, yes, i'll finally marry you, but i can only do that on february 30. that day is never coming. nor is the day coming when the president will sign the bill that the republicans passed. having issues having nothing to do with payroll tax, like the keystone pipeline, and again diminished proposal for the
11:59 am
payroll tax cut and the unemployment insurance. of the republican bill, one million americans will lose their unemployment insurance in january, two million by february. the difference between the president's bill and the republican bill is three million people. losing their unemployment insurance. again, this is important because this is about the safety net not just for these individuals, but for our economic system. that in times of unemployment we have a safety net. and that is important, again, the safety net for individuals but safety net for the economy. and again this money when received is immediately spent, is urgently needed, and injects demand into the economy creating jobs. it's only a decision, and if the republicans would make the decision they want to get some
12:00 pm
results, we can find areas of agreement. we are doing so on the appropriations bill. we can do so for the payroll tax cut. if there is a sincere effort to enact one into law. >> we will leave this briefing at this point with the minority leader to go live to the u.s. house now. members are about to gavel in for general speeches this afternoon. we are expecting a recess until about 1:15 when they start work on changes to federal welfare benefits. we are also expecting votes on a number of suspension bills debated earlier. the house is basically in a holding pattern waiting for action in the senate on a payroll tax cut extension and federal spending for the rest of 2012 budget year. the holiday recess was supposed to begin with week. members are staying in session until at least the spending issue is settled. federal government funding runs out tomorrow. there is optimism in the senate that there will be a deal reached on both of those issues.
12:01 pm
live coverage of the u.s. house here on c-span.
12:02 pm
the speaker: the house will be in order. the prayer will be offered by our chaplain, father conroy. ts chaplain conroy: let us pray. loving and gracious god we give you thanks for giving us another day. we ask today that you bless the members of the people's house to be the best and most faithful servants of the people they serve. may they be filled with gratitude at the opportunity they have to serve in this place. we thank you for the abilities they have been given to do their work, to contribute to the common good. may they use their talents as good stewards of your many gifts and thereby be true servants of justice and partners in peace. as this first session of the 112th congress draws near its end and pressing legislative
12:03 pm
business once again weighs heavily on this hill and throughout our land, withhold not your spirit of wisdom and truth from this assembly. give each member clarity of thought and purity of motive so that they may render their service as their bestselves. -- best selves. may all that is done this day in the people's house be for your greater honor and glory. amen. the speaker: the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. journal journal. for what purpose does the gentleman from mississippi rise? >> mr. speaker, pursuant to clause 1, rule 1, i demand a vote on agreeing to the speaker's approval of the journal. the speaker: the question is on agreeing to the spomplee of the journal. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair the ayes have it. the aye vs. it. the journal is approved. >> mr. speaker, i demand the
12:04 pm
yeas and nays. the speaker: the yeas and nays are requested. those favoring a vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this question are postponed. the pledge of allegiance today will be led by the gentleman from connecticut, mr. courtney. mr. courtney: 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: the chair will entertain up to 15 requests for one-minute speeches. for what purpose does the gentleman from south carolina rise? mr. wilson: unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker: without objection, so ordered. mr. wilson: mr. speaker, yesterday the house passed legislation that supports and provides for service members and
12:05 pm
their military families who have chosen to dedicate their lives to service in our armed forces to protect american families. after victoriously fighting the global war on terrorism for over a decade, our military families deserve recognition for their service. this bill gives our military families a 1.6% increase in basic pay and protects against the rising cost of health care fees. additionally, the national guard chief, general craig r. mckinley, will be provided a seat on the joint chiefs of staff, giving the guard a voice in military discussions. as a guard veteran and proud dad of three guard members under the command of bob livingston, i'm grateful for the recognition of guard capabilities. in conclusion, god bless our troops and we will never forget september 11 and the global war on terrorism. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from connecticut rise?
12:06 pm
mr. courtney: request permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. courtney: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, our third american president, john adams, once said facts are stubborn things and whatever may be our wishes or dictates of our passions they cannot alter the states of facts. mr. speaker, the facts are that the health care reform law is working for millions of young adults all across this country. yesterday the department of health and human services released figures that showed that 2.5 million young americans up to age 26 are now covered because of the affordable care act's provision that allows age 26 coverage for families. private and public employers all across america now provide this benefit alt a cost of only on average 1% to to health care costs. this is a plan which is working. two days ago -- last week figures came out that showed that 2.7 million seniors are now getting relief from prescription drug costs. $1.5 billion in reduced prescription drug costs because the affordable care act is closing the doughnut hole.
12:07 pm
facts are stubborn things and the facts show that the health care reform law is helping young americans and older americans. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from arkansas rise? >> unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to recognize the south side high school chapter of the future farmers of america from baitsville, arkansas. south side's chapter is under the leadership of mr. hiltton revitalized its animal science program three years ago. since resuming the program south side has been a powerhouse in competitions. 125 students, many of whom have never been involved in livestock, are now working in the school's stockyard. recently two won honors at the fair with grand champion angus and hereford cattle. trenton tosh won grand champion
12:08 pm
her. -- champion hairford. and named the arkansas state champions and placed eighth at nationals. more important than any medals or awards are the life lessons the students learn and learning through state and national competitions. i commend south side future farmers of america and their instructor for their outstanding achievements. i know they are watching now. congratulations. great work. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlelady from texas rise? without objection, the gentlelady is recognized. ms. jackson lee: thank you very much. members, thank you, and to my colleagues, again, let me acknowledge the wearing of the yellow ribbon in a bipartisan way to say thank you to our troops, but i do want to thank, as well, again, the young scholars academy and dr. arnela, coleman that were so kind to
12:09 pm
make these ribbons and to learn about our appreciation for the work of our troops coming home from iraq. over 100,000 have come home in the last 14 months. and i am asking our members to go home and yellow ribbon your offices and community and have signs on your marquee that says welcome home the troops, a job well done. we never want our troops to come home from any battlefield, called to serve their nation, to a silent america. and again as we supported or promoted the better conditions for family and troops, we were able yesterday to give them a $1.9% increase inalry. now as we go home for the holiday season doing our work, let us say thank you to our troops, thank you members for wearing a yellow ribbon today. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio rise? >> to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from --
12:10 pm
the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> it's time for president obama's and harry reid's do-nothing senate to work with house republicans to get america back to work. today house republicans have passed 28 jobs bills, most recently the middle class tax relief and job creation act, a bill that ensures all hardworking americans keep more of their pay, protect social security, ensures access to medical care for seniors, and creates jobs. for president obama's contempt for job creation through energy development is astonishing. why would he stand in the way of almost 200,000 new jobs that come with the construction of the keystone x.l. pipeline that has bipartisan support? president obama says he wants to put america back to work, but at the same time he threatens to veto a bill that would do exactly that, and take us one step closer to energy independence. the american people can't wait any longer. i urge the senate and the president to act on measures
12:11 pm
that will spur job creation and real economic growth. with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. members are reminded that remarks in debate may not engage in personality toward the senate. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker, i'm proud to be here wearing this yellow ribbon to welcome home our troops for a job well-done in iraq. mr. reyes: my thoughts go back to april of 1968 when i came back from vietnam to a very different america and i'm grateful that today our troops are coming back to a welcoming and thankful nation. and in that vain as we sit here today and think about the holiday season, the majority of us will be fortunate enough to spend this time being surrounded
12:12 pm
by family and friends. but we should never forget that at the same time during this holiday season there are many among us who are homeless, who are hungry, who are out of a job, and simply do not know where their next meal will come from. this should serve as an important reminder to all of us here as members of congress that we must work jointly in a bipartisan manner to address the critical issues of our time. it is simply unacceptable that partisan politics prevent us from working for what's best in this country. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from arizona rise? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, the house will soon have the opportunity to approve the ultralight smuggling prevention act of 2011. mr. flake: this bill will make changes for those using or planning to use ultralight aircraft in cross border
12:13 pm
smuggling similar to those using other aircraft. it would also continue ongoing cooperation between the departments of defense and homeland security that is enhancing efforts to combat illicit cross border trafficking. as pressure has been applied to the border, mexican organized crime has turned to a new and innovative smuggling approach, the use of ultralight aircraft. it's a pressing concern. a similar bill introduced by my colleague from tucson was overwhelmingly approved by this body last congress and those provisions were included in stand alone -- stand-alone legislation that i introduced this congress. i congratulate the senate for having passed s. 1974. i appreciate cooperation on both sides of the aisle to get this important matter to the president's desk. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlelady from ohio rise? >> to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. fudge: thank you, mr.
12:14 pm
speaker. mr. speaker, i rise to address the large number of vacant and abandoned homes in my district and across the nation. remnants of the foreclosure crisis still linger everywhere. home values plummeted during the country's economic crisis, and have continued to decline year after year due to the blighted and abandoned homes. nationally nearly 4.5% of mortgages are in foreclosure, more than a quarter mortgage borrowers are unwater, and 11% of all homes are vacant. city and state governments need our help. in the cleveland area 15,000 homes are vacant and need of demolition. demolishing these structures will cost approximately $100 million. homeowners are depending on us to help stop the free fall of their property values. it is time we develop and pass meaningful legislation that promotes the revitalization of our neighborhoods. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from mississippi rise?
12:15 pm
>> unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my comments. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the city of picayune might be small but its legacy is one of strength and power. in the earl-i 1900's trains out of new orleans stopped to picked up steam engines to power them northward and uphill. this vision of a powerful loke knowive is a good meta pore is for the football team. according to the head coach, people who like what they do do it pretty well. . in a 38-21 win, they brought picayune the first state title since 1986. aside from the obvious desire to win on both sides of the ball, picayune has some secrets, ben hickman, mcgee, receiver daulton mark and a small but miter pair of
12:16 pm
linebackers, troy and cody. congratulations to the city of picayune and to the picayune high school on their state championship. i yield back . the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman rise? >> to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. it's no secret that my republican colleagues really don't want tokes tend the payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance. republican members have called it a gimmick. they've admitted the only reason they brought it up for a vote is they didn't want to take the political heat on raising taxes for the middle class. republicans have filed a bill that -- mr. carnahan: playing risky political games with our clean air, our clean water, raising medicare premiums on seniors, that's not the way americans expect us to govern. in designing a bill that can't
12:17 pm
pass the type of political games that my missouri constituents are fed up with. we need an honest bill now. i call on my republican colleagues to stop the disruption, stop the distraction, stop playing the games. let's pass a real payroll tax now. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois rise? >> to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker, and members of the house. i rise today in strong objection to the animosity and gridlock he has been the overarching theme of the first session of 112th congress. i get calls from my constituents every day, probably more than any other member of congress. they live in the real world. in my years in public office i have never heard the level of
12:18 pm
anger i hear today. our approval ratings are in the tank and they should be. many are concerned about politics than progress. mr. johnson: as our economy continues to stagger, our feanings should be focused on putting people to work and public policy. we can only due that through compromise, civility. my message to leadership and membership, including myself in both chambers is this. we have to do business that people expect us to do. efficiently and in an adult-like manner. anything less is both irresponsible and unacceptable. we can and we should do vastly better than what we are. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from california rise? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> first of all, mr. speaker, i want to welcome our troops back and as we welcome them back let's make sure we take care of them.
12:19 pm
mr. baca: mr. speaker, it's time to stop showboating and get back to work. 160 million americans will face a tax hike next year. and another 60 million people will lose unemployment benefits if we do nothing. failure to extend unemployment benefits has a real impact to the men tanned women across every state. people like noema torres from my district in ontario. while she's been looking for work her unemployment benefits have kept her from getting foreclosed and has helped her make her car payments. unfortunately, the republican proposal is full of poison pills and makes the bill dead on arrival in the senate. republicans are asking seniors to pay more for the medicare and releaving the unemployment out in the cold. yet, they refuse to ask millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share. stop the political games. people's loves are hanging on the balance. they deserve help. let's work together on a compromise bill that will help all of us.
12:20 pm
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from alabama rise? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, with the american people looking on, members of the house once again finds ourselves in a waiting position. waiting and waiting and waiting on senator reid and his democrat majority in the u.s. senate as they decide whether they are going to let the government shut down tomorrow night at midnight, whether they are going to let tax relief for millions of americans, middle-class families expire at the end of this month. whether they are going to let long-term unemployment benefits expire and whether they are going to keep america's doctors from being hammered with a 27% increase on their medicare reimbursement. mr. bonner: mr. speaker, the people's house is doing the people's work. as you know, we passed 28 bills, all aimed at creating new american jobs. sadly, all the majority on the other side of the capitol seem
12:21 pm
able to do is to poke sticks at what we have done, but they haven't offered a realistic option or passed a single thing. mr. speaker, the clock is ticking and the american people are watching and waiting on the senate to act. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from new york rise? >> i ask permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> one of the keys of keeping our country globally competitive is to increase the number of students who will pursue careers in science, engineering and technology. mr. higgins: it's with special pride that i note last week the white house honored tamara brown as a champion of change for her work with young men and their parents and teachers. seven years ago she found tech savvy, a program using funding and innovation to have students explore talents in science and math and pursue our nation's
12:22 pm
careers of the future. bringing together industry, academic and community leaders, tamara has helped so many western new yorkers discover their full potential. she has helped prepare them for some of our nation's highest paying and most competitive career fields. i applaud tamara brown for helping girls from western new york train for careers in science and congratulate her on this wonlederful recognition. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois rise? >> i ask permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. some in this chamber believe that the answer to our nation's problem is more government and that we need more unchecked spending, more unelected bureaucrats and more rules and regulation in our everyday lives. yet, in a gallup poll just this week 64% of americans across the political spectrum responded that their biggest fear and the greatest threat to our country is big government. they've seen just as i've seen
12:23 pm
that burdensome rules and out-of-control spending and debt bring us nothing but high unemployment and uncertain future for our kids and grandkids. mr. hultgren: that's why the house republicans are have been working this year to pass pro-growth, pro-jobs bills to restore confidence for our nation's job creators that they need to put america back to work again. yet, nearly 30 of these bills which will reduce spending and create a smaller, less intrusive federal government, continue to languish over in the senate which still refuses to address the needs of the unemployed americans. we can't wait. pass these jobs bills so that the americans can start working again and america can move forward. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentlelady from the virgin islands rise? mrs. christensen: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. mrs. christensen: thank you, mr. speaker. this year and every time the democrats have tried to do the
12:24 pm
right thing for the american people, republicans say no unless they add their poison pills. in the past that might have led to negotiations that ended in a bipartisan solution, but not so today. today republicans are trying to force us to accept the keystone x.l. before we make the air we breathe dirtier. the president are right to wait to assess. and they want to slash the public health and prevention fund, another program that keeps people healthy and reduce health care costs for families in our country. democrats will be calling for passing our make it in america bill but republicans insist on jobs that damage the public health and killing jobs in the only sector that is growing, health care. because they have not helped recovery, our fellow americans still need the payroll tax deduction and unemployment insurance and a fix for doctors' medicare reimbursement so they can continue services for the -- servicing for the
12:25 pm
millions. i want to welcome our troops home and thank them all for our service. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from rhode island rise? mr. cicilline: to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. cicilline: i want to honor our brave men and women returning home from iraq. thank you for your tremendous dedication, selfless efforts and courageous service to our country. tragically, thousands of our service members have made the ultimate sacrifice, and i join all americans in honoring their service and sacrifice and those of their families. it is because of you we are able to enjoy the freedoms and rights here at home. we must keep our promise to our veterans. on the battlefield, the military pledges to leave no soldier behind. as a nation let it be our pledge that when they return home we leave no veteran behind. we must do everything we can by honoring them to guarantee they have the help they need, finding employment, accessing
12:26 pm
quality health care. the men and women who have served our country demonstrate the ideals of bravery and patriotism. now, let us work together to create a future worthy of their service. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from michigan rise? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. >> mr. speaker, i rise today to oppose republican efforts to slash unemployment benefits. earlier this week house republicans passed legislation that would cut 40 weeks of unemployment benefits and impose new hurdles for americans relying on this critical lifeline. mr. peters: the average time it takes for an unemployed worker to find a new job is 10 months. instead of passing the american jobs act and getting our nation's long-term unemployed back to work, republicans are cutting benefits which millions of americans rely on for groceries, utilities and rent. it would hurt workers finding difficulty finding a new job
12:27 pm
and pulling billions out of economy. poverty is at the highest level since 1993 and unemployed benefits kept over three million americans, including one million children, out of poverty in 2010. and now republicans are fighting to gut this necessary plifeline. during this holiday season when millions of americans are worried about being able to pay their rent, i urge my colleagues to oppose slashing unemployment benefits. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlelady from maryland rise? ms. edwards: i ask permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. edwards: mr. speaker, i rise today to pay tribute to our service men and women who in their mission in iraq. like many i woke in morning to the end of mission ceremony and i thought about corporal benny gray cochraniii of maryland. she is a son. she lost his life at age 21 in
12:28 pm
al an bar province, iraq, in 2005. like his father, he joined the marine corps in service to this nation, and he's survived by his wife, his brother, adam. like the 4,486 other men and women who lost their lives in iraq, the mission has ended. i want to pay tribute today to all of our service men and wrim for their service and for their sacrifice and especially to my friends, ben and jill, for the loss of your son. i remember when he was born on june 28, we shared a birthday. and i want you to know that the nation is ever grateful for all your sacrifice and service. with that i yield. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from california rise? >> i ask permission to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. cost thank you, mr.
12:29 pm
speaker. i, too, rise in honor of our troops who served honorably not only in iraq but throughout the world in protecting our freedoms. mr. costa: they have done a job well done. in addition, i rise today to honor the national parks congressional internship program in partnership with the student conservation association. for 11 years this program's engaged the next generation of conservation leaders throughout by facilitating internships in national parks and on capitol hill for 63 top-notch young professionals. the program has served an important steppingstone in their public policy and conservation careers. it is with great sadness that this program's come to an end. but i have had the privilege, along with my colleagues, in working with seven of congressional interns in my office. i commend the student conservation association for sponsoring such an innovative program and thank all the interns for their dedication and service. i wish them all the best in
12:30 pm
their future careers as they add value to the fabric of our nation. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentlelady from new york rise? >> to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized. without objection, the gentlelady is recognized. ms. clarke: mr. speaker, here we go again, for the third time this calendar year we are facing the real likelihood of a government shutdown. why? because, mr. speaker, of all things republican opposition to a tax cut proposal. the republican majority who has spent the last 49 weeks of the american people's time protecting tax cuts for millionaires, multimillionaires, and billionaires do not want to extend the same courtesy to the struggling middle class. it's a shame, mr. speaker, that the people's house cannot agree to pass commonsense legislation that benefits the majority of the american people without
12:31 pm
improving poison pills that ensure the air we breathe is clean, water safe to drink, and seniors have access to quality health care. unfortunately this should not come as a surprise to the american people who have watched as republican led 112th congress unleash an all-out assault on the middle class and aspiring middle class and most vulnerable amongst us. mr. speaker, during these tough times we cannot afford to pass partisan legislation that diminishes the livelihood of the american people that harms our economic recovery efforts and removes environmental safeguards. we must put politics aside, pass commonsense legislation that helps the american people, and not use them as political bargaining chips. i'd like to take this opportunity to welcome home america's service women and men and thank you for your service to our nation. and with that, mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. for what purpose does the gentlelady from california rise? >> one minute to address the
12:32 pm
house. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. mrs. davis: thank you. first, i certainly want to thank our troops and their families for their sacrifices as we exit from iraq. it is my honor now to continue to bring the voices of my constituents to this floor and the following is from howard tenian balm, a science teacher in la jolla and i believe his class is watching today. he sent me his opinion on education. weighing a pig every day, he said, doesn't get you a fatter pig. an annual testing of all students in all subject areas without impacting their grade has not resulted in smarter students. it has made our students lose their interest and desire to learn and added an expensive lawyer of bureaucracy to an already administratively top heavy system. this is especially true, he says, for science education. it is clear that the current
12:33 pm
accountability system has failed. our students, our parents, and their teachers are being held hostage to this failed system. when was the last time, he said, that you were forced to take an exam, asked to do your best, and knew the result wouldn't affect how you were being evaluated. mr. speaker, i want to thank howard for bringing this house and this question to our floor. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives. sir, pursuant to the permission granted in clause 2-h of rule 2 of the rules of the u.s. house of representatives, the clerk received the following message from the secretary of the senate on december 15, 2011, at 9:22 a.m., that the senate passed with an amendment, h.r. 1892, h.r. 515. with best wishes i am, signed
12:34 pm
sincerely, karen l. haas. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess until approximately >> as you can see the house has gaveled out. they will come back at 1:15 eastern when members debate a bill to extend welfare benefits through 2012. we'll have live coverage here on c-span. the senate meanwhile spending a day on a judicial nomination and also talking about the defense authorization bill which passed in the house yesterday. follow senate coverage on c-span 2. a vote expected at around 4:00 eastern. and c-span3 this afternoon will be live as former new jersey governor and senator jon corzine returns to capitol hill to answer questions about the bankruptcy of m.f. global, a company he headed after leaving the governor's oofs. well, the senate is in session today. the house and senate leaders --
12:35 pm
the republican and democratic leaders have met today. there's indication they are nearing the end of the dispute of the payroll tax cut. we expect votes in the senate later this afternoon at about 4:00 eastern. and the senate, you can follow on c-span2. a short while ago at the white house, president obama wrapped up a short briefing talking about extending minimum wage benefits to home health care workers. this is just under 10 minutes.
12:36 pm
>> hello, everybody. as i said in kansas last week, the defining issue of our time is whether we can build an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded. it's whether this is going to be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family and build a modest savings and own a home, secure their own retirement, look after their kids, that's the test of our time. in some cases building this kind of economy will require some action by congress, and right now congress needs to make sure that 160 million working americans don't see their taxes go up on january 1. none of the workers who join us here today can afford $1,000 tax increases next year and it wouldn't be good for the economy. every economist indicates it's important for us to extend the payroll tax cut and make sure that unemployment insurance is
12:37 pm
extended. so this congress cannot and should not leave for vacation until that -- until they have made sure that that tax increase doesn't happen. let me repeat that. congress should not and cannot go on vacation before they have made sure that working families aren't seeing their taxes go up by $1,000 and those out there looking for work don't see their unemployment insurance expire. there's no reason why we shouldn't be able to extend these items. the payroll tax cut, u.i., before the holidays. there's no reason the government should shut down over this, and i expects all of us to do what -- expect all of us to do what is necessary of the people's business and make sure it's done before the end of the year. now, only congress can prevent the payroll fax from going up next year, but there are some things that we can do without
12:38 pm
congress to help make sure that hard work pays off and that's why we're here today. right behind me here is my friend paul even -- pauline. one day back in 2007 pauline was my boss. i was in california to take part in an event called walk a day in my shoes where you spend the day working the job of someone who is in the service industry and i was lucky enough to be paired up with pauline and i have to tell you it ended up being one of my favorite days of the entire campaign. pauline's a home health care worker. when we met she was getting up every day at 5:00 a.m. to go to work, taking care of an 86-year-old amputee named mr. john and each day she dressed mr. john and helped him into his wheelchair. she'd make him breakfast, she'd scrub his floors, she'd clean his bathroom, she was his
12:39 pm
connection to the outside world. when the work was done she would take care of a grand-nephew and two foster children who didn't have families of their own. heroic work and hard work. that's what pauline was all about. and one of the things i remember about pauline was her patience. she was patient with me even when i didn't wring out the mop properly or didn't shake out the sheets before putting them in the plaundry bin, but i also remember listening to her talk about the hardships in her life and she did so without any self-pity. she was glad to be working hard and she was glad to be helping someone. all she wanted in return for her hard day's work was enough to take care of those kids she was going home to, enough to save a little bit for retirement, maybe take a day off once in a while to rest her aching back. each of the folks who are here today has a story like pauline's. they represent nearly 1.8 million home care workers
12:40 pm
across the country. hardworking professionals, noesly women, who work around the clock so that folks who need help, including many of our family members, can live independently in their own home. right now home care is one of the fastest growing industries in america. partly because we're getting older as a society and as the baby boom generation heads into retirement, more and more americans are going to need the services of these outstanding workers. but here's the thing. as the home care business has changed over the years, the law hasn't changed to keep up. so even though workers like pauline do everything from bathing to cooking, they're still lumped in the same category as teenage babysitters when it comes to how much they make. that means employers are allowed to pay these workers less than minimum wage with no overtime. that's right.
12:41 pm
you can wake up at 5:00 in the morning, care for somebody every minute of the day, take the late bus home at night and still make less than the minimum wage. and this means the many home care workers are forced to rely on things like food stamps just to make ends meet. that's just wrong. in this country it's unexcusable. i can tell you firsthand that these men and women, they work their tails off. they don't complain. they deserve to be treated fairly. they deserve to be paid fairly for a service that many older americans couldn't live without. and companies who do pay fair wages to these women shouldn't be put at a disadvantage. four years ago a home care worker named evelyn coke took her case all the way up to the supreme court and evelyn was working up to 70 hours a week with no overtime pay. but the court ruled against her saying that to change the law would require action from congress or the department of
12:42 pm
labor. i'm sure many of you won't be surprised to know that congress hasn't acted on this issue so far. today i will. today we're guaranteeing home care workers minimum wage and overtime pay protection. and that's thanks to the hard work of my secretary of labor, hilda solis. we are going to make sure that over a million men and women in one of the fastest growing professions in the country don't slip through the cracks. we are going to make sure that companies who do right by their workers aren't undercut by companies who don't. we're going to do what's fair and we're going to do what's right. evelyn coke didn't live to see this day, but the truth is americans like evelyn and pauline and the rest of the workers who are here today, they're one of the reasons i ran for president. they work hard. they play by the rules. in exchange they just want to sew -- see that their hard work
12:43 pm
is rewarded and it's just that simple. americans all deserve a fair shake and a fair shot. as long as i have the honor of serving as president, i'm going to do everything in my power to make sure that those very modest expectations are fulfilled. i am going to make sure they are treated right and going to make sure that every american is treated fairly. n.s.a. very much, everybody. >> mr. president, how are you going to pay for the payroll tax cut? are you going to drop the millionaire surcharge? [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
12:44 pm
>> are you worried about a government shutdown, mr. president? >> president obama in his -- in comments calling on congress to finish work on 2012 spending and extending the payroll tax cuts saying, quote, there's no reason the government should shut down. it's a fairly limited legislative agenda when the house comes in at 1:15 eastern. they will take up a bill to extend welfare benefits through 2012. no funds would be used for alcohol, gambling or adult entertainment. live coverage when the house comes back in. nancy pelosi had a yellow ribbon on her lapel today, as many members did, in marking the end of the military involvement in iraq. the flag was lowered in baghdad this morning. she starts her briefing from this morning talking about the
12:45 pm
end of the war. we are going to show this to you as we wait for the house to gavel back in at 1:15. >> good morning, everyone. >> good morning. >> today is a very special day, one that we have looked forward to for a very long time. it marks the ending of the war in iraq. secretary panetta officially took down the flag and handed full responsibility over iraq to the iraqi people and their government. with this act, because of the bravery of our troops, the sacrifices of their families and the leadership of president obama, we are able to say the war in iraq is over. our troops are coming home. coming home for the holidays with their families. president obama promised to end the war in iraq responsibly, promised made, promised kept.
12:46 pm
150,000 troops were in iraq when president obama took office. that number will now be reduced to just a couple thousand. as we mark the end of the war, we want to always thank our troops and their families for their service and sacrifice to our country. we honor the nearly 4,500 americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in iraq and the tens of thousands of our service people who were wounded there. it was a great honor for me to preside sessions of congress which did more for our veterans than any initiative since the g.i. bill was passed in 1944. our commitment to our troops and to their families is not one that ends when their service ends in the military or
12:47 pm
ends and they come home. it's a commitment we have made to them, not during their service and not just during their life but forever, to their family and to their memory. in the military -- when we are at war the military says on the battlefield we will leave no soldier behind, and when they come home we will leave no veteran behind. christmas is 10 days away. the president and democrats in congress have been very clear. we are not going home without enacting a payroll tax cut for america's working families and extending unemployment insurance for millions of americans. the payroll tax cut that the president proposed would put $1,500 in the pockets of 160 million americans.
12:48 pm
the unemployment insurance extension is not only good for individuals. it has macroeconomic impact. as the macroeconomic advisors have stated, it will make a difference of 600,000 jobs to our economy. after avoiding issue and opposing the payroll tax cut, the republicans reluctantly passed through the house a bill that was doomed from the start. it had the seeds of its own destruction there. best analogy i can use, it's like a -- someone saying to her fiance, yes, i'll finally marry you but i can only do that on february 30. that day is never coming. [laughter] nor is the day coming when the president will sign the bill that the republicans passed. having issues that had nothing to do with the payroll tax like
12:49 pm
the keystone pipeline and, again, diminished, diminished proposal for the payroll tax cut and the unemployment insurance. under the republican bill, one million americans will lose their unemployment insurance in january. two million by february. and the difference between the president's bill and the republican bill is three million people losing their unemployment insurance. again, this is important because this is about the safety net, not just for these individuals, but for our economic system that in times of unemployment we have a safety net and that is important, again, the safety net for individuals but a safety net for the economy and, again, this money when received is immediately spent, it's urgently needed and injects demand in the economy creating jobs. it's only a decision, and if
12:50 pm
the republicans would make the decision they -- and they want to get some results, we can find areas of agreement. we are doing so on the appropriations bill. we can do so for the payroll tax cut. if there's a sincere effort to enact one into law, we can -- negotiations are going on that i hope will be fruitful. by i think -- but i think it's really important to note that it's a decision that the republicans are late coming to the table to make. in fact, we're all haunted by senator mcconnell, the minority leader in the senate saying, the most important thing we -- the single most important thing we want to achieve is for president obama -- not the single most important thing to do is to create jobs for the american people, to grow our economy, to educate our
12:51 pm
children, to keep our country safe, the most important thing is to make the president a one-term president. but to decide not to create jobs because that creates a political climate, that is not condusive to the president's re-election, that's irresponsible. and so if and when they make a decision, it's not hard to get from here to there. we're willing to negotiate, to go to the table, to do what is necessary. some of that i think is beginning to take. because the american people know the president and the democrats in the congress made this payroll tax cut too hot for the republicans to handle so they went from no to we'll put it in our bill but only on february 30, meaning it's not a sincere effort. let's get real. let's pass a real payroll tax
12:52 pm
cut. $1,500 in the pockets of americans who are right now as they prepare for christmas, for hanukkah, for kwanza, for the new year, are figuring out to make ends meet and figuring out how to have a christmas holiday fair and toys for their children hopefully under a tree. with that be pleased to take any questions. >> so the democrats in the senate have dropped a surtax. what do the democrats want to pay for this with? what are the democrats want to do? >> what do you mean to pass something to pay for them? >> to pass a bill? >> what do you call the republican pay-fors? do you mean in the senate they'll pay for it with a 10% cut in federal employees? what is it that -- >> what's the -- >> the point is that i think it's a sign of cooperation and willingness to remove obstacles to having an agreement by saying, ok, that's something
12:53 pm
that you can't agree to. so i take that as progress. the -- as you know, with the 60-vote requirement in the senate, this is something that's going to have to be worked out as something that will get 60 votes in the senate. i think i have the confidence in senate majority leader reid. >> you have been stressing the fact you want the wealthier americans to pay the middle-class tax cuts. are you worried that they are giving up on that? >> it's still tg something to be considered. this is not the last bill to ever to be passed. in fairness for all of us, for everybody at every economic level in society should be paying their fair share, taking responsibility for how we go into the future, educate our children, have a dignified retirement for our seniors,
12:54 pm
safe and clean neighborhoods for our children to thrive, our national security ensured all in a fiscally sound way, we all have to take responsibility for that. so while that may in this negotiation not be something that is a fit because it has been -- the timetable has been pushed to the limit, i think that fairness in our tax code and simplification of the tax code will always be part of how we go forward. >> the republicans in the house move forward with a plan to unilaterally pass a spending bill, how would democrats react to that? >> i hope they have the votes for it. if they don't they won't be getting any cooperation from us. this is just another -- exacerbating the crisis. let's make matters worse. my kids were growing up, every time we had a little -- with five children from time to time, we always had a label,
12:55 pm
mess makes matters worse, and this is what they're doing. make matters worse instead of trying to come to a place where we have a global agreement on how we give a tax cut at $1,500 to america's 160 million americans. we have unemployment benefits for those who are out of work through no fault of their own and meet our appropriations requirements at the end of the year. >> where do you put the actual odds of a government shutdown at this point? >> i certainly hope there won't be one. i think that it's possible. it's only a decision. the republicans have to make that they want to avoid a shutdown by come really to the table and coming to their senses about what is fair to get the job done, to get results for the american people instead of creating a crisis.
12:56 pm
>> are you supportive of an idea to pass a short-term c.r. to work on the omnibus? >> well, it's not a question. if we don't have an agreement that's what we have to do. we are not going to be shutting down government. it will have to be short term. as we're speaking here, the light has turned -- people have an idea about what will work and that the republicans will yield on their point because so far what they have done is put the suggestion of a bill on the table that would give the illusion that they're for payroll tax cut but has obstacles to its enactment. let's hope they remove those obstacles. let's hope they have a negotiation in the senate that meets the 60-vote test. that's what you have to have. if we don't have that we have to have a short term. i hope that it won't be
12:57 pm
necessary. by the time we leave this room we'll have good news. >> you said there should be no cuts to social security. one of the social security trustees have said that extending the payroll tax cut will eventually -- it will be a major step toward moving social security from the worker contribution program and more like a welfare program because less money will be put by workers into social security. do you think that the payroll tax cut extension could hurt the current -- >> no. i think one person may have said that. others have said that a second-year extension would not have an impact in the regard that you explained. it would not hurt social security. i don't think it should be endless but i think one more year in an economy of this kind, again, with the funds, the $1,500 that is put in the pockets of people who need to spend it, will inject demand in the economy, create jobs,
12:58 pm
produce more -- as a result of more people paying into the social security system. so i think one more year is -- according to the readings i have. you may have somebody who said one thing. of course, with all of this, there are different opinions. there is an overwhelming preponderance of the evidence that it won't social security one more year. >> what about the spending bill that the house republicans will vote on? >> there are a number of objections. the more important question is for the white house. they have the signature. we've made great progress, our negotiators, our appropriators working together to eliminate some of the really horrific suggestions that the republicans have put forth. stunning. they couldn't stand the test mp daylight, and so they had to back off them. but, again, our caucus supports
12:59 pm
the president if he wants to veto the bill because of some of the provisions in there. we won't be voting for a bill that has them. thank you, all, very much. happy holidays to all of you. i hope that may be the last time i say that to you. but -- [laughter] thank you. >> and we do too. >> thanks a lot. >> the democratic leader and her colleagues back on the house floor at 1:15 eastern. a limited legislative agenda in the house this afternoon with a bill to extend welfare bin 50's through 2012. we'll have live coverage for you. in the senate today they have been debating the defense conference report passed in the house earlier this week. follow that on c-span2. c-span3, jon corzine testifying on the m.f. global collapse. off the floor, the associated


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on