tv Public Affairs CSPAN May 20, 2013 5:00pm-8:01pm EDT
been since he was a senator and the legislation he supported and supports to this day. and he as i think i said last week, you know, on the broader matter, i know because i spent time talking to him in general as a former reporter and someone who worked for him now. that he believes very strongly in the need for reporters to be able to pursue investigative journalism. he believes that balance has to be struck in a way that allow that's freedom to take pliss. but he also has to be mindful of the need to protect classified information because of our national security interests. peter? >> at a nonongoing criminal investigation, you -- when you ere -- [inaudible] >> you received "time" magazine, just prior to becoming bureau chief, caught up in a leak investigation, what would you have said if the government told you he had been involved in
claimfor reporting on the case? >> peter, i understand because of my former occupation and i can tell that you i feel as the president does very strongly in the need to ensure that we have a press that's able to pursue investigative journalism freely. but we also have to protect those national security interests that are at stake. again, i think i mentioned what director muller had said about one of the matters that's under discussion now. this is serious -- these are serious issues. in terms of procedures followed in their investigations, i have to refer you to the partner of justice. they're the one that's have the answers. >> 2005, going to jail -- >> the hypothetical based on -- >> the hypothetical is a very real case. very real situation. as burekwleef, what would you have said if the department of justice came and said -- >> what would i said if they had said
and that's a hypothetical. >> it's a very real case. they could have a logical leak the department of just seems to have made in 2009. >> there's a department of justice ongoing criminal investigation into a specific matter i can't comment on. and that case has been played out and written much about, including by mr. cooper and others. and the history of that is well known. i'm not going to extrapolate hypothetically about what might have happened and how it relates to an ongoing criminal investigation. i think it was a great effort. >> is it fair to say that president obama's view of tpwhals tilts extremely heavily towards the government's interest and away from the press? >> absolutely to the. that's why it's called a balance. >> going back to the i.r.s. until april 15th, you mentioned that the white house council was given information in the series, series of items for her attention. athis was relatively routine over her and she discussed it with the white house chief of staff. i just want to follow up to make sure i understand, if that
series of items or any other series of items that is presented to her includes information about an i.t. report, it is the president's desire and practice here that he is not notified of an i.g. report when it's under way until it's completed sthafment what you're saying? >> i can tell you as a general matter, when there are ongoing -- >> you can see all of this in time at c-span.org. the house is coming in to debate a couple of measures, including one that would make it illegal to lie about being awarded a military medal for financial gain. >> rules two of the u.s. house of representatives. nate on may p.m. that the senate aagreed to senate concurrent resolution 16. signed, sincerely, karen l. haas. the speaker pro tempore:
pursuant to clause 8 of rule will postpone further proceedings today on the motion to suspend the rules on which a recorded vote or the yeas and nays are ordered. or on which the vote incurs objection under clause 6 of rule 20. any record vote on the postponed question will be taken later. for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i move that the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 258, the stolen valor act of 2013. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 258, a bill to amend title 18, united states code, with respect to fraudulent representations about having received military declarations or medals. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from georgia, mr. collins, and the gentleman from virginia, mr. scott, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia. mr. collins: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on h.r. 258,
currently under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. collins: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. this nation is blessed with many valiant men and women who have dedicated their lives to military service. my home state of georgia has no shortage of these heroes, including technical sergeant barry dufffield, who serves as a bomb disposal technician in the georgia guard's 116 air control wing. while patroled to afghanistan, his job was to oversee teams responsible for an incredibly dangerous job, neutralizing explosive devices or i.e.d.'s. he and his colleagues successfully completed 52 missions and helped destroy more than 1,200 pounds of enemy explosives. on january 7, 2013, the sergeant was awarded the purple heart for injuries he suffered during an i.e.d. detonation while deployed to afghanistan in 2011. the sergeant also earned the bronze star and the air force combat action medal for his valor during the same deployment. the purple heart is one of the oldest and most recognized
american military medals dating back to 1782 when george washington created what was then called the badge of military merit to reward any singular meritorious action by a member of the military. today the purple heart is awarded to service men -- members like the sergeant who were killed or wounded by enemy action. for almost 100 years, it has been a federal crime to wear, manufacture or sell military declarations or medals without proper authorization. in spite of this, many people have fraudulently claimed to be the recipient of military declarations and this is unfortunately increased in recent years. in just one state, over 600 people claimed on tax forms to be a recipient of the medal of honor in one year. even though at the time there were only 132 recipients alive nationwide. to address the increase in fraudulent claims, in 2006 congress enacted the stolen valor act. this important law expands the penalties for falsely
representing one's self as a recipient of any medal or honor authorized by congress for the armed services. in june, 2012, the supreme court held in a case called u.s. v. alvarez, that the stolen valor act inappropriately criminalized speech protected by the first amendment. specifically the court held that lying, even about having received a military declaration, is by itself protected speech. the court however did note in this same case that in periods of war and peace alike, public recognition of valor and noble sacrifice by men and women in uniform reinforces the pride in national resolve that the military relies upon to fulfill its mission. the court also provided that false claims about military declarations demean the high purpose of such awards. this harm alone does not overcome the high level of scrutiny afforded protected speech. however, the court did find that where false claims are made to affect a fraud or secure moneys or other valuable considerations, say, offers of
employment, it was well established that the government may restrict speech without affronting the first amendment. h.r. 258, the stolen valor act of 2013, narrows the law to make it a crime when people falsely claim to be a recipient of military declarations in order to carry out a fraud. the bill rewrites the statute to prohibit holding one's self out to be a recipient of certain military declarations or medals with the intent to obtain money, property or other takeble benefits -- tangible benefits. it's only the congressional medal of honor and those declarations or medals in the statute, including the purple heart. this legislation enjoys strong bipartisan support and a similar bill was passed by the house with overwhelming support last congress. i urge my colleagues to join me in support of h.r. 258 and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from virginia, mr. scott, is recognized for 20 minutes.
mr. scott: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. scott: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in support of h.r. 258, the stolen valor act of 2013. h.r. 258 is an important bill because it upholds the integrity of military medals as they -- as well as corrects the constitutional flaw in a statute intended to protect the integrity of those honors. without question, all of those who serve our nation deserve to be honored. and those who have gone beyond their peers in serving our nation deserve special recognition. it is especially appropriate that we consider this bill just before memorial day, a special day when we remember and honor the sacrifice of those who died serving our country in the military. one way in which our nation recognizes the outstanding bravery and sacrifice of service members is to award these dedicated men and women special medals and declarations. recipients of these distinctions often have
received serious injuries or made supreme sacrifices defending our nation. to ensure that these honors bestowed on these recipients are not diminished, congress must do all within its power to prevent anyone from falsely claiming that they have received these medals or declarations. while the -- that was the goal of the original stolen valor act enacted in 2006, the supreme court in 2012 found that the breadth and scope that have legislation ran afoul of the first amendment's free speech protection. in that case, -- in that case justice kennedy wrote that while few may find the statements anything by contemptble, his right to make those statements is protected by the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech and expression. but justice kennedy in writing that opinion, also set out certain parameter he suggested that would pass constitutional muster should congress seek to
rewrite the legislation. he advised, where false claims are made to affect a fraud or secure moneys or other valuable considerations, say offers of employment, it is well established that the government may restrict speech without affronting the first amendment. the text of h.r. 258 was crafted to carefully comply with that guidance. as drafted the bill prohibits individuals from fraudulently representing themselves as recipients of a narrow group of special military honors in order to obtain money, property or other tangible benefits. h.r. 258 ensures that anyone who falsely represents that they've been awarded these honors in order to benefit in some material way will be subject to criminal sanctions. i support the bill because it protects the honor of our military medals and declarations while also respecting the first amendment. i urge my colleagues to support the bill and reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time.
the gentleman from georgia. mr. collins: mr. speaker, i'm now pleased to yield to mr. heck, the sponsor of this legislation, and a tireless advocate for service men and women. the speaker pro tempore: for how much time? mr. collins: as much time as he may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from nevada is recognized. mr. heck: i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. speaker, i rise today to urge my colleagues to join with me in restoring the honor and valor of our military heroes by passing h.r. 258, the stolen valor act of 2013. on june 28, 2012, the u.s. supreme court struck down the stolen valor act of 2005, concluding that the broad nature of the law infringed upon the guaranteed protection of free speech provided by the first amendment of our constitution. the court determined that the act sought to control and suppress all false statements on this one subject, without regard as to whether the lie was made for the purposes of material gain. however, in concurring with the decision of the plurality, justice brier stated that, quote, a more finely tailored
statute that shows the false statement caused specific harm or was at least material, could reduce the threat of first amendment harm while permitting the statute to achieve its important protective objective, unquoutest. -- unquote. mr. speaker, that's what my legislation does. the stolen valor act of 2013 resolves these constitutional issues by clearly defining that the objective of the law is to target and punish those who misrepresent their service with the intent of profiting personally or financially. define the intent helps ensure that this -- defining the intent helps ensure that this will pass constitutional scruret and maintaining its -- scrutiny and maintaining its objective. in 2006, every member of both the house and the senate clearly understood the need to protect the integrity and honor of military service and demonstrated that by unanimously passing the stolen valor act in each chamber. that body understood that the
proliferation of false claims occurring in the time cheapened the sbellingrit of the military award -- integrity of the military award system and threatened the trust and honor bestowed upon military service members and veterans by this nation. mr. speaker, the need to protect the honor, service and sacrifice of our veterans and military personnel is just as strong today as it was in 2006. the need is just as strong today as it was last year when this body passed the 2012 stolen valor legislation 410-3. the need will be just as strong as long as there are individuals who continue to lie about service in order to gain notoriety, profit personally and professionally, and to receive benefits reserved for those who fought in defense of this nation. this house has the opportunity to once again show our service members and veterans that we value the sanctity of their sacrifice while at the same time protecting the constitutional rights that they've fought so hard to protect. this past saturday was armed
forces day and a week from today is memorial day. mr. speaker, what better way to show our support for our brave service men and women than by passing this legislation before us today? h.r. 258 enjoys broad bipartisan support with 124 co-sponsors. and is supported by numerous veterans service organizations including the veterans of foreign wars, the association of the u.s. navy, the fleet reserve association, the national association for uniformed services, the national guard association of the united states, the association of the united states army, the military officers association of america, the military order of the purple heart. i want to thank chairman goodlatte and ranking member conyers for moving this important legislation through the judiciary committee. i urge my colleagues to support h.r. 258 and i yield back the balance of my time. . collins collins mr. speaker, i
-- mr. collins: mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. mr. scott: mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields. the gentleman from georgia. mr. collins: this is an important piece of legislation. i appreciate the gentleman from nevada for bringing this forward and moving it forward as we go ahead. at this point i would urge my colleagues to vote yes and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 258. hose in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative -- mr. collins: mr. speaker, i request the yeas and nays on this bill. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise will rise and remain tanding until counted.
a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this uestion will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? mr. collins: mr. speaker, i move the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 1073, the nuclear terrorism conventions implementation and safety of maritime navigation act of 2013. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 60, h.r. 1073, a bill to amend title 18, united states code, to provide for protection of maritime navigation and prevention of nuclear terrorism, and for other urposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from georgia, mr. collins, and the gentleman from virginia, mr. scott, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia for 20 minutes. mr. collins: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and and their remarks
include extraneous materials on h.r. 1073, currently under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. collins: i'm pleased to yield to mr. sensenbrenner, the bill's sponsor, as much time as he may consume. mr. sensenbrenner: i thank the gentleman from georgia for yielding. i sponsored this legislation to improve the ability to protect the united states from terrorist attacks, including a tax using weapons of mass destruction or attacks involving ships and maritime platforms. h.r. 1073 implements obligations to four multilateral counterterrorism treaties. full ratification of the underlying treaties will not be achieved until congress amends the existing criminal provisions of the united states code. this legislation was prepared in full cooperation with our democratic colleagues on the committee, following months of work by committee staff in consultation with the departments of justice and state. the importance of this
bipartisan legislation is evidence by those who have joined me as original co-sponsors. the gentleman from virginia, the judiciary committee chairman, bob goodlatte, ranking member john conyers and crime subcommittee ranking member bobby scott. two of these treaties concern nuclear and radiological materials. the sabotage of nuclear facilities and the protection of nuclear facilities and materials used for peaceful purposes. the other two treaties were the use or targeting of ships or maritime platforms as part of a terrorist attack, transporting of certain materials by ship for terrorist purposes and the transfer of terrorists by ship, among other things. the international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism signed by president bush on behalf of the united states on september 14, 005, it requires the u.s. to criminalize certain unlawful acts relating to the possession
or use of radiological material and disperseful advices and damage to nuclear facilities. an amendment to the convention on the physical protection of nuclear material, which was adopted at a diplomatic conference on july 25, 2005, requires the u.s. to criminalize nuclear smuggling and sabotage of nuclear acilities. a 2005 protocol for the suppression of unlawful acts begins the safety of maritime navigation requires parties to criminalize the use or targeting of a ship or a fixed maritime platform in an act of terrorism. the protocol forbids certain maritime terrorism acts and the maritime transport of chemical, nuclear or biological weapons, materials under specified
circumstances. it also forbids the hair time of terrorist fugitives. the 2005 protocol to the 1988 rotocol for the suppression of unlawful acts against fixed platforms located on the continental shelf criminalizes terrorist acts involving a fixed maritime platform. to combat these types of terrorist threats, we effectively need both a comprehensive domestic legal framework and a broad international framework to ensure international cooperation. existing law may cover certain obligations under these treaties. but in order to fully comply and ultimately ratify the treaties, parties to the agreement are required to criminalize certain conduct and fulfill requirements and other obligations relating to international cooperation. parties to the underlying treaties are required to
criminalize certain acts committed by persons who possess or use radioactive material or a nuclear device. and parties are obligated to extradite or prosecute alleged offenders. as it relates to maritime terrorism, the underlying treaties treats vessels and fixed maritime platforms as a potential means of conducting terrorism activity and not just as objects of terrorist activity. both the bush and obama administration support ratification of these agreements, which have already received senate advice and consent. advancing this legislation strengthens international cooperation and information sharing and will ensure that the united states stays at the forefront of global counterterrorism and counterproliferation efforts. these measures are consistent with our domestic efforts to improve homeland security and to promote better international
cooperation. it is my hope that the senate will act swiftly to pass this legislation so that these important multilateral agreements can fully be ratified. i encourage my colleagues to vote in favor of this legislation and i yield back to the gentleman from georgia the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields. mr. collins: reserve the balance. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. scott: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. scott: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in support of h.r. 1073, the nuclear terrorism conventions implementation and safety act. this bipartisan legislation, which was reported favorably by the judiciary committee in march, is nearly identical to legislation that the house passed by voice vote in the last congress. h.r. 1073 amends the federal criminal code to conform our laws to our nation's obligations under four international treaties that are part of an important effort to
update international law for the post-september 11 era. two international treaties, for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism, and the convention for the physical protection of nuclear material, require party nations to better protect nuclear materials and to punish acts of nuclear terrorism. two other treaties, amendments to the convention for the suppression of unlawful acts against the safety of maritime navigation, and the protocol for suppression of unlawful acts against the safety of fixed platforms, address the fixed ships, and platforms in terrorist attacks, including weapons delivery systems as well as the transport of terrorists by sea. the senate passed resolutions of advice and consent on all four in 2008. we cannot ratify these agreements, however, until congress amends the federal code to bring it in line with
our new obligation. h.r. 1073 does just that and nothing more. it amends title 18 of the united states code to explicitly prohibit acts of terrorism involving radioactive material, provides new security requirements for the use and storage of nuclear materials and addresses the use of ships and offshore platforms and terrorist attacks. with cooperation of the justice department, this bill does not include previously proposed language that was outside the scope of the underlying treaties. for example, the original version proposed by the administration included an expansion of the scope of conduct subject to the death penalty, new wiretap predicates and new authorization for the president to conduct similar agreements in the future without congressional approval. there was no need to argue about these controversial provisions in order to implement the underlying treaties and those unrelated initiatives have been removed in this version of the bill. so i'm grateful for the spirit of cooperation with which the bill before us has been
drafted. the resulting bipartisan proposal has the fullsupport of the obama administration, and i'm pleased to join my colleagues, the gentleman from wisconsin, the chair of the subcommittee on crime, mr. sensenbrenner, along with ranking member conyers and chairman goodlatte. i urge my colleagues to support h.r. 1073, and i have one additional speaker so i'll reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from georgia. mr. collins: continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: reserves. mr. scott: mr. speaker, i yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from ennsylvania, mr. fattah. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. fattah: i rise in support of the bill and i wanted to use this occasion to also make some additional comments. we recognize that the proliferation of fluke weapons are the greatest threat that our country faces, and i took a trip with chairman young. we went to visit the atomic --
international atomic energy association in austria, in vean, looking at the weapons -- vienna, looking at the weapons development program in iran. this is an issue that the congress has to pay attention to. i wanted to take a minute as a member of the appropriations committee to talk about the administration's request on both nonproliferation and modernization. the nonproliferation request is flatlined. the weapons modernization, which is important as it relates to our obligations and agreements relative to the start treaty, is well funded, but we think there are some gaps in terms of the planning and we need to understand more fully in terms of the b-61 and the w-76, where we're headed in terms of the long-term package. so this bill is important because it deals with terrorism
threats in terms of nuclear weapons. part of dealing with that is to make sure that we continue to work with senator nunn and lugar and the nonproliferation work. and it's also important for our country to modernize our weapons, and to do that with a full understanding that we cannot do that on a year-to-year basis. we have to have a long-term plan and understand the entire package. so i thank the gentleman for yielding me the time and i yield back the remainder thereof. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields. mr. scott: mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia. mr. collins: i yield myself uch time as i may consume. this bill is a bipartisan legislation to ratify certain counterterrorism treaty obligations. this legislation was reported by voice vote from the judiciary committee last month. similar legislation was
unanimously reported by the committee and passed by the house -- by voice vote also last congress. terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction do not recognize international boundaries. these treaties are important tools in the fight against terrorism. each one builds on an existing treaty to which the united states is a party. the treaties and this legislation compliment important -- counterproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and counterterrorism initiatives. enacting this legislation will reinforce the united states' leadership role in promoting these and other counterterrorism treaties and will likely prompt other countries to join. in addition to bowlesering strong security, these protocalls help promote implementation of certain sanctions against rogue regimes that are hostile to u.s. interests. i commend chairman goodlatte and ranking member conyers along with the sponsor of h.r. 1073, crime subcommittee chairman, mr. sensenbrenner, and ranking member scott for
their commitment to this important legislation. i urge my colleagues to join me in passing h.r. 1073 today and i yevpblet the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields, the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 1073. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. . in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative -- mr. collins: mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. collins: on this vote i request the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this uestion will be postponed. pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess until approximate
traditional -- frustration with women's traditional roles. when her husband was assassinated, she returned to ohio and made her home into an early version of a presidential library. we will look at mary arthur mc role ofho filled the first lady when her brother became president. the state department released this year us report on religious freedom around the globe. it found an increase in the use of blasphemy law's. john kerry released that report today and announced the president is appointing a special envoy to combat anti-
semitism. >> thank you, jen. thank you very much. good morning, everybody. how are you? well, thanks for being here today for the release of the 2012 international religious freedom report. i am pleased to be here with our ambassador-at-large, suzan johnson cook, and i want to thank her and her entire cohort here for their terrific work in helping to put this together. she is doing ? they are doing a superb job of advancing religious freedom abroad. i also want to acknowledge the
hard work of a whole bunch of state department employees both here in washington and at a lot of posts around the world, because all of them collect the information and do a lot of work throughout the year in order to be able to put this report together. this is not a one- or two-week affair. it?s a long one-year process, ongoing. fifteen years ago, i was very proud to join my colleagues in the united states congress in passing the international religious freedom act, the law that mandates the preparation of this state department report. this report, as many of you know, shines light on the challenges that people face as they seek nothing more than the basic religious freedom, the right to worship as they wish. and its release here today is a demonstration of the abiding commitment of the american people and the entire u.s. government to the advancement of freedom of religion worldwide. freedom of religion is a core american value. it?s one that helped to create our country. it?s been at the center of our national consciousness since the 1600s, when the pilgrims fled rebellious ? religious persecution and landed in my home state of massachusetts. and many of these folks settled
in the city of salem, which takes its name from the words ?salaam? or ?shalom,? meaning ?peace.? but before long, even there, religious strife visited their hometown. women were accused of witchcraft, and some were burned at the stake. emerging differences between religious leaders in massachusetts led some congregations to break away and to found new settlements in what would become connecticut and rhode island. providence was founded by people who wandered through the woods the entire winter and came out on this expanse of water, and named it providence for obvious reasons. so we approach this issue -- i certainly do ? mindful of our past, and of how as americans we
have at times had to push and work and struggle to fully live up to the promise of our founding. john winthrop, who happens also to be my granddad from 10 generations back, was born in england, but his passionate faith and his disagreements with the anglican church inspired him to lead a ship full of religious dissidents to come to america to seek freedom of worship. and on the deck of the arabella, he famously said in a sermon that he delivered before they landed -- "for we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. the eyes of all people are upon us." and they have been, and they remain there. and through -- though we are obviously far from perfect, no place has ever welcomed so many different faiths to worship so freely as here in the united states of america. it' extraordinarily proud of. but freedom of religion is not
an american invention. it's a universal value. it's enshrined in our constitution and ingrained in every human heart. the freedom to profess and practice one's faith, to believe or not to believe, or to change one's beliefs, that is a birthright of every human being. and that's what we believe. these rights are rightly recognized under international law. the promotion of international religious freedom is a priority for president obama, and it is a priority for me as secretary of state. i am making certain, and will continue to, that religious freedom remains an integral part of our global diplomatic engagement. the release of this report is an important part of those efforts. this report is a clear-eyed, objective look at the state of
religious freedom around the world. and when necessary, yes, it does directly call out some of our close friends, as well as some countries with whom we seek stronger ties. and it does so in order to try to make progress, even though we know that it may cause some discomfort. but when countries undermine or attack religious freedom, they not only unjustly threaten those whom they target. they also threaten their country's own stability. and we see that in so many places. attacks on religious freedom are therefore both a moral and a strategic national security concern for the united states. i also want to note that this report was informed by a broad spectrum of contributors -- faith leaders, religious organizations, and journalists. some of these individuals showed immense bravery in coming forward and sharing their observations. and their stories show that we as an international community have a lot of work to do. the report chronicles discrimination and violence in countries ranging from established democracies to entrenched dictatorships.
it documents that governments around the globe continue to detain, imprison, torture, and even kill people for their religious beliefs. in too many places, governments are also failing to protect minorities from social discrimination and violence. the report identifies global problems of discrimination and violence against religious groups, including baha'is, buddhists, hindus, jews, christians, muslims, and sikhs. one troubling trend identified in the report is the potential rise of anti-semitism. so today i would like to announce that i have named ira forman to the position of special envoy to monitor and combat anti-semitism. ira has long been a champion of fair treatment for all, and he
has worked extensively to combat intolerance. on top of that, he's also a great guy, and i look forward to supporting him in this vitally important mission. so welcome aboard, ira. lastly, another troubling trend is the increasing use of laws governing blasphemy and apostasy. these laws are frequently used to repress dissent, to harass political opponents, and to settle personal vendettas. laws such as these violate fundamental freedoms of expression and religion, and we believe they ought to be repealed. and because we defend others' rights of expression, we are also ensuring that we can express our own views and practice our own faith without fearing for our own safety or our own lives. that is why, as i travel the world, i do press leaders to do more to safeguard freedom of belief and to promote religious tolerance. and that is why i urge all countries, especially those
identified in this report, to take action now to safeguard this fundamental freedom. while this report underscores the challenges to religious freedom, it is also true that it is harder than ever to restrict human freedom. it has never been easier in all of human history for people to share their views, to find information, to connect with others, even to send messages of desperation that ask for help or that shed light on abuses that are taking place, because of instant communication. so while serious challenges to religious freedom remain, i also could not be more optimistic about the prospects for freedom around the world, because there are great prospects for accountability around the world. so i thank you very much. i want to turn the floor over to ambassador suzan johnson cook,
who will explain further what the elements of this report are. >> thank you mr. secretary. good morning. the 2000 12 report provides a rendering of the status of religious freedom around the world. religious freedom is essential for stable and thriving societies. universally declaration of human rights enshrines the freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. this is the standard against we thess religious freedom in report. it seeks to advance religious freedom by shining a spotlight on abuses and violations. a the secretary said, when
country fails to revive equal protection of religious freedom for all, the groundwork is laid for clinical instability and violence. the government favors one group or set of beliefs and are six others, some in society may take that as approval to target marginalized groups. .uch works remains to be done the secretary described some of the most troubling trends, and let me note some others. thousands of people are jailed because of what they believe or do not believe. in iran, more than 116 highs are in prison for teaching their faith, and many christians, sufis, and sunnis are facing similar treatment. an americanpastor, and iranian citizen, was sentenced to prison for his beliefs.
in eritrea, people were again because of their beliefs. some died due to torture or lack of medical treatment. we seek the release of all individuals attained or in prison and because of their belief. many governments failed to prosecute perpetrators of their ofmes, creating a climate impunity that fuels further discrimination. in egypt the government failed to investigate and prosecute perpetrators. in pakistan, minorities continued to encounter discrimination and violence and authorities failed to arrest the perpetrators. as violence lanes were lives in pakistan, over 200 shia were killed in the first two months of this year alone. in nigeria elements of a sect
claimed the lives of christians and muslims. -- government responses of government must fulfill their responsibility to condemn .ntelligence -- intolerance last month i traveled to china where i pressed officials to uphold the rights of religious freedom for all and stop abusing this universal right. the government restricts the practice of many groups, including buddhists, christian obligations, and others. in 2012, 83 tibetans chose to self-and like to protest policy. the total is now over 100. we urge governments to protect the rights of whole >> of the
whole. in syria the government targeted faith groups is deemed a threat, including members of the sunni majority. ,his includes killing detention, and harassment. andan orthodox archbishops a greek orthodox archbishop were kidnapped in april by persons unknown and remain missing. societal in tolerance against minorities is on the rise. this intolerance finds its expression in acts of violence and desecration. in a rack, extremist targets religious ceremonies. spread toviolence in then resulting
distraction of places of worship. --i-somatic we can see violent attacks against jews in europe, and i look forward to my colleague who was introduced to you by the secretary and working with him to combat this problem. anti--muslim dissemination is evident in places in europe and asia. we call on societies and governments to hold perpetrators of violence accountable. partner with members of communities to support religious freedom, to protect minorities, and safeguard freedom of expression. the advocate engaging women and youth on religious freedom, as
their voices are a positive force for change. violations of religious freedom capture the world's attention. i want to highlight the elements that tend to fly the radar. although governments restrictions remain in vietnam, the government took a step forward by allowing large-scale worship services. turkey loosened its restrictions on religious attire, allowing females to where headscarves in classes and in islamic schools. as you will see and read, the challenges are daunting. we remain committed to working tirelessly to ensure religious freedom for all. i thank you, and i will be happy to take your questions. >> the state department has
been issuing these reports were a long time. apart from shaming publicly these countries, have you detected a change in their behavior am a and how does the department deal with allies like turkey, israel, and saudi arabia for activesync and religious intolerance to some degree? >> there is progress in certain countries. there are places where the trends are not increasing and not doing well. they're going downward. we look at countries that are of concern that continue to have ongoing systematic ask. we use different tools. sometimes sanctions, and it depends on what happens. these countries will take steps because we want religious freedom in all
countries. >> thank you. opening remarks about buddhists and usg [indiscernible] otheru know which under countries [indiscernible] there are several countries. is there a country you have a concern about? >> i have seen reports about pakistan, afghanistan, hindus. do you know any other countries? >> we are concerned about religious minorities, and dues as well as others, so we the government to allow religious freedom for all. >> what is new, different from the previous report, and is there it any country you are consider sanctioning?
and refer you to the port how they progressed. there are certain countries we are looking at as recited in my remarks, i vietnam who has made progress for allowing large places of worship. each country has its situation. i had the opportunity to visit saudi arabia and china who have been on the countries of particular concern list, as well as use pakistan. the have tried to make small steps for governments that are not moving whatsoever, particularly saudi arabia. it is situational and we progress and look at all countries and the report will speak for itself. >> tuc progress by the saudi's? islamic do not allow non- persons religious freedom.
their report is close to where it was last year. what happened was i was allowed a visit, so that was a beginning. we want to continue to be engaged with them. >> the secretary raise the issue of blasphemy, he coming an issue in a place like egypt, or exempt dull, and coptic egyptians face these charges of blasphemy. how are you going to handle these issues or make a report about it? i>> our government has been involved in high levels in egypt. we want to hold accountability for those who perpetrate violence, make sure there is protection of religious freedom, especially for coptic christians. egypt is dealing with a new constitution. there's is not much room for religious freedom.
we continue to press the government. has beenoment intervening there. >> thank you. [indiscernible] in pakistan among the new prime minister will be there tomorrow. do you see any change in burma, or what do you think this will have for the president in burma today? the new prime minister in doistan come a mr. shari, you see any change under his administration since he will be the third time prime minister of pakistan? anyn burma we did not see improvement, and as long as there is no improvement, sanctions will remain in terms of religious freedom.
in pakistan, there is a new government, and it remains to see how they will handle it. blasphemy is important to us, and there are many being held in prison because of their beliefs. we have to see what the new government will do. we will urge him to hold accountable the perpetrators of violence and make sure the oftection of religious minorities. human rights is a high priority for this administration. >> how much advice have you taken from the international commission, because the commission has once again addressed and is urging the state the pertinent that we should not be [indiscernible] the chief minister
[indiscernible] theis seeking to come to u.s., but some of the groups here, including this commissioner, are against his arrival in the u.s. is an commission independent commission. so amended by congress, there are references and suggestions are taken into account, but in terms of what they designate, i refer you to the united states commission on international freedom. there report mentions have been this political change, the opening up of society, and yet you see no improvement in the religious restrictions there. you have seen a spike of religious violence targeting various groups in that country. this question might apply to
other countries, egypt, where there have been political transitions that have led to increased religious tension or violence. is that your sense, and why would that be? whyhat you are asking is does this continue to happen in these countries. in burma, we says seidel reform -- we see societal reform there, but in terms of religion, not much. we can see to try to engage their government on religious freedom, but there has not been improvement. we want to look at the cause of the root causes of this, and we will continue to do that for all 199 countries. we take our information from many sources, but we will monitor the system -- the situation closely. we will certainly engage.
>> thank you, everyone. >> thank you. wrecks the house is coming back the house is coming back in in about a half an hour. " washingtonorning journal," a bill that would create financing for infrastructure projects. and we will talk with frank wolf of virginia, who has instigated a committee that will investigate the attack in benghazi, libya. " washington journal" is live every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern. the senate is in session today,
debating the farm bill. here is morning about that from this morning's "washington journal." host: we look at what your taxpayer dollars due. let's talk about the farm bill. give us a sense of what the funding levels are like, what is the cost? 955 billionost is dollars. the house of representatives has a bill that passed the committee last week. that is expected to be on the floor this summer. there were attempts to pass it last year that failed last year.
it was a promise for floor action, so there is a better chance that we will get the farm bill which is close to one dollar trillion. host: tell us about the snap program and where the funding level is for that. or graham food stamp is the largest amount of that budget. $760 billion over 10 years. it has increased the last year. spending in 2007 was $35 billion a year. last year it was $80 billion. it is the lions share, although the bill -- farm things. host: as you look at the billions of dollars for the overall agriculture bill, we saw
numbers for the house, $20 billion in food stamp cuts, and the senate, $4 billion in food stamp cuts. why the difference? the difference. it is because of the 15 in food stamps. the differences are and how they make reductions to the program. look at programs within the food stamp programs, and most are in two areas. one is food stamp eligibility. the other is where states say if you have a person eligible for one program, they are available for food stamps. the bill cuts both of those programs. the senate only cuts the heating benefit, and that is $4
billion. a tweeps, there is no such thing as a food stamp. why is that language still used? guest: an interesting point. he is right, it is not a stamp. if you look at the origins, the first programs were done in the great depression. the modern program dates to the great society of the 1960s. since about a decade ago, it has been transformed into debit cards. you have seen somebody using these. the reason to switch to that was to prevent abuse because it is easier to track, but also reduce the stigma, because if you are pulling out your card, it is like anybody else pulling out their card.
the farm bill is currently being worked on. snapalked about how the program is a big chunk of the money in the farm bill. how contentious is the debate? guest: i would not be alone in saying this that the food stamp program is the most contentious area of the farm bill, especially to the broader public. it is by far the biggest expense. to understand this debate, you
have to look beyond the numbers. and you are talking about $760 billion over 10 years, $4 billion versus $20 billion, that is not a huge percentage. if you have if this battle over the shape of government. it is in some ways talking about what the society of the united states is. you have a poverty rate are people that nearly 50 million people living under the poverty line. if you really believe that the government does not have enough of the safeties -- a safety net, you would want to see that preserved. if you are very concerned about government spending, the culture of entitlement, the idea that one out of every seven americans should not be having their food purchased for them by the government, then you will be very emotional on that side. it makes this a very difficult issue to resolve. host: sea of tranquility tweets in -- guest: if you are watching the debate on this, you will hear the acronym liheap a lot. it stands for low income sheet energy assistance program. the idea is that it helps people who live in subsidized housing that may not be paying utility bills. it helps them with their bills. if you have a utility bill, it helps you out. if you do not, if it is part of your bill, there is a program in which state governments in
recent years i started ending people checks for home energy assistance. that is to help people out with their bills. the controversial practice that is brought around that is if you do that, you can actually qualify for greater food stamp benefits. a state, because the food step program, if you are a state, you want a reason to get more money coming to restate. it is stimulus. maybe they will send you a one dollar check. a five dollar check. that increases the amount of money you get into stamps. it boosts the food stamp bill. if you get rid of that check, the liheap assistance, you can save $4 billion over 10 years. host: here's a map of the population where the snap costs, the percentage of population receiving assistance. new mexico, louisiana, mississippi, tennessee, and oregon.oingown the lightest color, those are the ones that
receive the least assistance. why are the state specific recipients significant? guest: there is a lot of variation from state to state it is while this is a federal program, the state will administer it. some states are more aggressive about mollifying people for food stands. his eligibility issue which is the in the house, states will decide whether or not but he has categorical eligibility. it does play out in congress both in that you see states with high recipients wanting to keep these programs, and i think one of the greatest challenges and one of the greatest contrast is between mississippi and alabama. if you look at the map, mississippi is high. alabama, not ohio.
the society is represented by thad cochran, the ranking republican. a lot of the opposition comes from the republican party, but thad cochran is a defender of the grant. the one state over, and you see jeff sessions and alabama, another republican, probably the biggest crusader against spending. always looking into waste, fraud, and abuse. these are two republicans from neighboring states, able to unlock the food stamp recipients, but different political positions on bill based on how it plays out in their state. host: we see also on this map the states that are walked out with a one of them, they have a population participation that doubled in recent years. florida, utah, nevada, rhode island, and idaho. what is happening? guest: you see nevada and florida, those are states that were hit very hard by the housing crisis. you saw big rises and on the
unemployment. some states like idaho, not the populace. the rookie statistical noise going on. same with rhode island. some states because they have been more aggressive about advertising for food stamps, they will see fast increases in unemployment. one of the things you hear about this program is that it attracts unemployment. recent years, it really hasn't. unemployment heat in 2009 at 10%. now it is at 7.5%. stamp enrollment peaked in december. the numbers are not going down at the same rate. host: more details about the food stamp program -- guest: i cannot speak to how ebt is being used or where.
i know that federal regulations convenient stores, it will depend on your definition of a grocery store. fast food restaurants, food stamp benefits are not supposed to be used for hot meals. it is to buy groceries. if it is being used the restaurant, that would be something to report to your local office is that is not the rule. host: let's go to annapolis, maryland and hear from garth. caller: i'm concerned because i work in a convenient store where we accept ebt. i am a little frustrated with the fact that you can buy chips and candy bars and energy drinks and all sorts of other things that are not for grocery foodstuffs. if we are spending this kind of money in the economy we are in, and it is a little ridiculous good -- ridiculous. guest: that is one of the biggest concerns that people have. we can have these debates in
washington, dc about categorical eligibility and qualifications, but if you are in a convenient store and you see people buying candy with the food stamp card, people get outraged. can see why that outrage would be. this is on employment controversy. in new york and minnesota, their legislatures passed laws against sugary sodas and junk foods being bought with food stamps. the usda do not want to enforce it. part of it is that they do not want to get into the business of deciding what is a good food and about food. you cannot buy alcohol and tobacco. it was a pretty clear-cut cases. you would think that candy bars would be. you would think that soda would be. and you start getting into drawing lines, those are issues that the government does not want to get into. maybe they should. there are a lot of people that think that. that is a question that is not resolved in this bill this year. host: charles in north carolina, republican -- caller: i had a couple of comments and questions.
one is, the weight of our population has coupled in poundage since 1970, so we are a much heavier country, and my first question is, shouldn't we, if people are on food stamps, wouldn't it be in the public interest require them to buy food that does not make them even bigger than they are? second question, i have a guy working on a house -- he is a legal hispanic resident -- but he was telling me that many illegal folks that he knows, he says they are on easy street because they are working in the shadows but also collecting ebt, snap. what are the restrictions on these programs for illegal aliens? guest: to the caller's first question about obesity and nutrition, but the first caller, you have identified a real public health problem in this country and something people are looking at. again, the food stamp program is not necessarily something where
people are trying to do take people's food choices. -- to dictate people's food choices. on the question of illegal aliens in food stamps, the rules say that if a person is here illegally, they should not be getting food stamps. this gets wrapped in with the immigration debate, which will be something you will have lots of people on show talking about in the next few weeks. it becomes a question of availability of social welfare programs to people not in this country legally. your opinion on that is probably going to tie into a lot of what you think should be proper on the immigration debate itself. another difficult question not dealt with this bill, a person here illegally does not qualify for food stamps, but people here illegally should not have jobs either. you certainly see that happening. that is a question for regulation that congress will deal with. host: we're talking with alan bjerga, a reporter for bloomberg news.
he started his career with the st. paul pioneer press out of minnesota. he also reported for the sioux falls south dakota. also the wichita eagle and kansas. he grew up on a farm in northern minnesota. also very involved in the national press club. were the president. our viewers may have seen you. let's it would tweet from matt what is the counterargument to some of this? when we talk about big brother, the government watching too much of what people eat and what they consume. guest: the person tweeting has brought up the counterargument, which is part of life there are not these restrictions -- of why there are not these restrictions. people in need are people in need. if you want to make a societal choice of people who may have problems, struggling to have
enough food for their families, you as a society may make a judgment that there should be a program called the supplemental nutritional assistance program that will help those people out. that does not necessarily mean you create a paternalistic, nanny state attitude that would say, ok, we will give you this, but you can only buy this, this, and this. you could argue for this. we have had callers arguing for that. that doesn't necessarily mean that you think that is the proper role of government and society. it is one more thing that makes this program so difficult to resolve. host: darlene in north carolina, go ahead. caller: yes, i am calling from north carolina, and i have a question. there should be some way that food stamps could be monitored closer because i've heard of
several cases where people were taking in and using food stamps, selling them to other people, and they would buy the food stamps from other people for half the price, and use that money for the people, use that money to buy something else. it tells me they do not really need them if they are selling them to somebody else. guest: the type of fraud that the caller is describing is something that was much more common when there were actual stamps. that is tougher to do when it is an ebt card. when you take a look at food stamp fraud, a lot of it takes place at convenience stores, cases were different things may be offered for sale. often there will be somebody involved in maybe an owner of the store who is looking the other way at certain things. everybody have these anecdotal tales they've heard about, somebody who has abused it this way and does this thing.
they often can take on lives of their own. i'm not saying that they do not happen. this is one thing that is done to question the legitimacy of the program. you hear these stories about how this is done, and it is used to attack a program that in the bull is serving 47.8 million people as of february. there will be a few cases of history it doesn't mean that you do not crack down on it. if you take a look at waste, fraud, and abuse rates in food stamps, it has improved in the last several years. it is fairly rare. while you have to have a vigilance, the capability because of restrictions and the change to the card is not what it once was. host: jackson in washington, dc, an independent. caller: good morning, alan. let's tell the truth. explain to the viewers how much money at grocery stores -- that grocery stores make off of this program. how much does safeway make or 7- eleven? that is who it benefits more than anybody else. i will listen to your response. thank you. guest: the truth is grocery store chains are big supporters
of the snap program. if you have something that is subsidized consumer purchases and encourages people to buy food, he would be behind it to. it varies from changing. the supervalu chain, that is number two in the country after safeway -- excuse me, after kroger -- they operate the savealot chain, an -- in areas where there might be grocery availability. half of the revenue can come from snap recipients. they are going to be backing it. if you take a look at the $80 billion, some of that is administrative costs. the bulk of it indeed is spent at grocery stores. if it wasn't spent at a grocery store, where would that money come from? how would people buy food? grocery records -- stores are
on record saying that they are supportive of it. host: tough decisions democrats were having to make -- what were they waiting, and how did things turn out as far as democrat support? guest: we can talk about both parties. in the case of the democratic already, what you are looking at remember the historical context of this -- when welfare reform was passed in 1996, president clinton vetoed it twice, and finally came through with concessions from the republicans. and the democratic party, they were not happy that welfare reform ever happened. they take a look at the food stamp program and they say, this social safety net has been eroded or three decades. stamps are one of the major programs we have left. we do not care if people think this exemption might not be the best thing. do not care if categorical eligibility changes. we have 50 million americans in poverty. you have that wing. then you have another wing that says, you know what, people are concerned about the deficit. we have to work with republicans. there are some arguments in
favor of reining in these programs that actually are legitimate. let's work little bit. let's accommodate. that is a fault line that has been around for decades. host: you talk about democrats but also republicans. guest: you have republican lawmakers who have their constituents, and for that reason, they may not want to be reducing the program. a practical minded republicans that are like democrats on the other side. we need to do something that deals with the deficit without cutting off people who are in need. then you have the paul ryan plan, block grants. the proposals and the farm bill, neither of them are as significant as what paul ryan was suggesting, which according
to one estimate would have been $150 billion in cuts over 10 years. that would be block granting. again, this makes it a very politically difficult issue to resolve. host: we saw last week in the house agriculture committee, debate unfolding about plans to cut $20 billion from the food stamp program. let's take a look at two arguments, one from congressman david scott, democrat of georgia, and we will hear from congressman read ribald, public and wisconsin. [video clip] >> does it matter to you that with this anti-billion-dollar cut -- this 20 billion-dollar cut that there will be 2.5 million poor children losing benefits? this is everybody, of every race, every creed, every color in this country. hunger knows no color. >> this nation, its government has been committed to defeating its hungry, and we ought to and it is good and right and just that we do so. but it is also good and right and just that we have the fiduciaries of the taxpayers who are paying those dollars, that we are overseeing them in a way
that is truly balanced. we can make the argument based on the sheer numbers here that we have been asked for dinner with generous -- extraordinarily generous. host: two different perspectives. guest: i was actually at that hearing. what is interesting about the clips is that one element at think the clips capture the debate nicely, one element of the debate that was not portrayed, it was striking, the number of times that members of congress of both parties were quoting scripture. you got into a theological debate. you had a democrat quoting matthew 25 where jesus says, for was hungry, and you gave me food. republicans are countering with second thessalonians chapter three saying that those unwilling to work shall not eat. talking about a view of government is not the administrator of social programs, but something that should be brought towards the individual. you can get into theological
discussions on this. if you do not take a look at the faith and values component to this debate, you're missing about half of the entry. people look at it as a moral issue. a theological issue. when you get to questions about theology, this is going to be tough to resolve. host: alan bjerga, a reporter with bloomberg news. letter from charles in texas, on the republican line. -- let's hear from charles in texas, on the republican line. caller: you said illegals were not eligible for food stamps. ok, but they have a cow who is a citizen. you cannot take on the caregiver. they end up with them, too. guest: if that child is in the
united states, he is entitled to the benefits that a family would be getting. host: let's go to iowa where shirley is a democrat. caller: hello, one thing to point out his food cards, that is easy to say, food cards has been in for years. hello? host: we are listening. caller: the military years ago, and a military publication, i learned the food stamp program at that time is put in as a first line of defense against insurrection, because hungry people revolt, especially when they see their kids grow hungry. the military is not able and doesn't want to be shooting people down in the united states because we've got hungry people, as they had in russia and china. that was the reason they had a big insurrection, people that desperate because they were starving. remember that food cards is just as easy to say.
we haven't had food stamps for 10 years. republicans love to keep saying food stamps if they got such a nasty reputation because they were so easy to misuse. host: how much attention to people in iowa a to the farm bill and what happens to it in congress? how much do you watch it? caller: i watch it pretty closely. i was once upon a time farmer, raised in a farm family, and i have a lot of sympathy for farmers. i have a whole lot of sympathy for people even here in iowa are eligible for food cards because of low wages in so many places. let's go into other countries and what they are paying in wages, not just at the low-end.
let's go into australia, they pay $15 an hour for adults. half that much, seven dollars for teenagers. host: thank you. guest: shirley raises some fascinating issues that strike to the heart of why you have the food policy that you have. i could talk much longer about this than the audience would want to know, but when you think about food stamp programs and the historical origins, they are ways to placate social unrest. when you take a look at the new deal and folks calling for potentially a dictatorship or the american legion protecting president roosevelt, you get to the great society era and you take a look at some of the unrest that was in inner cities, and united states, you tend to think of this snap program is that formula, but there is an origin.
it is a subsidy for food consumption. you do not think of the united states as doing that, but if you look at the arab spring, if you want to go on a tangent, some of the right you are having in tunisia and egypt were because the government subsidizes rent prices or consumer prices. because of inflation or social pressure, those prices ratcheted up. there were riots in the street. we are such a stable nation, so we do not think about it, but that is part of the intellectual origin of some of these programs. shirley makes an interesting point. host: a couple comments on twitter -- let's go to eaton, indiana, april, an independent. caller: good morning. i think there is a bigger problem than actual people know. i know someone who actually got her children taken away by the state and was in state custody, and she was the getting $1200 a month for over six months until she got her kids back. it never came up. nobody ever said anything. people called in. nothing still happened in
indiana. she still gets it to the state. host: why does this matter to you? caller: well, i have four children. i am disabled. we cannot get food stamps. i do not like, i tell the truth, and then have people abusing the system and they do not even have their kids. i know there are more kids around the area that do not have. i think that is a problem. guest: again, it is hard to comment on peoples's individual cases without knowing the details, but this is one of the concerns people have. it is the perceived free rider phenomenon. you working hard, you may have a disability, you are trying to raise her children, and you do not -- you see somebody else getting benefits that you are not getting. this gets down to the issue that a lot of people, especially on the right, have about the program. part of the budget is that there is advertising for axis.
if you are a person who believes that welfare reform was a bad thing and the social safety net is eroding, you want the compliance rate among the participation to be high. part of the reason that numbers have been going up is that participation has been going up to it is not that more people are illegible. a higher proportion of those who are eligible take advantage. there is a school of thought that says there should be a stigma. you should be ashamed if you are on public assistance. that is a way to spur you to work harder, to do better, to make money and stand on your feet, which is the ultimate source of prosperity, rather than government assistance. that is a lot of what you will hear from a lot of the opposition. from folks who want to rein in some of the spending. on the other side, you havele se
to help people. if they qualify, they should get it. host: we see proposed cuts to food stamps, the snap program, and both the house version of the farm bill and the senate version. the senate one is significantly less. what will these mean in terms of enrollment, who would stop getting assistance? how does it play out if it goes forward? guest: the center for budget policy priorities, which tends to be an advocate for the poor, the underemployed, they have done a study that says under the house plan, which would destroy worker eligibility, you would have 2 million people removed from the rolls. going from 47 to 45, depending on your perception of those 2 million people and how they do think the program should be, that may or may not be a big deal to you. i also say 210,000 children but lose benefits. again -- could lose benefits. once again, six years ago, half
as many people were using food stamps that are now, where we twice as an uncompassionate society as we were 2013? the 210,000 children will be a big deal if you think that way. host: columbus, ohio, randall, a democrat. caller: a couple comments. i will listen to to his answer. i noticed on your map, the red states are all right to work states where the wages are lower and people that do not have the money to buy food with. i did not have the republicans are doing about cutting the subsidies to these big agricultural companies in taxes that they have been giving them. thank you. guest: the caller makes an interesting distinction that is important for understanding the politics of this bill. this is the farm bill. the farm bill drafted by the agricultural committees. the agricultural committees are made up her dominantly of lawmakers with strong interests, strong agribusiness interests. the portion of the formal devoted to those subsidies, your
crop insurance programs, that is a small part of the bill, but that is part of the bill that a lot of lawmakers are concerned with. part of the reason -- people ask, why are food stamps and farm subsidies in the single -- a lot of it has to do with realpolitik. in a sense, they are all farm programs. if you subsidize consumption, you are helping farmers. there is also a very political reason for this. as oral representation in congress has declined, you have needed another constituency to get his farm bill through congress. inner-city representatives come up folks with real interests in food stamps, they are part of the coalition. the coalition is strained at times as if you think about it, if you are an advocatefor food stamps and you have a choice between a $4 billion cut and a $20 billion cap were to do nothing and nothing changes, how strong are you supporting this
bill? this is something that will be playing out. you've heard it from lawmakers like person -- kirsten gillibrand who voted against the farm bill. you will see more trouble getting this coalition together because some of the foods that people are looking at this and saying, is nothing in it for me on snap and why am i voting for this? host: the national journal looks at five things to watch in the we are going live back to the house. 1073 by the yeas and nays, approval of the journal de novo. the first electronic vote will be conducted as a 15-minute vote. remaining votes will be conducted as five-minute votes. the unfinished business is the vote on the motion the gentleman from georgia, mr. collins, to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 258 on which the yeas and nays
are ordered. the clerk will report the title of the bill. >> union calendar number 59, h.r. 258, a bill to amend title 18, united states code, with respect to fraud you lent representations about having received military declarations or medals. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a 15-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of epresentatives.]
the speaker pro tempore: on this vote, the yeas are 390, the yeas are three. zero recorded as present. 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. without objection, the title amended. the unfinished business is the vote on the motion of the gentleman from georgia, mr. collins, to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 1073 on which the yeas and nays are ordered.
the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 60, h.r. 1073, a bill to amend title 18 united states code to provide for protection of maritime navigation and prevention of nuclear terrorism and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill? members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of epresentatives.]
the speaker pro tempore: the yeas are 390. the nays are lee, three, zero recorded as present. the rules are suspended, bill is passed and without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid n the table. pursuant to clause 8, rule 20, the unfinished business is the question on agreeing to the speaker's approval of the journal which the chair will put
de novo. the question is on agreeing to the speaker's approval of the journal. those s aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the yeas have it and the journal stands approved. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i request the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. those favoring a vote by the yeas and nays will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, the the yeas and nays are ordered members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of epresentatives.]
for what purpose does the gentleman from florida rise? >> i rise to give notice of a question of the privileges of the house pursuant to rule 9. the resolution is as follows. resolution, h.res. -- the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. proceed, sir. >> h.res. 225, raising a question of the privileges of the house, resolved that the house of representatives shall not consider h.r. 3, the northern route approval act, because, one, it rye lates rule 2169 house, and, two, it affects the dignity and integrity of the proceedings of the house since it is unconstitutional. request debate.
the speaker pro tempore: under rule 9, a resolution offered from the floor by a member other than the majority leader or the minority leader as a quest privileges of the house -- as a question of the privileges of the house has immediate precedent by the chair within two legislative days after the resolution is properly noticed. pending that designation, the form of the unnumbered resolution noticed by the gentleman from florida will appear at the record at this point. the chair will not at this point determine whether the resolution constitutes a question of privilege that. determination will be made at the time designated for consideration of the resolution. mr. grayson: thank you, mr. chairman. the speaker pro tempore: thank you, sir.
the chair will now entertain requests for one-minute speeches. for what purpose does the gentlelady from west virginia rise? without objection. mr. capuano: thank you, mr. speaker. this -- mrs. capito: thank you, mr. speaker. this vote on wednesday will come with -- after more than 1,700 days since the application for the project was filed. despite the outpouring of support from the american people, the president continues to delay the approval of the keystone pipeline which would directly create 20,000 jobs and leave us $17 billion in spending. the president keeps dragging his feet. business and labor organizations have joined together to support the keystone project because it will bring jobs to american workers. west virginians support the keystone pipeline. the permitting delay is standing in the way of the keystone project, demonstrates that this administration and will vironmental agenda
put everything ahead of our nation's economy and jobs for working americans. mr. speaker, an energy economy is a jobs economy and i hope my colleagues will join me in fighting back against the administration's anti-energy agenda. passing h.r. 3 would mean more american jobs and move us closer toward energy independence. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: thank you, madam chairman. -- thank you, ma'am. for what purpose does the entleman from california rise? without objection. >> student loan debt in the united states now exceeds $1 trillion. higher than our country's total credit card debt. and unless congress acts, on july 1 federal student loans will double. mr. swalwell: rising from 3.4% to 6.4%. this increase in student loan rates would be unbearable for many undergraduate students and future students. it also will keep them out of the middle class.
the middle class, as we know right now, is shrinking. if you're in the middle class today, you're making approximately $5,000 less than you were 10 years ago. and you have nearly $25,000 more in personal debt. access to education powers the innovation economy and will increase our -- and grow our middle class. unfortunately h.r. 1911, the republican student loan planl to come to the floor this week, will only make college more expensive. the republicans make college more expensive plan will make loan rates variable, going as high as 8.5%. their plan essentially will build a great wall around our middle class. we must deal with the student loan crisis now. instead of increasing student loan rates for students, congress should be helping students by keeping student loan rates low. and increasing the student loan rate interest deduction. let's tear down this wall that will keep our students from the middle class and do not increase the student loan rate. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the
gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? without objection. mr. poe: benghazi bungled, propaganda kratz mislead citizens, change talking points 12 times. people die, white house ignores knowledge. i.r.s. intimidates targets and audits conservative opposition groups, white house denies knowledge, lower-level operatives blamed. government snoopers secretly seize phone records of 100 journalists to locate their sources. white house denies knowledge, lower-level operatives blamed. a.t.f. smuggles guns to mexican drug lords. white house denies knowledge, attorney general held in contempt of congress for withholding evidence. lower-level operatives blamed. meanwhile, the president self-reach outly proclaims --
self-righteously proclaims citizens should trust his government. people distrust the government, especially the i.r.s., because of the melancon tent, then the president doesn't adequately hold them accountable. s need to roll, people need to be fired. others need to go to the jail house. that's what americans expected of the so-called most transparent administration in history. this administration that is incredible with words can earn a few -- can earn credibility and that's just the way it is. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the entleman from missouri rise? without objection. >> thank you, mr. speaker. mr. cleaver: while the public is split 50-50 on whether the science of climate change is settled, there is overwhelming agreement over 97% among climate scientists that the
human activity of this earth is causing climate change. imagine if we compared that percentage to the medal field. if 97% of 100 doctors told you that you have cancer, would you refuse to take a treatment? whether one believes that humans are contributing to climate change is in some ways irrelevant because we are certainly paying for its effects. the federal government spent $96 billion in 2012 to clean up after extreme weather events. that's nearly three times the amount paid by private insurers. that is more than we spent on transportation or education. though many have yet to embrace the facts that climate research has found, we must take action to mitigate these growing costs. as ben franklin once said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from virginia rise?
>> unanimous consent to address the house for one minute, revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. >> mr. speaker, i yield to the gentleman from oklahoma. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oklahoma is recognized. >> thank you, mr. speaker. and thank you for yielding. mr. speaker, i rise in support of oklahomans, who even as we speak this evening are laboring to find and rescue all those affected by this afternoon's severe tornadoes in moore and other areas in the great state of oklahoma. at this time we don't know the full extent of the damage and pot tension human toll but we are inspired. we are inspired by those who are spare nothing effort to assist their neighbors and even many people they don't know. disasters like the more tornado bring out the best -- like the moore tornado bring out the best in the people of oklahoma. mr. bridenstine: i pray for all of the victims of this storm and all the first responders who are stepping in to help. we are grateful for everyone working to secure the affected area and to account for every
man, woman and child. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania rise? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute, revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one inute. >> mr. speaker, it's been one year since human rights activist and his wife arrived in the united states of america. i recently had the honor of meeting both of them. they are heroes in the cause of human rights and their story of fighting forced abortion and sterilization in the people's republic of china has captivated and inspired all those who love freedom.
their courageous stand has not come without a personal price. their extended family in china has been subject to continued harassment. it is time for this to stop. respect for human life and freedom are universal aspirations and they serve as witnesses to these transcendent values. mr. rothfus: i encourage beijing to protect their family and all those who serve as advocates for freedom and human rights. i thank the speaker and yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from minnesota rise? >> address the house for one minute, revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. >> mr. speaker, i rise to congratulate a long-time minnesota nonprofit organization, opportunity partners, for serving the needs of developmentally disabled adults for 60 years. mr. paulsen: the latest statistics reveal that only 33% of americans aged 18 to 64 with
disabilities are employed. the founders of opportunities partners recognize the many challenges that the disabled encounter when trying to integrate into the work force, so they acted. creating an organization that gives ongoing support to people with disabilities, helping them lead independent and fulfilling lives. in 1953, opportunity partners was serving 15 teens with disabilities and now the organization's reaching over 1,700 people and equipping them with the work skills and the training these individuals need to gain successful employment. i have toured this amazing operation myself, mr. speaker, i've seen firsthand the lives that are impacted and affected by opportunity partners. the staff and the volunteers are dedicated to empowering others for a simple but powerful mission, to help those with disabilities to live, learn and work. mr. speaker, i want to extend my congratulations and a thank you to all those who serve minnesota. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the chair recognizes the
gentlewoman from north carolina. for what purpose does she rise? ms. foxx: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. . ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. job-killers win, american workers lose. nfrl union of rs north america, a rare critic of the administration, summed up the president's 2011 call to block the keystone x.l. pipeline. the move, they said, would inflict a potentially fatal delay to a project that is not just a pipeline but is a lifeline for thousands of desperate working men and women. and what of america's energy needs and diplomatic priorities? by cutting off access to north american oil, it is american consumers who will continue to suffer. not the canadian companies seeking to permit the keystone pipeline. transcanada's chief executive noted, quote, if keystone x.l.
dies, americans will still wake up the next morning and continue to import 10 million barrels of oil from repressive nations without the benefit of thousands of jobs and long-term energy security, end quote. when jobs and affordable north american energy is at stake, americans deserve better than groundless delays from the president. let's build a pipeline today. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. for what purpose does the gentleman from -- the gentlelady from texas rise? ms. jackson lee: mr. speaker, i know many of our colleagues in the tornado corridor are not here today, but i want to offer my deepest concern and prayers as the recovery begins and praying for those who lost their , in , some in grand prarie
texas, in the northern area, excuse me, in texas. in of course in the area now oklahoma. this is a devastating time with these enormous tornadoes as evidenced by a quote by bill cnn, g of the noaa told our worst fears are becoming realized this afternoon. i hope we can find all of those the ve been harmed and most important part the nation stands up to be of help. this is for partisanship to take the highest level. it's time to end the sequester. there is too much need in this country and i hope we will be able to serve all of those who youo are suffering across
america because that's what this congress needs to do. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from north carolina seek recognition? >> permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. >> i rise in support of the keystone pipeline. keystone pipeline represents 40,000 american jobs. it's been under study for 1,700 days, five years. is a project that could drive down the cost of energy, cut our imports from our enemies in half . invigorate our economy and yet we continue to study and study. we could study this program for decades and could never resolve all the issues. mr. rice: it's time to move
forward and we are the greatest country on earth. nobody can beat us if we stand toe to toe. we have a noose of regulation around our own next and we are strangling ourselves. time to fish or cut bait. let's move forward with this very valuable project. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house the following personal requests. the clerk: leaves of absence requested for mr. clyburn of south carolina for today and ms. herrera beutler of texas for today and the balance of the week. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the requests are granted. under the speaker's announced policy of january 3, 2013, the
gentleman from wisconsin, mr. rib will, is recognized as the designee of the majority leader. mr. ribble: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the subject of my special order. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. ribble: i'm proud and honored to lead this discussion on the house floor this evening. i organized this special order to show the american people that there are members of congress who can have a civilized conversation and who actually want to solve problems. everyone here tonight is a member of the organization, no labels. we are wearing orange pins. these pins represent a lot about who we are and who we want to be as legislators, instead of wasting time fighting, we are committed to fixing what is broken. being identified as a republican or democrat says a lot about our
values and ideologies, but not the sum total. i'm proud to be a republican and have a conservative voting record. but just because there is an r.d. after someone's name should not make them enemies. it is possible to find ways to work together and all of us are here tonight as proof of that. i introduced a budgeting bill that is both democrat and republican co-sponsors, one of many examples that show both sides of the aisle can get behind legislation that can help our economy. unfortunately, congress has come to a point where problems aren't getting solved because too many are yelling and not enough are listening sm the best way to attack a problem is to put all possible solutions on the table and having a conversation about the pros and cons of each. in washington, the meaning of solution has become undercutting the other party. sound bites have replaced
conversations which has made attacking others easier and more widespread. every time you turn on the television or open a newspaper, there is a headline about democrats and republicans playing another round of the never-ending blame game. to type of unwillingness solve problems must end and that's why we are here tonight. to show that washington can function this way. we wanted to do our part and make our country better and help our constituents back home. in coming together in the house is a small way to reaffirm our dedication to the american people and let them know that we will work for their best interests. this evening, you will hear from democrats and republicans that are committed to problem-solving. these are my friends and while we don't see eye to eye, we have made it a point to put an end to
the spiteful tone that has become the norm here in washington and have a real conversation with one another. and tonight, the american people watching get to be a part of this. with that, i like to yield two minutes to the gentleman from indiana, mr. young. mr. young: i thank my good friend from wisconsin. mr. speaker, i'm proud to stand here tonight as a member of this problem solvers coalition. the coalition offers a common ground for lawmakers to make government work better and negotiate solutions without the blinders of partisan talking points. our country has a history during difficult times, times more difficult than these, times of great political strife, of coming together. rank and file americans and legislators alike. thomas jefferson wrote a letter to his friend and he said this. quote, you and i have seen warm
debate and high political passions but gentleman of different politics would then speak to each other. it is not so now. men who have been intimate all their lives across the street to avoid meeting and turn their heads the other way should they be obliged to tip their hat. we made it through those difficult times and this hall was populated by people who were prepared to tip their hat. during this time in our history, we need to be hat tippers and we need more hat tippers in the u.s. congress. more men and women who are prepared to root out waste, improve the performance of our largest programs of government, mod you late our discourse. we need to recognize that our public disagreements aren't always about ends. sometimes they are merely about means. so i invite my colleagues to join this coalition of problem solvers. let's work together, republican
and democrat. let's work together for the common good for the future of this country. i yield back. mr. ribble: i thank the gentleman for yielding and thank you for being here tonight. i yield two minutes to the gentleman from florida, mr. murphy. mr. murphy: i ran for congress on a pledge of bipartisanship. i ran on behalf of citizens who are disappointed in their leaders on washington who focus on bickering. in my first days in congress, i was disappointed in washington. i was disappointed that everything in d.c. was separated by party affiliation. this is why, one of my first actions as a freshman was to join the no labels problem solvers group which i'm now proudly a co-chair. mr. speaker, no labels has offered a way for members of both parties to get to know each other. simply put, easier to solve problems when you know the person you are working with. however, no labels breaks down
barriers and builds trust between members that is necessary to solve problems. many of the fiscal problems we face today developed over many decades. fixing these problems will take steady, committed work. no, we won't agree on everything, but i'm optimistic because more and more leaders are focused on problem solving rather than partisanship. i have seen more partisanship in this congress than many in recent memory. in fact, i have seen an overwhelming amount of bills introduced by no labels members. we must urge and support our leaders to go big to solve the fiscal issues we face. we must push for a grand bargain. we need long-term solutions, not short-term political gimmicks. unfortunately, a number of scandals have contributed to one of the biggest problems our country faces, a lack of trust in government. the public sees their leaders
focusing on beltway intrigue rather than pragmatic solutions. mr. speaker, that is why i invite more of my colleagues to work together to solve problems and to restore the trust of the american people. there's no ideological litmus test to join this group. what is required is a willingness to respect one another and work together to solve problems. no labels is doing just that, fix, not fight. i yield the balance of my time. mr. ribble: i thank the gentleman for yielding and i thank you for your comments. i would like to yield two minutes of time to a very good friend of mine, the the mr. eman from oregon schrader. mr. schrader: i thank the gentleman. come watch and how a real committee should work in the
congress of the united states. people give and take. and the process moves forward. i would like to echo my friends and colleagues' comments. the problem solvers' caucus is a movement that has been going on for several years. late last year, no labels approached a number of us to get together where we were truly interested in solving problems of the the thing that got our attention, it wasn't giving up who you were or giving up your philosophy, we have extreme right members, extreme left members and sentist or squishy people in the middle. but what we are about are solving problems. not dealing with the differences that we have, dealing with all these one-off issues that our constituents don't send us to congress to deal with, but we are dealing with the g.a.o.,
which sends us information about every year that things that we should be addressing. the no labels group is starting to pick those things up. as the gentleman from florida talked about, there are a number of issues upon which we can agree. the mark of a true statesman is not focusing on what you disagree on with your colleagues, but what you can agree on. that and some of the bigger issues, the no labels group will be attacking, we will look at some of the reforms in the process. i alluded to the ag committee, there are ways to make america proud and as we have heard so far, restore faith in your government once again and i yield back. mr. ribble: i thank the gentleman for yielding. it was interesting when i first came here, how few places where both parties could get together and talk about issues. it didn't exist. and those of us that have decided to get together and talk, we have never asked anyone
to lay down their own personal beliefs or ideologies, but we asked them to speak about them and to encourage others and to most importantly listen to each other and to try to learn why we believe what we believe. so thank you very much. and i would like to introduce and yield two minutes of time to the gentleman from colorado, mr. coffman. mr. coffman: mr. speaker, i wan mr. coffman: i want to join my colleagues to set aside partisanship wherever possible and seek the solutions our country needs. as i meet with constituents across colorado's sixth congressional district, i could be stantly hear the refrain, what is congress doing to help our country? the people of aurora, colorado, and the surrounding communities
in my district want to know what is being done to fix the economy, to generate jobs, to care for our veterans and to defend our nation. they don't ask about the current beltway infighting. they want to know what is being done about our debt. to help with their children's schools. i'm glad to stand here today and repeat the message that members of congress need to put aside partisan agendas and seek solutions together. mr. speaker, i yield back. mr. ribble: i thank the gentleman for yielding. and i'd now like to yield two minutes' time to the gentleman from new york, mr. maloney. mr. maloney: well, thank you, mr. speaker. i want to join my colleagues in commending the terrific work of the no labels group. i, like others, came to congress not to fight but to fix problems. and i've always thought that there's so much work to do, if
we just start working -- working on the things we agree about, we'll all be tired at the end of the day, we won't have time to fight. and it's with that spirit that we've approached our work, many of us that are new to the congress, and i think we're seeing results. the last congress, the last congress was content to have an argument about a farm bill and as my colleague noted, we're working in a bipartisan way to bring one to the floor and to get results for the american people. the last congress was content to give us the sequester, but a bunch of us working across the aisle in this congress are more interested in recommend remming the nonpartisan -- in implementing the nonpartisan recommend rations of the g.a.o. to cut government waste that we agree shouldn't be there. we've agreed on things like no budget, no pay. we've agreed on things in a bipartisan way like the violence against women act. these are delivering real results for real families. i represent the hudson valley of new york and i'm proud to say that we've got one of the largest chapters of the no-labels group in westchester. i didn't come here to be part of the red team or the blue
team. i didn't come here to fight. i came here to find solutions and to get results for my constituents and the people who pay the bills, the taxpayers, and i'm encouraged and delighted that there are so many friends across the aisle in the republican party who want to do the same thing. i think if we can get more of our colleagues to join us, we can create a real movement in this congress and we can start a new day. it may be too soon to say that we've turned the corner, but i believe week of made an important start. and i'm committed to continuing to work across the aisle to get results. and i yield back. mr. ribble: that's encouraging to all of us. i appreciate your comments and now i yield two minutes to the gentleman from michigan, mr. entivolio. mr. bentvolio: mr. speaker, i would like to echo what my friend, congressman ribble, said a moment ago. the people of southeastern michigan sent me here to solve the problems affecting our
great nation. the problem solvers coalition gives us a chance to break the partisan gridlock by bringing democrats and republicans together to focus on good governance. our coalition meets regularly. to find commonsense solutions because washington's inability to work together has put the future of our children and grandchildren in jeopardy. more than two centuries ago, members of the first congress were summoned to uphold and defend the constitution. the proudest post then in the civilized world was i am an american. today we must ensure that being an american makes you the envy of the world. i recognize that we all have different viewpoints. i understand that this is a contentious time in congress. different view points clash, sometimes rightfully so. however, i do think that there is one goal that everyone here has. to hand the next generation a
country that is in better condition than when we found it. we must strive valiantly and we must dare greatly to solve problems here in washington by working together to find common ground. we all have been here to -- been sent here to serve the people and i ask my colleagues to join the problem solvers coalition and to start doing the work of the people. thank you and god bless you. i yield the balance of my time. mr. ribble: i thank the gentleman for yielding. thank you for your comments. and now i'd like to yield two minutes to the gentleman from utah, mr. math son. -- matheson. mr. matheson: i thank my colleague for yielding. and it's a pleasure to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to discuss no labels. i think one thing that hasn't been mentioned yet tonight is the fact that it's about no labels. we're going to get away from democrat, republican. liberal, conservative. this is about bringing people together, to try to reach consensus and solve problems.
because when you really think about it, our political dialogue in this country has been reduced too often to this notion where there are only two points of view. only two ways to look at an issue. and all democrats think one way, all republicans think the other and there's no other way to look at an issue. as we all know, life generally is not that simple and it's important for us to constructively come together in a way where we act as representatives. because our system of government is not a parliamentary system. we're just two points of view to be discussed. our system of government is a representative system of government. we have 435 people in the house of representatives who all can bring a point of view to the table. to try to solve problems and make progress. that's why i'm pleased to be associated and participating with the no-labels group. i'm pleased that across the country people are signing up to join a citizen activist for no labels as well. it tells you where the country wants us to go as an institution. no more bickering, no more
playing the blame game. let's silt down and try to work to get to get things done. i yield back. mr. ribble: i thank the gentleman for yielding and i'd like to yield two minutes to the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. fitzpatrick. mr. fitzpatrick: i thank my friend for yielding. the one thing i hear more than anything else when i travel back home to pennsylvania is the frustration with washington and the massive divide that they see, that prevents us from solving real problems. from solving american problems. and as i've heard from my colleagues here tonight, that feeling is not limited to my communities and counties. it doesn't take much to see that our nation is facing some pretty serious problems. and it's long been clear to me that we need lawmakers to come together and put aside politics and do what we were elected to do. which is to solve problems. i served as a local official back home in pennsylvania on a bipartisan board. it didn't take long to figure
out that there was no republican way or democrat way to fix a bridge. or to care for an abused or abandoned or neglected child. it was just the right way to do it. so now as a member of the no-labels problem solvers, i'm proud to be part of the solution and to enthusiastically subscribe to our motto which is stop fighting and start fixing. once we cross so the called political divide and talk to each other, we readily find common ground, balance and ultimately solutions. i was proud to be an early proponent of the no-labels initiative, no budget, no pay, which passed the house recently. and yielded real results. the first budget resolution from the senate in four years. recently i wrote an editorial piece with my colleague, representative bustos, that highlighted the importance of bipartisan problem solving to address wasteful government spending and advance commonsense legislation that we can all agree on. we must restore faith in ourect. the public's trust has been
shaken. and rightly so. as we've seen lately, partisan politics tarnishes everything from national security to tax enforcement. no longer afford partisan politics as usual. so we're here to be problem solvers. going forward to get something done for the good of the people and there's no time to waste. i yield back. mr. ribble: indeed. there's no time to waste. i yield two minutes to the gentlelady from illinois, mrs. bustos. mrs. bustos: thank you to the gentleman from wisconsin. far too often people tend to focus on our differences instead of what brings us together. despite what we all may hear, common ground does exist among lawmakers from opposing sides. although the group we call no -labels is made up of democrats and republicans, what unites the 68 of us making up this group is the idea that we can and should gets done in washington. the people of each of our
regions in the united states sents us to the nation's capitol not to position and posture, but to use common sense and compromise to move our country forward. that is why i joined the bipartisan no-labels group and have been identified as a congressional problem solver. no labels is the only bipartisan, bicameral group in congress. and is made up of liberals, moderates, conservatives, the left, the right, and the middle coming together. while we surely don't agree on every issue, there are plenty of areas where we can find to achieve results for the people who we represent. let me just share a recent example. i'm a member of the house ag committee. and last week we completed an exercise in bipartisanship by working together to pass by a large margin a five-year farm bill. the republican chairman, frank lucas, and the democratic ranking member, clin peterson, and the entire -- collin
peterson, and the entire committee was civil, accommodating and worked well together. it was refreshing. in fact, nine of my fellow congressional problem solvers of both democrat and republican sides are on the ag committee with me. although we didn't agree on every aspect of the bill, and i believe there's there still is room for improvement, we all come from different regions of the country where people expect their elected officials to put politics aside and do their job. period. last year congress wasn't able to get its act together and pass a five-year farm bill. so instead had to resort to a short-term extension that expires in a matter of months. i'm hopeful that this year will be different. the family farmers i talk with back home in illinois want security, and stability that comes with a five-year farm bill. so they can plan for the future and look at their growth and investments and continue to provide food for our nation that the world also depends on. if we approached more issues in a bipartisan basis like we did on the ag committee, and like
we do in no-labels, congress would be more productive and the american people would be better off. i'm committed to working with my no-labels colleagues to achieve this goal of bipartisanship and urge all members of congress to join us in this pursuit. thank you and i yield back. mr. ribble: i thank jeament for yielding and i'd like -- the gentlelady for yielding and i'd like to yield three minutes to mr. dent. mr. dent: thank you, mr. ribble. and thank you, mr. chairman, for allowing me to address the house tonight regarding the problem solvers group. i too was a proud member of this group. a group of republicans and democrats who i think have really one thing in common more than anything else. it's a group of members of congress who believe we have an affirmative obligation to govern. that is, we're trying to find out way to get to yes on some of the big issues of the day because the problems are huge. clearly when the country sees a lot of the mindless bickering and fighting that goes on here, it does not inspire confidence. it certainly does contribute to
greater uncertainty. and while nobody here is checking their ideologies and their philosophies at the door, people understand that we must be practical and pragmatic at times and to try to find a solution to a common problem that. doesn't mean we'll always get to a solution. sometimes we will and sometimes we don't. but it's important that we try. i think that's what this group is about. trying to find solutions to the big problems of the day, not running away from them, not hiding, not each side running to their safe camp and ignoring the problem and hoping that somebody else on a later day will deal with it. what i'm proud about most of this group is that many of these members are demonstrated political courage on both sides of the aisle. and have stood up time and again to try to do the right thing for the good of the country. like everybody else here, too, i hear from my constituents, my constituents are very much alarmed by what they're seeing happening in washington. they think that no one likes
each other and no one get as i long but worst of all that no one's trying, no one's trying to solve the great problems of the day. and i'm really pleased this has been mentioned previously that this problem solvers group first issue out of the box for us was no budget, no pay. an idea that originated with this organization. and sure enough, within a fairly short order, it became law. it's a step, it's an important step. and i'm proud that this group is part of it. i know over time and the near future, this organization will be coming up with more ideas, that we can present to the american people in a way that i think they will find very helpful and very useful. so again, i just want to again commend my colleagues here on both sides of the aisle, hean of whom i call friends, they're all friends. we're really trying to do the right thing had. i just want to say thank you and commend the efforts and we need more of this, not less of it. thank you and i yield back. mr. ribble: i thank the gentleman for yielding. it's a privilege of mine to yield to my friend from georgia three minutes' time, mr. barrow.
mr. barrow: the that -- i thank the gentleman from wisconsin for his time and his leadership. i want to echo what my good friend, congressman dent, just said. but i want to make an additional point. the folks in georgia sent me to washington to help get things done. not get called up and scoring political points. they're fed up with the hyperpartisanship in congress and that's why i've joined this group. the scandals of the i.r.s. and the justice department contribute to one of the biggest problems in our country right now. americans don't trust their government to do the right thing. the goal of this group is to strengthen. break the gridlock and get democrats and republicans getting things done in congress. we don't think compromise is a dirty word. washington's refusal to respect with one with anr