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tv   House Session Part 2  CSPAN  February 14, 2017 2:15pm-7:54pm EST

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remain silent. house foreign affairs democrats are not going to remain silent. this isn't about politics. this is about grappling with the real threat to our security and our democracy. thank you very much. and now it's my pleasure to introduce richard neal, the ranking member of the committee. mr. neal: thanks. we're about to undertake the most comprehensive tax reform plan that congress has witnessed since 1986. before the internet was invented. and during the course of the campaign president trump noted, and remember -- >> oot house gaveling back in now. we leave this to take you live to the floor. questions previous votes will be taken in the following order. ordering the previous question on h.r. -- h.res. 99.
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adoption of h.res. 99, if ordered. ordering the previous question on h.res. 116. and adoption of h.res. 116, if ordered. the first electronic vote will be conducted as a 15-minute vote. remaining electronic votes will be conducted as five-minute votes. the unfinished business is the vote on ordering the previous question on house resolution 99 on which the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will report the title of the resolution. the clerk: house calendar number 10, house resolution 99, resolution providing for consideration of the bill h.r. 428, to serve a degrade yent -- boundary a gradient along the red river in the states of oklahoma and texas, and for other purposes. h.res. 42, disapproving the
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rule submitted by the department of labor relating to drug testing of unemployment compensation application. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on ordering the previous question. members will record their votes by electronic device. this will be 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 representatives.]
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h.res. 99
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 225. the nays are 189. the previous question is ordered. the question is on the adoption of the resolution. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the yes have it. mr. hastings: a recorded vote. the chair: the gentleman requests a recorded vote. those in favor of a recorded vote will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes y 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 representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 225. the nays are 187. the resolution is adopted. without objection, a motion to reconsider is laid on the table.
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the unfinished business is the vote on ordering the previous question on house resolution 116 on which the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will report the title of the resolution. the clerk: house calendar number 11, house resolution 116, resolution providing for consideration of the joint resolution, house joint resolution 66, disapproving the rules submitted by the department of labor relating to savings arrangements established by states for nongovernmental employees. and providing for consideration of the joint resolution, house joint resolution 67, disapproving the rules submitted by the department of labor relating to savings arrangements established by -- fied states, political state political subdivisions for nongovernmental employees.
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the speaker pro tempore: the members will record their votes by electronic device. this will be 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 representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 227. the nays are 188. the previous question is ordered.
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the question is on adoption of the resolution. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair the ayes have it. the gentleman is recognized. mr. mcgovern: on that i ask for a recorded vote. the speaker pro tempore: a recorded vote is requested. those in favor of a vorded vote will rise -- of a recorded vote will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is 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 representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 227, the nays are 188. the resolution is adopted. without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table.
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the speaker pro tempore: the ouse will be in order.
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member and staff will take their conversations from the floor -- members and staff will take their conversations from the floor. for what purpose does the gentleman from utah seek recognition? mr. bishop: mr. chairman, it's going to be hard calling you mr. speaker. but, mr. speaker, pursuant to house resolution 99, i call up h.r. 428, the red river gradient boundary survey act, and also ask for its immediate consideration. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 42, a bill to survey the gradient boundary along the red river in the states of oklahoma and texas, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to house resolution 99, the gentleman from utah, mr. bishop, and jovement hawaii, ms. hanabusa, -- and the gentlewoman from hawaii, ms. hanabusa, each will control
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30 minutes. the gentleman will withhold. the house will be in order. members and staff will leave the chamber to carry on conversations. the gentleman from utah. mr. bishop: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and insert extraneous material on h.r. 428. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. bishop: mr. speaker, i'd like to introduce this by yielding to the sponsor of this piece of legislation for five minutes, mr. thornberry of texas. mr. speaker, the house is not in order. the speaker pro tempore: the entleman is correct.
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members and staff will please take conversations from the floor. the gentleman is recognized. mr. bishop: now i yield five minutes to the gentleman from texas. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. thornberry: thank you, mr. speaker. and, first, let me thank chairman bishop not only for yielding me the time but for his patience and diligence into understanding this issue and i also want to thank subcommittee chairman mcclintock for the work that he has put into it. the resources committee has conducted hearings on this
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issue. they have reported out bills related to this issue in the last two congresses. and last congress the whole house voted for a bill that deals with this issue. and so i'm grateful to chairman bishop, subcommittee chairman collin tock, for all of that -- mcclintock, for all of that effort. mr. speaker, this bill is just a small sliver what have this house has passed before. this bill requires the federal government to do what the federal government should have ago.long and that is to conduct a survey along the red river following the instructions of the united states supreme court and that's all this bill does. it does not dispose of any land, it does not alter the riots or claims -- rights or claims of any state, any tribe, any individual. it just says the federal government has a responsibility to know what the federal
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government is supposed to be controlling. they have never, ever conducted a survey of this area. so this bill says, you will have a survey conducted using the method that the united states supreme court has repeatedly held as a method you ought to use. i'm a little taken aback, mr. speaker, on why that should be controversial. we could go on at some length about how this came to be and it's interesting historically and we could go into a variety of details and so forth. but again, the bottom line is, the federal law currently says the federal government has a responsibility to inventory and ascertain where federal land is. and yet the bureau of land management not only has never done it in close to 100 years after the supreme court, the bureau of land management has said they never intend to. they will never conduct a survey of this 116-mile area.
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so this bill, as i say, is very simple. it says the bureau of land management shall commission a survey jointly agreed upon by texas and oklahoma, tribal and other interests, a full part of that, but there will once and for all be a survey to determine where the federal claim is and where the federal claim is not. part of the reason that's so important is because the bureau of land management has, sperblingy in 2013, come -- especially in 2013, come out and made a variety of claims that has flown doubt the proper title and ownership of land that has been in families for generations. that people have paid taxes on for generations. that has put a cloud on title of private landowners, and it does not help that cloud when the bureau of land management says, we will never conduct a survey to determine exactly where the claim is.
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so everyone, mr. speaker, every state, every tribe, every local government, every individual, even the federal government and the b.l.m. it -- itself deserves to know where the claims rightfully are. and where the claims are rightfully not. first step is information. that's all this bill does. i think it's pretty clear that we should at least take this step. and i yield back to the chairman in any remaining time i have -- chairman any remaining time i have. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from utah retains his time. the gentlelady from hawaii. ms. hanabusa: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. hanabusa: thank you. mr. speaker, federal ownership of the land along the red river dates back to the louisiana purchase. ver over time, gradual changes in the course of the river have
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created uncertainty regarding federal interest in the area, as well as confusion about the exact boundary between texas and oklahoma. further complicating matters, native american tribes have mineral and other interests in the area impacted by the precise ownership of the land in question. in fact, as noted in the supreme court case of oklahoma v. texas, a 1923 case, the decision was the boundaries will change due to erosion. it is important to note that the gentleman from texas does not dispute the criteria set forth by supreme court in oklahoma v. texas. moreover in 2000, congress passed the red river boundary compact, which shifted the boundary line between the states, but the location and status of lands in the public domain remain unchanged. along the 116-mile stretch, a portion of the land in the red river area is still under
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federal ownership, because it has never been disposed of under the authority of congress. in 2013, the bureau of land management set out to revise the federal resource management plan for federal lands. not private lands. federal lands in oklahoma, kansas and texas. as part of that process, the b.l.m. began to survey the lands to determine the extent of all ownership claims. according to the 2014 testimony from the deputy director of ellis, the survey process, the -- the survey process the b.l.m. intends to certify with management alternatives for lands which fall within the public domain, but have never been patented, reserved or disposed. according to that same testimony, the b.l.m. estimates that approximately 30,000 acres of public land exists along the red river between the north fork of the river and the 98th
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mir edian. they also -- meridian. they also estimate that those acres may be overlaid by private ownership interests. one of the most significant and advantageous parts about the process for updating land use plans is that it includes steps along the way that allow for public input, analysis and informed decision making. once the survey is complete, the b.l.m. has a variety of statutory authorities the agency can use to resolve conflicting claims, including the federal land policy and management act and the color of title act. h.r. 428, the bill before us today, has a troubled history. flaws in the bill are preventing it from becoming law for several years. some of those shortcomings have been addressed, but others remain. h.r. 428 would halt the planning and survey process in its tracks. the bill, which stripped the bureau of land management of its survey authority along the
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116-mile stretch of the red river, it would force the federal government to accept the survey completed by the states of texas and oklahoma. prohibiting the federal government from surveying its own land is unprecedented and unwarranted. what is also troubling is that in stark violation of the republican policy against authorizations without an offset, this legislation authorizes expenditure of $1 million in federal funding to pay the states to complete the survey. it is important to note that allowing state governments to dictate the outcome of this process is a terrible precedent and forcing the american taxpayers to pay the states for those surveys adds insult to injury. this case is currently -- parts of this case are currently in the federal court of the northern part of texas. the parties include the state of texas b.l.m. and plaintiff landowners and they are in
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mediation, working to resolve these very complicated issues. he nature of that lawsuit is a quiet title action. i'd like to submit for the record a minute order dated tuesday, january 10, 2017, at the bottom of the order it reads in relevant party, -- part, case did not settle but parties continue to work on settlement. court will continue to monitor and assist mediation efforts. . this bill would undermine the progress of the judicial branch and prohibits the federal government from surveying its own land and would force the american taxpayers to pay the states for these surveys, shifting this authority as we said earlier, unprecedented and would cause more confusion. we should allow the parties to resolve this project and congress should stay out of it. what is struggling, the bill that is being proposed is something that brings the
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parties together. this mediation is doing that. and more importantly, when you look at the bill itself, the question has to be asked, where is interior, where is the b.l.m. and let us not forget, it is the interior that has the fiduciary duty to the tribe. the question really is can or should congress abdicate its obligation, fiduciary obligation, that's owed to the tribes by doing this service. not warrant consideration. we have more important issues facing this nation. and this bill is a a waste of our valuable time and taxpayer dollars. i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves. mr. bishop. mr. bishop: i recognize the
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gentleman from california, chairman of the subcommittee that deals with this area on federal lands, mr. mcclintock for five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. mcclintock: i would like to thank congressman thornberry working through three congressional sessions to do justice to the property owners along the red river. the injustice that this bill corrects is gone. in 1923, u.s. supreme court established rules for determining the boundary between texas and oklahoma, which established property rights over this land. for nearly a century, the federal government recognized and respected the property lines established by this ruling. property owners purchased and sold this land and in some cases passed it down from generation to generation. these property owners in good faith paid taxes on their lands year after year, invested in these lands, maintained them, cultivated them and improved
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them. nearly 100 years later in 2013, the bureau of land management announced that it was ash temporarily changing these long established and federal boundaries and claiming ownership of 90,000 acres of land. this claim clouds property rights along this vast territory. eft ased on the interimy of pretexts. 6,000 acres out of the total 90,000 in dispute. this survey ignored the 1923 decree and then extrapolated the results of the limited survey to justify this land grab over the entire region. in other words, b.l.m. laid claim to these lands with a guess based upon a fraud.
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b.l.m. has since scaled its claim, and the flimsy process which upended the lives of every property owner in the region. the red river private property protection act tells the b.l.m. to back off and authorizes a comprehensive survey of all of the disputed acreage to be conducted jointly by the two states directly affected in consultation with the tribal governments involved. it requires the survey be conducted on on the criteria established by the supreme court rather than the recent and illegal invention of the b.l.m. upon the completion of the survey the states of texas and oklahoma in coordination with federally recognized indian tribes will review and approve the survey to ensure its accuracy and impartiality. without this act title to homes and farms will be clouded while the matter drags on through the
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courts. that is the course that the gentlelady suggests we follow. drag this on for years if not decades while these property owners languish in jurn certainty. the assertion of regulatory jurisdiction would have devastating impacts on local homeowners and businesses and make it much more difficult to encourage economic development in the region. this measures a scaled-down version in order to address concerns expressed by the american indian nations involved. mr. speaker, government exists to protect our natural rights, including our property rights. and this bill realliance it with the stated purpose and its stated promise. i urge speedy adoption. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: mr. bishop reserves. the gentlelady is recognized. ms. hanabusa: i yield myself such time as i may consume.
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mr. speaker, i think it's very important for us, though they made light of the fact that this has a history going back to the louisiana purchase, this is not a new issue. there are a series of subsequent treatees in 1819, 1828 and 1838 which set the south bank of the river and the northern border. in 1867 when a portion of the public domain was reserved for the tribes, the reservation and the middle of the main channel of the river between the 98 meridian and the north fork of the river was established as the southern boundary, the remaining land which is called the median line on the southern bank retained its status as public land which continues to the present. a series of decisions in the 1920's, the u.s. supreme court adopted the gradient boundary
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method for determining the boundary between texas and oklahoma on the southern bank of the river and giving certainty and the extent of tribal holdings, the court's decision had a basis for land ownership on each side of the river. in 1981 and 1984, two separate oklahoma land owners argued that under reparian law, changes in the river's location had expanded their private holdings while reducing the land whose property faced them across the river. in both cases, the district court followed the principle concerning the location of public and private lands. private property in oklahoma extended to the center of the river. while private property in texas stopped at the ordinary high water mark on the southern bank with the remaining land being part of the original public domain located in oklahoma.
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in 2000, the state legislature of oklahoma and texas along with tribal leaders from the neighboring k.c.a. tribe and other nations attempted to resolve these remaining issues by agreeing to the compact. congress consented to the compact and in so doing agreed to move the jurisdictional boundary from the states from the south gradient line to the south bank vegetablestation line. it upgraded its plan in kansas, oklahoma and texas, which includes the property along the red river in 2013. the b.l.m. doesn't know the full extent of public domain and trying to do the survey and the planning process will update the current r.m.p.'s covering this area which were developed in 1994 and 1996 and established a long-term plan articulating the objectives and strategies for maintaining the health and
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productivity of public lands in the region. as you discussed earlier, in 1923, the united states supreme court also interjected into this the criteria. we can disagree on the issues. some of these issues, but we can at least agree to get our facts straight. and we do know, we do know, mr. speaker, this has been anon going process and this is gone back for different administrations. you know, i think the question becomes why is it necessary to do this now? what is it that's happening now? they're in court. they have availed themselves of the court process. no one disagrees with the united states supreme court decision. so the question we should all ask ourselves, why now. and why take out in this bill my amendment that was rejected by
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the rules committee would have eliminated that portion which says basically the federal government has no say in the survey. so why we abdicate that major responsibility? we not only have responsibility to the tribes, the tribes listed, but there are all different kinds of tribal lands which we must take account. so the question is why abdicate it. if as was stated earlier that what we're talking about is just a bill that says to b.l.m., do the survey, then why does it contain within it a statement that says it has no right to concur or to approve. i think that it would be a different situation if this was a bill that said, hurry up and do your survey, but that's not what this bill says. this bill says the states of texas and oklahoma will do it in
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consultation with oklahoma and specific tribes. why doesn't it say what we wanted in the survey, that b.l.m. do the survey? i reserve the remainder of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves her time. mr. bishop. mr. bishop: i'm pleased to yield four minutes to another one of our chairmen of our committee, who is a chairman of our subcommittees. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. >> when we swear to uphold an oath to our country and to our states, a lot goes with that responsibility. mr. lamalfa: and we have a very sacred covenant in protecting private property rights, the cornstone of this nation. to see after decades and even centuries of people feeling secure in their property and
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their land, that one government agency can come along and defile two entire states in the process they used, the gradient boundary survey method, in this case along the red river between texas and oklahoma, how can you have one rogue federal agency saying we supersede what these two states and decades and decades of tradition and security that these families had here. it's completely long. h.r. 428 would send the right signal and give certainty back to these families who we are talking about a court process. private parties to have to go to a court, it's not the same as a government with endless resources and time to slog through courts in eight years. this is a lot of wear and tear on families when their long-time traditions are in question here. i go back to a case some years
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ago, where the keogh versus new london decision where the government could take property if it was benefit to the government. in that case, there might be compensation for having your land taken. that won't happen here. they are a mile off in some of their surveys where they think, the b.l.m. believes the landline is. the true border needs to be respectful in texas and oklahoma, and in their process in this property right discussion. indeed, eight-year long nightmare. imagine what this does to families. happens in my district as well when regulatoryors come in and decide to change their water rights. people, when they are going through this legal process, it's painful for them. h.r. 428 is on very important
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method of doing through the gradient boundary survey, a fair way one that is recognized as the correct way to survey and finally put this issue to rest after many, many more years than it should have been. private property rights are the cornstone of why this country was founded. why do we continue to do this to the families that in good faith paid taxes, made their land payments and been part of the fiber of texas and oklahoma around the red river. instead of confusion, let's give them certainty. i urge support of h.r. 428 and go to a survey method that is fair and recognized by two states, not by one federal agency that wishes to override that process. mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: mr. bishop reserves. the gentlelady from hawaii.
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ms. hanabusa: i yield myself such time. it is interesting because we seem to be confusing what is at issue here. if what is at issue here is a survey process, then there's no question, the survey process is set up in the united states supreme court decision of oklahoma versus texas. no one dispute that that should be it. neither is it disputed that b.l.m. cannot illegally claim private property, and in fact, it does have a process by which it can sell that private property. . it may sell public lands for market value if through the planning process the public land has been determined to be difficult and uneconomic to manage, the land was acquired for a specific purpose but no longer fulfills the federal purpose, or disposal may serve important public objectives
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which cannot be achieved prudently on land other than public land. flpm, ction 206 of the a, they can also conduct land exchanges of equal value with the same state so long as the public interest is well served. the reason why, mr. speaker, there is a compact of 2,000 on this specific issue is because the states can't do it without the concurrence of congress. and what is being proposed here in terms of the survey is really using a federal standard. again, the question is, why? more importantly, mr. speaker, there are tribal lands involved, not only the tribes noted, but also different types of tribal lands. private tribal lands, different from that which is held in trust. by the secretary of interior, and we are abdicating that
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responsibility. we have a fiduciary duty to these tribal lands, and it should not be treated basically, well, if we don't agree, maybe we can come forward and say we don't agree. that's not what this is about. they're beginning the process, they're in mediation. the courts have been the mechanism by which landowners have used. and there is one going on. so why not let the process go? it just seems to be out of congress' authority to simply abdicate the responsibilities that we have and say the states can do it. and then we pay for it. that makes no sense. we need to be able to say to those that we have a fiduciary obligation to and others that we have done our job. that the federal government has done its job. they're in the process. so the question i have again is -- again is, why, why now? why now? this has been going on since
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way -- i read through all the different treaties and the different types of cases that came up. 1923. v. texas. so why now? i reserve the remainder of my time, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves the balance of her time. mr. bishop. mr. bishop: i'm pleased to yield -- i'm pleased to yield five minutes to the gentleman from texas, who understands this, as coming from that state, and also serves as the vice chairman of the entire resource committee, mr. gohmert, for five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. gohmert: thank you, mr. speaker. i'm grateful to the chairman of our committee and i appreciate the question from my colleague across the aisle, why now? and the answer to the question why now is that this government, this federal government, has not done its job, this congress has not done
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ts job in complying with the aspirations of the constitution. when you have disagreement between documents, as we did between the louisiana purchase on the south border of the red river, and oklahoma going to the middle of the red river, and of course the red river changes as time goes on, then the federal government should have long since have stepped in and said, here is the land we're talking about. here is the -- where the borders will actually go. and i'm amazed at times, we talk in terms of agencies, s as if f department they're some independent country that deserves a place at the united nations, making policies, and making executive
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decisions all their own. these people work for us. and the bureau of land management does have some folks that don't understand that. they think they're an entity unto themselves and they make policy. well, that's not what the constitution set up. in fact, the constitution in the preamble, as my friends know, we the people of the united states, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, that's what this bill is trying to do. now, last congress, my friend mac thornberry, had a bill that went ahead and took care of the issue once and for all, and it was going to, you know, sell the land that dispute could be over. but since friends in the senate did not -- were not able to come to a conclusion, they still just could not figure out what an appropriate disposition was, then my friend, mr.
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thornberry, has come back with is bill and it is consistent with what every good parent will tell the child. before you make a decision, gather all the evidence and information you can, then make a more educated and informed decision. that's all this bill does, mr. speaker. it says, we're going to do a survey now, we're going to figure out what land we're talking about, and since the b.l.m. has said, we're not even going to survey that land, we're going to leave it in dispute, we're not going to establish justice, we're going to worry about just us at the b.l.m., we're not going to ensure domestic tranquility, we're going to create chaos, because that's -- when we create chaos, then we benefit, we get more land, we put people in jail, well, this is a simple bill, for heaven's sakes. it says, we're going to do a survey, we're going to see what we got, that's all the bill does. why now?
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exactly. that's a great question. this should have been done 100 years ago or more than 100 years ago. it wasn't. so it's time to do it now. and ensure domestic tranquility. so all of the parties involved, not the b.l.m., they're not a party, but the federal government, the government of oklahoma and the government of texas, and all the owners involved, can once and for all have domestic tranquility. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: mr. bishop reserves. the gentlelady from hawaii. ms. hanabusa: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself as much time as i may consume. i respectfully disagree. in the year 2000, when the red river compact was approved by congress, and because of the nature of a compact, and because of the requirements of our united states constitution, which i know my colleagues abide by, it's a different
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situation. this could have been addressed if they wanted it addressed. but that's not what was done. it's not over 100 years. we have intervening facts. like the compact of 2000, which afforded congress the opportunity to look at this. and the states, more importantly, the opportunity to decide. and what did they do? they disagreed on the high water mark. the high water mark. they did not go in to these specific issues and i'm sure, it's not something that occurred within the last 17 years, this is something that existed all along. so, i call everyone's attention to the compact of 2000. 2130, r's bill, h.r. contained in there the following statements. the secretary disclaims any right title and interest to the land located south of the south bank boundary line in the affected -- affected area.
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it also said, surveys conducted by the bureau of land management before the date of enactment of this act shall have no force or effect in determining the south bank .oundary line so to say that they didn't do anything about what's being done, that's law that was attempted to be passed it, it passed out of the house. the bill that passed out of the house contains in it specific language that they're saying they don't want any of that to apply. mr. speaker, we come back to, i guess why, why? the authority to survey and approve or disapprove the sale or transfer of public lands belongs to the federal government acting on behalf of the american people. the bureau of land management has held the authority to examine the accuracy of these surveys and make revisions when necessary. and in this instance, an ongoing process to make changes
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began in 2013. it's not like nothing has happened. it's been ongoing. the b.l.m. has the dues and authority to resolve this survey problem and congress should get out of the way and allow the process to play out. instead my colleagues across the aisle want to use the situation as an excuse to make progress on their turn logical, alienating public lands. just last week, they voted to repeal the b.l.m.'s efforts to update the resource management planning process. b.l.m.'s new rule increased the opportunities for the public to engage in the management of public lands and helped the agency respond more efficiently to changes taking place in the environment and across the landscape. by repealing b.l.m.'s planning rule, republicans are ensuring that more disputes like red river will zofle. more public land will be -- develop. more lick planned will be lost or de-- public land will be lost or destroyed.
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mr. speaker, when we talk about h.r. 428, it is just the latest step in a very unpopular nti-public lands campaign. americans across the country have equal ownership and right to access and to enjoy all the resources, whether it's national park in montana, a national park in hawaii that has a volcano, forest lands in pennsylvania, or wetlands in colorado, the opportunities afforded through these resources belong to us all. regardless of hometown education, means or -- hometown, education, means or experience. despite the fact that we're talking about a 116-mile stretch of the red river by cutting away at the authority and management tools federal agencies have at their disposal, this bill furthers my colleagues' across the aisle -- my colleagues across the
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aisle's public agenda and threatens the multiple use principles that govern all b.l.m. lands, all while costing the taxpayers the money. it's like adding insult to injury. not only do we pass a law, we are also paying the states to do the survey. mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves the balance of her time. mr. bishop. mr. bishop: i'm reserving. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentlelady. ms. hanabusa: mr. speaker, i have no other speakers other than myself. so i will now conclude. can you tell me, mr. speaker, how much time i have left? the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady has 11 1/2 minutes. ms. hanabusa: thank you. mr. speaker, i want to conclude by acknowledging that i have read all of the various
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statements and the cases about the property owners along the red river. i do understand providing them with certainty and insurance that their property rights are not threatened is a goal that many share. however, it would be unprecedented and would only further complicate matters to transfer the federal survey authority over public domain to the states. this is not the way our public lands should be managed. there is a transparent objective process to determine ownership along the red river. this bill subverts that process and sends $1 million in federal taxpayer money for a state purpose. this is neither fair, nor a just outcome. with a long, complicated history and various ownership claims along the red river, b.l.m. has to be allowed to complete its planning process and learn land survey. also needs, it also needs
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the right to have a say, which his bill, h.r. 428, eliminates that right. congress should not determine the outcome of what essentially amounts to a three-way property dispute by conceding federal authority to a state. b.l.m. has the tools it needs. we just need to get out of the way and let them do their work. which they've been trying to do over the years and we do know 2013 has begun the process. i urge my colleagues to reject the bill, mr. speaker, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. mr. bishop. mr. bishop: mr. speaker, i intend to yield myself as much time as i may consume. which is everything that's left.
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now, in summary of what we have heard today, this situation is a result of a silly and suspect survey that has slapped the citizens with uncertainty and soured them for the security because seizing citizens' sites have taken place. like the question was asked, where is b.l.m.? they started this problem eight years ago and have yet to do anything to try and solve the problem. that's why this bill is here before, because b.l.m. has not done their job. using a poor survey process, they have simply put people who have done nothing wrong in doubt of ownership of their property, which they have had for generations and have been paying taxes for years and yet, in eight long years, b.l.m. hasn't
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solvet the situation to give them the certainty. that's why the private citizens went to court. the only reason it's in court is because these private citizens were frustrated with b.l.m. taking so long that could have taken weeks and now it is eight years in a long process simply because b.l.m. used a flawed survey. instead of using the gradient boundary method which the supreme court suggests, they did something else. they concluded that it 90,000 acres of land on this riverbank which they never had in their history. and later they realize it was an unusual claim and narrowed it down to 30,000 acres. 30,000 of acres that were owned privately and now their land is in limbo and can't do anything
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simply because b.l.m. has refused to do their jobs. it's not just here in texas. louisiana has the exact same problem with the exact same survey problems from the same agency, b.l.m. go to colorado with elkhorn ranch. once again, survey problems done by b.l.m. which claims on private property which are exorbitant and refuses to solve the problem. one of the issues i dealt with, hyde park, the federal government and the forest service, taking claim on land that had been in generations and refused to work with the property owners to solve the problem and that's what has been going on for eight long years and the boundary line between texas and oklahoma. and why are we coming with a bill here, simply because you have to solve the problem. you have to physical the problem
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for people. i have to also say something, the misrepresentation of the b.l.m. planning rules that was presented is a total misrepresentation. when we remove that 2.0 planning rule, we did it because people want to have their voices heard and are eliminated. that's why it has to stop. this type of situation does not happen again. some people have said, this may be an unprecedented concept, actually realization that somebody has to do the situation by allowing oklahoma and texas to pick qualified surveyors do the survey and do the survey and coordinate with the tribe so they come up with a process. that's exactly what should have happened in 2009 and because b.l.m. didn't do it, we are going to bring a bill that actually gets something done.
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this has been supported by the texas and oklahoma farm bureau association, the general land office, texas and southwestern cattle raisers association and the people who live in this area who want to have some kind of conclusion so they can have their property rights. as has been said, what we are doing is unprecedented perhaps. what we are doing is trying to solve the problem to help people. and if it takes an unprecedented action by congress to solve people's problems and let them move on with their lives, then that is the responsibility of congress. we are the ones who establish what the policy should be, not some executive branch, agency of government. it is our responsibility. we are doing exactly what the people expect us to do by saying eight years of unexpected and unanswered questions is far too long. solve the problem and help people so they know what is
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their private property and what is not their private property and they can move on with their lives. if it is unprecedented, it is about time we do something that is unprecedented. and that's why this bill is here and now and coming in the beginning of the session because we cannot wait longer for the b.l.m. to do what they should have done in 2009. now, mr. speaker, i want you to realize we are here on valentine's day. there is nothing special about that, but there is an issue where there has been no love lost. in fact the land owners along this river have been soaked. but deep in the heart of texas -- i know it's a boundary line, but i have to get the heart in there, deep in the heart of texas we are coming forth with a bill that the people who have paid their taxes and lived on these lands for generation is
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not forgotten and b.l.m. has created a crime of the heart with this land grab. chairman thornberry has passionately the interests of his constituents who just want to know the government loves them. that's why this bill is here. that's why it needs to be supported. that's why i urge you to vote yes. and thankfully for all of us, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back his time. all time for debate has expired. pursuant to house resolution 99, the previous question is ordered on this bill. the question is on engrossment and third reading of the bill. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. third reading. the clerk: a bill to survey the gradient boundary along the states of texas and oklahoma. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on passing the bill.
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those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. ms. hanabusa: on that request, 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 yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8, rule 20, further proceedings on this question will be postponed. pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house
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washington journal continues. host: joining us, two republicans to talk about their perspectives on policy and the agendas they hope to achieve. we are joined by mark walker of north carolina, chair of the republican study committee and joined by mark meadows, head of the freedom caucus and a representative of north carolina. thank you for joining us. guest: good to be here. host: we hear the term study committee and freedom caucus. can you tell us what it means to be a part of this body? guest: it is a pleasure to be here. in 1973, the republican study committee was launched, a small caucus to make sure that the principles of people who believe in conservative ideology would be heard. responsibility, making sure that tax reform was part of things that were necessary, to make sure we held our government accountable. the group has fluctuated, but we
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are privileged to be the chair and earn the trust of our colleagues and also do more to talk about the needs of this country and of this government and make sure we put actionable steps into doing something about it. 155 and atween hundred 60 members. host: the freedom caucus, what is that? group of nine of us got together that wanted to talk about policy, but also what -- wanted to try to make sure we voted on a number of issues that millions of americans believe that washington, d.c. had forgotten them, so we established this group to approximately 40 and as we have looked at that, we believe that we brought a voice to moms and dads, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews that are on main street that you like the capital right there does not listen to
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them, so it was more about pushing a conservative agenda that actually promoted job growth and when we look at that, i think the key component of you have two rules in the house freedom caucus. you have to say yes to your leadership and say no to your leadership. veryimes, that can be difficult, but it is all about representing the will of the people. host: for you viewers at home, you can call it ask weston's of these gentlemen on the phone lines. (202)-748-8001, for republicans. (202)-748-8000 for democrats. (202)-748-8002 for independents. will your various groups look the same at any issue in an instance? perhaps, and chairman walker and i are working very hard on the repeal and replacement of the affordable
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care act, as well as tax reform. issues, look at those it is a group of conservatives getting together and the tactics we employed to try to get that accomplished are different, but we are many times of one mind on policy. host: how often does leadership say yes to the various principles you want to propose? work in that is a progress, but there are many things we agree on with concern to the freedom caucus, specifically the areas of fiscal responsibility. the more we are on the same page, moore we are able to get things done for the american people. host: does business leadership agree with you on many issues? what happens when you go to house speaker ryan and the other members of leadership? guest 1: out of our job is to make sure we put our -- we are representing the people. sometimes, leadership is not going to agree with us, but we don't start from adversarial
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position. we are proactive, but we understand there are going to be some disagreements and having to renew her -- having to maneuver is one of our goals. host: a story of politico this morning about both groups that deals with the topic of health care. the house freedom caucus and a number of the republican study somethingwants to see called repeal plus. can you explain what that means? guest 2: chairman walker and i work together to make sure not only repeal, but that we look at a replacement plan. --t happened in our position and our position has been you need to vote on those with two separate vehicles, -- but do those the same day to give some assurance to the american people. the repeal plus plan is all about trying to put in parts of
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the replacement in the tool known as budget reconciliation. it is our concern that it starts to bog down in the details of the replacement, more so than the fact that we made a campaign promise -- president trump made a campaign promise to repeal the affordable care act. it is more of a focused approach on trying to make sure we are good to the american people and fulfill our campaign promise. , repeal andan idea replace are synonymous or does it take place in stages? back to theyou go fall of 2015, in preparing for 2016, the house passed some kind of obamacare repeal. it only repealed six of the 419 provisions. the senate rejected and put some real teeth and repeal in it. we are asking to get back to that baseline to make sure these
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federal mandates. 70% of these members were elected on the republican side on the promises that they would repeal obamacare. we want to make sure we felt those promises. -- we fulfill those promises. host: what do you think should be done? guest 1: we have been on a something.figure out this is a very complex situation and i have sent a couple of times it is like having a couple children. one child goes into one bedroom and destroys the bedroom and you hold that child responsible for fixing everything. there is some kind of repair plus coming out and we want to show urgency to fulfill these promises and make sure that a genuine repeal is on the books in the best place to start is the budget reconciliation that we passed in fiscal year 2016. and in no in a yes
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your book as far as what leadership might say? guest 2: leadership has a different tactic, right now. from my conversations with the upper chamber, and the senate, the plus part becomes very problematic, getting past and -- getting passed, even with a majority. what we are looking at is trying to make sure that we repeal it and actually get that done. president'st on the desk, no less than what we put on president obama's desk just a few months ago. in doing that, if we do that, everyone has taken a vote in the senate and anybody other than just the new freshmen coming in have taken a vote in the house. we need to put that on the president's desk and if we do that, we can focus on the exact terms of the replacement, hopefully the same day. the book -- the first call
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comes from john in pennsylvania, democrats line. caller: hello. i would like to change the subject if i can. in pennsylvania, along with south carolina, we are on the verge of losing our constitutional right of travel. during that was passed president bush's administration will be put into full effect. my son fought in the iraq war. he is disabled. -- to takeable to go into va facilities. i won't be able to go on base with him. we will not be able to fly nine months from now. the citizens of this country in five or six states deserve the conservatives to protect our constitutional rights to either repeal this law or change it.
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the states should have the power to control their own ids, and to allow me to travel freely within the 50 united states. we look at that, one of those laws -- you kind of broke up a bubble that on that question, but from what i understand, it really has to do with immigration more than anything else and the difference in state ids versus some of the others, and the ability to make sure that they are authentic in nature, just from a national security standpoint. move to make sure we have proper ids, but the ability for u.s. senate is -- citizens to move from state to state is not only a constitutional right, but it is something the american people would not put up with.
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it is one of the things that makes us unique as a country, is that freedom of travel and so i would say that not only conservatives -- i don't want to speak for chairman walker, but we are united in the fact that those constitutional rights are something we will stand up and uphold. you willre challenged, find a unified voice in making sure we fight back against this. caller: if you could summarize -- guest 1: if you could summarize the question. host: it was about the freedom of travel between states and concerns about that being limited. guest 1: i have not heard about those concerns. we have an opportunity to represent people from all backgrounds. recently after the executive order, the travel ban was put out, one of the last things we did was meet with a couple of our muslim trinity leaders. we have great relationships and
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it is job -- it is our job to protect their constitutional rights. host: let's go to new orleans, democrats line, joe. caller: good morning. question, i have always wondered what do republicans say middlethey america, working-class people were forgotten, and my thought is, you are saying white folks were forgotten. my thing is, because you are afraid of being in the minority arehe coming year, you afraid of brown people being in the majority, and the other thing is, when are you going to admit and realize that we have a crazy man as president of the united states? when are you going to stand up
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and admit that he does not know what he is doing, and that before you know it, we are going to be at war with somebody. guest 1: thank you for the call. over the years, most of my life, i have been a vocational pastor. we were blessed to work in places like cleveland and new york and baltimore. later this month, we are doing something i don't think has been done before. 67 hbcus chapter presidents to talk about issues concerning people. my wife went to a historical and weommunity college are doing this to make sure we are not just doing the talking, listening. this is something that has been important to us from day one. those are important issues. we talk about middle america,
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there is a mass of people that are working hard each day. they are paying taxes, but they reached a place where they are tired of the political correctness and the over taxation. they are tired of government being involved in the lives, every day. -- in their lives, everyday. this is not just about the presidential election. since 2009, this middle america we are talking about is reduced democratic governors from 28 to 16. states in its which used to be full democratic control, 67 of those partisan legislatures are now republican led. there is a reason why middle america is pushing back against this overreach that is coming to washington, d.c.. it is nothing to do with color or race. you'll find people working hard in every different walk of life. it is something we need to remember. this is not about donald trump selection.
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this is the upheaval we have seen in the last seven or eight years. guest 2: thank you for your call. congress, i am sensitive to the fact that what we need to be, as a nation, is not people of color or white versus brown or anything else. we need to be americans. when he to love our country and support it. when you talk about those middle-class americans that have been forgotten, it is not just there. a lot of people feel like they have been forgotten by washington, d.c. that is why we started our group, to return the power to the people, that actually matter, regardless of color, race or anything else, and make sure that representatives actually represent the will of the people. i know for us, we are very committed and when i look back, i was in normandy and i looked at, on the hill, at stars of
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david and crosses all across the hill on the normandy -- on normandy. it was not about the color of the individual. the only marker of whether it was a christian or a ju was right there, in terms of the markers. we believe the same red blood -- we bleed the same red blood. host: brad in pennsylvania, independent line. caller: good morning. i have a few questions i would like to make. they first point is that government has somehow become absent of the truth. the truth has no variables. my questions for you as public servants is health care a right or a privilege? if you deem it a privilege, that how is it constitutional for you to collect and use tax dollars for health care that you provide
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for each of yourselves and you cannot provide for the rest of the american people? when we talk about our unalienable rights, and those of those rights that cannot be taken away from us. care,e look at health that is not an inalienable right as our founding fathers look at it. a lot of people say will health care is a right and we should have it. i believe it is a privilege. if you go across the globe, you can see the privilege we enjoy in america is very different than the privilege and some of our third world countries that have visited -- that we have visited. it becomes a component, how do we make sure that we provide a safety net for those that are truly in need. we are a compassionate country. when we look at that, it is we as a country
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provide that safety net. at the same time, your point is well taken. when you mandate things, obviously i am for less government control, as we look at that and look more at states rights. it may be more of a libertarian view, but as we start to see that, it is important that we understand that foundation. your point is well taken, but the other part is as we look at that, we can become very myopic. we focus on that, we miss those that are hurting. guest 1: great questions. it is a good foundation as far as understanding how we look at this. i don't consider it a right. with every government program, there is going to be a certain population that benefits. we understand that. you can go throughout our history. for me, it is an issue of spending. if you look at our mandatory spending side, we are on pace to
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be at 80% within a few years. 50 years, it was inverted. our discretionary spending which includes infrastructure, and education was about 27%. those numbers have inverted and at some point, we are simply not going to be able to tax the people enough to pay these bills. debt, webout national can talk about the deficit. at some point, we will not be able to carry all the different expenses that people feel like they are entitled to and we just can't afford. host: from orange, virginia, and a cracked line. -- democrats line. --ler: i am concerned about i did not hear both of you from the caucus and i am a democrat, so i know we have a caucus on the other side. you assist the new people moving into the white house that have no political background?
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how do you help reestablish the dignity and pull them out of the chaos. -- when youtioned say the words the american public, we out here don't know whether you are talking about the conservative side, the liberal side, everybody or had -- how you actually look at that. the secondll take part of your question, first. when we refer to the american public, we believe that individual liberty is good for all committees. what i refer to the american public, i refer to 300 million plus americans. the first part of your question, we want to make sure there is a healthy town. i understand the rhetoric is strong sometimes and maybe even
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over-the-top. i believe whether it is politics, ministry, personal relationships, there should be a decency or town -- or tone. from a personal standpoint, i did not have any political experience when i ran for congress. i spent five or six years in business and finance and 20 years in ministry, but i was concerned with the direction of our country. i don't want to roll out people that necessarily have not spent a career in the political arena to come in to washington, d.c. and impact the allegedly the side or executive sign -- impact the legislative side or executive side. i represent almost 800,000 people in my district. that, even ont
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the campaign trail, i am not talking about the fact that i am republican. i am talking about a core set of principles that should be good for democrats, unaffiliated, republicans. even those that don't vote. i look at the number of people even though i represent 750,000 to 800,000 people, we only had 350,000 people vote. that does not mean the others don't get my representation. it is critically important. how are we preparing this administration? we have been in congress, i am on the oversight committee, we have done a number of reefing books that are going to different agencies where it is a landing book. a landing or beachhead group in each agency that is looking at that transition. from a congressional standpoint,
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giving them other things they can look at, the benefit of oversight hearings that we have had over the last four or five years is a critical component. anytime you ramp up, whether it is this president or the previous president, >>th we have to lee this conversation, the house gaveling back in for votes now. the yeas are ordered. the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 428, a bill to survey the gradient boundary along the red river in the states of oklahoma and texas, nd for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on passage of 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 representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 250 and the nays are 171. the bill is passed. without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. he house will come to order. members will remove their conversations from the floor, clear the well, clear the isles. the house will come to order. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. burgess: mr. speaker, i send to the desk a riveraged report from the committee on rules for filing under the rule. the clerk: report to accompany house resolution 123,
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resolution providing for consideration of the joint resolution, house joint resolution 43, providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5 united states code of the final rules submitted by the secretary of health and human services relating to compliance with title 10 requirements by project recipients in selecting subrecipients, providing for consideration of the joint resolution house joint resolution 69, providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, united states code, of the final rule of the department of the interior relating to nonsubcystens take of wildlife and public participation and closure procedures on national wildlife refuges in alaska, and providing for proceedings from e period of february 17, 2017, through february 24, 2017. the speaker pro tempore: referred to the house calendar and ordered printed.
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the house will come to order. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. burgess: mr. speaker, i send to the desk a privileged concurrent resolution and ask for its immediate consideration. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the concurrent resolution. the clerk: house concurrent resolution 23, resolved, that the two houses of congress assemble in the hall of the house of representatives on tuesday, february 28, 2017, at 9:00 p.m. for the purpose of receiving such communication as the president of the united states shall be pleased to make to them. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the concurrent resolution is agreed to and the motion to reconsider is laid on the table.
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the speaker pro tempore: the chair will now entertain requests for one-minute peeches. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? mr. thompson: mr. speaker, request unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. today there will be a lot of focus on hearts and i'd like to talk about heart health. february marks american heart month, which is an annual awareness campaign for the number one killer in the united states, heart disease. the first american heart month was declared in 1964 by president lyndon baines johnson. while the death rate from heart disease has dropped considerably from the 1960's we still have much more work to
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do. studies show that 80% of the cardiac events and strokes are preventable. what is truly important for americans to know is that heart disease is within our control if they have a family history where a loved one has suffered or even died from heart disease. the good news is the risk of heart disease can be lowered through a healthy lifestyle and regular checkups. it's my hope that all americans will take their heart health seriously and educate themselves on how to lead a healthy life in the spirit of american heart month. thank you, mr. speaker, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from rhode island eek recognition? mr. langevin: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. langevin: mr. speaker, on bruary 14, 1917, the dyess
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st. dence, the province of joseph established providence college. like our great nation, providence college was founded on principles of tolerance and acceptance. its charter states that no student shall be denied admission or honors due to religious opinion. 100 years later, americans will do well to follow this example. led by reverend brian chanley, the president of this outstanding academic institution, providence college continues to enrich the lives of its students and the state of rhode island. it's the leader in research and ackdemeck excellence and the scholars ask the students to question those around them. as a life-long rhode islander, i am so proud to celebrate its centennial and recognize its continued success today. happy 00th anniversary, providence college. i yield back the remainder of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields.
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for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one inute. mr. poe: mr. speaker, when i met with admiral harris of pacific command last year irk asked him which nation's threats concerned him the most he quickly replied, north korea. proving admiral harris correct, north korea illegally launched yet another ballistic missile. this was a high tech, prefueled rocket that can be launched quickly. it has a range of about 1,00 miles, making it an immediate threat to south korea and japan as well as our troops that are stationed there. north korea has even bigger plans. kim jong un reportedly is going to develop submarines to launch the missiles which could threaten the united states. the last administration pursued
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an ignorant strategy called strategic patience. that failed. north korea's program is now stronger than ever. kim jong un 's threat continue to grow belleder and bolder with no repercussions. once upon, the united states had north korea on the state spon so far as terrorism list. it's time to put little kim back on that list. because he's a world terrorist and a threat to world peace and he's earned that distinction. and that's just the way it is. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from washington seek recognition? without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, yesterday i introduced my first bill, h.r. 109 tissue 1009, the access to counsel act and it was a great
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pleasure to work with my companion version in the senate, senator harris introduce that bill and it's a direct response to the president's misguided muslim ban. ms. jayapal: in the chaos of the release of the executive order, people were detained at airports and denied opportunities to consult with attorneys who were there to provide legal support. some were deported without any access to due process. even now we are getting reports of people who are literally relinquishing their legal permanent resident status without consulting with anybody because they don't understand what they are signing. deteng and deportation without due process happens far too often even though due process a right that we hold so dear as american. for years we heard cases of people being denied to counsel and my bill, the access to counsel act ensures that anyone who is detained by c.b.p. or
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held in i.c.e. custody will get act stose counsel. s that common sense measure and i know many are fearful of what will come next. i want them to know we will continue to fight for their rights and for their access to due process. thank you, mr. speakerle the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from florida seek recognition? without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you so much, mr. speaker. i rise today to celebrate the elizabeth taylor aids foundation for its efforts and commitment to transform the lives of those living with with hiv-aids. since its creation in 1991, this foundation has advanced elizabeth taylor's dream to create a future free of h.i.v. aids by developing organizations to deliver services and care for people living with this disease.
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today the foundation remains a leading player in the fight to end the hiv-aids epidemic by providing grants to global programs that seek to fund education, to raise awareness, and to create innovative treatments for patients. as co-chair of the congressional h.i.v. caucus, i've had the opportunity to work with this foundation other the years to help improve the lives of patients and advance research efforts that can lead to a cure for this terrible disease. i celebrate the elizabeth taylor aids foundation. i look forward to continuing to work with it to realize our common dream of an aids free generation in the u.s. and indeed throughout the world. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from connecticut seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, at 11:00 last night, the uconn women's
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basketball team once again stunned the sporting world and really the nation by winning their 100th straight win against a very good team from the university of south carolina. mr. courtney: again, mr. speaker, the uconn women just continue to defy the laws of gravity. they've won 11 ncaa titles, shattering all records before them. the 100th win was exceeding the last record which the uconn women set a number of years ago in terms of consecutive wins. coach auriemma has an extraordinary program which has an almost perfect record of graduation. last night, gabbie williams, kia nurse, krista dangerousfield once again made us proud in the state of connecticut to be the home of real champions. again, congratulations, you are in uncharted waters now at 100 wins and counting and we look forward to more success in the future. go, huskies, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the
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gentleman from california seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. it's been national news, the situation going on in or of courseville california where the dam is. mr. lamalfa: there's been damage an destruction to the spillway and the lake rising for the first time and going over the spillway in 48 years. the earthen structure, 770 feet tall is solid. the emergency spillway is being evaluate bud so far looks stable itself. it's the issue of the soil in front of it that needs to be stabilized during these days where there's dry weather, where it can be stabilized with rock and concrete. what we need to know is why did this happen? this is th will be what we do later on. first take care of the emergency situation, the state and federal resources pulling together to make sure people are safe and
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that the dam remains sound and we don't lose the structure. it looks good. i think things are stable for right now. we also need prayer for no more rain for a while or at least not overwhelming amounts of rain. so it looks good, we just need patience also from the people that are in the floodplain that have been evacuated to listen to their emergency personnel and follow with that so they're kept safe during this time of emergency. so with that, i think good efforts are under way and we'll investigate later on what went wrong. mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. are there further one-minute requests? under the speaker's announced policy of january 3, 2017, the gentleman from louisiana, mr. johnson, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader. mr. johnson: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask for five legislative days
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so all members may revise and extend their remarks and include any other extraneous materials in the record. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. johnson: mr. speaker, today a bipartisan group of 46 freshmen members of this 115th u.s. congress from coast to coast released a document titled civility. i'm joined by 21 different leaders of our class representing diverse districts .n different states this commitment document was created in early january, following our initial meetings as a class. we discussed our mutual intent to serve the best interest of our country to return to statesmanship that was revered and modeled by the great leaders of our history. i drafted this document to memorial doctor memorialize our member's agreement to work toward restoring collegiality in the congress, encourage manager
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productive dialogue and building consensus and strengthening the peculiar's trust in america's institution. this document is not intended in any way as a criticism of anyone else in any other chamber or branch of the government. rather, it represents the mutual commitments of the members of our class that we have made among and between ourselves. as we teach our own children, we often have no control over what others may do, but we are ultimately responsible for our own actions. personally, i want to say how encouraging it is to work with others from across the political spectrum who want to lead by example and work to restore civility in our peculiar discourse. there may never have been a more porn time for that very important effort. i'm one who is regarded as probably being among the most conservative members of congress and i will never deviate from my core principles. however, i am mindful to always remember that while some of my colleagues and i may have very different ideas and core political philosophies, at the
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end of the day, we are all americans and all made in the image of god and thus we believe we should act accordingly. before my esteemed colleagues come to share their thoughts on this important subject, i'd like to introduce and read into the congressional record the to as the refer commitment to civility. it reads as follows. to as the as individual citizens we recognize the gravity of the responsibility we've been fwive and the significant of this moment in the history of our extraordinary country. america remains the most free and powerful and most prosperous nation in the world and yet we face significant challenges. it's fueled too often by the vitriol in our public discourse. one is the loss of trust in our institutions and public officials. we believe there's a better alternative. our common and sincere aims are
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to serve the needs and interests of the american people, to work with one another in the leaders of our respective parties to encourage greater confidence in our institutions and to set an example of statesmanship for the younger generations of americans that will follow. to this end, we are dedicated to showing proper respect to one another and all others, encouraging productive dialogue and modeling civility in our ublic and private actions. while we may have vehemently disagree, we will maintain collegeality and the honor of our office. we believe that a leader can be cooperative and conciliatory without compromising his or her core principles and we will remember that our political rivals in congress are not our enemies but rather our colleagues and fellow americans. we also believe that maintaining a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation will help make government work more efficiently and effectively, help build consensus and restore the public trust and ultimately serve as a positive influence on society at large.
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for all these reasons we hereby pledge our names to this commitment to civility on this 10th day of january, 2017, in washington, d.c. unquote. and the document is signed by 46 incoming members of the 115th congress. mr. speaker, at this time i'm delighted to yield portions of my time to 21 different leaders of our class, representing both political parties in 15 different states across our great land. each will express their own thoughts on this important subject and i begin by yielding two minutes to my esteemed colleague, ms. barragan of california. thank you.n: i want to thank my colleague mike johnson from louisiana for helping coordinate this effort. you know, when i got here to washington for orientation i will never forget very early on jodey arrington from texas came up to me and said i want to introduce myself and he did. he was the first republican that came up to me and said, i want to get to know you on a
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personal level. i want to be your friend, because we're going to be working together. i have to tell you how impressed i was somebody was reaching across the aisle because they wanted to develop a personal relationship, knowing that we would be able to work together. later on, i got to meet the rest of my colleagues at harvard where they have a bipartisan program that is a wonderful program, gives you an opportunity to help build these relationships. which i think is so important, especially today in our time. we just got off one of the ugliest elections in history, where it really felt as civility disappeared. today, it sometimes feels that way which is why i think this is such an important effort. as members of congress, we need to set an example of statesmanship for younger generations of americans to follow. we must remember that every person should be respected and somebody yesterday said something that really struck a chord. it's not that we need to agree
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on everything but that we -- or that we need to agree all the time but we need to learn to disagree better. thank you. i want to yield back to the gentleman from louisiana. r. johnson: thank you. --ield to mr. bergman of mr. bergman: i rise to support the freshman's class' commitment to civility. before the revolutionary war, 16-year-old george washington copied 110 rules for civil behavior out of his schoolbook. the last of washington's rules of civility as they're now quote, labor -- to keep alive in your breath the little spark of celestial
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fire called conscience, end quote. conscience. that should be our guide in everything we do, both here in congress and back home for me in michigan's first district, and conscience is why as a member of the freshman class of the 115th congress i've made a commitment to open and civil debate. . we are facing many challenges in our country and the folks here and back in michigan, all across the land, on both sides of the aisle have many different ideas about where we need to be and what we need to do to get there. that's democracy at work. being civil means that the best and most effective ideas have a real chance to be heard. if we truly desire to move forward as a country, we have to do it together. we must treat each other with
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dignity and respect, we must be civil. this freshman class has dedicated itself across party lines to setting the example. for ourselves and for our colleagues here in congress and for all of our constituents. mr. speaker, i will uphold these standards and i trust that my colleagues will do the same. thank you, i yield back. >> thank you, general, and thank you for your service to our country. i now yield two minutes to mr. uozzi of new york. mr. souzzi: mr. speaker, i rise today in support of the freshman class' effort to encourage civility in this chamber and in our political discourse generally. americans are divided. hate speech and hate crimes are spiking. fake news is increasing. terrorism threatens the world and 60 million refugees are displaced across the globe. the public is convinced that elected officials don't seem to get much done regarding the
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shrinking middle class, immigration reform, climate change, gun violence, and a whole bunch more. what should we do? love thy neighbor. that may seem like a simplistic public policy predescription, but love thy neighbor is a concept that can be found across many traditions. if we're going to get republicans and democrats to actually come together as people of goodwill in search of the common good, it's going to require us to rely on some shared principles. faith and religious beliefs are the most effective existing sources of commonality that may be relied upon. if people of different political philosophies actually believe that their opponents were similarly motivated by a common set of values, to love thy neighbor, i believe we'd get a lot more talking and problem solving and less screaming. even nonreligiouses have a fundamental belief in the -- nonreligious americans have a fundamental belief in the concept of loving screaming.
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even thy neighbor. this will result in more good work being accomplished. the good news is, during the first six weeks, i found that many of my colleagues seem genuinely inspired by their faith and their values. maybe if we all agree to be civil and recognize that many of us are here, motivated by the same command, to love thy neighbor, we might be a little more effective. thank you and i yield back my time. >> thank you. i now yield two minutes to mr. allagher of wisconsin. mr. gallagher: thank you, mr. speaker. i come from a place called wisconsin. besides having the world's best cheese and football franchise, we're known for being good neighbors. you may have heard of the phrase, wisconsin nice. that's a real thing. as any bears or lions or vikings fan has come to lambeau field and been greeted not with jeers but with a, welcome, it's good to have you. the disparity between how we do business in wisconsin and how business gets done or doesn't in washington, d.c., couldn't be wider.
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i'm of the humble opinion that the world needs more of what we do in wisconsin and less of how washington, d.c., traditionally operates. at a time when politics seems more deeply divided than ever, further defaced by an endless media cycle which rewards scandal, at time when faith in our basic institutions is diminishing, i think the overwhelming majority of the american people are looking for something better. they sent us here to fight for our ideas. not to demonize the other side in a cynical attempt to get on tv or fund raise. the american people voted against -- fundraise. the american people voted against that. the policies of the past which only seeks to divide us and stirrup controversy. we can do better, we must do better. that's why i salute aum of my colleagues for joining in this -- all of my colleagues for joining in this evert. i believe we, the freshman members of the 114th congress, can be different. i believe that we can breakthrough the politics of the past and offer something better for the american people. i believe we can prove there's still room for civil, serious
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discourse in our political system. now a commitment to civility does not mean we're going to agree on everything. i expect there will be legitimate battles ahead. but let it be a battle of ideas. not political theater. i intend to come armed to that fight with all the weapons i have at my disposal. foremost among them my fervent belief in my conservative ideas. and i don't expect to convert my democratic friends. but i expect them to come armed with their ideas. i intend to listen. in that process of serious debate, maybe, just maybe, we'll learn something from one another and find ways to fix our nation's problems together. imagine if we were able to do that. i am looking forward to trying. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield the rest of my time. mr. johnson: thank you. i now yield two minutes to mr. arshall of kansas. mr. marshall: thank you so much, mr. speaker. i too am honored to be part of the 115th congress, the freshman class, a group of
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people that want to work together. i think back to my campaign the last two years, one of the most common concerns i had from people were, why can't people in congress get along? why can't you respect each other? what i saw day after day was the left and the right yelling at each other and the press throwing fire -- throwing gasoline on top of that fire. i remember dwring up, my mad conscious growing up, my dad had a saying -- growing up, my dad had a saying, if you don't have something good to say, then don't say. it i think back to my six -- say it. i think back to my sixth grade teacher. our word for the year was respect. she taught us to respect ourselves and respect each other. that's what i'd like to bring to the 115th congress. respect for each oshe. for each other's points of views and never question's someone answers intentions or motivations. i believe in irony, iron sharping ironing, and coming up with -- sharpening iron, and
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coming up with ideas together. discuss solutions together. and the hope is that you and i, my friends across the aisle and down the aisle, together we can come up with better solutions for this country. i believe that national defense is not a republican or a democrat issue. i believe the economy is not a conservative or liberal issue. i think these are american issues that we need to fight to make better. i certainly don't think that health care is a republican or a democrat issue. my pledge is to work with civility, to work with respect toward my colleagues across the aisle and down the aisle, and look forward to truly making america a better place to live. thank you, mr. speaker, and i yield back. mr. johnson: thank you. the yield two minutes to gentleman from california. >> mr. speaker, i rise today to commit myself to work first and foremost for the interests of the american public, regardless of political ideology.
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mr. carbajal: i am under no illusion about the overwhelming partisanship that permeates this congress. but i believe that as vigorously as we debate our policy differences, we should also commit to upholding the principles of civility and respect, to encourage productive discourse. to this end, we must work together when at all possible to advance the policy that serves our constituents. and our country. in this effort, i reflect on my service in the united states marine corps. we did not first stop to question whether our fellow marine was a democrat or a republican. we counted on each other to protect and defend our country. that's the approach to service we should aspire to in this distinguished legislative body. on the issues of national security and to provide for the needs of the american people, there is no doubt in my mind that there is more that unites
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us than divides us. i look forward to working with my colleagues here today to do just that. in the infamous words of president kennedy, let us not seek the republican answer or the democrat answer. but the right answer. mr. speaker, i yield back. mr. johnson: thank you and thank you for your service, my friend. i now yield two minutes to another valiant warrior, mr. bacon of nebraska. baker-hamilton baker-hamilton mr. speaker, i rise today -- mr. bacon: mr. speaker, i rise today to commit to civility. the 435th of us represent 320 million americans. with a population that large, and that diverse, we're going to have our differences. we're going to disagree with which direction the nation needs to go. with a free and open democracy we all have that right. and vigorous discussions makes us stronger. however, despite our differences, we are all still americans. we want what is best for our country. and we must keep our debates
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respectful. we're all americans first, before we're republicans, democrats, independents, and we can't forget this. as americans, we do have major issues facing us. and the world is looking to us to be leaders and find solutions. we must remain civil to each other to achieve this goal. isis will never ask for republicans or democrats. the unemployment line doesn't ask if we're republicans or democrats either. the federal deficit doesn't care if we're republicans or democrats. these are shared issues. and we're all in this together. politics is a contact sport. or so i'm told. it's been that way since george washington was president and thomas jefferson funded an opposition paper against him, awl the whipe serving in his cabinet -- all the while serving in his cabinet. still today character assassinations are a common occurrence in our political landscape and it's wrong. americans are at our finest when we work toward common goals respectful. i spent nearly 30 years in the air force and during that time i was fortunate to hold five
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commands. it did not matter to me or our mission if a subordinate or teammate was a republican or a democrat. we fought in iraq, we stunted missile defenses in israel, we conducted missions worldwide as americans, not as republicans or democrats. in the air force, we were all americans, we were all airmen, we had one common goal. we need more of that on capitol hill. we're all americans, we're all members of congress, and we all care about the future of our country. one day, like all of us, i will meet our creator. and when i do, i believe he will not care about what political party i associate myself with. he will care how i treated my brothers and sisters. let's agree to be a bright light on how to treat each other. and while we debate the issues we care about, let us, the 115th congress, all agree to work together, be civil to each other, be respectful with each other, remember, we are americans before we are republicans or democrats. i yield back. mr. johnson: thank you. i now yield two minutes to mr. panetta of california.
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mr. panetta: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you, mr. johnson. appreciate this opportunity. mr. speaker, today i rise to discuss our commitment to civility. a promise that i have made to my constituents at home and a promise that i have made to my colleagues here in washington, d.c. prior to my being sworn in, during my campaign of 2016, the number one question i heard, i received from the people in my district on the central coast of california, was, why would you want to go to washington, d.c., right now? -- right now? i heard that over and over and over. i heard that people were dissatisfied with the dysfunction in congress. i heard that they were disgusted with the partisanship
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of congress. i heard that they were disheartened with our system of government. and i believe that it's that sentiment that led to the result of november 8. i admit i was disappointed by the presidential election. and i believe that a partisanship -- that partisanship that was displayed during that election continued in washington, d.c. and it started when i got here for new member orientation. when we got here as freshmen, republicans and democrats, we were automatically split up. i did not get to know my fellow republican colleagues, freshmen, here in d.c. it wasn't until we went on to boston and virginia that we actually took time to get to know each other, where they were from, and what they were about. and what i can tell you, the thing that i say that gives ope to so many people, is that
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my freshman class heard the exact same things during this past election. that it is time that we get things done and that we do it together. now, i believe that once we get past these turbulent times at this point, i do hope, and i will work, on issues that affect our country. we had immigration reform, investment in our infrastructure, and ensuring that our health care is not just accessible, but affordable. but i also realize, as many of you, that that's easier said than done. yet i believe that to get things done in congress, you have to treat it like a marathon and not a sprint. and i believe that we begin this race by building relationships. my predecessor, congressman sam farr, spent 23 years representing the place i call home on the central coast of california. he will tell you that for most of that time he was in the
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minority. yet he was able to get numerous things done. and he will tell you that the way he was able to do it is by relationships. with democrats and republicans. i can tell you that sam's predecessor would say the exact same thing. and i can tell you that sam's predecessor and his three roommates, who i was able to live with back in the 1980's, would all say the same thing. that it is the personal chemistry amongst people here in washington, d.c., that will lead to our ability to compromise professionally. that is what we must develop. that's why i'm honored and pleased to enter into this commitment of civility, for that is the first ingredient to that chemistry that we must strive for. and i believe that this commitment that we have all taken to each other, to our communities and to our country, that will lead to our
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constituents' confidence, not just in congress but in our democracy. thank you, mr. speaker. mr. johnson: thank you. i now yield two minutes to mr. lewis of minnesota. thank the gentleman from louisiana. mr. speaker, i rise today to join in this commitment to civility, and first off, i want to thank all of my freshmen colleagues on both sides of the aisle for participating today and going through the orientation and getting to know one another. it was a wonderful experience. i had the pleasure to talk with many of them over the last few weeks and they share many of the same goals as i do, as this entire body does. and i agree with many of my colleagues on many issues. i can safely say i also disagree with some of them on a few issues. but while we may disagree, we do not assume that they are acting in bad faith. rather, than dismiss than those
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who disagree with us, we must use that disagreement to challenge ourselves to be better. you see, this process isn't easy. and addressing the issues our nation is facing isn't easy either. in fact, i would argue our bility to get things done, why we were sent here, rests on our ability to productive political dialogue and discourse. so substituting sincere communication, honest debate with grandstanding or political ambush or shouting louder than somebody else is too clever by half and will not get the things done that we need to get done. shouting louder than your neighbor doesn't accomplish anything other than silencing your neighbor. in fact, that's not progress. that's an affront to free speech and the ability to listen to all of those around us. it doesn't help when we shout over each other your neighbor's beliefs, to help us understand your neighbor's beliefs and it doesn't help your neighbors
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understand your beliefs. now, i'm reminded of this quote that gets used all too often these days, while i disapprove or disapprove what you might say i will defend to the death your right to say it. you may disagree with each other or disapprove what somebody else might say but it's important to know, it's always important to let each other say it. freedom of speech is not limited to the loudest among us. it is a right afforded to all of us. and of course this commitment to civility doesn't mean we don't believe in the essence of free speech or the right and necessity to disagree with one another. we will. it simply means we will do it in a way that respects the rights of everyone. we believe and so should those who oppose our policies that the right to speak also entails the right to be heard. i yield back my time. mr. johnson: thank you. i now yield two minutes to ms. tenney of new york. thank you, mr.
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speaker. i rise today to address our commitment to civility. let me quote, civility is not a tactic or a sentiment. it is the determined choice of trust over cynicism, of community over chaos. president george w. bush spoke these words at his first inaugural address in 2001. it was a time for new beginnings then and it's a time for new beginnings now. i cannot think of a moral well-intentioned way to begin the 115th congress than to join my awesome freshmen class from both sides and committing to work together civilly, to unify and further strengthen our great nation. through this commitment, we promise to put people before politics, to thoughtfully advocate to the needs of our community and to renew confidence and trust in our political system. although we may disagree on a number of issues, this commitment we make to each other today ensures that we
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will work together to always promote a positive and constructive discourse and are crit -- our critically important work as representatives of the american people. this job is not about any one of us individually but about the hundreds of thousands of people we represent throughout our districts. as a representative of the people's house, we are expected to provide positive leadership, a strong voice and to set the example for the american people. the ability to agree, to disagree and to voice our differences is a critical part of the unique freedoms we cherish as americans. but we must always do so respectfully. malicious discourse is a disservice to those who risk their lives to fight for our freedoms and everything that our great nation stands for. it is truly unfortunate that the tone of political discourse throughout our nation has become so contentious and hostile. it's detrimental to promoting a
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produckive dialogue and the unity of our nation. the commitment our class makes is to work together peacefully, to provide leadership and inspiration to the american people while further promoting the freedoms and individual rights that make our nation the greatest in the world. we must look at 2017 positively as a time for new beginnings. in the wake of new leadership, we are provided with a new opportunity for a fresh start and the chance to advance our shared mission of putting the american people first. it is my hope that our efforts of our great freshman class today, and i argue could be one of the greatest of this august body's history, will inspire people throughout the nation to turn towards civility and to always treat each other with respect despite our differences. thank you to my fresh fran colleagues who almost all accepted this particular commitment and i especially would like to thank the gentleman from louisiana for leading us on this very important issue. i yield back.
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mr. johnson: thank you. i now yield two minutes to ms. blunt rochester of delaware. ms. blunt rochester: thank you to the gentleman from louisiana. i want to add that it is fitting that we make this commitment on valentine's day. it's a holiday to show appreciation and also love, and i think that's what this is really about. it's about our love for our country and our love for our friends and families and neighbors. it is also about civility and to me civility is not about the what. we can all disagree on the what. civility is about the how. it's about our tone. it's about our tenor. it's about the words that we choose to use and it's about respect.
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as freshmen, our class is special. i feel we are special just like claudia said, we are actually awesome. and it was really telling that one of our -- at one of our retreats, orientations, we came together and we asked if we could be alone, no staff, no one else in the room, just us and we actually said, let's try to find common ground. who here has a port? who here has served in public life? again, our goal wasn't to find ways to divide but to find wrace to come together. -- ways to come together. if we expect civility from others, including our children, then we need to model it. our signatures on this document show our commitment to civility , caring and most of all to getting things done. that's what america wants, and that's what america deserves.
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i yield back my time. mr. johnson: thank you. i now yield two minutes to mr. smucker of pennsylvania. mr. smucker: thank you to my colleague from louisiana. it's an honor to represent the people of pennsylvania's 16th congressional district and to serve the community in which i grew up. i was very pleased a few months ago to come to washington and join the new member orientation. it was a great opportunity for all of us to meet our new colleagues on both sides of the aisle and i must say as already been mentioned, i was impressed. as we got to know one another and talk about our vision for this upcoming congress, we all agreed we wanted to work together as much as possible. we decided we wanted to work to find common ground. today, across pennsylvania and across america, finding common republicans and
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democrats looks and sounds nearly impossible. we here in congress may disagree on the issues. we may disagree on the solutions. but that's good. that's good because the purpose of this chamber is to be a deliberate tiff body. and it's good because collectively we represent a wide range of issues across the political spectrum. we're supposed to. and in fact we're even expected to disagree. but we must always do so in a civil and respectful manner. we must understand that while we may disagree on the issues and solutions, we share, all of us, the common goal of serving our constituents and of improving their lives. we must understand that just because we may disagree with one another, that doesn't mean the other side is un-american or out to get us. arthur brooks, president of the american enterprise institute,
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alls this political motive asymmetry. brooks says, a majority of people in our country today who are politically -- who are politically active believe that they are motivated by love but the other side is motivated by hate. now, i know i might disagree with some of my colleagues, but i can tell you they're not motivated by hate. and if we're to be successful in this chamber and in discussions in our communities across the country, we must rid our discourse of this political motive asymmetry. then, we will be able together to find solutions more easily to the problems that we face. i'm hopeful that our freshman class, along with the rest of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, will be able to do what is stated in our commitment to civility.
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make the government work more efficiently and more effectively. help build consensus and restore public trust and serve as a positive influence on society at large. we here in congress are charged with an enormous task, and today's divisive and heated public discourse, we must be an example to our constituents by showing respect for one another at all times. thank you. i yield back. mr. johnson: thank you. i now yield two minutes to mr. khanna of california. thank you. mr. speaker, i rise to support the freshman initiative on civility. congressman johnson, thank you, for your leadership. i want to echo the remarks of congressman swousey and
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congressman - -- swusey and congressman rochester. i don't think i have disagreed on economic issues. i come from a perspective of economic populism and a very different perspective than members on the other side, but also have areas of common agreement. congressman gallagher and congressman arrington have talked about term limits and that's an area of potential agreement. congressman rooney talked about politics.ney out of and cybersecurity and tech jobs. my views in areas where we disagree, we should disagree with spirit and conviction but that doesn't mean there won't be areas where we can agree. on a personal note, congressman fitzpatrick represents the district where i was born and
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where my parents are so i have to be civil certainly to him and the other side. thank you. mr. johnson: thank you. yield two minutes to mr. rist of florida. mr. crist: thank you. thank you, mr. speaker. i rise to support this important document as well. friends, we may have vastly different views on how best to create a more perfect union. along with different styles and different temperaments, but we all share a commitment and frankly a responsibility to bring the voice of the people to washington, d.c. i'm honored to represent much of pinellas county and my hometown of st. petersburg, florida, and i promise to fight for the needs of my home, but i pledge to do so in keeping with what is known as the golden
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rule. to do unto others as you would have unto you. this is a rule that i strive to live by every single day. poll after poll shows that floridians and frankly all americans are fed up with the divisiveness and ranker of washington. as we move forward debating the issues of the day, let us be mindful of the words of president abraham lincoln. though passions may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. . i am proud that our freshman class, yes, this awesome freshman class, has put forward its commitment to civility. it states that our -- that despite, rather, our political differences, at the end of the day we must work together to move our country forward, putting people over politics and treating one another with
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mutual respect and much more grace. even when we may disagree. thank you again to the gentleman from louisiana and the gentlewoman from california for their leadership and for their friendship, putting people over politics. god bless you all. and god bless america. mr. johnson: thank you. i now yield two minutes to mr. fitzpatrick of pennsylvania. mr. pitts: thank you, -- mr. fitzpatrick: thank you, mr. speaker. i'd like to thank all of the members of the freshman class. members of both political parties. and of every political background who have joined us tonight in signing the commitment to civility pledge. love thy neighbor, no exceptions. seeing 46 republicans and democrats make this public commitment is encouraging for this chamber and the constituents that we serve. we can all grea that our nation is facing some -- agree that
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our nation is facing some serious challenges. from increasing opportunity in an evolving economy, to keeping our families safe from threats the home and abroad. -- at home and abroad. the lift in front of this body is heavy enough and the last thing we need is to make that problem sovening even tougher. the statement made on the senate floor last week offered a stark message. it is simply not possible to exist as a nation when half of its citizens hate the other half. if we're willing to end friendships or block our family members because of facebook posts, we are not heading in the right direction. despite this incredible responsibility and trust -- entrusted to each of us by those whom we represent, this congress has not been immune to the hardening of political division. however, we must not accept our current discourse as a new normal. yet there is hope, there is hope because the members standing with me tonight, and those who have joined our pledge, are willing to say first and foremost, we are americans. and the person i may disagree very he had
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mentally, is still american. even though someone has different priorities does not make them our enemy. this congress can and must play a part in restoring the civility and respect that makes productive dialogue possible. i'm not saying we'll agree on everything. but a spirit of mutual understanding, mutual respect, mutual cooperation is the bedrock for making our government and our communities work. whether we are elected officials, moms, dads, neighbors, community leaders, or students or anyone, we must remember that there is more that unites us than divides us. that's a commitment i'm willing to make to my colleagues and constituents this evening. again i want to thank my colleagues, the gentleman from louisiana, the gentlewoman from california, for all their work. i look forward to working with our awesome freshman class going forward. thank you. mr. johnson: thank you to all
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these colleagues. we were anticipating remarks from mr. gonzalez of texas, mr. comer of kentucky and others but their schedules have suddenly taken them away this evening. mr. speaker, i'll close. as you can see, our commitment to civility is sincere and important to each of us. and we believe to the congress and to our country. as we said at the outset here, there may never have been a more important time for a commitment like this. perhaps it is appropriate that our hour happened to be assigned here on this valentine's day. i'm remind as i close of the biblical admonition given to us. it reads as follows. do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. rather in humility value others above yourselves. not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interest of the others. mr. speaker, if we can do these things, we will do well by our exceptional nation. i thank all of my esteemed colleagues for participating
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tonight, all those who signed this commitment, and i thank you, mr. speaker, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. under the speaker's announced the of january 3, 2017, gentleman from california, mr. garamendi, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader. for what purpose does the entlewoman from ohio rise? without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. kaptur: thank you. mr. speaker, the resignation of president trump's national security advisor, michael flynn, is the third trump senior advisor to resign amid allegations of ties to russia and the kremlin. two others were attached to the trump campaign, his manager, paul manifort, and russian energy advisor, carter paige.
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meanwhile, russia's putin is the same k.g.b. thug he always has been, continuing to invade countries in eastern and central europe, propagate a war in syria, as well as a bloody war against ukraine. the american people deserve to know the full extent of russia's financial, personal and political grip on the trump administration. and congress should meet its constitutional responsibilities to protect our national security. protect our nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic. the american people need to know whether russian creditors or their intermediaries are helping prop up the trump commercial empire. this congress needs to do its job, conduct hearings, subpoena witnesses, and bring truth to the american people about the trump administration's ties to russia. i yield back my remaining time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. under the speaker's announced
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policy of january 3, 2017, -- >> mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlewoman from texas rise? ms. jackson lee: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for ne minute. ms. jackson lee: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i also thank the gentleman from california for his courtesies. this is a commemoration of african-american history month. it is a vital month, it is a month that tells america's history. i rise today to salute a distinguished american, dr. thomas freeman, who has been a faculty member at texas southern university for now more than half a century. dr. freeman is the leading you are a rater of the university -- or rater of the university, the leading story teller.
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he's the ininstructer of the honorable barbara jordan, my predecessor, taught her the skills to be able to sit before the judiciary committee during the impeachment of richard nixon and say, we the people. he's the individual that has taught and tutored decades of students, tens upon tens, to actually, from a school that is a historically black school, and called and taught his students to be successful in debates around the world. he's a history maker, he's now close to 100 years old. he's deserving of honor and tradition and i close, mr. speaker, by saying, in our community he's the pillar and the holder of the values of the constitution. i know that he deserves honor on this floor and, dr. freeman, i salute you, you deserve the honor and recognition as a great american.
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i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the entlewoman's time has expired. under the speaker's announced policy of january 3, 2017, the gentleman from california, mr. garamendi, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader. mr. garamendi: i see a couple of my colleagues have arrived and would like to do one-minutes. so i would yield one minute to .y colleagues rassrass mr. speaker, thank you very much -- mr. raskin: mr. speaker, thank you very much. mr. garamendi, thank you for that exemplary act of civility in allowing me and another late arriving colleague to be part of the freshman class presentation about our collective commitment to promoting and practicing civility, both within our class and within the congress of the united states, as long as we're here. it's a great honor to be part
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of the freshman class of the 115th congress. i'm thrilled to make this commitment to civility. and even friendship. across the aisle, with whatever republican colleagues are willing to hang out with a liberal constitutional law professor. despite my great passions as a liberal and a progressive, i dedicate myself to civility for three reasons. and i think they're all consistent with my political values and beliefs. first, i am a middle child and so it's in my nature to try to bring people together. if you studied the theory of birth order advanced by frank sullway, will you find an exemplary middle child in reverend martin luther king who believed in the power of love for reconciling different views in society. and you will find a theory of the effectiveness of nonviolent struggle for progress and
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change. a theory that doesn't try to wish away or blink away real conflict that people have, but embraces conflict as the possibility for uplifting everyone in the process. second, i'm from the great state of maryland. one of the original middle states. tucked between new england and the south. in maryland we have a habit of working across party lines for the common good. many of the big bills that i introduced in the maryland senate i introduced with republican friends. like my friend, senator david brinkley. we did the medical marijuana program together. he's a fellow cancer survivor and felt very strongly about that. i did a number of criminal justice reform measures, including abolishing mandatory minimum drug sentences with a republican colleague named michael huff from frederick county who lives within my congressional district. i even introduced a bill which succeeded for fiscal transparency in government, putting up all government expenditures over $10,000
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online, within 48 hours. with congressman alex mooney from west virginia. although then he was a state senator in maryland. who served with me in annapolis. third is a law professor -- third, as a law professor, i believe that all of our ideas and passions and feelings about politics are refined and perfected and improved through the process of political dialogue and testing and questioning. so, i know that our republican colleagues make us stronger on the democratic side of the aisle, and i hope that we make you stronger too. that we all grow together and we are able to improve each other's ideas, change each other's minds sometimes, and work on issues of common concern, like infrastructure, which i think is a pressing problem that we can gather consensus around in this body. like the environment and the perils of climate change. our greatest presidents have always called us to civility.
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george washington invited americans to place our patriotic love of liberty first, above partisan and sectarian feelings. thomas jefferson said, we are all republicans, we are all federalists. at a time of great division in the country. and at his first inaugural address, president lincoln said, we are not enemies, but friends. we must not be enemies. though passion may have strained, it must not break the bonds of affection. the bonds of affection might seem like a romantic dream given the divisions and polarization in the country today. but i do think at least if we start with civility and respect, maybe we'll be able to attain to the level of recovering the bonds of affection that should unify all of us as americans. the word party comes from the french word procti. a part. we have to remember, each of us, all of us, that our party is just one small part of the
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whole and we are all here to try to advance the common good. with that, again, i want to thank the congressman for his very gracious offer of the ime. mr. garamendi: thank you, mr.s raskin. those are wonderful comments -- mr. raskin. those are wonderful comments and i'm sure they're going to last through the entire 115th congress, because our colleague from kentucky would like to echo many of those. i'd like to yield a couple of minutes to my colleague from kentucky. comb comb thank you, -- mr. comer: thank you for yielding. i'll be brief. i'm so glad to join with 55 other of my freshmen colleagues to pledge the commitment to civility. we all took different paths to get here. we're all from different parts of the united states. we all have different backgrounds and different stories. but one thing we all did to get here in this freshman class is we campaigned hard and we listened to our constituents.
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and whether our constituents were conservative or liberal, whether they lived in the city or in small towns, they all shared a frustration about congress. they shared the frustration that congress was at gridlock and both party it's fought -- both parties fought and many times people filed bills knowing they would fail, just so they could get before a tv camera and grandstand and blame the other party. when i came to congress i didn't know what to expect. we attended a retreat and we got to know each other and i left that retreat inspired because, mr. speaker, i believe that this freshman class is committed to trying to work together, to accomplish things that we agree on. there are issues that we will never agree, but there are issues we do agree. we do agree that we need to create an environment where every american has access to a good-paying job.
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we do agree that we need to have a military that protects our citizens. i pledge to work with this freshman class in the future to try to create a working environment, where we can put every american first and try to accomplish things to work ogether. with that i yield back my time. mr. johnson: i want to thank the gentleman from kentucky and welcome as a freshman, mr. raskin and others who spoke before me as they consumed their special order hour in a very unique way which is not often seen here on the floor and that -- mr. garamendi: i want to thank the gentleman from kentucky and welcome as a freshman, mr. raskin and others who spoke before me as they consumed their special order hour in a very unique way which is not often seeb here on the floor. and our dreams what we might be able to accomplish in congress. .et me start with a photo
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this is the largest waterfall in california, and i dare say the largest waterfall in the ntire united states. it's not a natural waterfall. it's a man-made waterfall and with all of this turbulence and enormous churning of water , it is a failure of a man-made spillway in california. this is the oroville dam which has been in the news in the last couple of days. california suffered through a five-year drought, and as a representative of the great sacramento valley of california, my sacramento valley and my state of
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california suffered mightily. that drought tore apart communities, seriously injured the economy of california and the health of many, many businesses. so we went from famine to feast -- we're suffering sear serious indigestion as a result of the feast of water that we presently have. oroville dam was completed in 1968. this is the spillway presumably capable of carrying well over 150,000 cubic feet of water. what you see here is the result of a failure right here in the concrete in that spillway. resulting in a massive hole in the spillway and this extraordinary churning and erosion over here on this side. this went on for some time.
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the operators of the dam, the department of water resources in california said, well, we are going to have to shut this down and take a look at the problem and they did. and the problem was while they were expelling 100,000 acre-feet of water, there was 200,000 acre-feet of water lake. in to the oroville i want to take a few minutes to explain this and then explain why california has successfully dealt with what could have been a serious tragedy. oroville dam, the highest dam in california, some 770 feet high, the concrete spillway that i just showed you the picture of the largest waterfall in the nation, not as high as yosemite falls which is over 1,200 feet, but this is 700 feet down here to the river, 770 feet, actually. and right here is where the
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damage occurred. this is the emergency spillway, which was never to be used. so when this dam was built in the 1960's, they said, well, we'll build the regular spillway but we'll put this emergency spillway in here. this is a 30-foot-high concrete wall, and below it is the natural earth and dirt of the sierra-nevada mountain foothills. they shut down the spillway. 200,000 acre-feet -- sorry -- 200,000 cubic feet of water. it rose rapidly to the point it was going over the top of the emergency spillway. and lo and behold, when you run 112,000, 15,000 cubic feet of water per second over the top of that spillway, you hit the dirt on this side and it goes down to the river with incredible erosion.
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this entire area was eroded out, but most important, the erosion moved back towards the base of that 30-foot-high concrete wall. jeopardizing the integrity of that 30-foot-high barrier against millions upon millions of gallons of water stored in the reservoir. ll of this occurred on sunday. three days ago. the call went out from the department of water resources, oh, my. we have a potential problem as they observed the erosion against the base of the foundation of that 30-foot-high wall. and they said it's possible, it's possible that that erosion could cause a catastrophic failure of the barrier, of the 30-foot-high wall sending down into the river channel a 30-foot tsunami. the result of which would be a
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atastrophe downstream. this might be a little hard to observe but i am going to give it a try. the dam there and here's the dam right here. ed a jaysent to the dam is the town of oroville just downstream from the dam, and then the feather river continues down through my district down here, marysville, yuba city. this is all farm country up here with significant towns. gridly in this area. live oak further down which i represent. this area is represented by my colleague, doug lamalfa, who represents the northern san joaquin valley. the reservoir is here. the spillway is here. a 30-foot wall of water cascading down the emergency
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spillway hitting the river and spreading out 30 miles across the sacramento valley all the way to the west side of the valley where the sacramento river is. this red area, 100 feet deep in one hour. the city of oroville facing a catastrophic event, 100 feet of water above the community within one hour of the breaking of that 30-foot wall on the emergency spillway. it spreads out over here. it's still 10 feet deep. 30 miles away. and of course the water is going to flow down the river also, and in seven, eight hours, two communities down here of 150,000 people within seven hours would be facing water that will be 10 feet deep. that's why they called for an emergency evacuation sunday
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afternoon around 6:00. nearly 200,000 people left this area all the way over to the west and all the way down some 30 miles downriver. moving out to high ground up into the sierra foothills and down towards sacramento. the water continued to spill over the emergency spillway. the department of water resources had seen the erosion. reopened the gates on the main spillway and sent 100,000 cubic eet of water down the spillway creating that incredible but ot lovely waterfall. fortunately the water flowing into the reservoir very quickly
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diminished from a couple hundred thousand acre-feet saturday and early sunday to around 40,000 acre-feet towards sunday evening and on into monday. and so the mathematics began to work in favor of the communities and in favor of the entire region. slowly the level of the lake began to recede and eventually the water no longer flowed over the top of that emergency spillway. nonetheless, you still had 30 feet of water behind that spillway and you had the integrity of the spillway in question. so they continued to reduce the water level in the lake and marshaling resources up here began to find a solution to the problem. when the sun came up monday morning, the engineers went out and said, oh, my. four specific areas of serious erosion against the base and
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foundation of that 30-foot wall with 30 feet of water still behind it. so they decided to take emergency action to bring in by helicopter bags of rock, 1,000-pound bags of rock to stack in those four eroded areas. downstream, the communities of marysville, yuba city, gridly, live oak and other small communities were literally ghost towns. people were living in or sheltering in various churches, fair grounds to the north, fair grounds to the west, east and south. 200,000 people. nearly 200,000 people had moved out. so as this water receded and the emergency response began to take hold, people looked at this situation and said, maybe this was the great wood have, could have and should have,
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would've could've should've'. maybe when the dam was built, the concrete apron should have been built on the downside of that emergency spillway. maybe in 2005 when this entire project went back for relicensing by the federal energy regulatory commission, the call by the environmental ommunity to concrete the downslope should have been taken into account and should have been done in 2016, 2007, but they decide -- 2006, 2007, but they decided otherwise and it was not done. it will be done now. the cost to repair the main spillway and to the emergency spillway will probably be over $200 million. and so the question arises for all of us -- do we want to wait
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until there's a disaster to take cautionary steps or to put it back together? or do we want to get ahead of these potential disasters? it's a question for all of us here. it's a question for the congress and the senate and the president, and it's called infrastructure. you heard some of our colleagues earlier on, the freshman class talking about their desire for infrastructure improvements. and here's a prime example. unfortunately not the only example, but i will want to share with you what actually is happening downriver by the communities of marysville and the sutter county. there's 70 miles of river downstream from this point that has been in the process of significant levee improvement, some $700 million has been
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spent the last five to six years by the community, by the state of california and by the federal government to bring the levee on the west side of the eather river to a 200-year status. nearly completed. not completely completed. there's another piece that needs to be done, even as this flood event takes place, but that's a community that stepped forward. the sutter butte flood control organization has undertaken that work. good for them. in the city of marysville, which is a community surrounded on all sides by 20, 30-foot-high levees and the feather river and the yuba river come together at that point at marysville, a community that has seen catastrophic flooding in the past. that community, too, together with the state of california and the federal government, army corps of engineers and the yuba county water agency have
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been in the process of rebuilding and enhancing the levees around that community. these are positive examples. further down the state of california has put together a flood control program for the entire central valley, from mountain shasta on the north hatchapee to the river, some of the most fertile land in the world and major communities like sacramento with millions of people at risk of flooding. different communities putting together their own flood control programs, reaching out to the federal government over the years, providing federal assistance together with the state assistance to control the flooding that has been historic in california. to need continue this. we are not nearly finished. we are going to spend the $200
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million and this will be concrete in the years ahead and this flood control system will be rebuilt. this problem is not just floods. we have seen the flood of katrina in mississippi, where we discovered that, oh, my, the levees could not handle a major hurricane. and i was deputy secretary at the department of interior, we were studying major sforms, what would happen in that period of climate change and we anticipated this was in the mid-1990's as number two in the department of interior, we anticipated a major hurricane coming across from cuba into the gulf area and hitting new orleans. we were so concerned about this, that the secretary said, john, i want you to go down to new orleans and talk to the local first. and i remember sitting in the editorial office of the
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newspaper and sitting there and telling them, showing them the map and saying here's what we believe could happen and we together with the community need to enhance your levees. a decade or so later, i was in california and i looked at the television set and i said oh, my god, it is precisely what we predicted in the mid-1990's and came to pass. these are the lessons of history. there's another lesson of history. this is the interstate 5 bridge, the last bridge before you get from the united states to canada. interstate goes from the mexican border in california all the way through california to through oregon, washington and then into
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vancouver, british columbia. this is a bridge that collapsed. and how many other bridges have we seen collapsed? we have seen the bridge collapse in minnesota. we have seen rail bridges collapse. in california this last week, the maine-union-pacific railroad going north and south between sacramento, from northern california to southern california, the bridge just south of sacramento, it collapsed and the rail cars were still sitting there in the water as they were trying to repair that bridge, that rail bridge. a good third of all the bridges in the united states do not meet safety standards. and are subject to collapse. and in some cases, deadly collapse. as we go through all of this, we need to be aware of the
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extraordinary need that our ation has for infrastructure improvements. vice president biden when he landed in new york and made a comment about that facility. i won't repeat it, because i'm sure my new york friend might find it to be degrading, but it was a comment that was well deserved about the quality of that airport. that is repeated in airport after airport around the united states, inadequate, old, not up standards, and very poor in providing the efficient transportation that we require. we could talk about the highway system. the department of transportation $836ates that we need over billion just to maintain and bring up to standards the american highway system, both
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highways and bridges. the public transportation system has a $90 billion backlog for public transit for the state of good repair. this isn't expansion, this is just to have good repair for what we need in our transit system. bridges, $20 billion. as i said, the number of bridges in the nation, i said one in three, it's actually one in four are structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. 65% of our nation's roads are in less than good condition. our rail and bus transportation systems face a $ 0 billion said. as i just the busiest ports in the united states only operate at 35% of capacity because the channels are said. filled with silt and modern ships aren't able to enter those ports.
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the f.a.a. has identified a need or $32 billion for improvement of our arptse. it goes on and on and on. america does not want to face this kind of devastation with the failure of dams. i don't have the exact number of dams in the united states. i think there are 83,000, but a good percentage of those dams are structurally deficient in many different ways. oroville dam was one of them. didn't have a sufficient spillway to handle the flows of the river. other one central to central california is the st. louis reservoir south of sacramento, east of san jose that is central to the water supply for southern
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california, for the san joaquin valley and the farmers there, as well as for language. and the oroville dam is the key dam for the california water system that supplies water to the silicon valley and san joaquin valley as well as to los angeles. we have work to do all across this nation. and we can do it. there is a lot of talk going on about the infrastructure going on. our new president has suggested a trillion dollar infrastructure program financed with private investment. i don't know how that would work in repairing a dam such as oroville or st. louis. i'm not sure how a private investor would figure into this but there can be public-private partnerships. there are programs that have been suggested by my colleague here in the house by mr.
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defazio. mr. defazio has what he calls one penny for progress. it's a progress that would provide $1 trillion investment for highways over a 10-year period. borrow the money and pay it off th a one penny for gas and fuel excise tax. a novel idea, one that probably would work if we could find the would votes for it. over on the senate side, the senate minority leader, mr. schumer, has introduced a $1 trillion package of all types of investment in infrastructure. and it's a project that deserves our feanings. it's a project that would provide significant money for highways. in his proposal, he would create 15 million jobs over the next 10 years for investment in many
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different kinds of infrastructure. he has something that i have talked about here on the floor for now for seven years. we call it make it in america, buy america, use our tax money to buy american-made projects. if you are going to use rebar to rebuild that spillway, then use american steel. you are going to put a pump in this dam to drain some facility, buy an american-made pump. it's my money and your money used to buy america principle. here are a couple of other principles that are very important. he wants protections for american workers and this is life, health and safety protections and wage protections, the davis-bacon and prevailing wage programs, which i think pull up the bottom with good working wages for men and
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women in the construction industry and make sure there is an opportunity for minority and women-owned businesses and environmental protections. these are the principles of his program, which i think are appropriate. what would you spend the money on? he would suggest that we spend $210 billion repairing the roads and bridges. now, remember, that's about one-quarter of what the department of transportation said is needed for the backlog, but nonetheless, that's a good start for roads and bridges, $210 billion over the 10-year period. that is 1.3 million jobs. he would want to spend $110 billion for new water and sewer systems. not bad when you talk about places like flint, michigan and their water supply and in our own central valley of california, we have numerous communities that have inadequate
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water and water contaminated with various chemicals, both natral and from the business environment. he would want, mr. schumer suggests we spend $180 billion to expand and replace our rail and bus systems. that is more than just the transit programs. i suppose that's to make sure that the union pacific bridges don't collapse. he would also have $200 billion for vital infrastructure projects. these would be the most critical and the high-priority projects across the nation. i would suggest to the senator, mr. speaker, that the senator ight consider rebuilding the spillways on the oroville dam. he would also invest $75 billion on american schools so our schools are new and modern and
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meet the needs. another $70 billion on the ports. remember i was talking about the ports that are inadequate. this feeds back to what mr. defast yeoh has suggested that maintenance rbor fund and every container that arrives at our ports, and that money be spent on the ports on the water and on the dock. that money is not spent just there. it winds up in the treasury for who knows what purpose. we would bring that money back to spend on our ports. the new panama canal has been expanded, bigger shifts, bigger draft. we need to build the ports, the docks that can handle them. senator schumer would recommend that $100 billion be spent in energy infrastructure to meet the needs of a modern energy system that is not dependent
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upon oil and coal but renewable sources. and broadband which is exceedingly important in my district which extends 200 miles up the sacramento valley, broadband is not available. these are infrastructure investments that i think all of us should agree on, that we need to build a modern infrastructure for a modern economy and growing economy and along the way create as many as 13 million jobs to do that. a project that would go forward ahead of us. we have the president suggesting a trillion dollar program, public-private partnerships, we have mr. defazio with the financing program with highways and transit systems and ports and we have senator schumer on the other side with a trillion dollar program that would deal with virtually every part of the infrastructure from broadband, communications, to ports, highways, bridges and the hike.
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so, we have, i think, an opportunity here in this congress to address a critical need for america's future, not only for the safety of americans so that all americans can avoid the kind of catastrophe that california came very, very close to having on sunday with the collapse of a 30-foot dam on the oroville lake, creating not this, but something that would be several times bigger than this cascading down the river and inundating communities to the depth of 100 feet or more. doesn't have to happen. we should never be penny-wise and pound-foolish. we should never delay these infrastructure investments bridges know that ill collapse.
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and along with it, the transportation system. we know that dams are in jeopardy. we know that our highways are illed with potholes. we know that our airports, many of them are ancient and in many cases decrepit and certainly not up to modern safety stan we tards and certainly passenger convenience. we know that our ports need to be dredged and new wharfs and docks built. we know we need to have intermodal systems so we can efficiently move cargo from the ports to the trucks, to the train, an across the country. we know the needs. the question for all of us is, are we ready to meet those needs? i would suggest to you that we can. we can do creative financing, as mr. defazio suggested. there's a role for public-private partnerships in
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all of this, as the president has suggested. there's also a place in all of this for us to make choices. about how we spend the taxpayers' money. and this is one that i want to bring to the attention of americans. we are in the process of making a choice to spend $1 trillion over the next 20 years or so to rebuild our entire nuclear arsenal. all of it. all of our nuclear bombs. all of the icbm's and silos in the upper midwest. new intub ma -- submarines with new intercontinental missiles with new bombs off those missiles. new stealth bombers. such as the new b-21. new cruise missiles with now
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bomb -- with new bombs. all of these things. new, fast, stealthy, unobservable, extraordinarily dangerous because the rules of the old cold war, the old nuclear standoff, don't apply. $1 trillion. for what purpose? we need to ask that question. and we need to make choices. there are many other choices that we will be making here. choices about building a $30 billion wall. rather than repairing the bridges, in this case to canadament choices about nuclear weapons. our job, your representatives here in congress, is to make choices that are ways, choices
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that protect you, choices that give all of us an opportunity to have good, well paying jobs, a modern infrastructure on which the private sector can then grow and prosper. and men and women can earn a good middle class living. or we can make choices on things that really do not provide any of those benefits. it's about choices. it's about being prepared for tomorrow. it's about avoiding collapsed bridges and reservoirs that might fail and send a cascade of water down upon the communities. so. i ask my colleagues. consider, ponder the needs of
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your communities. and to make choices. that are wise. that look to the future. and then build a solid foundation that won't fail when that 30 feet of water presses up against that foundation. choices. i hope and i pray we make wise choices. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back my remaining time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. under the speaker's announced policy of january 3, 2017, the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. gohmert, for 30 minutes. mr. gohmert: thank you, mr. speaker.
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now, seems ignation to be the big news of the day, of a cabinet member of the trump administration. and it's interesting to have movement indy visible arise, daily signal points out, ties to george soros, sow division against trump, g.o.p. lawmakers. democrats who used to work on capitol hill are helping to disrupt republican law maverbings' town hall meetings across the country through a nationwide effort to oppose and resist president donald trump's agenda. it goes on to talk about some of the leftists who are trying to do that. and another article that says
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-- the group is trying to the indy visible team is trying mimic strategies of the tea party, but there's quite a difference. e taxed enough already party was grabbing hold of american principles, constitutional principles, principles that brought about the revolution and served the country well for over 200 years, and that is that we're supposed to have a government that works for us, not works us. takes away our religious freedom, takes away -- tries to take away second amendment freedom, tries to take away
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freedom of religion. tells us we can't say anything negative about anything they care about or they'll try to destroy us, our business, and there were people that were shocked that -- and then on top of it all, add a lot more tax and as the president told joe the plumber in essence, we need to take your income and spread it around the country. , i couldn't help but think as had some friends here during the inauguration that went to lincoln ok them to the memorial, of course on the south inside wall is the gettysburg address. on the inside of the north wall is the second inaugural that's so profound and mark levin's father has a terrific book about
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it, but what an amazing speech. lincoln is talking just shortly before his assassination, second inaugural, the war is winding down, it's about over, and there's so much hope abounding, he was not bitter, he was an amazing man, our first republican president, and he talked about the nation and about how both the north and south both read the same bible, both pray to the same god, and he points out, you know, that the prayers of both could not be answered, the prayers of neither have been fully answered. but he points out that it might seem strange that a group of people would invoke god's name to wrench their bread out of the
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sweat of other people's brow. but i heard enough from the people in the taxed enough already party, this group that aprose, that, wait a minute, basically, they're saying we want, when the president says, i'm going to take your money that you made and spread it around, it's basically saying, look, i'm going to be the most powerful man in the world and certainly in this country and my principles dictate i need to take what you worked for and spread it around to other people. s that a way of wrenching your bread from the sweat of others'? it's interesting but anyway, this group, we had 17 show up at
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an office, obviously they were more interested in publicity than a meeting because all they have to do is call and we make sure they have a meeting. somebody is there to meet them even though i'm here in washington when they demand to meet. but apparently groups all over the country are following this soros-funded effort to try to destroy the country, disrupt the country, create anarchy anime hem wherever you can. fortunately in east texas, people realize, we can't quite go far as some groups do because nobody would accept it. and i've got some constituents that are asking legitimate questions, but what we go back to is, what really gave strength to this movement objecting to what was being done in the obama administration was when we had a president and a speaker who were
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saying, we know that a majority of americans don't want this obamacare, affordable care act, it's hard to call it affordable care, it's such a misnomer. but we know, we see the polls, majority of the american people don't want it. but we're going to stick you with it anyway. it's part of our agenda. that's what was bothering people. the thing that this so-called indy visible and groups like this are terrific at coming up with names that are anathema to what they really are, so you have a group called indy visible and their goal is dividing and destroying constitutional the ples of america, but thing is, a majority didn't want obamacare passed. it was shoved down their throats
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even though most of the people in this bdy here had not even read it. i'd read it. scared me. i'm still asking for answers, why did president obama need a commissioned and noncommissioned presidential officer corps that he could call up? initially it sounded like a medical emergency group but then it said they would be trained, didn't say with weapons or with what, said the president would be able to call them up for any international emergency and didn't mention the word health or medical on that. so anyway, there's just so much in there that we didn't need. an most of americans didn't want t, didn't like it. and it took away people's health insurance from them. i was talking with thousands of people in my district, i love to
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do telephone town halls with my district, and this was one segment, about a third of the district last night, represented in this group. and i'll have others coming up in the future. but it's very helpful to me because i can talk to people that you wouldn't see, wouldn't hear, wouldn't see or hear you if you had 40 people come to a town hall like sometimes do. and since we know that there are groups out there that have instructions, create mayhem, disrupt, accuse them of racism and it's in the documents that we're seeing. don't let anybody, whatever they bring up, charge racism. corruption. something else. have a , bring we telephone town hall, ecan tell you -- i can find out what
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people are thinking that i otherwise wouldn't hear from. i thought about doing a mailer to mail to as many in my district as i could but the costs were so dramatic, i could do it but why spend, you know, $100,000 plus of taxpayer dollars just to find out what my district's thinking. i think the best indication of what people in each congressional district in the country are thinking is what happened in the november election. that's the ultimate poll that anybody could ever take. and i've been talking about, for six years, that obamacare needed to be repealed. that it takes away choice, it's costing more money, you don't get to keep your doctor, you don't get to keep your insurance policy. so many thousands, thousands in my district did not. so it's very helpful to hear from people.
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how many, for example, how many believe the government needs to be more involved in health insurance and i think that was thousands of people that had been called. but anyway, it gives me feedback. but it was it was interesting to note to his group that the web sites got some information about the messages going go back and forth and one of them that we demand we have a town hall that we can disrupt and say we are going to have a telephone town hall because we can reach a lot more people and those who are homebound, seniors, who couldn't get out to a personal town hall
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meeting can participate in the telephone town hall. how do we respond to that? there are so many more people we can reach and help them and helps the disabled, how do we respond to that. and they didn't give a good answer, last i saw. it is important for every representative to know where their people stand. and i continue to believe that i'm the most fortunate member of his 435-seat body because of who i get to represent. raising nt last year cain that i was on national media so much. and when i think, why wouldn't to onal media wouldn't me be? it's not because i have an incredible voice.
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i would like to have a voice like james earl jones and the senate chaplain speaking at the president's prayer breakfast. i think god's voice may sound like one day. i don't have a voice like that. it's what i got. i don't put on any airs, why would any national media want to have me on. and i think it would have to do with the fact that i represent extraordinary people in texas where sense is very common. just so much common sense and i think a lot of the country like hearing about hearing three-fourths of my district thinks. i think i reflect that district. and that's why basically three-fourths of the district
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voted for me and it's not because of the way i look or sound and even people who can't stand me in that 25% or 26%, they know i'm going to stand up. sole people don't like it. some years back when a guy wrote speaker, on and mr. in is no e in moron, but any event, it is interesting to ee how frantic things have gotten and how destructive some of the forces in this country have gotten in trying to bring down the principles that made us great. nd it's quite disconcerting. and that leads me to a point that i want to discuss.
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we had the news of the tragic failing of the dam in california . we will continue, those of us who believe in the power of prayer that there will be no loss of life, that despite the negligence of the california government in refusing for over 12 years, apparently at least 12 years to heed the warnings that this dam was going to be failing at some point. they needed to do something. we just need to pray that the negligence that occurred in the new orleans' area in diverting ney away from shoring up the levee wouldn't have a massive cost of life in california. but as we continue to have
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people try to disrupt our congressional districts, continue to try to make so much noise, create so much anarchy, that it creates an inability to govern properly despite the fact that it isn't going to work. thisment, this administration, and this congress is not going to be diverted from what needs to be done. but this article that came out oday from the quee free beek con" former obama first wage secret campaign to oust flynn. i don't believe i had met him before last september. might have, but i don't believe i had before that, but had a chance to visit with him at that donald h at that time
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trump, now our president. he is an interesting man. he has served his country well. but there are issues that are coming out now about discussions with russians. and it would seem to me if president trump had an intelligence community and had people in the government service around him, the career people, that were really wanting to help the country rather than the democrats or president obama, that were really interested in helping the best interests of the united states of america, they would want the president toville all of the information hat anyone in any of the upper eople or anywhere in the
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agencies. and apparently there was information out there that didn't come to light until president trump had selected his national security adviser. he had been sworn in as the national security adviser. and they are on a roll. and of course one of the things general flynn was concerned about, something of deep concern of so many of us in this body was the outrageous iran treaty that got treated like it wasn't a treaty. it was indeed a treaty. it never got ratified by the senate, but it was indeed a treaty and had all the things in it that treaties would have. but this article goes on, the abrupt resignation of white house national security adviser
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michael flynn is the secret campaign by former obama ministration people to handicaps president trump's apparatus and preserve the nuclear deal with iran. according to sources who scribed to us of behind-the-scenes effort to plant a series of damaging stories about flynn in the national media. he efforts are including ben rhoades, the architect of a separate white house effort to describe a pro-iran echo chamber, included a small task force who deluged media outlets th stories eroding flynn's
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credibility. the operation primarily focused on discrediting flynn, an opponent of you iran nuclear deal. in order to disclose secret details of the nuclear detail with iran that had long been hidden by the obama administration. i want to insert of us here, some of us went down to the kcif and we reviewed what was available about the iran deal and there was a lot of secret stuff that the administration would not allow us to know what he had given away, what he had in , potential bad judgment going so far out of the obama placate ation's way to and assist the largest
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supporters of terrorism in the world. and obvious what this article is talking about, some secrets parts of the agreement, those are things we were not allowed to read no matter who you were in congress at the time, but this says, insiders familiar with anti--flynn campaign told "free beekcon" plotted in the months before trump's inauguration to establish roadblocks before trump's national security team. the paper first reported on this effort in january. sources who spoke requested to speak freely about the situation and avoid the white house about flynn which centers on his ability to adequately the
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president about a series of phone calls with russian officials. flynn took credit for his missteps regarding these phone calls in a brief statement released late monday evening. officials later stated that actions could not tolerated. sources closely involved pointed to a larger more secrettive campaign aimed at discrediting flynn and undermining the white house. quote, the campaign to discredit flynn was well under way before inauguration day with a series of leaks designed to undermine him, unquote said an adviser. quote, this pattern reminds me of the leadup to the iran deal and probably features the same
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cast of characters, unquote. and we know from news that has come out from the iran deal, we know that some of the same people that enabled north korea to develop nuclear weapons were involved in negotiating this deal with iran. the deal with north korea was to stop them from getting nuclear weapons. my interpretation of the deal is basically this. we promise, we will give you everything to develop weapons of mass destruction in north korea if you sign a piece of paper. some of the same people that ran to do a deal with iran, they jumped on that, and what happens, north korea helped reate nuclear weapons. big shock. so is it a big shock that the obama administration would send
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at least one of those original people to be a top negotiator with secretary of state john kahn he never saw a couldn't work with and they work out a deal and we still haven't found out all of the arrangements. what we know that there's apparently something so sinister about what this country has done and bent over backwards to provide for iran or allow iran to do that the obama administration could not allow, right-thinking american people to know what it had done for iran and against israel and the united states' best interests. but, if you believe the best interests of the united states are to weaken the united states, if you believe that the united states has been the biggest problem in the world for the
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last 100 years, then you would think, well, if we make a deal with iran, it weakens the united states and may lead to our demise, the world is a better place. ultimately better for the world because the united states is weaker than it has been in decades, going back to pre-world war ii military strength. the ine cheese economy -- it was announced at one point they may have exceeded ours -- i'm not sure that was true. but any way, countries around the world that are threats to world peace have gotten stronger. isis has gotten stronger during this president's term. until fact, came into being under president obama and got quite strong. thousands upon thousands of lives lost.
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in afghanistan, he took a war that he told people, the voters, n 2008, was the important war. ad what should have been just housekeeping operation under his leadership and with his rules of engagement, cost about four times more american military lives than were lost in the height of the afghan war or 7 1/2 years under presidt bush. must be something in must be something in the leadership when one president loses four times the number of lives in the same time than the latter president when the war was supposed to be over this article points out, flynn had been preparing to publicize many of the details about the iran
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nuclear deal that had been intentionally hidden by the obama administration as part of its effort to garner support for the deal, these sources say. flynn is now, quote, gone before anyone can see what happened, unquote, with these secret agreements, said the second insider close to flynn in the white house. sources in and out of the white house are concerned that the campaign against flynn will be extended to other prominent figures in the trump administration. mr. speaker, i can inject here, whoever these sources are that are concerned that the campaign against flynn will be extended to other prominent figures, i can guarantee them that people in and outside the united states government right now as i speak will do everything within their power, these -- some of these characters will, to prevent president trump from getting us back on track to making the
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world a safer place, to getting iran back in the little box that president carter let them out of , and they're going to do -- they're going to go after lots of people. it's not going to be limited. this apparently is a campaign that's going on ongoing. aparaphernalialy general flynn messed up and wasn't completely honest when he should have been. a president's got to be able to trust his security advisor. that's kind of -- that kind of goes without saying. but the president's got to be able to trust those people. it takes me back to september when i was talking, it was right efore general flynn walked up, actually, ironically, but i was lling them, look, i like president george w. bush.
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he's a good man. he's a smart guy. he's a lot smarter than people give him credit, he's one of the wittiest people you can ever have a conversation with, but something that hurt him, and i wanted donald trump to understand this, something that hurt him was that he was such a nice guy after the election was over he made it known, in essence, that everything that happened in the past is bygones. what's happening now, from now on, we're going forward. the trouble is, he had people doing bad acts, even crimes, like having f.b.i. files at the white house. chuck colson went to prison a year and a half for having one. clinton administration had nearly a thousand and nobody did a day. i said, you've got to clean out these departments, these agencies, where bush didn't clean them out. you've got to or they're going to undermine you the whole time you're president. it looks like we're seing that
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right now. so mr. speaker, i just encourage all my colleague, let's give the trump administration the chance , help get this country safer freer, and just a better place to live. it's not going to happen while people are undermining the president from within his own administration and a little kabul that has those ties in this administration, time to clean house and general flynn is not who i'm talking about. with that, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: under the speaker's announced policy of january 3, 2017, the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. green, for 30 minutes. mr. green: thank you, mr. speaker.
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1954, aker, on may 17 of chief justice earl warren delivered the shock that was felt across the nation. this was done when, on behalf of a unanimous supreme court, he announced we conclude that in the field of public education, the doctrine of separate but separate o place, educational facilities are inlearnly unequal. these 24 words, mr. speaker, had a far-reaching impact upon our nation. ushered h these words, in an era of desegregation that's changed the course of history, that has created a new
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ense of destiny, and literally these 24 words opened doors that would -- that were closed to many persons and created new opportunities. mr. speaker, before i go on, let me thank the many co-sponsors of h.res. 79, which recognizes the significance of black history month and h.res. 17, which honors the national association for the advancement of colored people, the naacp, on its 108th anniversary. i thank the many co-sponsors and the many persons who have worked on these issues. i have a staff that has worked tirelessly to make sure that we have these resolutions prepared such as they could be filed timely. i'm grateful to my staff, one such staff member is with me tonight, my legislative director, ms. amina ross, who is
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in the area with me, and i'm appreciative that on valentine's day, she has chosen to be here as opposed to where she probably could be and will probably be going shortly. but mr. speaker, given that in this month, the month of february, we celebrate black history as well as the founding of the naacp, i think that it is appropriate for me to speak on the topic from desegregation to resegregation. mr. speaker, it can't happen. mr. speaker, while brown vs. the board of education has not produced the utopian society many hoped for, it has not ended the de facto segregation that many prayed for, it has not engendered the quality education for all children and has not transformed public schools into perfect schools or equal
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schools, i still contend and firmly believe, in fact, i know, that we are a much better nation with brown than without it. mr. speaker, i think it's important for us to give empirical evidence of these words that i've just spoken. my positions, if you will, and i'd like to do so by allowing the words of a southern judge, i would like to allow his words to speak for themselves. this is a message that was delivered by a southern judge on october 4 of 1957. mr. speaker, i shall not call his name. i do not want to embarrass his family. but he was the vice president -- but he was the vice president of a bar association, he was a circuit court judge. he received his b.a. from a prestigious institution.
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and he taught sociology. mr. speaker, please hear now his words so that people may understand why brown was so important to so many in this country. these are his words. segregation in the south is a way of life. it is the means whereby we live in social peace. -- peace, order and security. mr. speaker, i trust that many people can understand why persons of my generation are concerned when we hear the terms law and order. terms that indicate law enforcement will take law into its own hands by some standards. in fact, there was law and order at the edmund pettus bridge on bloody sunday, but there was not justice at the edmund pettus bridge. many people seek justice when they look for law enforcement to
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enforce and maintain order. they look for justice as well. goes on to say, 98% of both races prefer segregation. he is now speaking for people that we now call african-americans. at that time they were called negros. integration is urged by the acp , he says a few southern mulattoes, this is the means by which a few light-skinned african-americans were separated from the dark-skinned african-americans he said a few southern mulattoes, northern communist front organizations, and left-wing labor groups who would use the unsuspecting negro as their tool, remarkable that someone would think that people yearning to be free would see
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those who are lending a hand as persons who are using them as tools. he goes on to say, it does not work any economic hardship, nor deprive the negro of any of his constitutional rights, he's talking about segregation. and then he goes on to say, the negro has made great strides and the southern white man is largely responsible for these advancements. this is a judge, one can only imagine what it must have been like to appear before him if you were black. he goes on to say, in the south, the negro was permitted as he is in some northern states, if this were done, obtain the ballot by simply reaching 21 years of age. it would mean that no qualified white man in many counties throughout the south could ever hold public office. it would also mean that, in the
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halls of congress, seats now held by competent white representatives would be held by ignorant, incompetent negros. these are the words of a judge. shortly after the brown decision. he explained that an exhaustive study of the program and results of integration in the schools of washington, d.c. which the naacp and other left-wing group, thank god for the naacp and left-wing groups, fostering integration said would be a model for the rest of the united states to follow. clearly revealed that the average white student who was integrated in the classroom with negros has been retarded two to three years in his educational progress. therefore, it is not in the best interest of america that the
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white children, particularly in certain congested sections, be retarded three years in their educational advancement. he then states later on in his speech, that we have already, by constitutional amendment, authorized our legislature as other southern states will do, to abolish the public school system if the negro and white children are ever integrated therein. make no mistake about it , he says. we will abolish our public school system and establish private schools for our white children and we will provide and see that the negro is educated separately. it will cost dearly, he says, but we will do it. and finally, he concludes with
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these words. this is a judge. these are facts. in the sense that these are statements that he has made. history is there for those who wish to read it. he indicates that as long as we we will be seg regated. and after death, god willing, thus it will still be. mr. speaker, i call this to our attention because it's important for us to understand what hor -- what the horrors of segregation were really like. that this is not something persons of african ancestry enjoyed. that segregation caused many persons more than an inconvenience. it realy cost a good many people their lives. so i thank god, mr. speaker, for
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the naacp, for labor unions, and for people of good will of all hues, who worked hard to make sure we arrived at this point in our history. i thank god for brown vs. the board of education, but i also understand that the brown case, . speaker, was as much about faith as it was about facts. i contend that but for the intrusive hand of fate, the brown decision could have been at minimum a partial endorsement of segregation. nfortunately the chief justice at that time, he was a notorious supporter of the doctrine of segregation. however, mr. speaker, after arguments were made in the brown
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case in 1952 and before the ecision was announced in 1954, fate intruded and the chief justice suffered a heart attack, from which he did not recover. a conservative president then to the duty to appoint a man the new seat as chief justice of the supreme court, president eisenhower appointed a man who participated in the world war ii internment of japanese-americans, this was governor earl warren and apointed as the new chief justice. many persons thought little would change on the supreme court. however, when warren achieved a unanimous decision, outlawing
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segregation, president eisenhower was said to have stated that this was one of the biggest mistakes that he made by appointing warren to the supreme court as his chief justice. the brown decision, mr. speaker, was little less than a minor miracle. and it has had remarkable impact on our society. i probably stand here today because of the brown decision. at the time the decision was rendered, there were two african-americans in congress. oday, we have approximately 50 african-americans in congress. and the brown decision has made a difference in the lives of eople. integration of schools has been a benefit of young people. i have an article that i would
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like to read from, styled the benefits of socioeconomicically d this is from the century foundation. and in the general sense, here is what the article addresses. it indicates that students in integrated schools have hire -than-average test scores. they are more likely to enroll in college and less likely to drop out. integrated schools help to reduce achievement gaps. integrated classrooms encourage critical thinking, problem-solving and creativity. attending a diverse school can help reduce bias. students who attend integrated schools are more likely to seek
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out after they leave school. integrated classrooms can improve students' satisfaction and intellectual self-confidence. learning in integrated settings can enhance their leadership skills. and finally of the many things and i have not cited them all, diverse classrooms prepare students to succeed in a global economy. mr. speaker, there is little question in my mind and in the minds of many that integration has made a difference in the lives of people in this country. integration has not only been a benefit to us in classrooms, but live naa is that we has ty wherein integration
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allowed us to sleep where we sleep, to eat where we eat and to live where we live, brown versus the board of education has had far-reaching implications beyond that of the classroom. the economic order, the political order ap the social order have been impacted by brown. it peaker, i want to make clear that i believe we have to, in this country, protect the ntegration and the desegregation that society has produced. mr. speaker, can you give me the amount of time i have left? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman has 14 minutes remaining. mr. green: i will provide a.m. will time.
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continuing, mr. speaker, i am concerned about the resegregation of our society. i believe that it can occur and i believe we must guard against it. i believe that the voucherization of public school funding has been and continues to be the enemy of desegregation and integration. allow me to explain. after the brown decision, as i have indicated, many states sought to repeal the requirements that they maintain a public school system, and many did. after the brown decision, vouchers were seen as a means by which public schools could be privatized, so the public school system would exist with public tax dollars and would allow
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people to still go to the schools of their choice, school choice what one of the watchwords of the day. after the brown decision, in man therebs, milton fried proposed vouchers be allowed to be used, allow parents to have this opportunity to send their children to the schools of choice. mr. speaker, these vouchers, had they been used as proposed, would have continued to perpetrate segregation and perpetrate it for years to come. these vouchers were not used and i regret to say however many states are currently proposing voucher systems that can lead to e reseeing regracious of
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society. naccn to fight by the and people of good hues, we have to protect these gains and not allow our country to slip into a dark past that no one wants to relive. i would hope, mr. speaker, that whoe continue our progress, will remember the past that we have been able to extricate ourselves from and in so doing, it is my desire who will that we give special attention to these attempts to use tax dollars to voucherize tax dollars so that ublic schools can be lead to separation and lead to the resegregation of society. at this time, i have jim clyburn
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present from sourget carolina and he is a historian and i yield time to him so he may speak on the subjects related to black history and the naacp. i yield to the gentleman from south carolina. mr. clyburn: i tharning my friend from texas for yielding me the time. have been , acpu's the topic of a great deal of discussions recently. and i rise as part of the observance of black history month to recognize and celebrate one of them, allen university in columbia, south carolina. similar to the many historically black colleges and universities ross the universe, its
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contribution to my state and the nation are immeasurable. founded to offer education and opportunity to formerly enslaved african-americans, they have been institutions in african-american communities for generations. in 1870, five years after the end of the civil war, the clearing of the med different episcopal church sent out an institution to educate newly-freed slaves and clerge for the a.m.e. church. the church purchased land in south carolina and named the new college payne institute in order bishop donald payne. bishop payne was the first black
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college president in the united force in will borrow university in 186 . william dixon relocated the university. the institution was renamed allen university after richard richard allen, the founder and first bishop of the a.m.e. church. and until the early 1960's. the university of south carolina also in my district, nearly a mile away from allen admitted its first african-american in 1963, two years after i graduated from college. throughout the jim crow era.
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it offered degrees in law, education and theology. and at one time also offered elementary and high school classes. several of its buildings are on the national registrar of historic places. on that hall, the oldest building on campus was constructed in 1891 by the students themselves. was named after benjamin w. arnett, an early leader of the a.m.e. church who served on the board of trustees. the building which houses the auditorium was designed by john languageford, known as the dean
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of black architects and completed in 1925. it was named after william david great-grandfather f daniel chappell. the auditorium is one of five buildings designated a national historic landmark. this historic campus has been central to the waiverly neighborhood and african-american community in columbia. beton all hughes and appeared at the auditorium. reverend james
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hitton the president of the acp held a rally which was tended by reverend joseph a. delane. inspired r expired by the event, he organized families in summer n, north carolina to provide help for black students who at the time who were forced to make daily walk of nine miles to school. is case was the first of the fires of five cases that became brown versus board of education of toe peeka, kansas. no exaggeration to say that allen university was the birthplace of the movement that
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overturned separate but equal nd brought an end to legal segregation in america. allen university would remain central to the struggle of civil rights. allen university students led demonstrations at segregated lunch counters and participated in many other marches in columbia during that period. national leaders, such as martin luther king, junior, roy wilkins nathy stayed on campus when they came to town. today, allen university is a liberal arts institution still operated by the a.m.e. church and graduated many notable elected officials including william clyburn and his wife who
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retired from the south carolina five years ago. . o alumni were among the nine who were murdered during attack at emanuel a.m.e. churn in -- hurch in 2015. the auditorium has been restored recently with federal funding from the hbcu historic preservation program, which this body, in its elective wisdom, voted unanimously last year to re-authorize. i plan to, along with my
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friend, representative green and other members of the congressional black caucus, to reintroduce that bill this year . i am hopeful that we will repeat the unanimity this year and that the senate will support our efforts. the university has made an indelible mark on our society over the past 147 years. to k all of my colleagues join me in honoring its great contributions to this great nation. thank you so much and i yield back. to join me mr. green: thank you, mr. clyburn, for those comments. i'm sure a good many people have acquired a better understanding of allen university. thank you so much. mr. speaker, how much i time do i have left, please? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman has two minutes remaining. mr. scott: thank you. i will simply say this --
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mr. green: i will simply say this in my last two minutes. i am grateful that the naacp was there not only for me but for this country. the naacp filed and won many cases. but brown vs. the board of education has to be one of the most outstanding pieces of litigation that it engaged in. and of course you can't talk about brown without mentioning the honorable thurgood marshall. who was the lead council -- counsel in the brown case. went on to become a justice on supreme court. the brown case has transformed american life. it desegregated and integrated american society, the economic order, and the political order as well. i'm blessed to be here because of brown vs. board of education . and my hope is that we will understand that desegregation and integration are here now.
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and we will fight for them. but we have to also understand that we can go from desegregation to resegregation and we must be careful, we must be vigilant, and we must protect the gains that we have made. mr. speaker, i thank you and i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. hank you, sir. under the speaker's announced policy of january 3, 2017, the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. o'rourke, for 0 minutes. mr. o'rourke: thank you, mr. speaker. you know, i came to the floor this evening primarily to talk out issues and opportunities at the v.a. and the successful confirmation of our new secretary of veterans affairs,
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dr. david shulkin. but i would be remiss in not thinking -- thanks my colleague from texas -- thanking my colleague from texas, mr. green, for his powerful words about the naacp and the profound positive impact that they've had on this country and on our ability to make the most of the potential that we have in every single community in the united states. mr. green is well aware of the in ordernant pride i have in the community i represent in el paso, texas, and how the first chapter of the naacp was started in el paso, texas, through the good work of dr. lawrence nixon, who also has the distinction of having been the man who effectively desegregated voting in the state of texas. ending the all-white primary which had prevailed following reconstruction in our state, much to our lasting shame. but to our immense pride, he was the man and our community was the place where that
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successful fight began. as mr. green also knows, because i had the pleasure and horn of john b.:ing him in a -- honor of joining him in a special order not too long ago, el paso also was the home of thelma white who, along with some other courageous el pasoans who had gone to the all african-american high school, douglas high school in el paso, attempted to enroll in texas western college. now known as the university of texas at el paso. were denied entry simply based on the color of their skin. and thanks to the naacp and one of their most promising attorneys, thurgood marshall, they were able to take this case to a federal bench. in fact, the bench of r.a. thompson, also happens to be an el pasoan, whose ruling not only ruled in their favor, but effectively desegregated higher education in the state of texas
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at that time and forever more. so i just wanted to add my anks and my support for an outstanding organization and the very positive impact that they've had on the state that i call home, in the community that i am so lucky to serve and to represent. i thank the gentleman from texas for staying for just a little bit longer. mr. speaker, i am also here today to thank my colleagues in yesterday ho 100-0 confirmed the president's nomination of dr. david shulkin to be the next secretary of the v.a. at what i think is the most critical moment in the history of that critically important organization. we all know of the severe challenges that the v.a. and the veterans whom it purports to serve faces today. we know challenges in service-connected disability
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claim wait times, in the appeals that are made to those claims when the judgment or the ruling is not in favor of the veteran in question, or there's an errer in that judgment, or some additional information needs to be added, wait times in appeals that last not days or weeks or months, but are measured in years. we know about challenges in wait times for those veterans who are seeking to get an appointment with the primary care physician, a specialty care physician, or, i think, most critically at a time when 20 veteran a day in this country, that's a conservative estimate, 20 veterans a day are taking their own lives, severe wait times to see a mental health care provider. those are among the most important challenges that we as a congress and those of us who serve on the veterans affairs committee -- veterans' affairs committee face today. and so again, i am grateful for the senate's work on this issue in confirming dr. shulkin. and i've got to say, despite some deep disagreements and
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differences, disappointments with the current administration, i am grateful for this president for the public good he's done in nominating dr. shulkin. a man who has served in previous roles as c.e.o. of betting israel medical center -- beth israel in med -- israel medical center in new york city, and beginning in the summer of 2015, the undersecretary for the veterans health administration, where he hit the ground running, began working on the challenges before us, providing solutions to them nationally, and in our individual congressional districts, on the ground, working with the teams there, both at the v.a., in the public and private sector, and with the various representatives who brought these issues to his attention. so could not be more grateful for his service and i want to speak about that a little bit more. but i also want to acknowledge that we have some excellent leadership on both the senate veterans' affairs committee and here in the house where dr.
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phil roe of tennessee is taking the helm as a chairman of the house veterans' affairs committee. he himself, a medical doctor, he himself a veteran, and he himself, someone who chose to serve on the committee as just one member of that committee in the years leading up to his selection by his colleagues, as a chairman. i know with talking to him, he has big plans. significant, defined goals. and he's willing to work on a bipartisan basis to make sure that we achieve them. i'm really looking forward to the ability to work with him. he's joined by returning members who have sought position on the veterans' affairs committee. now, for those who don't know, for too long the veterans' affairs committee was seen as a back water or a basement. it wasn't a place where an aspiring member of congress with ambitions went to do her or his wok. this was a place they were
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relegated when they couldn't make it on to a bigger or better committee. that was the old conventional wisdom. report s i'm proud to the veterans' affairs committee is a place of distinction where members serve with pride, where we ask to join that committee, as did i after i was elected in 2012, so we can tackle some of the most difficult challenges before this congress and certainly this country. how we ensure that we deliver the best care to the 20 million-plus veterans who have put their lives on the line and served this country in a way that no other american has. in a way that ensures that we have the america that so many of us take for granted. veterans who -- whose service dates back to world war ii and leads up to those who are just returning from afghanistan and iraq and many places all over the world where we have u.s. service members stationed in more than 140 countries today.
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ensuring that we fulfill our obligations to them, whether it's post-9/11, g.i. bill, educational and work force benefits, whether it's access to quality, consistent health care, or ensuring that we quickly and effectively and successfully responds to claims made after there is a service-connected disability incurred in service, we need to get these things right. the future of our country depends on it. our honor depends on it. and the commitments that we have made, the obligations that we have incurred as a country to these veterans, that all depends on our successful completion of that work. so i'm grateful for the members who have chosen to serve on that committee. i'm grateful for our chairman. and i'm grateful for our anking member, mr. tim wals of minnesota, who also has -- walz of minnesota, who also happens to be the highest ranking enlisted service member to ever serve in the congress as a
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command sergeant major. someone who has asked to be on that committee, who has written significant legislation, has ensured that the clay hunt save act, for example, became law, which gives us a better opportunity to reduce veteran suicide, which i think is the most critical issue that we can address. that we reduce the number of veterans who are taking their own lives and provide more resources and more help. i will say this about mr. walz, he's someone who puts his country above party, the work that he has to do above his own self-advancement. and i think it is with that attitude and with that character and with the bipartisan group of house veterans' affairs committee members that we're going to see great work come out of this committee, great leadership come from mr. walz, and his chairman. and i am so glad that mr. walz has decided to spend part of his valentine's day evening with me on the floor of the house talking about the great work that lies ahead for us
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when we try to serve the veterans of this country. with that, mr. speaker, i yield to mr. walz of minnesota. mr. walz: thank you, mr. speaker fment i thank the gentleman from el paso -- mr. speaker. i thank the gentleman from el paso. i very much appreciate always the story and the passion that you have for that great community and look at the leadership that comes out of there. i certain lino in your work for veterans, your name will be added to that list. the passion, the willingness to solve problems, the willingness to find and make the tough choices to fulfill this nation's commitment to our veterans is something i am just proud to serve alongside you. i would echo the gentleman's comments, having had the opportunity today to witness the swearing-in of dr. david shulkin as our next v.a. secretary, being there with vice president pence, along with senator isaacson and hester on the senate side and dr. roe, who you spoke i think very accurately at, mr. o'rourke, a true gentleman, an impassioned advocate for veterans and a no-nonsense
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legislator. exactly what we need. to watch the sense of can-do spirit up there, to see dr. shulkin and his family and young children, the sacrifice that goes into public service, thanks gentleman that could make far more -- this is a gentleman that could make far more money and have less headaches if he chose to serve in the private sector. he chose not to do that for all the right reasons. it probably brings us to the message that mr. o'rourke, that you're delivering. this is something that unites this country more than anything else. the care and service to our veterans. it it does not matter where you fall or what you think of the conflicts we the are engaged in, but the care for the veterans is something that my folks in minnesota and your folks in el paso and folks conf are in philadelphia, los angeles and seattle, they want us to get it right and deliver the benefits
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that were earned and want us to get it right and this commitment is not fleeting or comes and goes. people understand these complex issues. to put this in perspective, when you make this promise and raise your hand, you are in it for the long haul. the veterans benefits administration is paying out $73 , 152 years after the ebbed of end of that conflict. when you go to war, it comes with a long tail. and the long tail is doing what president lincoln, care for those who battled. and it's in that spirit that i would encourage our constituents, mr. speaker, to take an eye and look at what is happening with veterans' issues. when they don't believe anything can work and couldn't agree it's tuesday today, that is not the
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case. we have good, smart people looking for solutions that are in the best interest of this nation and the best interest of veterans and taxpayers. don't make rash generalizations that nothing works. many things work in the v.a. but when they don't, that is a failure. when one veteran is left behind, that is not good enough. and we could do better. but an attitude that we don't need to do that or we aren't using our resources -- the gentleman will talk about it, but last year, 31% of all health care needs were delivered. when that makes sense and most efficient and most convenient for the veteran, we should deliver that. e v.a. has a core mission to do research in injuries.
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the v.a. needs to train physicians and make sure we keep the accountability instead ofal veteran good luck. it's in that spirit that i'm hopeful and it needs to be said, if our constituents -- and if it goes through administration through administration, a commitment to veterans has to be there. i think there is a responsibility in the first choice of this administration in dealing with veterans, they might have picked the one person best suited to do the job and important to stress that point. congress writes the laws, this house authorizes the money. we have oversight responsibility and we have partners who are there to help whether it be the american legion or the d.a.v. and iraq and afghanistan vet
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raps, these are folks out there who are wanting to want to help. i thank the georgia. again, he spoke true and true from the heart that at one time people may have not seen service on the v.a. committee, but folks who found themselves who are committed, committed above it to party and advancement on both sides of the aisle. and it is rarely seen in the press or the general public. and i think there is much that can restore and i say, how we conduct ourselves in this people's house of representatives, must be a direct reflection on the sacrifice on the right to self-govern. those who pay the sacrifice and we can debate the issues of the day. so just the exercise tonight of
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having the opportunity and the privilege to share a little bit of the gentleman's time on the oor was given to us in great sacrifice. we need to conduct ourselves that honors that manner. i look forward to your hep as our ranking member on the committee subcommittees that are coming up and i know they are in good hands and i love the stories of el paso from an impassioned son of el paso. and ki i yield back my time. mr. o'rourke: i thank the gentleman for taking some time to be here tonight and talk about not just our challenges but some of the hope and opportunity that we have ahead with this new secretary for the v.a., this new leadership on the committee and renewed commitment from this congress and country
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to do the right thing by her veterans and i'm glad, mr. speaker, that he mentioned the necessity to ensure the long tile health and viability. there has been talk about privatizing the v.a. and essentially asking our veterans to find their own doctors and medical providers in the communities in which they live and no longer having the v.a. as the core of the delivery of care that they have depended on for so long. it is important that are the secretary said that he would never be part of privatizing the v.a.. while there are opportunities to capitalize on care in the community as the ranking member said only at the v.a., we have doctors and nurses, many who are
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veterans who have uniquely cared for veterans know the signs where we are trying to reduce terans' suicides and treat military trauma, the kinds of conditions that don't typically occur in the civilian population that we don't see at our general private-public hospitals but are unique to the v.a. and unique to medicine where we will ensure our veterans will get word-class care who are uniquely trained. and while we will never shy within the shortcomings, i think it's important to reiterate how successful we are in seeing veterans whose care depends upon
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a doctor, who leaves that appointment, grateful for the time they were able to spend there and grateful for the fact that there is a v.a. this last week on friday, a few days early, but we took sole valuen tines' cards made by elementary school students to veterans at the v.a. and i was joined by the new permanent and we just shook hands with veterans and frontline staff and nurses and providers thank them for their service and to each veteran either coming in or leaving the v.a., i asked them their experience if they were in their way in or on their way out.
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and as ranking member knows, the veterans are never shy about sharing the truth or facts. we hear the good and bad and ugly. at the el paso v.a. on friday, for every veteran, the story was a positive one. for every veteran going in to see a doctor. and does president mean that every story is great. sometimes the phone isn't answered and sometimes an appointment isn't made, all of those circumstances are not accepted. i know the secretary feels the way i do. every member of congress feels the way i do. the vast majority of veterans are getting great health care and for the most part. when they are referred to care in the community when a doctor
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is unavailable and a psychiatrist is not available and they are referred to, most of those right now are working well. not perfectly, not all the time. there is work we must do. but i'm making the point that the v.a. needs to remain the core of delivery of care to our veterans. public hospitals, private hospitals, clinics, hospitals, those who want to step up. the rates they are rurmed at are less than medicare but they want to do their part to serve this country and serve veterans and put their lives on the line and so i think that's a positive situation on which we can build with the right leadership team here in congress with our local v.a.'s.
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i'll tell you a story about secretary shulkin. after he was named, i brought to his attention the suicide crisis that we have in el paso in texas and in the united states. v.a.'s know now today by estimate, the estimate was 22. in all 50 states, basis for the new number shows us at 20. too many unacceptable, has to become our number one priority. we won't save more lives or prevent more preventable deaths. i shared with the doctor after hearing from veteran after veteran after veteran, while their car was excellent and while there they were treated like a king or queen, when they
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were seeking a mental health care appointment and vietnam veteran who bottled his trauma and experiences for 45, 50 years, was now coming to years when he reached a certain crossroads with that trama and needed to speak with someone. we conducted a scientific objective third-party survey in el paso. we found less than % that more than a third of veterans in our community could not get in to see a mental health care provider, not within 30 days, not within a year, not just every. and we know that care delayed becomes care denied and unnecessary suffering. t worst, preventable deaths,
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veterans taking their own limbs. i told him this community rallied around our veterans and the public hospital, university sol al center, the del hospital, providence hospital, all of these folks wanted to come together to see if they couldn't fill the gap in coverage. but we needed leadership from the v.a. and needed them to take a chance on a model that was never tried before. and we wanted them to get behind despite the ct and best intentions and increase funding from the v.a. in funding, we weren't able to see veterans who desperately needed
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care. dr. shulkin. and after being sworn in was able to help us get this pilot program under way with the collaboration of texas tech in el paso after finding the pass performing institutions. he made that partnership with texas tech pob. he made referring care, where we didn't have the doctors in the v.a. possible and ensured that we continue to concentrate on rvice and combat-connected injuries. and more than anything else makes the case for the v.a and ensuring it is not just there today but forever for as long as we have a country but a v.a.
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where veterans need it most. traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma, those conditions that are unique to service and to combat. i'm encouraged that we have now as the secretary of the full v.a., and we have the leadership ke plrp walz and dr. roe and encouraged by the leadership we see on the senate side. and mr. walz would agree with me, we have leadership out in from the le community iraq-afghanistan veterans and the paralyzed veterans, from every organization, too many to mention in the time i have allotted today who put the pressure, to provide the
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solutions and make trips up to washington, d.c., to make sure they are holding us accountable for the tremendous accountability we have before us and we perform against that responsibility and the goals. . who we have a sacred obligation to today. i'm encouraged that this committee, this congress, this country works on a bipartisan -- or let's just say a nonpartisan basis to get that work done. we're introducing two bills tomorrow, for example, both with republican co-sponsors. the veteran prescription continuity act, with representative mike kaufman of colorado, representative walter jones of north carolina. that bill, if made into law, will ensure that veterans who were dependent on the care provided in part through predictions prescribed while they were active duty service
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members at a military treatment facility are still able to receive those prescriptions as veterans. a lot of folks don't know this, but we don't have a unified formulary between d.o.d. and v.a. some veterans, some prescriptions get dropped along the way. here's a no-brainer, quick bipartisan fix to that part of the problem. the other bill is the mental health care provider retention act, also introduced with walter jones of north carolina. this ensures at a time of crisis when it comes to veteran suicide, if you're an active duty service member and you're receiving good treatment at a military treatment facility for posttraumatic stress disorder, for example, or other mental health issues, that if the v.a. cannot continue that care, because we don't have enough psychiatrists or psychologists for 45,000 collin -- psychologists, we're 45,000 clinical physicians short in the v.a. today, if you're getting care in a treatment facility and there is not that care for you on the v.a. side as you transition out and
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separate in a given community like el paso, that you will be able to continue to receive quality mental health care treatment at that military treatment facility. again, this isn't going to solve every access problem. it's not going to in itself reduce or solve the suicide crisis we have amongst veterans. but it's a commonsense, bipartisan approach that makes things a little bit better, and ensures that we have more accesser to more veterans. and begin to take more steps towards reducing veteran suicide. mr. speaker, i am very encouraged today by the opportunity as before us, by the leadership that is ready to take on that work, and with the opportunity i have to join these leaders to ensure that we fulfill every commitment that we have to every veteran in america. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek
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recognition? mr. o'rourke: mr. speaker, i move to adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. it's close. the ayes have it. the motion is adopted. accordingly the house stands adjourned until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning for morning hour debate.
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