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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 9, 2009 1:00pm-1:30pm EDT

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who would use hate, intolerence, and fear to divide us. my heart goes out to dr. tiller's family and friends and my prayers are with them. i ask permission to revise and extend and i yield time back. thank you. . the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman from north carolina. mr. coble: i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: reserves. the gentleman from new york. mr. nadler: mr. speaker, i now yield one minute to the distinguished the gentlelady from new york, ms. slaughter. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from new york is recognized for one minute. ms. slaughter: thank you, mr. speaker, and i thank my colleague, mr. nadler. i want to close my portion here reminding people of what a terrible thing has happened in this country of a man who was simply doing what he was allowed to do, what he was trained to do. i think perhaps i should state it for the record, too, that third trimester abortions are
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less than 1% and even roe v. wade says that after the first trimester that the state has an interest and that it takes two doctors as well as it does with a third trimester. these are oftentimes babies that have been desperately wanted and planned, but in order to save the health of the mother or to prevent her from carrying a toxic fetus that has already expired it's sometimes necessary to do it. it's not a whim. it's not something that women do. i think anything it insults my intelligence and my feeling as a woman and a grandmother the notion that women will just wake up one morning and say, well, i've had enough. that just does not happen. women are by nature nurturers and we are just not like that. it's a major insult to us. but as we remember this killing and affirm the need for peace in our places of worship, let's remind ourselves of the need for tolerance and kindness.
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i offer this resolution and to offer the motion sincere condolences to the family and it contirms firms -- affirms the house of representatives -- may i have 30 seconds more? mr. nadler: i grant the gentlelady 30 seconds. ms. slaughter: thank you. it affirms the house of representatives commits to the american principle that tolerance must always be superior to intolerance. i urge members to join me in supporting this and renounce nefarious violence in places of worship. violence is deplorable and never an acceptable avenue for expressing opposing viewpoints. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from new york yields back. the gentleman from north carolina is recognized. mr. coble: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the distinguished gentleman from new jersey, mr. smith. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey is recognized for two minutes. mr. smith: i thank my friend
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for yielding. mr. speaker, the prolife movement is absolutely nonviolent and committed to protecting the unborn children and their mothers through peaceful, nonviolent means. i have been in the prolife movement for 37 years, and those peaceful nonviolent means includes legal and constitutional reform as well as tangiblely assisting women with crisis pregnancies. dr. tiller's murderer must be brought to swift justice, commence rate with the heinous crime that he has committed. murder is murder. murder is never justified and can never be condoned by any society committed to fundamental human rights, justice and the rule of just law. let me as well, like my other colleagues on the floor today, extend my profound condolences to the tiller family. and i yield back to my friend the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey yields back. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. nadler: i'll reserve my time at this point. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york reserves.
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mr. issa: i would continue to yield. i'm sorry. i continue to reserve unless the gentleman is ready to close. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from california controls the time. the gentleman from california. mr. issa: thank you. if i would inquire if the gentleman's prepared to close. mr. nadler: i am prepared to close after your side closes. mr. issa: i would yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california yields back. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. nadler: parliamentary inquiry. the speaker pro tempore: state your inquiry. mr. nadler: does that mean that the gentleman has declined his right to a closing? the speaker pro tempore: yes. he's yielded back his time. mr. issa: i'm declining on this bill. i'll pick up on the next one. thank you. mr. nadler: ok. mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. nadler: thank you, mr. speaker. this resolution condemns the murder of dr. tiller. it condemns the murder of people who are murdered in church and places of worship.
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it condemns the practice and it has become a practice of seeking to change the laws of this country, of seeking to intimidate women from availing themselves of their rights, of their constitutional right to an abortion, of intimidating doctors from availing themselves of their constitutional right to perform medical procedures that are legal, that they believe are moral by threats of murder and mayhem. i was glad to hear mr. smith say that the pro-life movement is nonviolent, and i'm sure that most of it is. but unfortunately it's clear that there are some people, a small minority, who believe themselves part of the pro-life movement who are not nonviolent. and i trust that everyone in this house today, and these people have engaged in conduct that have killed, murdered several providers of abortion simply for doing what they believe to be the right thing, what i believe to be the right thing, and more importantly what the law allows them to do. and to intimidate other people
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from doing this. this resolution which i trust every member of this house will vote for, says that we do not believe in trying to change the law by violence, we do not believe in domestic terrorism, defining terrorism as an attempt to change the law through murder and violence and mayhem. we believe in constitutional processes, and if we do not -- if every single one of us does not believe in that then we don't have any moral superiority of the terrorists we condemn around the world. i trust every member will vote in favor of this resolution, toe express our belief that social change, if necessary, will be brought about by peaceful democratic debate and by votes, not by bullets and that this country stands for the evolution of law by debate and by consideration and by democratic means. and i urge everyone to vote for this resolution. i yield back the balance of my time.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york yields back. the question is will the house suspend the rules and agree to house resolution 505. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. ms. slaughter: mr. speaker, i ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended -- the gentlelady from new york. ms. slaughter: request the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20 and the chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on this motion will be postponed.
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the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia rise? >> mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 1741 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 70, h.r. 1741, a bill to require the attorney general to make competitive grants to eligible state, tribal, and local prosecutors to establish and maintain certain protection and witness assistance programs . the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the
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gentleman from georgia, mr. johnson, and the gentleman from california, mr. issa, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia. ms. johnson: -- mr. johnson: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. johnson: and i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. johnson: mr. speaker, the witness security and protection act of 2009 authorizes the attorney general to award grants to states and local prosecutors for establishing and improving short-term witness protection programs for witnesses that are involved in a state or local trial involving a homicide, a serious violent felony or a serious drug offense.
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witness intimidation reduces the likelihood that citizens will be willing to perform their civic duty in the criminal justice system, often depriving police and prosecutors of critical evidence. more broadly, it also undermines public confidence that the criminal justice system can adequately protect its citizens. and there is no better example that demonstrates the need for this legislation than the tragedy that befell the dawson family in the autumn of 2002 in baltimore, maryland. angela dawson had repeatedly contacted the police with drug dealing in her neighborhood. in retaliation, darrell brooks, a neighborhood dealer, fire bombed the dawson home, not once but twice, before killing angela, her husband, cornell,
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and all five of their children. this heinous violence perpetrated against the dawson family was the impetus for this legislation, and i commend congressman conyers for -- excuse me -- congressman cummings for his tireless pursuit of this legislation over multiple congresses. i strongly urge my colleagues to support this legislation, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. issa: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. issa: mr. speaker, i rise in support of h.r. 1741, the witness security and protection grant program act of 2009. witness testimony is a critical component of our criminal justice system. even with sophisticated d.n.a. and other forensic evidence, there is no substitute for an
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eyewitness testimony. however, engaging the cooperation of witnesses is frequently a daunting obstacle in many criminal prosecutions. many witnesses fail to come forward or refuse to testify out of fear of retribution by the defendants or pressure by the community. it's no surprise that violent criminals will unleash their brutality on witnesses whose testimony could result in years or decades in prison. it is also no surprise that violent gangs and drug organizations are the source of much of this brutality. the justice department's national gang center reports that gang members so frequently engage in witness intimidation that it is considered part of the normal gang behavioral dynamics. state and local law enforcement officials and prosecutors are in a constant struggle to counteract witness intimidation and to convince witnesses to cooperate. it's vital that we assist in
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this. at the federal level the u.s. marshal service is charged with witness protection and has operated the witness security program since 19770. under the program more than -- 1970. under the program more than 7,500 witnesses and over 9,500 families have been protected, relocated or given new identities. most states and local governments cannot offer that level of protection. many cannot afford to offer even basic protective services for instances during a trial within which the procedures -- that the proceedings in a small town might be all too evident to gangs in the area. h.r. 1741, the witness security protection grant program act directs that the attorney general to award grants to state and local governments to establish and maintain witness protection programs. mr. speaker, it is very clear that this not only is a well worthwhile program whose time
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has come but that in fact it could be a real cost saving to the taxpayers from the federal level. federal prosecution tends to be more expensive. in the case of gang, drug and other activities, there is almost always a dual nexus, one in which the state or local courts can try the gang members one in which the federal government can find federal statutes to try under. unfortunately, without an effective witness protection program, localities may often choose to move a case to federal court where witness protection is available rather than providing that protection themselves. so, mr. speaker, i rise with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to support strongly that we find those opportunities in which local governments can provide this service rather than moving to federal court. this is a cost savings, commonsense initiative and i support it and reserve the balance of my time.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. johnson: thank you, mr. speaker. with respect to my great colleague from the great state of maryland, congressman cummings, i will yield so much time as he may consume. . the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for an unlimited amount of time. mr. cummings: i want to thank the gentleman, mr. johnson, for yielding, and chairman conyers, chairman scott torques mr. issa, and the entire judiciary committee and the house leadership for recognizing the importance of this legislation by bringing it to the floor today. mr. speaker, while our soldiers fight in iraq and afghanistan, many citizens across our nation are facing terrorism right here at home and right in their own neighborhoods. people are being murdered in broad daylight and their kill
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remembers walking free. because we do not protect witnesses to crimes from threats against their safety, if they cooperate with the police f. they testify in court, or even if they are listed as witnesses to testify in court. this epidemic of witness intimidation is a menace to our civil soing and a plague on our entire justice system. in fact, it was the deaths of angela and carnel dawson and their five children, ages 9 to 14, that first motivated me to address this issue. i can remember very vividly sitting at a funeral with two adult caskets and four children. one adult casket and five children and then a day later the husband died and then we went to his funeral. the entire dawson family was killed in october, 2002, when a gang member firebombed their home in the middle of the night
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in retaliation for mrs. dawson's repeated complaints to the police about recurring drug trafficking in east baltimore neighborhood. i might add, mr. speaker, that miss dawson literally lives within -- lived within about a five-minute drive from my house. they were not affiliated in any way with drugs or gangs. rather mrs. dawson was just a civic minded parent trying to clean up her neighborhood and make it safe place for her children and for other families. while several state and local entities have established witness assistance programs, many of these programs have fallen victim to the tough economic times and had to be discontinued. conversely the u.s. marshal service uses $65 million to operate its federal witness security program. it has an excellent track
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record. in all of its years in exis ens they have never been known to lose a witness, and at the same time they have the prosecutors in those cases have an 89% success rate. it is because of this inequity that i call upon my colleagues to give law enforcement the ability to protect the sanctity of our justice system and pass h.r. 1741, the witness security and protection grant program act. h.r. 1741 would help local law enforcement officers strengthen witness assistance and protect units -- protection units sending a very loud and clear message to criminals that our citizens and we in the congress of the united states of america will not be deterred by fear tactics like intimidation. speaking of intimidation, mr. speaker, in the city of baltimore we have a group that put out a -- two trailers entitled stop snitching. in one of those trailers i along
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with the state's attorney were threatened because we were standing up for this legislation and standing up for witnesses. but i made it very clear to them that i have no fear because if you can have a situation where a person can literally be standing on a corner and 20 people know the perpetrator, perpetrator comes up and blows somebody's brains out and nobody testifies, what happens then is that we have then given the criminal more power, we have taken power away from regular citizens, and the next thing you know the criminal feels that there are no consequences to his or her actions. you cannot have a criminal justice system that is effective and efficient unless you have the cooperation of witnesses. it is up to this congress to make it very, very clear that we
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will not under any circumstances stand for witnesses to be intimidated, harmed, threatened, killed, and in any way deterred from carrying out their duty to assist police and law enforcement. the bill would provide $150 million in competitive grants over five years to enable state and local governments to establish witness assistance programs with priority given to cities or areas that have -- locales that have an average of at least 100 homicides per year during the most recent five-year period. h.r. 1741 would also allow these programs to receive technical assistance from the united states marshal service. by improving the protection for state and local witnesses, we come one step closer to alleviating the fears and threats to prospective witnesses and safeguarding our communities from violence. and again i want to thank mr.
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conyers, i want to thank mr. johnson, mr. scott, and all of those in -- and ranking member for the support. i urge my colleagues to pass this legislation. with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland yields back his time. the gentleman from california. mr. issa: thank you, mr. speaker. it's now my pleasure to yield three minutes to the distinguished alternative from the city of new orleans, junior member from louisiana, mr. cao. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from louisiana is recognized for three minutes. mr. cao: i thank the gentleman for yielding me time. mr. speaker, i rise today in strong support of h.r. 1741, the witness security and protection grant program act. crime is the number one concern of my constituents in orleans and jefferson parish's in louisiana. crime is my top concern, too. my district includes the city of new orleans, which as of june 1
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has already seen 80 murders. further, according to the f.b.i.'s annual report on crime released last week, new orleans leads the nation in murders. and this says nothing about the incidents of other types of crime from sexual offenses to robberies. i hold in my hand a photo of sergeant manual curry. he was a popular and much loved member of new orleans police department. at 62 years of service he was one of america's longest serving police officers. tragically for new orleans he passed away last week and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, his family, and his nlpd colleagues. and -- nopd colleagues. here is an article from today's newspaper. it reports that within hours of
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his death, three people broke into his home and stole guns, money, jewelry, and medication. his wife was notified of the burglary while at the funeral home arranging her husband's burial. and our thoughts and prayers also go to the family of this couple, orlando cassamir senior and his wife of 55 years. the older was scheduled to have preached the sermon this year at the church in the new orleans lower ninth ward where he was pastor. but on that day relatives found him and his wife fatally shot in their home. it is thought that their murders are connected to a relative's plan to testify in a kidnapping and attempted murder case. reading these articles make me angry and sick because of the actions of these individuals who disgrace the memories of
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sergeant curry and the cassamirs and they disgrace the people of new orleans and jefferson parish. if these stories don't paint a picture of out-of-control crime, don't know what will. i continue to meet with law enforcement and prosecution officials in my district and i am presently working with them to leverage federal resources. they must have all the resources they can get. the witness security and protection grant program will go a long way towards addressing the issue of crime in my district because without adequate protection and assurances, these witnesses will stop coming forward and crime will remain out of control. mr. speaker, i thank my colleagues for their effort in this important bill and i look forward to working with them in other important legislation. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from louisiana's time has expired. the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. johnson: mr. speaker, i yield three minutes to my fellow
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judiciary committee member, congressman pay drow pierluisi. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from puerto rico is recognized for three minutes. mr. pierluisi: i rise in strong support of h.r. 1741 and want to commend congressman cummings for his terrific work on this bill. h.r. 1741 will provide funding to states and territories so they can create or improve their witness protection programs. priority for funding would be given to those jurisdictions with the highest rate of violence crime. mr. speaker, haven't -- violent crime continues to plague many of our communities. many of those crimes were likely observed by one or more bystanders. many of those crimes whether the
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witnesses choose to come forward or remain in the shadows will depend in large part on whether they feel safe cooperating with law enforcement. it is therefore critical to the effective functioning ever our criminal justice system that government at all levels has the means to provide for witness security. as attorney general of puerto rico, i worked with many witnesses who received threats that they or their loved ones would be harmed if they testified against a defendant. some of those witnesses, not unreasonably, ultimately chose to remain silent. others elected to plunge ahead despite the risks motivated by a sense of civic duty. but the key point is this, choosing between providing information that may deliver a criminal to justice and protecting one's own safety is a choice that no witness should be be forced to make. since 1970, the federal
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government has operated its own successful witness protection program. in light of a 2006 report by the department of justice that found that witness intimidation was pervasive and increasing, the need to support similar programs at the state and territorial level is beyond question. therefore i respectfully urge my colleagues in this chamber to support h.r. 1741. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from puerto rico yields back. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. issa: thank you, mr. speaker. at this time it's my pleasure to yield five minutes to the gentleman from georgia. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for five minutes. mr. price: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to commend my colleague from georgia for bringing forth and handling this commonsense bill on the floor of the house. i want to thank my colleague from california for yielding me time. this is an important issue.
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there are many issues that are remarkably important to the american people and i want to talk about one of them. and it is the national energy tax. as you know, mr. speaker, there is a proposal that's moving through the house right now, the house committees right now, that will have remarkable effect on the american people. and if history holds true, there will be very little time on the floor of this house to debate this issue as the speaker has said, she wants to get it done by july 4. i would suggest, mr. speaker, that it's important for all of our colleagues to be paying attention to the national energy tax and to the consequences of it. i would suggest, mr. speaker, that the american people ought to be paying attention as well. let me point out a couple of the issues on this national energy tax. the estimates are by an outside group, an objective group, it will destroy over -- it will destroil millions of jobs. 1.1 million jobs on average each year. it will raise electricity rates 90% after adjusting for
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inflation. it will increase gasoline prices by 74%. it will increase residential natural gas prices by 55%. it will raise the average family's annual energy bill by $1,500. that's right, mr. speaker, $1,500. it will increase inflation adjusted federal debt by 26%. let's review, mr. speaker, this is going to decrease jobs, national energy tax, supported by the speaker and she's trying to get it through this house by the end of this month, it will decrease jobs, increase electricity rates, increase gas prices, increase natural gas prices, increase the family energy bill, and increase the federal debt. now, mr. speaker, the american people think this is a terrible idea. and they are very frustrated with the fact that the commonsense solutions that have been put on the table are not being given an opportunity to come to the floor. what are those commonsense


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