tv [untitled] CSPAN June 24, 2009 4:00pm-4:30pm EDT
re-authorization with mandatory participation, which i support. however, the thousands of businesses that use e-verify to comply with existing federal law and the two states that have made it mandatory deserve assurance that the program will continue to be available. furthermore, i would like to clear up some misconceptions about the e-verify program, which seem to be endlessly repeated. e-verify is 99.6% accurate. that's right. only .4% of tenth tative confirmations are in error of the data. e-verify is free to employers and doesn't cost anything other than the minutes to sign up for the program to use the system. my friends on the other side repeatedly state that 10% of naturalized citizens receive a confirmation. the statistic is now down to 6.1%. so that means 93.9% of gnatalized citizens are
immediately cleared to work. of the 6.1%, they only need to call a toll-free number to recktive eye that information. owner that, i was disappointed that an amendment that i offered was ruled out of order. my amendment would have allowed members to vote on whether the executive order requiring federal contractors to use e-verify should not be delayed again. the executive order has been delayed three times for dubious reasons. secretary napolitano has stated her support for e-verify and people running e-verify have declared they are ready for the federal contractor requirement. when it comes to doing business with the federal government, which is funded by the american taxpayer, the use of e-verify should be mandatory. i would like to reiterate my support for the bill but with stronges reservations, that have severely restricted amendments and shut down a once open process.
. the chair: the gentleman from north carolina. mr. price: i yield two minutes to mrs. lowey. mrs. lowey: i'd like to thank the gentleman from north carolina for writing a strong bill that provides much-needed funding for critical initiatives, several of which i'd like to mention. emergency communication gaps remain for many first responders. the bill includes $50 million for interoperability grants, $45 million for the office of emergency communications and $80 million for command, control and interoperability research and development. these important programs will benefit first responders in all of our communities. the bill also includes $887 million for the urban areas security initiative. nearly $50 million more than f.y. 2009 and this is the only program designed to exclusively assist high-risk urban areas such as new york and i thank the chairman for substantially increasing its funding.
however, i would be remiss if i did not mention the securing the cities initiative which is not funded in the bill. this program seeks to prevent the smuggling ofs i list nuclear material into man hat -- of illessity nuclear material into manhattan. it is the number-one terror target and i hope the signed into law includes money for securing the cities. i know there are concerns due to the length of the project and unspent funds but i do believe we must do everything we can to prevent what president obama has called the most immediate and extreme threat to global security. this is still a good bill and i thank the gentleman from north carolina for everything he has done to ensure that our first responders, particularly those in high-risk areas, are prepared for future emergencies. the chair: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time.
the gentleman from kentucky. mr. rogers: i yield three minutes for the purpose of a colloquy to the gentleman from washington state, mr. hastings. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hastings: thank you, i thank my friend from kentucky for yielding and i rise to engage in a colloquy with chairman price. mr. chairman, as you know, we are quickly approaching the august, 2000, deadline to screen 100% of the cargo transported on passenger airplanes. i commend you and ranking member rogers for your work to provide adequate fuppeding to help t.s.a. meet the important requirements without slowing commerce. the cargo screening requirement has already gone into effect at the seattle-at that comba airport and other major west coast airports. cherry growers who travel via aircraft will only be able to ship their fruit in a timely manner this season because t.s.a. has committed to bring in resources from other parts of
the country. this will not be possible once the 100% requirement goes into effect nationwide. as you know, mr. chairman, perishble items like cherries can be harmed by screening equipment and even delayed in getting to market. k-9 teams have been identified as the most workable way to screen cherries and other perishble items. i was pleased to work with ms. jackson lee of texas and mr. rogers of alabama to offer an amendment to the d.s.a. authorization bill earlier this month to increase the number of k-9 teams used for air cargo screening by no less than 100 teams. this amendment passed the house by a voice vote. now, while the t.s.a. authorization bill has yet to be signed into law, mr. chairman, is it your intention that t.s.a. utilize funds provided in this bill to train additional k-9 teams and i yield? mr. price: i thank the gentleman and i recognize the important role that k-9 teams play in screening perishble items like
fruit and vegetables. it's my intention that t.s.a. use a portion of these funds to train additional k-9 teams for air cargo screening. mr. hastings: reclaiming my time, mr. chairman, i'd like to thank you for this clarification and again for the ranking member, mr. rogers, and for your attention to this important issue. i look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure that the 100% air cargo screening requirement is met without unnecessaryly harming cherry growers and with that, madam speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from north carolina. mr. price: madam speaker, i rise for the purpose of entering into a colloquy with -- i'm sorry, i want to yield three minutes for purposes of a colloquy to the gentleman from illinois, mr. hare. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hare: thank you. i rise to get into a colloquy with the chairman of the subcommittee. mr. chairman, i welcome a colloquy with my distinguished
colleague. mr. chairman, as you know, my district is home to many levee districts along the mississippi river. on february 25, 2009, the federal emergency management agency issued a new policy on rehabilitation assistance for levees. under this new policy, levee districts are prohibited from receiving fema assistance for flood cleanups, debris remove a -- removal and dewatering. the burden is being shifted away from fema to the corps of engineers even though as i understand it the corps does not have the authorization or funning to reimburse the levee district for these activities. my community, mr. chairman, is concerned that this policy leaves levees in and the river communities they protect vulnerable during peak flooding seasons and while many are still recovering from last summer's floods. the emergency management agency reported that a drainage district in southern illinois was denied reimbursement as a direct result of this new policy. i've contacted fema to urge them to reverse the policy and continue assisting levee
districts with these to avoid further gaps. and, mr. chairman, i understand that fema and the corps are working on this issue, but if there's no resolution by the time this bill heads to conference i may need the assistance of the chair to resolve this matter. mr. price: i thank the gentleman from illinois for raising this important shoot much the fema policy on levee assistance was intended to clarify the roles and responsibilities of federal agencies in providing critical flood recovery work. i understand that the gentleman and other members of the illinois delegation have concerns that the policy may not be accurate in its accounting of federal responsibility and may have the unintended consequence of leaving gaps in assistance for local communities and levee districts. fema and the army corps are reevaluating the policy to make sure there are no gaps in disaster assistance. i would like to stress, this is only a policy, not a rule. so fema can easily make adjustments to this document. if changes are necessary, fema should do so in consultation with the army corps to ensure
accurateness. this issue also is being evaluated by the house transportation and infrastructure committee, the authorizing committee of jurisdiction. i'll monitor the issue as our bill progresses, i'll work with the gentleman and the energy and water appropriations subcommittee as we go forward. mr. hare: i thank the chairman. thank you again for your attention to this matter. this is of great importance to my district. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. price: i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from kentucky. mr. rogers: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from new jersey, mr. garrett. the chair: yacht is recognized -- the gentleman is recognized. mr. garrett: i thank the gentleman. i rise to -- for the purpose of entering into a colloquy with the chairman of the subcommittee to highlight a serious concern with regard to fema's subcontracting practices. price peruse i welcome a colloquy with my distinguished colleague. mr. garrett: thank you.
chairman price, i have constituents in my district in the state of new jersey who have highlighted a current fema solicitation for risk map production. what it does, it seems to shut out the small and the medium and the small and medium sized businesses. back after hurricane katrina fema was, rightly so, criticized for issuing sole source contracts to three very large companies. unfortunately that pattern seems to be repeating itself. now we agree that updating the nation's flood map is critical to managing and reducing the nation's flood risk and operating the program under a fair and an open competition, i think, will produce the best results for the district, the state and the country as well. and i yield. mr. price: i thank the gentleman from new jersey for highlighting this issue. i agree that the flood map program is an instrumental tool in reducing the loss of life and property from floods. this subcommittee will work with the gentleman to review the recent contract solicitation. i'm committed to ensuring the d.h.s. puts dollars in projects that are well planned and
competitively awarded and well managed and closely overseen. mr. garrett: i appreciate the chairman's comments on that. this is not just about the fifth district or even the state of new jersey who has had a number of flooding problems in the past but this is an important issue for fairness all across the country and addresses the issue of flooding a-- flooding across the country as well. i thank the chairman and the ranking member. the chair: the gentleman from north carolina. mr. price: i'd like to recognize our colleague, mr. cuellar, for two minutes. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. cuellar: thank you, madam speaker. thank you, mr. chairman. i rise in strong support of this bill and chairman price's management amendment which includes an amendment i co-authored with martin hendrick to prevent government waste and abuse of efficiency makes sure that no taxpayer dollars will be used to purchase first class tickets for the employees of agencies funded by this bill except in special circumstances as allowed by law.
madam speaker, it goes without saying that the federal government should never use taxpayer dollars for luxuries and excessive spending. to say that these are difficult economic times is an understatement. there's never been a more important moment for the federal government to demonstrate that the a careful steward of taxpayer dollars and won't engage in frivolous excesses. just as every american household is gathering around its kitchen table finding ways to reduce cost and cut waste, the federal government has the responsibility to do the same. fiscal responsibility should be a primary objective of every member and as a member of the fiscal responsibility -- blue dog coalition, i will continue to work with my colleagues to address the increasing national debt that we have. however, it is important that we tackle every cost-saving opportunity, large or small, to meet that goal. i'm pleased that chairman price included this amendment in his manager's amendment. i'd also like to thank my colleague from new mexico, mr.
hendrick, for working with me on this issue and for his dedication in cost-saving issues. thank you. i don't see mr. hendrick here, so i would like to yield the balance of my time to the chairman. thank you very much. mr. price: i thank the gentleman, reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from kentucky. mr. rogers: can i inquire of the time remaining? the chair: the gentleman from kentucky has 14 minutes remaining. the gentleman from north carolina has also 14 minutes remaining. mr. rogers: i yield four minutes to one of the hardest working members of our committee and our subcommittee, the gentleman from texas, mr. culberson. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. culberson: thank you, mr. chairman, thank you, mr. rogers. our subcommittee on homeland security is a, i think, a terrific example on how the congress ought to operate. i am one of the most dedicated fiss -- fiscal conservatives in the house.
our subcommittee is made up of people with very strong beliefs from both sides of the aisle. but we don't work in that committee with regard to party. we don't even mention party labels. i have done my best to really erase that term from my language and focus on what's fiscally conservative and fiscally liberal. but this committee really has focused on what's good for the nation. we have worked together in a way that is, i think, has -- i hope the leadership of the congress would use the work of this subcommittee, the work of all the subcommittees on appropriations as a model. it's an important -- it's important, i think, for this congress in this time of record debt and deficit do what's right for the country, do what's right for our kids and our grandchildren and focus on ways to be fiscally responsible. at a time of record debt and deficit, at a time when the national debt is now approaching $11 trillion, at a time when the deficit is at record levels, at a time when the new president has laid out a budget that
foresees record debt and deficit as far as the eye can see, we in the congress have a special responsibility to be guardians of the treasury, do everything in our power to control spending and avoid unnecessary increases in spending. and the homeland security bill in front of the congress today is one that was again put together by our subcommittee, mr. rogers working with chairman price, everyone in the subcommittee participated. i'm very grateful to you, chairman price, for working so closely with all of us and making -- putting this bill together. without the increase for bioshield, the funding level for homeland security is about -- actually, plo the level of inflation and -- below the level of inflation and at a time when we're under attack from foreign terrorists who are going to use any means at their disposal to sneak into the united states, to kill americans, it's important we do everything in our power to protect this nation.
homeland security is one area where there are no party labels, where we have an obligation to work together and we've done so on this subcommittee. we have profound concerns and differences on the overall spending levels of the appropriations bills as a whole. of the omnibus spending bill that we passed earlier this year, of the spendulous bill that was passed earlier this year, of the tremendous unprecedented increases in spending we've seen in this congress. but on this subcommittee we've all worked together and i'm particularly pleased to follow my friend from texas, mr. cuellar, who has worked so well with all of us in the texas delegation, worked so well in securing our southern border. henry cuellar and i were elected together, mr. rodriguez, henry and i were elected together to the texas ledge pour that 1986. that friendship we formed has served us well today and we've worked together in establishing a program called operation
steamline, a zero tolerance program where we are enforcing in texas existing law with largely existing resources to arrest and prosecute essentially everybody that crosses the border illegally between dell rio and zapata county, wrult that the crime rate has plummeted. they've seen about a 60% drop in the crime rate. in dellrie to -- dell rio, over 70% drop in the crime rate and the lowest level in crossings. this is an -- this is a piece of good news the nation needs to hear, that our border is far more secure in texas because we're enforcing existing law, applying common sense and working together in a partnership between state and local authorities and the federal authorities and we have in texas, i think, demonstrated that texas, we always keep texas first in our minds regardless of party and i want to thank the chairman and our ranking member for putting together a bill that focuses on national security and includes the interests of all members from all parts of the
country. the chair: the gentleman from north carolina. >> i would like to yield two minutes to one of our members from florida, ms. kosmas. the chair: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. kosmas: this bill also provides important funding for our first responders on the front line of emergencies in our state and local grants, including the metropolitan system. i would like to thank the chairman for including my amendment for providing funding in the manager's amendment. increasing funding over fiscal year 2009 will help ensure that high threat, highly populated communities such as the orlando metropolitan area will be better able to respond when faced with emergencies whether it's a terrorist attack, an
epidemic decide outbreak or a natural disaster. the mmrs program assists 24 highly populated jurisdictions across the country and their efforts to coordinate among fire department, e.m.s. and emergency management agencies. it allows these jurisdictions to develop response plans, conduct training and exercise and acquire personal protective equipment so they can respond most effectively to emergency situations. i believe and i think we all believe that preparedness is the key to mitigating disasters this will ensure that our local emergency responders will be better able to protect citizens and reduce damages. thank you and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from kentucky. >> madam chairman, i recognize the gentleman from tennessee, mr. dugan. mr. dugan: i thank the
gentleman for yielding me this time. i want to first of all express my appreciation to chairman price and ranking member rogers, two of the hardest working members in this congress and two men whom i admire the most and have the greatest respect. i want to say that overall i think these leaders have produced a very good bill, particularly in regard to aviation security. that's something in which i have a great interest because i did chair the aviation subcommittee for six years. i know they have greatly increased the security at the airports and so forth. in fact, i will be offering an amendment a little bit later that does freeze the appropriations for the air marshal service which i do feel is one high ranking t.s.a. official told me two days ago, is guilding the lily. i think it's a very unnecessary, useless part of
the federal government and of this by but overall, i think it's a very fine bill. i particularly want to thank chairman price and ranking member rogers for the work they're doing in regard to cybersecurity. from everything i have read over these last few years that is going to be one of the areas that is going to be the most troublesome to this country in the years ahead. so madam speaker, i will yield back the balance of my time just by simply saying i want to express my appreciation to chairman price and ranking member rogers and particularly the staff that's work sod hard on this legislation. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from north carolina. >> i yield two -- mr. price: i yield two minutes to ms. kirk palt rick. the chair: the gentlewoman is recognized. mrs. kirkpatrick: i rise to
engage mr. price in a colloquy. mr. price: i'm pleased to engage in a colloquy with the gentlelady. mrs. kirkpatrick: over the last several year, we have seen an increase in crime over the border. the department of homeland security is determined to crack down on the program and federal law enforcement on the ground is doing an excellent job of putting the new plan into action. one organization with a pivotal role in our border efforts is customs and border protection c.b.p. air and marine. which provides critical air support to c.b.p. officers and border patrol agents. this air support is an unrivaled resource in our fight to keep our borders safe. unfortunately, i have repeatedly heard frustration from agents in my district that air resources are in short
supply and are often not available to agents on the ground. mr. chairman, it is important that we work to resolve this issue whether by better management of existing resources or by increasing those resources. therefore, as this bill heads toward conference, i ask your support in making sure these important questions are addressed and answered. mr. price: i appreciate the gentlewoman's strong commitment to securing the nation's borders and her hard work on this issue. as a member from the -- from a border state, i assure her i'll work with her as the bill moves forward to make sure they provide information about how they provide air support on the border and how to increase effectiveness at the border. ms. kirk patic: reclaiming my time --
mrs. kirkpatrick: reclaiming my time, i'd like to thank the gentleman. sproys the gentleman from kentucky. mr. rogers: i'd like to recognize for such time as he may consume, the gentleman from california, mr. lewis. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. lewis: i rise for a couple of reasons to speak generally about this bill. first to say that the two people providing the leadership for this bill are as fine members of the appropriations committee as there are. chairman price is one of those people who digs into issues, does his homework, he treats people in a fair and balanced way. and beyond that, he's a fabulous person to be associated with in the appropriations committee. hal rogers, on the other hand, let's see, what can i say about hal rogers? a wonderful member from kentucky who also in this arena
knows as much about the subject as anybody that i know. one of the things that's disconcerting to me about this bill, for it is one that perhaps addresses the most important area of responsibility we have that is, protecting our homeland, combined this bill with our national security measure and that is our national defense and america's ability to protect freedom in the world. but indeed, it's interesting to note that at a subcommittee meeting recently, i spend some time dealing with another bill, and air -- an area the public isn't always so supportive of, namely the foreign assistance or foreign aid bill. it came to my attention in this process and exchange that the foreign aid bill that will be coming to the floor very soon is approximately $10 billion more than our homeland security bill. think about that. we're in a condition where
people, to say the least, here at home are pressed to the wall. all kinds of concerns besides the economy, concern about our security here at home, and they don't always stand up intently to say we ought to be sending our money overseas in the form of foreign aid. in this arena, the homeland security bill has almost $10 billion less in it than the foreign aid bill. it's a very interesting commentary to say the least. beyond that let me mention to both the chairman and the ranking member, california of course has lots of border and later on, i'll have an amendment relative to border security. but indeed, i know many of the members listening to this discussion today are worried about their own borders in their home territory. if we cannot advance technologically and by way of funding our ability to protect our homeland and be dead serious about projecting over a 10-year period, then we're
making a very big mistake in this house. the work that's done by our chairman and our ranking member has produced a very fine product. they have balanced within the limited means they have the priorities that i think i would apply myself. but indeed, i want the members to know there's still a lot of work to do and one more time, congratulations to both hal rogers and to our chairman. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from north carolina. mr. price: i would like to yield two minutes to the distinguished subcommittee from the authorizing committee, our colleague ms. jackson lee of texas. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. jackson lee: thank you, madam chair. i offer my appreciation to the appropriators, mr. price and mr. rogers, and would ask that as we make our way through this
process we continue to collaborate and work on issues that will move forward the whole issue of security and safety. quickly, i would hope that as we move through conference we have an opportunity to ensure the office of risk management is in fact the lead office that analyzes the issue of risk, risk-based assessment as it relates to security. mr. chairman, chairman price, i'd like to speak to you about the transportation security authorization bill which about a week ago was passed with a new emphasis on the security of surface transportation. we know a few days ago we had an enormous tragedy here in washington, d.c. that question may have fallen upon the issue of safety. it could have been an issue of security. an issue dealing with terrorism. we know as it relates to the department of transportation, safety inspectors were rail, highway, and pipeline, there's over 1,000 of it.
but as it relates to security, transportation security, only a mere 175. i had an amendment that would have moved $4 million to ensure that we would have an increase in safety and security inspectors under the transportation security administration pursuant to the legislation passed by this house. i would like to continue to work with appropriaters as we -- as this bill moves toward conference and moves toward the senate. i would ask the chairman, i would like to yield to him, that we have a focus on the authorizing language that we need to do more with security for surface transportation, rail, buses, trains, and other resources and work with him to ensure that we would have collars to increase the number of transit security inspectors. i yield to the gentleman. mr. price: i thank my colleague for her work on this issue and her very effective pointing out of our unmet needs in the area of surface transportation and of surface transportation and security.
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