tv [untitled] CSPAN June 25, 2009 1:30pm-2:00pm EDT
service members are receiving preventive education, legal protections and other assistance needed to avoid and when necessary resolve the international abduction of their children. our service men and women risk much in the service of our nation. we must do all that we can to mitigate the risk to their families. i thank my colleagues for supporting this amendment. especially the ranking member and the distinguished chair. i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the chair: without objection. the gentleman from missouri. mr. skelton: let me flash back to a previous amendment. the akin-forbes amendment, i received a letter from the assistant secretary of defense dated today regarding that amendment which reads in part, while the department supports transparency in government we find the amendment as written as overly burdensome and
counterproductive in meeting the security challenges of today. the next person i yield to, my friend, my colleague, also a member of the armed services committee, the gentleman from connecticut, mr. courtney. for one minute. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. courtney: i rise in support of mr. skelton's outstanding work on the underlying bill and to support that portion of the en banc amendment that sets up mental health screening set up by congresswoman delauro and myself. this is probably the most admirable issue admiral murrellen addressed, the stress levels of troops. general odierno had a number of us over in december, his
biggest concern was the uncomfortable and outrageous number of suicides occurring in theater. i was with yen bagby in yupe, he sated -- stated that's the biggest challenge there. the present system of screening for returning troops is to fill out a questionnaire. that's not enough. this amendment will set up a demonstration project for face-to-face evaluation with a mental health professional. this is the type of process we need to deal with this unprecedented challenge. i urge strong support for the en banc amendment. the chair: the gentleman from california. mr. mckeon: i yield to the gentleman from kentucky, mr. davis, four minutes. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for four minutes. mr. davis: today i offer an amendment tone able our nation to more effective pli hi plan international operations. we must be able to integrate
military and nonmilitary elements of our national power this requires the effective integration of all agencies of the federal government, not only those with traditional security roles. however, achiefing integrated roles requires planning and excuse. at present there's no permanent institutionalized system for developing the skills required. examples abound for the need for change. the first relates to afghanistan. i commend president obama for pursuing an interagency approach to solving that. helping the after began government create a secure and stable environment requires we assist farmest growing something other than poppies, used for opium. the department of agriculture has never been used before now to provide support in
operations like that in afghanistan. the military was forced to fill in the gap with people with no agriculture experience. next i cite our experience in iraq. in the early day of the -- days of the iraq operation, there was no banking system in iraq, and they could only be paid in cash, so they had to leave their unit and spend days away to get money to their families. the secretary of the treasury said he was ready to help set up a bank. if treasury and a cadre of national security professionals with them had been involved early on, it could have lightened the load on our
troops in a difficult period. my amendment would require the president to commission a study to provide skilled personnel for planning and conducting national security interagency operations. it's critical we achieve a transformation in national security education and training to produce national security professionals able to work seamlessly together. by requiring the president to commission such a study, my amendment lays the foundation for that transformation. i commend chairman skeleton who has spent a lifetime supporting defense reforms going back to goldwater nichols and championing these reforms to further integrate our national security tools moving into the 21st century. i thank ranking member mckeon for his work on this issue in my four years on the committee. the chair: the gentleman from missouri. mr. skelton: i yield a minute to my friend, the gentleman
from minnesota, mr. walz. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. wals: thank you, i want to thank the -- mr. walz: thank you, i want to thank the chairman. it's a simple amendment i'm offering that the secretary of defense in coordination with the secretary of veterans affairs submit a report to congress telling us what kind of progress they've made on a joint medical record, making sure they don't encounter bureaucratic troubles and delays in processing of their claims. there's a -- as a 24-year veteran of our armed forces, i can tell you this is a critically important issue. it was backed and announced on april 9 by the president and this will allow congress do to -- to do oversight of the executive branching and make
sure we're taking care of our veterans. thank you very much. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from california. mr. mckeon: i'll yield two minutes to the champlee. the chair: the gentleman yields two minutes to the gentleman from missouri. mr. skeleton: i thank the gentleman for that. i yield one minute to my friend, the chair of the appropriations subcommittee on agriculture, rural development and f.d.a., the gentlelady from connecticut, ms. delauro. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. delauro: according to the army, 143 soldiers committed suicide in 2008, the highest rate since the army began keeping records three decades ago. after asking our men and women in uniform to sacrifice so much, the least we must do is ensure they get the care they deserve. this amendment, based on the sergeant john schultz military mental health improvement act
is about making sure our troops receive adequate fre pre-and post-deployment mental health evaluations. they need to provide face-to-face screenings between a mental health provider and the veteran. within 120 to 100 -- 120 to 180 days after the soldier returns. a case manager will follow up. let me say thank you to chairman skeleton, his collaboration, his commitment to this issue. we have no excuse for failing the soldiers who have given this nation everything. let's give them long life, good health and quality care. mr. skelton: may i ask about the time remaining?
the chair: the gentleman from missouri has 5 1/2 remaining, the gentleman from california has 3 1/2 remaines. mr. skelton: i yield one minute to mr. mcmahon of new york. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. mcmahon: i offer this amendment along with ms. delauro, mr. courtney and harry teague. i, too, am i larmed at the statistic comesing out of the armed services. nearly 150 soldiers took their lives last year. the highest figure since the wars in iraq and afghanistan began. in 2009, there's already 64 potential active duty army suicides. one to one mental health screen wgs a certified mental health professional is the least we can offer to our service men and women who sacrifice so much
for this country this creates a well thought out pilot program to assess the feasibility of such screening and hopefully lead to legislation in a broader sense. for this reason, i urge my colleagues here today to support this amendment on behalf of the men and women who serve this cubtry so proud proudly. thank you, and i yield the remainder of my time. the chair: the gentleman from missouri. mr. skelton: i yield two minutes to mr. terry. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. terry: i rise in support of this enblank amendment, particularly because it includes two amendments made in order under the rule. the bill specifies no obligated for the deployment of a long-range missile defense system in europe until the secretary of defense submits a record report to congress certifying that the proposed interceptor has been realistically flight tested and demonstrated a high pronalt of working in an operational
manner. that makes sense. in recent months, studies have been conducted by various independent scientists and has shown the radar proposed does not have enough range to perform effectively. the intercept -- the interceptor's capability are dependent on the ability and accuracy of the radar. that's whyible it's imperative that the secretary's report to certify about the radar. the second amendment directs the jason panel, which has been providing independent scientific advice to the government since 1960 to conduct a study on whether discrimination capabilities sought by the missile defense are achieveable. the system has to be evaluated by its ability to differentiate between the missile and something else. furthermore, this is a big challenge.
as dr. phil coyle, the former director of the operational test and evaluation at the pentagon, noted in a hearing we convened, shooting down an enemy missile going 17,000 miles an hour is like trying to hit a hole in one on a golf course when the hole is going 17,000 miles. the defendant doesn't know what -- defender doesn't know what target to aim for. this report should say whether the missile defense system will be able to employ discrimination technology. i believe these will be important oversight for the missile defense system. as one who believes that congress must commm how it funds this program, i'm pleased it reduces funding by 1.2%. the chair: the gentleman's time
has expired. the gentleman from missouri. mr. skelton: mr. chairman, we have no more speakers on this en banc america. the chair: the gentleman from california. mr. mckeon: i yield back. the chair: the question is on the amendment of the gentleman from missouri, those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. for what purpose does the gentleman from missouri rise? mr. skelton: pursuant to h.res. 572, i offer amendments enblank entitled number four. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendments enblank. the clerk: amendments enblock consisting of amendments number 55, 57, 67, 69, and 60.
the chair: pursuant to the house resolution 572, the gentleman from missouri, mr. skeleton and the gentleman from california, mr. mckeei don't know, each will control five minutes. mr. skeleton: i urge members to support the amendments, all of which have been approved by the majority and the minority. i yield two minutes to my friend mr. griffith. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. griffith: i rise to support my amendment in the enblank -- in the en banc amendment. the force structure and force modernization plans, infrastructure, budget plan and other elements of the defense program to determine our strategy for the next 20 years. additionally, my amendment reinforces the importance of the nuclear posture review which endorses the role cob
ventional strike forces play in the size of strike forces. these are important to our national security as are the ground-based mid course defense missile program, the multiple kill vehicle and the airborn laser program. the department of defense is aware that the ground-based mid course defense, the g.m.d. is the only fielded operational capability to defend the u.s. against long-range ballistic missiles. however the current budget cuts of $524 million from the program, deploying only 30 of the 44 g.m.d. interceptors sesculed -- scheduled, we believe this logic should be questioned given the events occurring in north korea and iran. we should reconsider the stop work order for the dikentucky netic energy interceptor. this is an essential part of our boost phase missile approach. i urge my colleagues to continue support its development.
congress should also continue to support the dwhofmente multiple kill vehicle. as rogue nations continue to develop their capabilities, multiple kill vehicle techling in will be required to destroy countermeasures, war heads and the missiles shot from our enemies. i support all these projects because they are a deterrent to our enemies and the programs our war fighters in the field require. as we look at the balance of power occurring in the middle east and asia, this is not the time to cut back on these programs. north korea plans to launch a long-range missile in july as only a few years away from depling a missile capable of hitting the united states. we must prepare for the development and deployment of more advanced technologies by our adversaries. these missile systems should all be considered as -- the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. griffith: i urge passage of this amendment. the chair: the gentleman from
california. mr. mckeon: mr. chairman, i yield now to the gentleman from new jersey one minute, mr. garrett. the chair: the gentleman from new jersey is recognized for one minute. mr. garrett: i thank the ranking member. i thank the chair. thank you for the inclusion of this amendment with regard to israel and the underlying bill. i'd like to speak for that minute then with regard to one of our strongest allies in the middle east and that is the state of israel. i'm thankful for the strong relationship that we have, that our two countries share a lot in common, that we fought for peace and freedom. we both continue to pursue liberty despite ongoing opposition. we both face many common enemies. now, throughout my time in congress i've been a strong supporter of israel's right to exist. and when you think about it, it's even disturbing that we have to come here and talk about it in terms of such as that. but the truth of the matter is there are few peoples on earth where more of the crosshairs
than israel. not even the united nations can be called to talk about israel. israel has remained a shining beacon of democracy in a dark part of the world. standing with the united states against the threat of islamic extremism. and we must be unwavering in our continued support. so the united states should continue to work with israel prime minister netia hew and the israeli government and the people of israel to make sure that israel receives critical military assistance, including military defense needed to address this exowe sention threat. with that i yield back. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from missouri. mr. skelton: mr. chairman, at this time i yield one minute to my friend, the gentlelady from florida, ms. castor. the chair: the gentlewoman from florida is recognized for one minute. ms. castor: thank you. and i thank the chair, the distinguished chair of the armed services committee. i rise in support of this en bloc amendment which includes the castor-bilirakis amendment, an amendment i introduced
jointly with my good friend and colleague, mr. bill lack is -- mr. bilirakis of florida. serving in combat operations, they would be provided with a monthly postal benefit that they can transfer to their families or to a charitable organization so they can afford to send care packages and other communications while they are serving bravely overseas. just think of the benefit to our brave men and women serving in combat operations, a benefit to their morale, a boost in their morale when they receive that letter from home, when they receive that all-important care package. now th effort, mr. speaker, has been ongoing for many years. it has been included in past defense authorization bills, passed the house last year only to be taken out in conference. it is time to get this provision enacted as a standalone bill, h.r. 707, the home front to heroes act.
we have more than half of the house of representatives as co-sponsors. it's time to get this done finally, and i yield back my time. the chair: the gentlewoman's time has expired. the gentleman from california. mr. mckeon: mr. chairman, i yield now to the gentleman from florida, mr. bilirakis, two minutes. the chair: the gentleman from florida is recognized forwo minutes. mr. bilirakis: thank you, mr. speaker. thanks for yielding, mr. ranking member, and thank you, mr. chair, for including this in the en bloc amendment. i rise today in support of a provision included in this en bloc amendment which my colleague from florida, she just said, kathy castor and i have offered to provide postal benefits to our combat soldiers. this amendment recognizes the sacrifices made by service members and their loved ones back home. tough economic times have made it increasingly difficult for those that send care packages to troops to pay the resulting shipping costs. this amendment will help
address that problem. the legislation on which our amendment is based on has strong bipartisan support garningering 237 co-sponsors. in addition it has -- garnering 237 co-sponsors. in addition, it has support from constituents and people all across the country. it is with great humility that i rise to honor our service members and those who tirelessly support them. mr. speaker, i urge all my colleagues to support this very important amendment. and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from missouri. mr. skelton: at this time i yield one mine to my colleague, the gentleman from new jersey, mr. holt. the chair: the gentleman from new jersey is recognized for one minute. mr. holt: mr. chairman, i thank the distinguished chairman of the committee. i have an amendment as part of this en bloc that would require the secretary of defense to ensure that members of the individual ready reserve who
have served at least one tour in either iraq or afghanistan receive a counseling call from properly trained personnel not less than once every 90 days to look at emotional, psychological, medical and career needs. mr. chairman, the military personnel from the secretary on down and certainly the chairman of our committee have devoted a great deal of attention to suicide prevention, preck anything and treatment. it's important because the i.r.r. is one place where it's too easy to fall through the cracks. one of east brunswick, new jersey, enlisted in the army in 2001, attended fort bening with the 173rd airborne. he served in iraq. afterwards he sought treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder. maybe the v.a. diagnosis should have been accepted by the army. in any case after he was discharged, like other army members, he still had four years of ready reserve commitment.
he was recalled back to iraq, served, returned to new jersey in may of this year, committed suicide in september of this year. his father wrote, he fell through the cracks. he had no advocate. no army machinery to help him find his way through the system. he was literally on his own. mr. chairman, this amendment is to address what i think is a gap in our suicide treatment efforts to deal with the individual ready reserve. i urge passage of this en bloc. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from california. the gentleman from california. mr. mckeon: we have no further speakers, mr. chairman. we'll reserve our time. the chair: the gentleman from california reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from missouri. mr. skelton: i yield one minute to my friend, my colleague, the gentlelady who is a member of the armed services committee, the gentlelady from guam, ms. bordallo. the chair: the gentlelady from guam is recognized for one minute. ms. bordallo: thank you, mr. chairman. my amendment helps to build support for the military build
yaup on guam by addressing a longstanding issue. we will authorize a substantial amount of military construction in this bill. but to keep out -- up the morale and the obligation to the people of guam, it is only right to also resolve the issue of war claims as part of this bill. the war claims program for guam administered by the u.s. neifi after world war ii had shortcomings. and this amendment would deal with the treatments for war claims who endord the occupation of guam. the house passed this amendment as h.r. 44 in february, but the other body has not considered it. adopting this amendment would provide an opportunity to resolve this issue, and, again, many thanks to chairman skelton and ranking member mckeon for accepting this amendment en bloc and to all their staff for their outstanding support in advancing this bill. i urge adoption of this amendment, and i yield back. the chair: the gentlewoman
yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from missouri. mr. skelton: may i inquire as to the time remaining? the chair: the gentleman from missouri has five minutes remaining. the gentleman from california has eight minutes remaining. mr. skelton: let me take this opportunity, mr. chairman, to recognize several of our staff who after wonderful service going into next new challenges in their careers. lauren dealy who will handle communications for the office of legislative affairs at the department of defense. frank rose who's off to work in the strategic weapons and missile defense issues in the department of state. bill nadler who recently left to be the deputy undersecretary of the navy. sasha rogers, who's off to get a masters degree of public policy. christian lamb, who will off to get a masters in m.b.a. and ben glaom who will be
working on a law degree. in addition, i'd wish to recognize the unsung heroes who allowed our staff to get together a bill of this enormous size and complexity. the staff members who are called staff assistants, zack stacy, ms. drummond, megan putnam, roselyn, kathleen kelly, mary kate cunningham and scott boozman. tray howard, cindy howard, derrick scott and katie bloomberg all deserve a special thanks. i want to also thank joe higin for a long effort with us as well as alicia haley. without their hard work and coordination and patience we would not be successful as we are today. a final thanks to the team and the office of the legislative counsel led by sherry cryst and
the parliamentarians who provide such excellent support. we thank them and are very grateful for their hard work. the chair: does the gentleman yield back the balance of his time or reserve? mr. skelton: i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from missouri yields back. the gentleman from california. mr. mckeon: mr. speaker, this will probably the last time that i have enough time to thank the staff but i'd like to thank all of the members of the staff. i said, you know, when i was on the education committee we used to have everybody's names written out. i turned to tom and said, we don't do that, sir. we give all the credit to the members. so rather than list all of our names on both sides, i'd like to thank you en bloc all of the staff for doing such a tremendous job to get me ready in a very short time to do this work. they've done a yeoman's job and it's been a real pleasure
working with the chairman and working with the staff on this bill. i look forward to many more years to do it. hopefully we'll change off chairman. we won't get into that. with that, mr. chairman, i would yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from california yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from missouri. mr. skelton: let me say a special word of thanks to our ranking member, buck mckeon, as we welcome you and you do an excellent, excellent job. we thank you for your first-class efforts in making this come to pass. you've done wonder flee and we should all -- wonderfully and we should all be very grateful to you. at this time i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from missouri yields back. the question son the amendment offered by the gentleman from -- the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from missouri. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to.
it is now in order to consider amendment number 20 printed in house report 111-182. for what purpose does the gentleman from virginia rise? mr. connelly: mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 20 printed in house report 111-182 offered by mr. connelly of virginia. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 572, the gentleman from virginia, mr. connelly, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from virginia. mr. connelly: mr. chairman, i yield myself two minutes. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. connelly: mr. chairman, this amendment would clarify section 526 of the energy independence and security act that does not preclude agencies from purchasing fuel that is not derived from tar sands and other my carbon sources. this amendment remains section 526 by ensuring taxpayer money is not used to subsidize hiley polluting products. section 526 precludes federal agenciro
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