tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN May 21, 2014 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT
human trafficking, and if you cannot find your parents, we will get you with other parents, and she makes a fantastic point. the thing is we do not need a bill to do that. it is a law. if we just secure the border under the law, the money she is talking about that is being spent to illegally human traffic kids that come into the country illegally, unaccompanied, that can be spent on relocating american refugees who have lost their homes, whether it is from flooding, like we had after hurricane katrina, whether it is after wild flies -- wildfires -- things like that. we can be helping americans with that kind of money if we just enforce the law. we do not even need a bill to do that, but she >> real leave this discussion and go live now to the u.s. house. general speeches first and a bill that will give the veterans' affairs secretary the authority to fire senior executives based on
performance. now live to the house floor. in the prayer will be offered today by our chaplain, father conroy. chaplain conroy: let us pray. eternal god, we give you thanks for giving us another day. we pause now in your presence and acknowledge our dependence on you. we ask your blessing upon the men and women of this, the people's house, keep them aware of that presence as they face the tasks of this day that no burden be too heavy, no duty oo difficult and no work too wearisome. help them and indeed help us all to obey your law, to do your will and to walk in your way. grant that they might be good and thought gracious in word, generous indeed and great in spirit. make this a glorious day in which all are glad to be alive,
eager to work and ready to serve you, our great nation and all our fellow brothers and sisters. may all that is done this day be for your greater honor and glory. amen. . the speaker: the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1, the journal stands approved. the plg pledge today will be led by the gentlelady from arizona, mrs. kirkpatrick. mrs. kirkpatrick: will everyone in the gallery please join me in the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker: the chair will entertain up to 15 requests for one-minute speeches on each side of the aisle. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise?
without objection. >> mr. speaker, as we approach memorial day to honor and remember the fallen heroes who paid the ultimate price by serving in the armed forces, it is vital for congress to ensure appropriate funding for our troops. with the crisis around the world in and constant threats to our national defense we ask a lot of those who wear the uniform. they shouldn't have to ask for anything in return. in november, 2009, a islamic extremist opened fire on troops at fort hood, killing 14, and injuries dozens of others. mr. williams: the victims and survivors have been denied the nefits and honors given to those in combat zones because the president doesn't call it a terrorist attack. no one believes in was workplace violence. they were targets simply because they were soldiers. the national defense authorization act brings the victims of the fort hood shooting one step closer to
receiving the purple heart medal, giving them the benefits they earn and the recognition they deserve. they were victims of terrorism, and it's time for them to be recognized as such. i urge every member to vote in favor of our troops, vote h.r. 4435. in god we trust. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from michigan rise? >> unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. kildee: thank you, mr. speaker. it's just wrong. it is wrong that we have 2.8 million americans, hardworking americans who have lost their jobs and are looking every day for their next job, they stand to lose everything that they have worked for, and in this congress has within its power the ability to act to save them from losing decades of hard work, losing their house, losing their car, losing their
roof over their head, but this congress fails to bring up a bill that has passed the senate, the president would sign, that would extend unemployment benefits to 2.8 million americans who work hard every day. there's one reason that this congress has failed to act and it's because the speaker, republican leadership will not bring this bill to the floor. this bill would not increase the deficit. it's paid for. but it would end the misery and the suffering of so many hardworking people who get up every day wondering if today is the day the foreclosure notice will come f today is the day that the car will be repossessed. we are all americans. we have always stood together. we have always helped one another when times are tough. for 2.8 million people, times are tough. congress needs to act. i call on this house to bring up h.r. 4415.
let's do this now. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio rise? without objection. >> mr. speaker, in 2008 during the depth of the recession, a former general motors plant the city of lorraine, ohio. the plant was set for demolition which would have ended any hope of jobs returning to the site. r. turner: the mayor, city manager, and economic director michael davis all worked very diligently to preserve this resource and make certain this plant was not a parking lot. their tireless efforts paid off. last thursday the city officially welcome a thriving auto parts manufacturer back to the former g.m. facility, creating hundreds of new jobs throughout the region. i want to congratulate the mayor, city council, and city manager and economic director for this great accomplishment and teamwork. they rallied the community behind this resource. congratulations to the leadership, it was great
working with you on this project. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentlelady from arizona rise? mrs. kirkpatrick: unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mrs. kirkpatrick: mr. speaker, i rise today to talk about the need for accountability and action and -- in the department of veterans affairs. i urge my colleagues to sign on to a letter i have written the secretary that follows up my call on may 6 for a nationwide audit of all veteran medical facilities. while the v.a. has stated that an audit is currently under way, i'm very concerned about testimony in last week's senate veterans' affairs hearing. in that hearing it was suggested that the audit under way may not be as thorough an comprehensive as what i called for. i do not believe that a thorough, in-depth examination of patient scheduling in every
v.a. facility can be accomplished in just a few weeks. mr. speaker, if we are dealing with a serious systemic problem, then this audit is critical. we need a thorough and comprehensive review of scheduling practices at every v.a. medical facility. anything less would be a disservice to our veterans who deserve a health care system they can trust. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the j tennessee -- the gentleman from tennessee rise? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, i rise today to congratulate the run now relay team of cleveland, tennessee. run now relay ran more than 1,000 miles from cleveland to boston to support and raise money for the victims of the boston bombing. mr. desjarlais: these men and women ran none stop through eight states in just over a week. together they surpassed their goal of $50,000, raising more than $63,000 for those impacted
by the tragedy in boston last year. the run now relay team pledged 100% of the funds to the one step ahead foundation, which aids the children who underwent amputation because of the bombing, and dream big, a nonprofit dedicated to helping underprivileged i girls through sports. the team stopped in washington last week and my office had the pleasure of meeting with these remarkable folks. thank you for sharing your mission with us. run now relay truly exemplifies the great volunteer tradition that defines the state of tennessee and i commend the group on their spirit and commitment to honor the victims of the boston bombings. they certainly illustrate the best of our great country. we are one nation. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from tennessee yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from nevada rise? the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i come to the floor today to remind my republican colleagues that there are over 2.8 million americans who have been cut off from unemployment insurance benefits since december, 28,
2013. mr. horsford: we are back here in session for two weeks. the senate has worked and passed a measure to renew unemployment insurance, yet speaker boehner refuses to bring up a bill. why, mr. speaker? one of those 2.8 million americans is mitch from nevada. he's 55 and lost his job of eight years in march of 2013. since his unemployment insurance ended, he has sold many of his belongings just to stay in his house and to feed his family. mitch is a republican, but more importantly he's an american. and he's pleading for congressional leaders to not turn their backs on him for all struggling nevadans, i want you to know that we have not forgotten about you. mr. speaker, schedule a vote to extend unemployment insurance benefits to the 2.8 million americans, the 37,000 nevadans, my time may have expired but
it's more important that unemployment -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from -- the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlelady from florida rise. ms. ros-lehtinen: unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you so much, mr. speaker. i rise to speak out for sonia, a member of the pro democracy group, the ladies in white, who has languished in one of castro's prisons for over two years. her case is one of many that demonstrates the dismal condition of human rights under the castro tyranny in my native homeland of cuba. in 2012, sonia and the ladies in white sought an audience with the pope, but unfortunately were imprisoned in the wave of repression leading up to the visit of his holiness. i along with many of our congressional colleagues have asked amnesty international to designate sonia as a prisoner of conscience. the castros cannot tolerate
dissent and use violence to science calls for democracy by beating and imprisoning dissenting voices. but the cuban people are courageous, mr. speaker, and they will continue to fight for liberty, for human rights, and we must help them in their struggle for freedom. i thank the speaker for the time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from rhode island rise? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. cicilline: tomorrow i will introduce the 21st century buy america act with senator chris murphy to modernize decades old buy american standards and help create new manufacturing jobs in the united states. congress should make american taxpayers ought -- ought to make sure american taxpayers dollars are used to buy goods and hear at home and not overseas. our bill will strengthen existing buy american standards and make a number of important changes to support our domestic manufacturing base t will make manufacturers of items in short supply here at home eligible for resources to help them
compete against foreign manufacturers for u.s. government contracts. in addition, this bill increases transparency requirements for agencies that provide waivers. and it increases the domestic content percentage requirement so that to qualify as american made you have to prove that a majority of the materials are actually made right here in america. most importantly, this legislation will help grow our manufacturing sector, create new jobs by providing an increased demand for american made products by the federal government. it's time to bring manufacturing back to america and to support existing manufacturing. and the united states government should lead by example. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. johnson: thank you. i rise today not only as a member of congress, but as a veteran and former prisoner of war demanding answers on behalf of my fellow veterans. recently reports surfaced that
regional v.a. employees had secret lists to hide the lengthy wait times for patients which may have resulted in the loss of lives of some of our veterans. this is unacceptable. our men and women in uniform serve their country admirably, risking their lives to keep us safe and protect our freedoms. they deserve the highest standards of medical care available. last week i urged the v.a. inspector general to investigate alleged misconduct at three v.a. clinics in texas. we need answers and accountability for any wrongdoing. a fellow p.o.w. in vietnam etched the following on a prison cell, he said, freedom has a taste to those who fight and almost die that the protected will never know. veterans know that. that's why we owe them our deepest gratitude and the best possible care. the speaker pro tempore: the
gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from california rise. >> to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentlelady is recognized or one minute. ms. sanchez: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today in the honor of the 60th anniversary of brown vs. board of education and the incredible impact it had on our nation. the ruling of brown vs. board of education ended segregation in schools across the united states, and it declared the doctrine of separate but equal unconstitutional. and it is truly something to be proud of as americans. . but as we celebrate, let us not forget the precedent case to that and that was about a young american student who truly set the stage in the fight to end segregation in all of our schools. this happened in my county, in my district, in my home. the case was mendez vs.
westminster. in 1945, when sylvia mendez was not allowed to go to an all-white school in orange county, california, her parents, gonzalo and her mother fought for integration and guess what, they won. segregation in orange county ended and the rest of our state followed and seven years later the entire country followed. so let us celebrate today both of those cases and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from montana rise? without, the gentleman from montana is recognized for one minute. mr. daines: like many montanans, i'm outraged by a report that a number of v.a. facilities have failed to give the care veterans deserved. they have covered up delays that may have ultimately led to the preventable deaths of at least 40 veterans. yet, the executives at these troubled facilities are more likely to be given a bonus than
to face any accountability. this is disgraceful and i stand up with the thousands of people who want accountability. the accountability act will ensure that the v.a. will remove career appointees who are failing to do their jobs and this is common sense. if you fail to do your job and fail the men and women you serve, you shouldn't be getting bonuses. you should be held accountable. our veterans deserve nothing less. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentlelady from ohio rise? without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. today, net jets, incorporated, a worldwide leader in aviation, is celebrating its 50th anniversary and its headquarters in columbus, ohio in my congressional district.
mrs. beatty: they have made nottable contributions in our community in central ohio by providing transportation services during medical emergencies and natural disasters. through the generous efforts of the aircraft owners, the hardworking employees and intuitive management, net jet's become the industry standard by having flown more hours than all our fractional aircraft companies combined. this organization has thrived in meeting the complex transportation needs of american business through safe, reliable jet service, while creating jobs and contributing to central ohio's economy. the legacy of net jets continues to build and will enrich the lives of generations to come and shape a bright future in aviation. i commend the net jets on its 50th anniversary. thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? >> 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 from texas is recognized for one minute. mr. poe: mr. speaker, last month over 200 my jeerian girls went to school and -- nigerian girls went to school and never came home. they were stolen in the middle of the day by the terrorist boko haram, sold into sex slavery. what is the boko haram? mr. speaker this is a foreign terrorist organization, and it reined terror over parts of nigeria, primarily in the north. they get their funds by forcing people in areas they control to pay tax to them, like a protection racket. they get protection from al qaeda. it means western education is resentful. they rape, kill and pillage. they are not only a threat to nigeria but to the rest of us as well. this al qaeda-affiliated group is a bunch of thugs, bandits and outlaws but they are to be reckoned with. remember the name boko haram. they are not going away.
boko haram is determined to continue their terrorist lifestyle and steal little girls, and that's just the way it is. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from tennessee seek recognition? mr. cohen: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. cohen: thank you, mr. speaker. this past week, the city of memphis lost one of its greatest sons and leaders, reverend frank mccrate. memphian ccrate was a who took on ministry in the city of memphis. before dr. king was assassinated in 1968, he marched with the sanitation workers and dr. king. after dr. king was assassinated, he led a group of ministers to city hall to urge the mayor to settle the strike. he knew that the church needed to do good deeds and help people in the changing south and changing america and he
helped find friends with life, that dealt with people with aids and h.i.v. he helped found the memphis interfaith association that provided food and clothing to people in need. and he turned his church to a place where they had soup kitchens and pantries rather than a church of the most blessed, most privileged. he was a great man who made memphis the city of good abode. he will be missed. he leaves his wife, two children, three stepchildren. i'm fortunate to have known frank and memphis is fortunate that he came our way. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? >> 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. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i come today and rise in support of my colleague, mr. poe, and his -- and also the proud co-sponsor of the justice for victims trafficking act which this house has passed because i join the ever-going
number of people who are standing up for the abhorrent practice of trafficking. mr. collins: awareness is not enough. with an estimated 27 million persons in slavery around the world and hundreds of thousands nation, now is the time for action. by doing so, we join folks like my constituent, vicky moore. 10 years ago vicky was alarmed to read about the commercial sex trade in india but she wasn't just alarmed. she decided to do something about it. she found an organization that gives hope to opportunity to women and girls who have been forced to commercial sex frayed in india. they had an opportunity to produce items that are sold at the organization's store in gainesville. proceeds from those sale helps girls in india and serves an important function, they work with local organizations in georgia to help women break out a cycle of poverty through job
coaching and more. i commend vicky and others who have been on the front lines of the battle and hope everyone in this body will continue to not only raise awarpse of sex trafficking but do something about it. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlewoman from hawaii seek recognition? ms. gabbard: to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. gabbard: thank you, mr. speaker. i stand here disappointed and heart broken today as an american and soldier because congress has missed an opportunity to stand up and fight for our troops, especially those who have been victims and survivors of violent sexual crimes that have occurred within our ranks. these are the less than 1% of people in our country who have voluntarily put their lives on the line for us. yet, what are we doing for them? it's our responsibility to hear the voices coming from within the ranks of our uniformed
services and to let them know that we have their back. the house this week had a chance to finally take action on a bipartisan effort to remove the chain of command from the decisionmaking process to prosecute a violent sexual crime that occurs within our ranks, but this legislation was blocked from even getting an up or down vote on the house floor. this fight for justice is far from over because we will keep pushing for meaningful change that best serves our men and women in uniform, ensuring them justice and honoring their selfless service to our country. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. for what purpose does the gentlelady from west virginia rise? without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. mrs. capito: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to highlight the human trafficking legislation that was passed by the house yesterday. these five bills will ensure justice for millions of victims and further the fight to end the vicious crime. in the united states alone, human trafficking rakes in $9.8
billion for the use and abuse of victims, many of whom are children. the national center for missing and exploited children estimates each year 100,000 children are falling victim to this vial industry within our own borders. human trafficking isn't something that's occurring in other countries or other continents, it's happening here in america, and i will be holding a summit later this week in west virginia in my district to bring together stakeholders to discuss how we can protect our most vulnerable. these bills are a call to action, to prosecute owe feppeders, to protect victims, to -- offenders, to protect victims, to prevent future cases and to educate. by passing these important bills, the house stood up for the voices who have been silent and say no more. i ask the senate to join us in passing these important bills. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her time. for what purpose does the gentleman from california rise? >> 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. takano: mr. speaker, i rise
today to express my disappointment in the house republican leadership for blocking the enlist act. the enlist act is the type of legislation that should receive support from both parties, as it allows undocumented immigrants who enter the united states before they turned the age of 15 to join the military. after their service, they would become legal permanent residents and would be eligible to apply for citizenship. this legislation was introduced by a republican member and has 24 republican co-sponsors, including house majority whip mccarthy. there are thousands of young people willing to serve and potentially die for our country and the house republican leadership has no desire to help them become citizens. this shows the depths of the dysfunction of the house of the republican caucus and it must stop and we must allow a path to citizenship to those who want to serve our country. thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california
yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois rise? >> request unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: the t objection, gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. hultgren: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise to recognize motorcycle awareness month and king county support of motorcycle safety initiatives and education. i also want to thank my great friends at abate, a brotherhood aimed towards education, in their efforts to promote motorcycle safety and education for the last 27 years. their enthusiasm and dedication to the well-being of the citizens of illinois deserves the attention and praise of kane county, the 14th district. keeping my constituents and streets safe is one of my highest priorities. with more than 350,000 licensed motorcyclists in illinois, practicing proper road safety will significantly reduce the risk of an accident. abate recognizes this need and has played an essential role in providing motorcycle awareness programs to more than 100,000
participants in illinois over the last five years. let's keep up the good work and continue our joint efforts to make our roads safer and more efficient. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the entlelady from florida rise? the gentlelady from florida is recognized for one minute. ms. frankel: thank you, mr. speaker. in expansion -- an expansion of the port of palm beach was included in the bipartisan water resources reform and ter development act, but due to it receiving a timely report. this port shares the lake worth with a popular recreational area as well as the internationally renowned town of palm beach. due to this proximity and feared damage to the environment, marine life and
dramatic change of the character of the waterway, this expansion is meyered in controversial -- in controversy and a threatened lawsuit. so i want to make it unequivocal that my positive vote for water is because it moves many, many important infrastructure projects forward and should not be construed for the port of palm beach expansion and i will not support federal funding unless and until there's a clear community consensus of approval. thank you, mr. speaker, and i yold back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlelady from new york rise? without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for ne minute. mrs. maloney: mr. speaker, this past week i had an opportunity to tour the newly opened 9/11
memorial museum. it stands as a moving tribute to all those who lost their lives at the world trade center , in pennsylvania and at the pentagon. the experience is a powerful one. the sights and sounds brings back memories and tears as well. but not just tears for the terrible losses but also tears for the numberless acts of courage, tears of gratitude for the acts of human compassion and tears of pride for the way this country stood, this body stood united and determined to rebuild. we in this body do not say thank you to each other as often as we should, so i rise to say thank you to all of the members of this body on both sides of the aisle and across this country for all you did to support my incredible city during the darkest hour. thanks to each and every one of you most mumblery from the --
most humbly from the bottom of my heart. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts rise? mr. mcgovern: to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. mcgovern: mr. speaker, last night in the rules committee, we witnessed the very definition of political cowardess. for the second time in three years, the republican leadership of this house refused to make a thoughtful, germane, bipartisan effort on afghanistan and the defense authorization bill. the rule makes in order 162 amendments. 162. there were amendments on everything from deferred retirement from military chaplains, to charging admissions to air shows, to ensuring access to rattlesnake mountain. but we can't have a debate and hold the administration accountable for ending the war in afghanistan? because we are at war, mr. speaker. we don't like to talk about it.
i know some of my colleagues would rather bury their heads in the sand and hope it goes away, but our troops and their families deserve a debate and congress has a responsibility to give it to them. but no. but no. i don't know what the republican leadership is afraid of but this is outrageous and aim not going to stand for it. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts. a mr. mcgovern:00 i move the house do now adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: safer. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the motion is not agreed to. mr. mcgovern: i make a point of order that a present is not present and object to the vote that a quorum is not present. the speaker pro tempore: a quorum is not present. under the rule, the yeas and nays are ordered. 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.]
the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are seven. the nays are 381. the motion is not adopted. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, the chair will postpone further proceedings today on which the recorded vote is ordered or on which the -- pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, the chair will postpone further proceedings today on motions to suspend the rules on which a recorded vote or the yeas and nays are ordered or on which the vote incurs objection under clause 6 of rule 20. postponed votes will be taken later. he house will come to order. the house will come to order. please take the conversations out the well, off the back of the aisle.
please remove conversations from the aisles and out of the ell. he house will come to order. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida rise? >> mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 4031, the department of veterans affairs management accountability act. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: a bill to amend title 38, united states code, to provide for the removal of senior executive service employees of the department of veterans affairs for performance and for other urposes. mr. miller: mr. speaker, the house is not in order. the speaker pro tempore: the entleman is correct. the house will come to order.
please take all conversations from the aisles and off the floor of the house. prile, gentleman from florida, mr. miller, and the gentleman from maine, mr. michaud, each will control 20 minute. the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks on h.r. 4031. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. miller: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida is recognized for such time he may consume. mr. miller: thank you very much, mr. speaker. members, for the past three years the house committee on veterans' affairs has uncovered and continues to uncover numerous instances of gross negligence and incompetence by senior v.a. officials that have led to delays in care, growing patient wait times, and lengthy backlogs of disability claims.
regrettably some of these instances have resulted in lack of proper care for veterans and for preventable deaths. despite repeated promises of accountability and change, the committee has received nothing but disturbing silence from the white house and only one excuse from another from the department of veterans affairs. mr. speaker, we have all seen the heartbreaking news or spoken personally to family after family that's been coming forward sharing their stories of how v.a. has failed to fulfill their promise to our veterans. the time is past due for us as a house of representatives to take action. the troubling stories that have come out of phoenix, arizona, where whistle blowers allege that has many as 40 veterans died while waiting for care, and alleged secret waiting
lists are unconscionable if proven true. we would not be doing our sworn duty if we sat idly by and allow these preventable deaths of those who made sacrifices for this great country to become the status quo at the v.a. unfortunately, mr. speaker, these incidents do not seem to be isolated. they are under the watch of not just one senior v.a. manager. similar stories of mismanagement and negligence have arisen in fort collins, colorado, san antonio, texas, augusta, georgia, memphis, tennessee, columbia, south carolina, pittsburgh, pennsylvania, chicago illinois with news stories being covered almost every single day. mr. speaker, these stories were crystallized for me and other members at a recent hearing that we had on patient wait times on the 9th of april. mr. barry cotes, a veteran from
columbia, south carolina, informed the committee that he waited almost a year to receive a colonoscopy at v.a. when he finally received his appointment, it was revealed that he had stage 4 colon cancer. mr. cotes testified, and i quote, the gross negligence and crippling backlog epidemic of the varks a. health system has not only handed me a death sentence but ruined my quality of life. mr. speaker, the need for accountability to help veterans like mr. cotes is the reason why h.r. 4031 is so critically important. the v.a. management accountability act of 2014 would give the secretary the authority to fire or to demote v.a. senior executive service or equivalent employees based on performance at any time. the current system is so calcified in bureaucratic red
tape that it's easier for someone to get a bonus than it is to be given some type of discipline at the department of veterans affairs. is this what our citizens want? is this what our veterans deserve? i don't think so. neither do the 150 bipartisan co-sponsors of this piece of legislation. or the leading v.s.o.'s that support it. now, the actions of these few seniors executives do not tarnish the hard work of 300,000 frontline v.a. employees who come to work every day and by and large provide excellent care and services to our veterans. but too many of these employees have, in fact, been continually down by poor performing senior executives. it's time to restore their
trust and america's trust in the leadership at v.a. look, general shinseki is a good man. he wants to hold others accountable. but he is being held back by a failed civil service system that makes it nearly impossible to remove s.e.s. employees. if this bill becomes law, he and his successors will have no excuse. will he have every tool to hold managers accountable and restore faith in the v.a. and i am grateful, truly grateful to the 150 sponsors from both sides of the aisle of this vital piece of legislation. i also want to thank the voling v.s.o., veteran service organizations, who have tirelessly advocated on behalf of this bill. american legion, concerned veterans for america, iava, amvets, reserve officers, vietnam veterans of america, and the military officers association of america. finally, i thank leader kantor and speaker boehner for -- cantor and speaker boehner for their help in bringing this bill to the floor. it is time that v.a.'s status
quo is upended which is why i believe this bill, the house's earlier action this year to suspend v.a. bonuses for five year, and i call on president obama to establish a bipartisan v.a. medical care access commission is crucial to getting a resolution to this problem. i believe the question presented before each member here today is very clear. do you stand with our veterans or do you stand with a bureaucratic entrevened failing system? i urge all of my colleagues to support h.r. 4031. and maintain our promises to our vetance and their families. mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida reserves. the gentleman from -- for what purpose does the gentleman rise? mr. michaud: i ask for time i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. michaud: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today in support of our
nation's veterans and in support of action that will fundamentally address the systematic failures that are clearly occurring across the department of veterans affairs. i reluctantly support this legislation because i believe we owe it to the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our nation's -- for our nation to do everything in our power to ensure the v.a. is accountable for its performance. share with my good friend and colleague, chairman miller, fundamental goals in addressing shortcomings in v.a. leadership and i'm proud of our bipartisan working relationship. not only does working together allow us to get more done, but i believe it makes our efforts better. i am disappointed, however, that the house veterans' affairs committee was not given the opportunity to consider this bill. i believe that members of the mmittee, republicans and
democrats, could have improved this bill before it was brought to the floor. i believe this bill would be stronger and more reflective of the substantive reforms necessary in the department if it had been allowed to go through the committee markup process. h.r. 4031 has been put forth as an accountability bill, but it falls short of providing beneficial changes in the v.a.'s executive performance management system. the secretary of the department of veterans affairs already has the authority to fire any employee, including executives, who are not doing their job. this bill would simply turn approximately 400 senior executive civil service positions across the v.a. into ssentially positions which 165 are the veterans health administration. more importantly, h.r. 4031 does not adequately address the
performance metrics of v.a. executives. it doesn't provide any framework for ensuring problems and failures that don't occur in the first place. i introduced h.r. 4399, which the american legion also supports. which establishes up front organizational goals and expected outcomes for veterans that every single v.a. senior leadership must deliver. it would require these goals and their outcomes to be the driving factor in performance assessment for these executives. and the basis for any awards or bonuses. this bill before us today does not address the senior physician or dentist known as title 38 employees, who receive executive level pay and have organizational level responsibility for veterans care and services. this is important because one
executive implicated in manipulating the wait times in phoenix was a title 38 employee. which this bill does not cover that we are voting on today. so the very individual responsible for the catastrophic failures that we have seen across the v.a. recently may not even be impacted by the current legislation that we are dealing with. my bill, h.r. 4399, does address title 38 physicians and dentists which covers approximately 80,000 employees within the v.a., title 38 employees. mandating standardized rigorous performance management tools that holds employees accountable and justifies any performance pay. finally, my bill would prohibit one of the most egregious examples of the failure of the current system as it applies to title 38 employees.
a doctor was provided partial performance pay even though he had failed to maintain a current license. that is correct. he received a partial performance pay even though he failed to maintain a current license because maintaining a valid license wasn't one of his performance objectives. this bill that we are dealing with today does not address that issue. good policy, good legislation comes from conversation, collaboration, and compromise. i'm supporting moving this bill forward today because i believe we need to begin this discussion as how to best ensure v.a. employees are held accountable when they fail to perform. let me be clear, we can and we must do more to ensure that our veterans get the quality
services that they deserve and have earned. i'm hopeful that we can have the necessary dialogue in conference to ensure that any bill that we send to the president is more comprehensive reform measures, well considered, and actually has the desire and needed impact of changing the v.a. and ensuring the best outcomes of our nation's veterans. with that, mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maine reserves. the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. miller: the best way to reform the v.a. is get rid of the deadwood. that's what this bill gives the secretary the opportunity to do. that is to fire the people not doing their job, especially, especially those that are at the senior level. with that i yield one minute to the gentleman from colorado, mr. lamborn. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from colorado is recognized for one minute. mr. lamborn: i thank the chairman. mr. speaker, i rise today on behalf of my constituents and veterans who are alarmed at recent reports of preventable deaths, manipulated records, and secret waiting lists within
the v.a. health care system. these allegations span the country and recently arisen in colorado at the fort collins v.a. clinic. if these allegations are found to be true, the responsible individuals must be held accountable. it is unacceptable for individuals who have presided over negligence and mismanagement to go unscathed. astonishingly past instances of similar failures have not only seen responsible individuals remain employed by the v.a., but they have even been rewarded for their leadership failures in the form of bonuses and positive performance reviews. this only promotes the continuation of poor management negligence and possible preventable deaths. this bill would help ensure that these trends do not continue by giving the secretary of the v.a. the authority to remove or transfer senior executives of the v.a. i ask support of this bill and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the
gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from florida reserves. the gentleman from maine. mr. michaud: thank you, mr. speaker. at this time i'd like to yield two minutes to the gentleman from georgia, mr. scott. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for two minutes. thank you very much, mr. speaker. the issue here before us on this bill, first let me say many' a proud co-sponsor of this bill to replace and be able to fire people, but the problem is, the first person we need to fire is the secretary of veterans' affairs, mr. shinseki himself. we respect him. we respect the sacrifice for his country and everything else, but the buck stops at the top. here are the facts, 5,600 veterans are committing suicide every year. that's almost 20 every day. under his watch, under his watch in my own hospital in atlanta, four of our soldiers
committed suicide in the hospital, and the very inspector general of the v.a. laid the blame directly at the foot of the v.a. administration for the lack of management of the depth of these soldiers, and when chairman miller and i went down and visited them, we asked, is there one more? is there any more that has committed suicide? no. there's been no more. and they told a damn lie because the very next day it was exposed there was another soldier that committed suicide, and they covered it up. this has been a pattern that's been going on ever since general shinseki has been the chairman there. i respect his sacrifice. i respect what he did. but it's under his watch that we are in this situation in the hospital. . out in the western part of this country. where "the washington post" has accurately reported that 40 of our soldiers lost their lives
died because they couldn't get service. our veterans are the heart and soul of this country, they are precious an we must not turn their back on them. i listened to the president today and i was very disappointed with president obama today. there was no urgency. mr. president, we need urgency, we need you to roll up our sleeves and get into these hospitals. we need you to set up a pattern if the v.a. hospitals can't handle it, let's -- can i get another minute? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time -- the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. >> i yield the gentleman 30 seconds. the chair: the gentleman is yielded 30 second. mr. davis: god bless -- mr. scott: god bless you, there are reports out, the taxpayers have paid or will have to pay $1 billion for medical malpractice, a reputable media
organization down in atlanta went all over this country, $1 billion of taxpayers paying because the v.a. cut off the wrong arm, cut off the wrong leg, the wrong testicle, the wrong kidney. let me tell you all something, folks, time, that's what i was so disturbed about, we don't have time for any more investigations or reports -- any more investigations. reports are in jesus christ himself said there is no more greater sacrifice than to give your life for your friend. our soldiers have given their lives on the battlefield for them. we need to give our veterans -- the chair: the gentleman is no longer recognized. he gentleman from maine. ll members are he re-minded to -- are reminded to refrain from
using profanity on the floor. >> i would be happy to yield to the gentleman is he can yield more time to mr. scott. with that, i will yield one minute to dr. benishek. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. benishek: i thank the chairman. mr. speaker in the real world, if you fail to do your job, you get fired. not at the v.a. today i rise in support of h.r. 4031, the department of veteran affairs management accountability act. i'm proud to be an original co-sponsor of this bill because it allows the secretary to fire senior v.a. executives when they fail to do their job. i'm sick and tired of hauling v.a. officials in front of the committee to hear tired excuses and explanations. president obama has allowed the v.a. leadership to operate without accountability. veterans are dying. the time for excuses has
passed. the time for taking action to fix these problems is now. this legislation is just the beginning. severe mismanagement at the v.a. will not be tolerated by me or this congress. we will overturn every rock and use every tool at our disposal in the pursuit of the truth of what's happening at the v.a. the chair: the gentleman's time has expire the -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expyred. the gentleman from florida reserves. the gentleman from maine. >> i yield three minutes to the gentlelady from florida, ms. brown. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognize fleered minutes. ms. brown: as a senior member on the house veterans affairs committee, i've been on this committee for 21 years. i strongly support the secretary, shin sec key and his leader sthoich department of
veterans afairs. it is very important as we go into memorial day that we let the veterans know that we appreciate their service and we also need to let them know that we are going to do all we can to make sure they have the quality health care that they deserve. sites . operates 1,700 of care and conducts 85 million ppointments each year. which comes to 236 health care appointments each day. the latest american customer atisfaction indicates, a customer service survey ranked v.a. customer satisfaction at 95%. v.a. has the best in the nation and equal to better than any
any private sector hospital. this peaked in march of 2013. the v.a. has reduced the benefits claims backlog by 50% on track to eliminate the backlog in 2015. v.a. also implemented an automatic electric claim process system to better serve veterans into the future. and 2013 v.a. paid out $66 billion in compensation claims to 4.5 million eligible veterans. under the leadership of the secretary, we also expand access to earned benefits to veterans of all era. in addition, v.a. grants presumption of service connections for three agent orange related conditions and let me just say that for years the veterans in this category
have been trying to get assistance from the v.a. and they were denied. this secretary stepped up to the plate and let all of those veterans come in, millions of additional veterans. since 2009, v.a. has reduced the number of homeless veterans, we have been trying to do that since day one 22 years ago, but this secretary has reduced it by 24%. they have conducted over six million clinical visits and over 600,000 veterans who were homeless at risk of homelessness, including former homelessness. in 2013 alone, v.a. served more than 240 veterans who were homeless. the v.a. -- may i have an additional 30 seconds?
mr. michaud: i yield 30 seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is granted 30 seconds. ms. brown: in close, the v.a. is like a big ship, one i've been working on for 22 years. slow to turn. leadership, the democratic leadership and republican leadership, we have funded the largest v.a. budget increase in the history of the united states. we, like the first president said, we must make sure that the v.a. do what it can to serve those veterans and give them the service we demand. god bless america and continue to bless the veteran who was served america. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. the gentleman from florida. >> i would add another statistic to those my colleague from florida just said. there have been 23, at least 23 preventable deaths in the department of veterans' affairs. mr. miller: i yield one minute
to my friend, the chairman of the subcommittee, the gentleman from colorado, mr. coffman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. coffman: i rise in strong support of h.r. 4031 because i failures t systemic of the v.a. exist far beyond the issue of appointment wait times. my subcommittee on v.a. oversight and investigations continues to uncover countless fail youfers leadership at the v.a. this lack of leadership is the driving force behind the unacceptable delays and cost overruns and major v.a. construction projects. the tremendous backlog of veterans disability claims and the horrendous patient care practices that have resulted in preventable patient deaths. the individuals with responsibility and authority in lead . are enabled to and as a result our veterans
have suffered. it is time to usher in a new era of accountability at the v.a. and i urge my colleagues to support the department of veterans' affairs management accountability act of 2014. thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from florida reserves. the gentleman from maine. mr. michaud: at this time i would like to yield three minutes to the gentlewoman from texas, ms. jackson lee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized for three minutes. ms. jackson lee: it's an honor to stand on this floor in the midst of military appreciation month and be from a state that has the highest numbers of young men and women returning from afghanistan and iraq. comparing to states like california and certainly some others. we are grateful for all in all state that was gone and put on the uniform unselfishly and stood in the line of danger for
us. let me thank the veterans committee of this congress. i have never seen a more bipartisan and dedicated group of men and women. and if the committee was opened up to all of us, we'd all stand up and serve. today is is a -- today as a family in the united states congress we have a problem. we have a disease problem. whether it is a heart attack or stroke or cancer. or whether or not it is the terrible injuries of war. post-traumatic stress disorder. or those who have lost limbs. who have suffered traumatic brain injury. we have men and women who have worked in our veterans -- and our veterans have now come in later years, suffer the illnesses of age. all of us will take our fists and bang on this podium to be able to say that they are first in our priority.
excessive ters deaths, those who may have died in texas or elsewhere. if this is a measure to begin that healing, to give the secretary the ability to be table focus in on those beyond the surgeons that are in the operating room the nurses that i visited with along the hallways when i go to the veterans hospital in my area, then we should go forward and i stand with this legislation working toward making the system work. and i want to make it work by curing the systemic and the problematic way that we have veterans wait on services. let's cut it out. cut the red tape out. embrace them this weekend. one of the most emotional days we serve with our veterans and tell them we will not rest until we answer the concerns of families, until we pray over those who have lost their
lives, until we care this not by one person or another. they may have to go but let's fix the system that they will have no waiting time when they come with lung cancer or -- lung cancer, last stage work their life to be extended if they just get in the door. i want all of them to be able to get in the door and to use those resources that we have expended, those large numbers that my colleague and friend from florida, both from florida, from maine, have spoken about, and we use those resources to break the barrier of confusion and red tape and when they walk through those doors, someone says, come in. we are ready to serve. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expire. the gentleman from maine reserves, the gentleman from florida. >> i yield one minute to the gentlelady from the hoosier state, many walorski. the speaker pro tempore: the
gentlelady is recognized. miss walorski: i want to thank chairman miller for his work to reform this mismanaged department. our soldiers and their families never hesitated to serve our country. recent reports are disgusting and disgrateful -- disgraceful. we know of dozens of wrongful deaths due to negligence including 13 in my state of indiana. those who oversee this negligence are more likely to receive a bonus than punishment this bill would give the v.a. secretary authority to fire senior employees responsible for failures within this department. i urge my colleagues to vote yes on this bill and i'll continue to do my part on the oversight and fighting for the nation's 23 million veterans. i also call on the senate today to bring greater accountability and transparency to the v.a. by passing the numerous bipartisan bills that have left this house, including this one, that are stalled, that could be stalled in the senate. our veterans deserve nothing but this best. i yield back my time. thank you.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from florida reserves. the gentleman from maine. mr. michaud: may i inquire of the speaker how much time i have left. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maine has 5 1/2 minute the gentleman from lorida has 10. mr. michaud: waiting for other speakers, i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: it's my pleasure to yield to someone who is new on the veterans committee, he's new to congress but has been an advocate for veterans since -- since his work as a staff member here, mr. jolly. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. jolly: perhaps more importantly today after hearing the president's press conference i rise out of concern over a pleat failure of our president to address this issue. the v.a. health care system is experiencing a historic crisis and yet today the president's solution seemed to be business as usual bureaucracy.
the president has done nothing to ensure that we as a nation immediately address the systemic problems within the v.a. system or the threat to human life that's been created by incidence of bureaucratic incompetence. the president earlier today spoke rhetorically about unacceptable wait times for veterans but he did nothing to address the american people's wait time for this administration to solve this problem now. it's been 23 days and there's no sense of urgency. what we heard today was more bureaucracy, more investigations, more studying the issue and ultimately a continuation of business as usual until the president and his secretary determine in due time when they will act. he spoke of holding personnel accountable but he never once spoke of terminating personnel. that is why i rise today to support this legislation. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from florida reserves. the gentleman from maine. mr. michaud: i yield three minutes to the gentleman from maryland, mr. hoyer. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for three minutes.
mr. high pressure: mr. speaker, i rise -- mr. hoyer: mr. speaker, i rise in opposition to this. i urge my members to vote against it. i don't know if they will but i urge them to do so. all of us in this body need to be for accountability. none of us in this body, however, ought to be returning a civil service system into a patronage system. none of us ought to be for turning a civil service system, one of the best in the world, if not the best, into a system hich allows for no reason that needs to be articulated to turn senior executives into at-will employees. i'm disappointed that this bill has been brought to the floor
with little notice and no markup in committee. we talk about considered judgment. we talk about thoughtfulness. we talk about reading the bills. and then we bring them to the floor without hearings. we must ensure that those who serve our veterans in the v.a. systems do so with accountability and oversight, all of us, are outraged at the allegations that have been made. not one of us should step back and say we should not respond vigorously to the offenses that have allegedly taken place. because if the allegations are true, heads ought to roll. period. but that's not what this legislation is about. this legislation is about a knee-jerk reaction to a bad situation painted with a very broad, broad brush.
and undermining a system that can work, has worked, and has the mechanism to work. i cannot support this bill as written. i believe it opens the door to a slippery slope of undoing of things that have been in place for decades. this is about due process. due process is put under stress at critical times. pursuing due process at times when there is no stress is not difficult. the test of a society is whether at times of stress it can follow due process. and the law. this bill does not provide for hat. protection vs. been put in place for decades to assure politically appointed managers
cannot fire nonpolitical senior executives in federal service without proper cause. neither party ought to be for that. the civil service reforms adopted decades ago were there for a purpose. as a result, mr. speaker, i rise in opposition and urge my colleagues to vote against this premature and -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. hoyer: piece of legislation. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from maine reserves. the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. miller: we have just been told this is knee-jerk reaction to a crisis. it's the only action to a risis. for three weeks said nothing until today. he still has not said anything. the secretary has not been involved. we have to take care of the veterans that we have fighting for our freedom every single day.
nothing in this bill, nothing in this bill takes away the recruitment process through s.e.s., and if the secretary does fire somebody or demoats somebody because of this law, they have to provide notice to congress within 30 days. if you don't do your job, you get fired. mr. kelly, i recognize him for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. kelly: i thank the chairman, mr. speaker. let me say when i first got here people say kelly, you expect government to work as a business. no, no. that's not true. because there is no way any business can work as the government works. this bill is a commonsense way of taking care of people who don't perform at a level that's expected. the citizens should expect nothing less an to be told you can't touch these folks even if they perform badly, instead of doing that you give them a bonus. that doesn't make sense. accountability is absolutely needed at this time. we give people authority. we give people responsibility.
when they don't do their job, they need to be held accountable for it. i represent not only the state of pennsylvania but only one million pennsylvanians who are veterans. if we can't fix this now with a commonsense approach that my goodness, what are we doing on the floor of this great house? it just makes sense. i thank the chairman for bringing forward and it's long overdue. it needs to be done now. i thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. he gentleman from maine. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: i recognize the gentleman mr. lamalfa for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for one minute. mr. lamalfa: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. speaker. i join my colleagues today in support of h.r. 4031 which brings sorely needed accountability to the department of veterans affairs. the president said today that he will hold those responsible at v.a. accountable. we heard that before. as a president the candidate
nnounced delays, and called it the broken bureaucracy of the v.a. we can hope to hear more than platitudes here in the near future, but i'm skeptical. the president has done very little to hold this v.a. staff accountable and now he's in the deadly consequences of the system in arizona. like other administration staff who violated the law, those responsibilities are on paid leave. unfortunately, the v.a.'s problems are not unique to arizona. we learned of similar efforts to conceal huge problems at the open oakland v.a. office. including cooked books, hidden files, and refusal to meet veterans' needs. v.a. employees actually coming forward to help us expose these problems. some bureaucrats seem more interested in receiving bonuses than serving our veterans. it's time for that to end. mr. speaker, we need to get this now. pass h.r. 4031. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from florida reserves. the gentleman from maine
continues to reserve. the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: at this time i think i have one more speaker. there's another on the list but he's not here. i'd like to yield one minute to the gentleman from the 12th district of pennsylvania, mr. rothfus, who has been very involved in issues as it relates to pittsburgh. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized for one minute. mr. rothfus: mr. speaker, having stepped forward to defend our country with their very lives, our veterans deserve a health care system and claims process that is both of high quality and is accountable. unfortunately, the v.a. has failed veterans in pittsburgh, phoenix, and across the nation. a world war 2 veteran from western pennsylvania survived guam, saipan, okinawa, but fell victim to legionaire's disease at the pittsburgh v.a. it's been 1 1/2 years since he died and the family is still waiting for answers and accountability. so are the families of john, clark, lloyd, and frank.
unfortunately the world now knows that these are not isolated incidents. significant changes and accountability must be made at the v.a. to solve these problems. i urge all my colleagues to support the v.a. management accountability act. this bill is an important step in that direction. thank you to chairman miller for conducting the oversight necessary to bring these issues into light. i thank the speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from florida reserves. the gentleman from maine. is the gentleman from florida ready to close? mr. miller: we have one more speaker but he's not here. we are prepared to close. mr. michaud: how much time do i have remaining? the speaker pro tempore: 2 1/2 minutes. the gentleman from florida has 5 1/4. mr. michaud: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i want to thank the chairman as well. t i also want to reiterate
the secretary currently does have the authority to fire any senior executive service members if they are not performing their job. this bill does not address the problem systemically within the v.a. we are dealing with the veterans health administration. this bill only covers 165 s.e.s.'s which work in the veterans health administration. there's 400 throughout the v.a. the legislation which i would voting on today deals with not only the s.e.s.'s, but also the title 38 employees. the reason why it's important to deal with it, title 38 employees, it's important to note, that one of the executives implicated in manipulating the wait times in phoenix is a title 38 employee. this bill does not address that employee. the bill also does not address some of the most egregious
examples of failure in the system. as i mentioned earlier a doctor was provided partial performance pay even though he ad let his license expire. because that was not rt part of the performance objective. i will be supporting this legislation so we can move it through the process, so we can go through conference to actually address some of these issues. and i hope that we will be able to address these issues. they are very serious issues. they are issues important to our veterans. to our committee we deal with this. and i hope, mr. chairman, we will work together like we have in the past. i'm disappointed the fact that this bill is before us because we were not able to improve upon the bill. and i also would hope that the president looks very seriously
at the performance evaluation within the department of veterans affairs. and that he immediately issues an executive order similar to the legislation that i have submitted that will address a lot of systemic problems within the department of veterans affairs. this is unacceptable and we must move forward to deal with this issue. with that, mr. speaker, i encourage my colleagues to support the legislation and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: mr. speaker, i have a request of the gentleman from maine. our speaker has now showed up. may i yield him one minute? the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. miller: i thank the gentleman. the gentleman from gainesville, has a facility that is in fact at this point has sever people
put on administrative leave. i'd like to yield him one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida is recognized for one minute. >> i thank my colleague, mr. miller. i rise today in support of h.r. 4031, the department of veterans' affairs management accountability act of 2040. mr. yoho: for far too long, problem patient neglect has persisted. these problems will continue to service until the employees there can be held accountable for their poor performance. in recent weeks, the incompetence has been made clear. serious allegations have risen that wait times and secret waiting lists at the phoenix v.a. medical centers led to the death of 40 of our nation's veterans. this is unacceptable. there are stories of secret waiting lists at v.a.'s all over the news. as these reports are investigated, it is necessary that we give the secretary of the v.a. the power to not only reprimand but remove the neglect employees if we do not the problem will persist. for these reasons and more, i
co-sponsored chairman miller's bill which will authorize the secretary of veterans affairs to remove or demote any senior executive employees whose performance has been found lacking. mr. speaker, caring for our veterans is of paramount importance. i urge my colleagues to stand up for our veterans and vote to pass the department of veterans affairs. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: first i want to say hank you very much mr. miller: first i want to thank the gentleman from maine who has been very bipartisan in the way we approach thsmed our committee has worked in a bipartisan way to get to the bottom of the issue. it has been said on the floor there were no hearings on this bill, it has been heard in subcommittee. it's also been said that the secretary has the tools that he needs in order to hold people accountable. here's where we are.
back in january, i went to augusta, georgia, and columbia, south carolina, at the request of congressman joe wilson and congressman john barro. we know, and v.a. has said, that there were deaths that occurred, there were some 5,000 veterans on waiting lists for colonoscopies. i talked about one of those veterans who testified before our committee today. shortly after that, i wrote to the secretary and asked him, please provide me the names of the people, what their positions were, and what type of accountability, what disciplinary actions have you taken? we're now in the closing weeks of the month of may and i have heard absolutely nothing out of the department of veterans' affairs. he may have the tools, but he won't use the tools that he has at his disposal to get rid of or to discipline the very people who are at the crux of
the problem that we're talking about all across this nation today. let me tell you something else. the very director of the phoenix hospital that is now on administrative leave, according to the department of veterans' affairs today, got a bonus, an $8,500 bonus, in april of this year even though they knew that there was an open office of inspector general investigation ongoing at the time. got a bonus. while there was an ongoing investigation. in pittsburgh, in pittsburgh, pennsylvania, where the director of the health care system up there knew that there the water lla inside system that led to the death of at least six veterans, they knew it for a year that person got a $63,000 presidential
bonus. it is easier to get rewarded at v.a. than it is to be disciplined. and that is why i urge my colleagues to vote in favor of h.r. 4031 and i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 4031? those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are uh suspended, the bill is passed -- the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: i request the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. those in favor of taking the vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing. a sufficient number having risen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this atter will be postponed.
the chair lays before the house an enrolled bill. the clerk: h.r. 685, an act to award a congressional gold medal to the american fighter aces collectively in recognition of their heroic military service and defense of r country freedom throughout the history of aviation warfare. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from florida rise? mr. miller: by direction of the committee on rules i call up house -- >> by direction of the committee on rules i caup -- i call up house resolution 590. the speaker pro tempore: clerk will report the title. the clerk: house resolution 590rk resolved that at any time the dppings of this resolution, the speaker may declare the
house resolved into the committee of the whole house on the state of the union on the state of the union for -- for further consideration of the bill h.r. 4435 to authorize funds for the fiscal year for 2015 ar if they are department of defense, deto the describe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year and for other purposes. section 2a, no further bill as -- no further amendment shall be in order except those printed in part a of the continuing resolution and b, each further amendment printed in part a of the report of the committee on rules shall be considered only in the order printed in the report, may be offered only by a member designated in the report, shall be considered as read, shall be debatable for the time specified in the report equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to amendment, and shall not be subject to demand for division of the question in the house or
in the committee of the whole. c, all points of order against the further amendments printed in part a of the report of the committee on rules or amendments en bloc described in section 3 of this amendment are waived. section 3, it shall be in order at any time for the chair of the committee on armed services or his designee to offer amendments en bloc consisting of amendments accompanying this resolution not earlier disposed of. amendments en bloc offered pursuant to this section shall be considered as read, shall be debatable for 20 minutes equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking member of the committee on armed services or their designees, shall not be subject to amendment and shall not be subject to nand for division of the question in the house or committee of the whole. section 4 at the conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment, the committee shall rise and report the bill to the house with such further amendments as may have been adopted. the previous question shall be
considered as ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or without instructions. section 5. upon adoption of this resolution, it shall be in order to consider in the house the bill h.r. 3361 to reform the authorities of the federal government to require the production of certain business records, conduct electronic surveillance and use registers and tap and trace devices and use other forms of information gathering for foreign intelligence, counterterrorism and criminal purposes and for other purposes. all points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. in lieu of the amendments in the nature of the substitute recommended by the committee on the jew dasheary and permanent select committee the amendment in the nature of a substitute printed in part b accompanying this resolution shall be considered as adopted. the bill as amened shall be considered as read. all points of order against
provisions in the bill are waived. the previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill as amened and any amendment thereto without intervening motion except one, one hour of debate with 40 minutes equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the committee on the judiciary and 20 minutes equally divided and controlled of the ranking member of the permanent select committee on intelligence and two, one motion to recommit with or without instructions. section 6. the committee on appropriations may at any time before 5:00 p.m. on tuesday, may 27, 2014, file privileged reports to accompany measures making appropriations for the fiscal ear ending september 30, 2015. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman seek recognition? >> pursuant to section 426 of e budget act of 1984, i make
a point of order against resolution 490. it says that the rules committee may not waive points of order of section 425 of that same act. house resolution 590 waives all points of order against further amendments printed in part a of the committee report from the committee on rules. therefore i make a point ofed orer that this rule may not be considered. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman makes a point of order that the resolution viles ection 426a of 1974. the gentleman has met the threshold for burden of proof. there will be 20 minutes of the did of debate. the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: thank you, mr. speaker. ast night, a bipartisan group, congressman walter jones of north carolina, congressman adam smith, the ranking member of the armed services committee from washington state, congressman garamendi and
congresswoman lee from california, and i offered an amendment to be able to have a debate and vote on our policy in afghanistan. the longest war in american history. it seemed odd to me that a bill like the department of defense authorization bill would come to the floor without the ability for members to have a vote on afghanistan. i mean, we are at war and you would never know it by the actions of this house. i am ashismede this house that a bill like this would come to the floor and the leadership would block any attempt to be able to have a debate and a vote on what our policy should be in afghanistan. the rule that we're going to be debating -- that we're going to debate later today makes in order 162 amendments. 162. there were amendments on everything from deferred retirement for military chaplains to charging admission
to air shows to public access to rattlesnake mountain. i'm sure public access to rattlesnake mountain is a big deal but it's not as big a deal as the war in afghanistan. where we have brave men and women in harm's way because we put them there. and the question is whether or not our policy should remain he same or whether it should change. the president of the united states has said that he wants to draw down american forces in 2014. i hope he does. but there are also reports that we may be there for considerably longer period of time. you know, i don't know what the policy is going to be. with this amendment that the republican leadership block says, let me read to you, basically, what we're asking here. it says that in the event that the united states armed forces remain deployed in afghanistan after december 31, 2014, that
no later than march 31 of 2015, the president shall send to congress a determination describing the purpose and expected duration of such deployment and the projected number of troops to be deployed. who could possibly object to that? basically having the white house inform us of what the policy is. where's the problem? the second part of this goes as follows. no later than 30 days following the receipt of the president's determination, congress shall enact a joint resolution to improve the content of the president's determination. should congress vote against the president's determination, the president is directed to remove all troops not required to protect united states diplomatic facilities and personnel in a safe, orderly, expeditious redeployment from afghanistan. does anybody really object to that? does anybody object to doing what we're supposed to do? to have a say on issues like
war? it astounds me that members of congress would want to hide behind, you know, the rules committee, blocking bringing this to the floor as a way to avoid a serious debate and a vote on this policy. by the way, the sponsors of this amendment, we have different opinions on afghanistan. some of us believe we should get out of there right now. that's where i am. some of those who co-sponsor this amendment believe we should be there and have a -- at least a small force in afghanistan beyond 2014. so this is not about right now saying, you know, we want to get out of afghanistan. what this is saying is that if the president decides to change his promise of keeping us there no later than december, 2014, then we ought to have a vote. we ought to be informed of what's going on and we ought to have a vote. who could object to that? mr. speaker, i'd like to yield five minutes to the gentleman from north carolina, mr. jones.
the chair: the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. jones: mr. speaker, i thank the gentleman from massachusetts. i could not agree more. how in the world can the congress of the united states, which has an obligation to declare war continue to advocate its right to debate our young men and women going to afghanistan to die? $1.5 e already spent over trillion in iraq and afghanistan. iraq was an unnecessary war. he previous administration intentionally manufactured the justification. it was absolutely necessary and all we're asking, and that's why we're -- why i'll vote
against the rule, there's much in this bill i will vote for but as the gentleman from massachusetts says,s that bipartisan, bipartisan i have signed over 11,000 letters to families and extended families who lost loved ones in iraq and afghanistan. this past weekend i signed four letters. i'm not trying to single myself out. but i feel the pain of my mistake giving the authority to the previous president to bypass congress to send our young men and women to die in iraq and afghanistan. mr. mcgovern is right. if president obama believes itec
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