tv U.S. House of Representatives Legislative Business CSPAN February 24, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm EST
the low country of south carolina so unique. from the southern end to little river neck on the northern end, at culture permeates gee oggray and our people. -- my father's family and grandfather's family and my brother and myself were raised in the midst of the gullah/geechee culture. and from all of our cities from north to south, charleston and myrtle beach and georgetown, you can see those traditions infused throughout those communities. the traditions of the gullah/geechee arts, music and others have made a distinctive impact on the coastal carolina culture. growing up on the coast i have fond memories of the people and their way of life.
authorizing the gullah/geechee corridor commission is important to preserving and managing the uniqueness of the important traditions. i support the re-authorization of the commission and passage of h.r. 3004 and with that, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. . the gentlewoman from massachusetts is recognized. ms. tsongas: if the gentleman yields back i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i'd urge adoption of this measure and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 3004. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table.
for what purpose does the gentleman from, mr. mcclintock, seek recognition? mr. mcclintock: mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 2880, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 328, h.r. 2880, a bill to redesignate the martin luther king jr. national historic site in the state of georgia, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from california, mr. mcclintock, and the gentlewoman from massachusetts, ms. tsongas, will each control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. mcclintock: thank you, mr. speaker. i'd ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. mcclintock: and i'll yield myself such time as i may consume. mr. speaker, h.r. 2880,
introduced by our colleague, john lewis, redesignates the martin luther king jr. national historic site in the state of georgia as the martin luther king jr. national historical park. it also authorizes the national park service to include the prince hall masonic temple in the historical park's boundaries. the prince hall masonic temple long served as the headquarters of the christian leadership conference. this historic and distinguished civil rights organization was co-founded by dr. king, who also served as its first president. including the prince hall masonic temple within the boundary allows the park service to provide technical assistance to the building's owners with respect to repairs, renovations and maintenance that would preserve its historic integrity. it can be said that every american figuratively walks in the footsteps of the american founders and all those who followed them and who perfected their vision. because of their work, we enjoy the blessings of a free government that exists to
protect the god-given natural rights of every person and a free society where every person will be judged, in dr. king's words, on the context of his character. our historical parks give us the opportunity to literally walk in the footsteps of the americans to secure this vision. those who gathered around dr. martin luther king in the 1950's walked the streets of this neighborhood and its preservation gives us and future generations a tangible link with them. one of them was our distinguished colleague, congressman lewis, and i commend him for his work. it's altogether fitting a man who did so much to establish this legacy brings to the house today a bill to further preserve it. i'd urge adoption and reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves, and the gentlewoman from massachusetts is recognized. ms. tsongas: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. h.r. 2880 is a simple piece of legislation that has broad bipartisan support. the bill will accomplish two primary goals -- to redesignate
the martin luther king jr. national historic site in atlanta, georgia, as a national historical park, and to adjust the boundary of the park to include the prince hall masonic temple. these actions will enhance the ability of the national park service and the community to tell the story, the very important story of dr. king. the site, which is the final resting place of this great civil rights leader, continues to connect visitors with the historical and contemporary struggles for civil rights in this country. these stories are as relevant today as they were half a century ago. this legislation will provide the site with the proper acknowledgment that it deserves. i want to thank congressman lewis who remains an important civil rights leader for bringing this important bill forward. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. mcclintock: i'll continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the
gentleman reserves, and the gentlelady from massachusetts is recognized. ms. tsongas: i yield -- excuse me -- i yield as much time as he may consume to congressman lewis, a great congressman from georgia. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. lewis: mr. speaker, thank you very much. i want to thank the gentleman from california and the gentlewoman from massachusetts. i rise as a proud sponsor of this legislation. mr. speaker, my bipartisan bill will create the first national historic park in the state of georgia. the technical changes from a site to a park will make it easier for the national park service to share the history of the american civil rights movement. with national and international visitors to atlanta. these historical sites are low
counted in downtown atlanta. this is where dr. king was born and raised, where he was nurtured and taught, where he preached and loved. i was a teenager when i first met dr. king in 1958 at the age of 18. and this forever changed my life, but i was not the only one. people.ny dr. king's mission was to create the beloved community, a community of justice, a community at peace with itself. dr. king had the power to bring people together, to do good. his message was love. his weapon was truth, and the message was the way of nonviolence and passive resistance. dr. martin luther king jr. led a nonviolent movement that changed the face of our nation. he inspired people from all over our country and from all
over the world. my simple act will improve the services and educational opportunity for visitors to this wonderful space, to this wonderful piece of history. it will preserve this important part of our history for generations yet unborn. again, i would like to thank the chair and ranking member for their support, and i urge all of my colleagues to support this simple, commonsense legislation. thank you, mr. speaker, and i ield back. ms. tsongas: i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. mcclintock: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. ms. tsongas: i yield one minute to congresswoman sheila jackson lee of texas. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized.
ms. jackson lee: there's no greater voice of the civil rights movement here in this congress and in this nation than our dear friend, congressman john lewis, and i am both excited and honored to be able to support his was lation that makes what a site in its early beginnings to the importance of a national historic park and that is in honoring martin luther king jr. so i first want to say thank you to you, john, for your conscience and your work and then your hard work on behalf
of the king family. as i sat here and listened to congressman lewis relaying his story, i had the slight privilege to have worked for the southern christian leadership conference and the very streets he's mentioned, i was able to come after him to the offices then of the southern christian leadership conference that was there in this historic area. small office that so many historic persons were in essence able to walk those -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. ms. tsongas: i yield an additional two minutes to congresswoman jackson lee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. jackson lee: i thank the gentlelady and manager. to be able to know that in the midst of those hallowed streets, dr. king came. i don't know whether he parked a car or walked to that office and, of course, all the other surrounding areas and other names of historic persons had
the ability to walk down those streets and in that area. we take great pride in the preservation of our national park areas and i must compliment the national park service because it has a love and affection for all those lands that it takes care of. you can see it when you are able to visit these national sites, so many throughout our country, so many that we've had a chance to visit. and now in my colleague's district will be a place, an added place for dr. martin luther king's resources, where his hands touched and what an appropriate time in our history to be able to, again, thank this man of peace, of nonviolence and to remind ourselves that america is really a great country. to have given birth to him in the plight and the conditions of which he lived and the time and the conditions of which he was subjected to. to our knowledge he never game
imbittered. he always, although frustrated at moments, he always recognized love and nonviolence. so i hope in this recognition that he will get and the protection of these wonderful assets that people will come there for solace, another place, along with the monument here in washington and many other places, will come here for solace and recognition that nonviolence, nonviolence and peace and recognizing the human dignity of all people are virtues of this nation carried forward by a great and wonder frl, heroic leader, someone who i had a small moment to be associated through his organization after his death, to be able to say thank you. with that i thank the gentlelady for her yielding and kindness. i thank the manager and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields. ms. tsongas: i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. mcclintock: i continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the entleman reserves.
ms. tsongas: i yield back the balance of our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. mcclintock: mr. speaker, i urge adoption of the measure and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 2880. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. i'm sorry. will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 2880, as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? mr. mcclintock: mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 1475, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 330, h.r. 1475.
a ball to build a wall of remembrance as part of the korean war memorial. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from california, mr. mcclintock, and the gentlewoman from massachusetts, ms. tsongas, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. mcclintock: thank you, mr. speaker. i'd ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. mcclintock: mr. speaker, h.r. 1475, introduced by congressman sam johnson, would permit a privately funded addition of a wall of remembrance to the korean war veterans memorial. the wall would list the names of all members of the u.s. armed forces who were killed in theater during the korean war as well as the number of all of the american p.o.w.'s and m.i.a.'s. they call the korean war america's forgotten war. during the three years of that
war, 5.8 million americans worldwide served in the u.s. armed services, 22 nations fought alongside us to preserve the freedom of south korea. 54,246 americans died worldwide during this conflict. 8,200 were missing in action. an additional 103,284 were wounded. the sacrifice they made and the freedom they secured for the people of south korea must never be forgotten. this measure assures the names of the fallen shall live on. this bill comes to us from one of only three korean war veterans who still serve today in this house, the legendary sam johnson, from whom we'll be hearing shortly, and representative charles ran fwell and john conyers jr. also distinguished themselves in this -- in that war as they have in this house and are original
co-sponsors. i urge passage of the bill and reserve my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentlewoman from massachusetts is recognize. ms. tsongas: this bill authorizes the construction of a wall of remembrance at the korean veterans memorial on the national mall. it will list the names of u.s. military personnel killed in action in the korean war along with the number of service men and women wounded, those listed missing in action and those who were prison noferse war. construction of the current korean war me moifrl was finished in 1992 and is considered a complete work of civic art. however the korean war veterans' community has identified the addition of a wall of remembrance as a priority and have advocated for it for years. their hard work and dedication
has led to this bill before us today, currently co-sponintoird 291 members of the house. the national park service, the agency responsible for the mofingt the current memorial, expressed concern about adding a new feature in an area of the national mall known as a reserve where congress prohibited the construction of new memorials. as this bill moves forward, i encourage sponsors to work with national park service and other stake holders to make sure the new feature complements the current memorial. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves this gentleman is recognized. zfl we are pleased to serve -- mr. mcclintock: we are pleased to serve with a gentleman who served in korea. i am honored to yield him such time as he may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the
gentleman is recognized for such time heas may consume. mr. johnson: i'd like to start off by thanking my fellow korean war veterans, congressman charlie rangel and congressman john conyers, for their support. i also want to thank chairman rob bishop, the natural resources committee, and the house leadership for bringing the bill to the floor. additionally, i want to thank my fellow korean war veterans who have tirelessly advocated for this bill. it's been a long time coming. mr. speaker, sadly, the korean war is often referred to as the forgotten war, and yet the magnitude of sacrifice made by americans during this conflict was enormous. more than 36,000 americans gave their lives. my fellow korean war veterans and i believe that magnitude of this enormous sacrifice is not yet fully conveyed by the
memorial in washington, d.c. that's where this bill, h.r. 1475, the korean war veterans memorial wall of remembrance act, comes to play. this bill which already has the support of over 300 of my colleagues would allow for the creation of a wall of remembrance at the site of the korean war veterans memorial on the national mall. similar to the vietnam veterans memorial wall, the korean war veterans wall of remembrance would eternally honor the brave americans who gave their lyes in defense of freedom during the korean war. it would list their names as a visual record of their sacrifice. furthermore, the wall would also list the total numbers of all of america's wounded, missing in action, and prisoners of war.
as a veteran and p.o.w., i can tell you these memorials are a special place for service members and their families to pay their respects to fallen comrades and loved ones. and as a constitutional conservative who values our great nation's history, i believe these memorials also serve as a unique and physical reminder that freedom is not free. future generations need to know and appreciate the sacrifices made by the service members who fought and died to protect freedom. these memorials can physically convey what oftentimes our words fail to do. lastly, mr. speaker, as a physical conservative -- fiscal conservative i'm proud to say this project will not cost taxpayers one dime. in fact the cost has been 100% privately fundraised and this bill prohibits any federal
funding for this project. mr. speaker, as we remember the service and sacrifice of those who gave their lives in the korean war, we can only humbly act ng that we are the land of the free because of our brave men and women. these heros are shining examples of everything great that america stands for. i can't think of a better way to individually honor each man and man who gave their life in korea, than through this wall of remembrance. i urge all my colleagues to support this important piece of legislation and i thank you and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves his time. the gentlewoman from massachusetts is recognized. ms. tsongas: i yield such time as he may consume to congressman pascrell of new jersey. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized.
mr. pascrell: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today in honor of the soldiers who fought to ensure that south korea could achief the prosperity and fulfillment it enjoys today. without our soldiers, that would not have happened. these soldiers deserve to be recognized for their contributions. that's why i'm proud to co-sponsor this legislation which would expand the current korean war memorial to include a wall of remembrance in our nation's capital. this addition will honor the service and sacrifice of those who fought in the korean war. i want to thank my good friend and committee mate, congressman sam johnson, for introducing this legislation, also for his heroic military service to our country in both the korean and
. etnam wars through the speaker, sam, we owe you so much and we could never repay you and the likes of raengel ancon yers, etc. -- of raengel, and conyers, etc. -- of rangel and conyers, etc. not only to defend america but to defend the korean people. in addition to the wall this legislation will allow taos demonstrate our nation's appreciation for the service of the korean augmentation to the united states army. the republic of korea armed forces and the nation's of the united nations command. who were killed in action, wounded, listed as missing in action, or were prisoners of war. the korean war memorial can ensure that future generations reare -- remember and honor the
pride and dedication of those who serve. the legacy they continued and the freedom they preserve. you've heard the numbers about how many folks served, how many of our own brave soldiers and sailors, and marines fought in this war. the korean war. almost six million. over 100,000 were wounded. 36,000 gave their lives. so this is a fitting recognition for those who bravely served in defense of our nation. i visited my brother-in-law the in a ay who continues veterans' nursing home.
he was a soldier in the korean war. a victim. fought in this home the same war, those who are still alive. and to talk to them, one thing i noticed, they don't want to talk about their experiences, ever. i remember talking to my years -in-law, joe, 30 ago he, didn't want to talk about it. his brother who served there tnt want to talk about it. his other brother, freddy, did not want to talk about it, he served there also. so this is not only remembrance, more importantly, it is thank you. thank you so much. for what you did. i mentioned your name through the speaker, mr. rangel before
and mr. conyers, we owe you so much. i read your book twice about the experiences that you had in the service of your country. we can never forget this. od bless, thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentlewoman reserves. the gentleman is recognized the gentleman reserves, the gentlewoman from massachusetts is recognized. ms. tsongas: i yield such time as he may consume to the distinguished veteran of the korean war, congressman rangel of new york. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. r. rangel: i thank the gentlelady and the gentleman for making this possible. why this is so important to me is not for those who are living but for the memories of our colleagues who died overseas and whose family have very little to
explain as to why they were there. i really think that this congress and congress before have lost all of the meaning of having the power and the only power to support the declaration of war. , i i went overseas in 1950 hadn't the slightest idea as to why i was going. i, quite frankly, didn't even know where korea was. but because of my age and having een in combat, i received more accolades for -- from the grateful people from the people of south korea than i deserve. but i know that they're thanking
the united states and the united nations for saving them from oming under communism. i could not possibly have any bad feelings, indeed, it's a great sense of honor that i could have played some small part in preserving democracy in south korea. albeit as a volunteer to the army. but certainly not a volunteer to go into combat. but the truth of the matter is that we shouldn't have young men and women being placed in harm's without theituation men and women and their families knowing that they did this because the security of our
great republic was threatened. feel heavily and scream out that we should have a draft instead of a volunteer army, i know that it appears as though i'm putting a burden on so many people who don't necessarily want to belong to the military. but serving our great country is a privilege and all people should share, if indeed there's a threat to our national security. and if there isn't a threat to our national security, there's no reason in the world morally, legally, that our troops should be there. o putting up this wall, to me, is symbolic because hay can call
it the forgotten war, and believe it or not, after seeing how some of our vietnam veterans were treated when they came home, you can almost thank god that no one missed you and didn't know where you were or didn't care about the korean war because politics got in the way of how we treated those people who fought, got wounded, and ied in vietnam. and of course since then we've had half a dozen of times where members of congress say we need to have more boots on the ground. we can't win a war by air. that we have to be there. we have to intervene. we have to show how strong america is. and they know in their hearts that no one from their families, their communities or even anyone they know will be
included in that number of americans that they're asking to go. so i think when you put the names of people who have actually lost their lives, which means destroyed the lives of so many other people who loved them, when you think of those who got wounded, they should at least be able to say what they did for their families, community and their country. they shouldn't just be used as pawns on the board to fulfill the political commitments of a party or a cause that doesn't involve the security of the united states. d maybe, just maybe when people come to sightsee and they see the names of people that they don't know, it could remind them that these are not
just human beings, these are americans that have the same dreams they did except they made a sacrifice. members of nk congress that caused the casualties of the forgotten war not to be forgeten. let us try to do something for those that follow those that were in combat in korea and how explain how wrong we were in vietnam and we should have said never, never, never again. let's look at the ways we just sent troops, who, like me, saw the flag go up and heard the president say we have to go and we never asked and we couldn't legitimately ask why but we did. let us preserve the american lives for those causes that at
least if they don't come back me or they don't come back normal that we can say it was protecting the flag, it was protecting our country, it was protecting our national security. and right now with all the fears we have that's going on in the middle east, i'm not certain whether or not that will impact our great country, but i'm prepared to listen to those who know better than i. and if indeed there is a threat to our country, then everyone should be prepared to be called, even by lottery, because it's not just for the wealthy and the educated that be excluded. it shouldn't just be those that need a job that give the opportunity to defend our
country. but every time you say troops on the ground, boots on the ground, lives are on the ground and i truly think just putting their names on the memorial wall should mean something for generations that follow. and i hope and pray we don't have names that go on boards but if there's a reminder how many people died over the years to keep this country great, let us be in the position to have congress to say we know specifically why they died and we gave them all the support that they needed for making this sacrifice. thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentlelady is recognized. ms. tsongas: i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the
gentlelady reserves. the gentleman is recognized. mr. mcclintock: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentlewoman from massachusetts is recognized. ms. tsongas: i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. mcclintock: thank you, mr. speaker. it's important that we remember those who died in the war and those who served in the war because their achievement remains alive today. it is personified in a free and prosperous republic of korea that's been a beacon of hope to the oppressed people throughout the asian continent and a steady counterbalance to the people to north korea. douglas mcarthur paid tribute to these brave souls that said, i just left your fighting sons in korea. they have met all tests there, and i can report to you without reservation that they are splendid in every way. those gallant men will remain
often in my thoughts and in my prayers always. and so should they with us. this bill assures that this will not be a forgotten war and our honored dead will not be forgotten by name. and with that i urge the adoption of the bill and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the amended. 1475, as those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? mr. mcclintock: mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 812, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 812, a bill to provide for indian trust asset
management reform and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from california, mr. mcclintock, and the gentlewoman from massachusetts, ms. tsongas, each will control 20 minutes. the gentleman from california. mr. mcclintock: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks. and include extraneous materials on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. mcclintock: mr. speaker, i rise in support of h.r. 812, which is sponsored by our respected colleague from idaho, congressman simpson. this measure moves us toward fulfilling the promise of tribal sovereignty made to america's indian nations. specifically, this bill provides new authority to tribal governments to manage and develop their trust assets according to their own best judgment and the wishes of their own constituencies rather than an historically inept and often clueless bureaucracy in washington. these nations are either sovereign or they are not. and the essence of sovereignty
is self-determination. under this act, participating tribes will have the option of entering into agreements with the department of interior to take over management of the resources within their own jurisdictions. this bill builds upon other congressional initiatives like the harth act of 2012 which refers to a tribe's own judgment about what's in the best interest for their own lands. this bill has strong bipartisan support, both here in the house as well as the u.s. senate. additionally, the bill is supported by the national congress of american indians, the confederated tribes of the coleville reservation, the affiliated tribes in northwest indians which includes 57 tribal govern ons in oregon, idaho, washington, southeast alaska, northern california and montana. i'd urge passage of the bill and reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. tsongas: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may
consume. mr. speaker, h.r. 812 will take an important step in fulfilling ourify doucheary responsibility to american indian tribes by reforming the indian trust asset management system. it will streamline the bureaucratic process that has often been a hindrance to successful trust management. while also rightfully giving tribes the option to manage their own assets. through the trust asset demonstration project in the bill tribes can develop asset management plans with the secretary of the interior in order to better manage and develop their lands and natural resources. as has been shown time and time again, tribal governments are the ones best suited to make decisions for their own people and their own communities. additionally, while the office of the special trustee, or o.s.t., has implemented positive rrms since its creation in -- since its creation in 1994, to that end,
h.r. 812 would consolidate the functions of the bureau of indian affairs and the o.s.t. into one office within the department of the interior headed by a new undersecretary of indian affairs. we fully support h.r. 812, and i urge its swift adoption and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman reserves. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. mcclintock: thank you, mr. speaker. i'm pleased to recognize the distinguished gentleman from idaho, mr. simpson, the author this measure, and fighter for the indian nations of our country. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. simpson: thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to thank the full committee chairman, mr. bishop, and the ranking member, mr. grijalva, subcommittee chairman, mr. mcclintock, thank you. and ranking member tsongas, thank you for considering this bill. the relationship between native americans and the united states government is complicated, not well understood and filled with inconsistencies. today, indian country faces a number of serious challenges,
ranging from addressing abject poverty to trying to promote economic development in the face of inefficient bureaucracy. the federal government has a trust responsibility to meet its commitments to indian country. yet, in many cases federal agencies hinder rather than help tribes to provide for their members. this is illustrated by the settlement of the co-ville litigation which have cost taxpayers more than $5.5 billion. a number of tribes, including many in the northwest, have been working to address some of the challenges that they face in managing tribal trust assets. many tribes are capable of effectively and efficiently managing their own assets and often are better equipped to do so than the agencies currently responsible for that management. and yet in order to have a say in how these assets are managed, they must swim upstream against a muddied federal bureaucracy. that's why i introduced h.r. 812. this legislation had its originalins with the tribes themselves which -- origins with the tribes themselves
which is where the congress should start when they take up these issues. it has been affiliated by the northwest indians, national conference of native americans, the united south and eastern tribes, the intertribal timber council and the u.s. chamber of commerce. h.r. 812 will do several things to modernize the federal government's role in managing indian trust property. first, it would establish a voluntary demonstration project to manage their trust assets. this would provide indian tribes with new flexibility to direct management of these assets under tribal standards rather than federal standards that are often outdated and i shall efficient. as part of the negotiated development, they will conduct management activities on their own tribal lands through a process similar to the heart act of 2012. while the administration has strockly supported and has -- strongly supported and has proven successful in tribal self-governance.
h.r. 812 would authorize the indian tribes on a voluntary basis to obtain appraisals of their trust property without having to wait for the department of the interior to approve them. this would provide relief all in indian country who currently endure lengthy delays in selling or leasing their trust lands while they wait for the department to approve appraisals. it will direct the secretary of the interior to consult with indian country and provide certain information to congress about the office of the special trustee. o.s.t. was originally intended for a -- as a temporary entity to oversee certain financial reforms of indian trust funds at the department of interior. more than 20 years later, o.s.t. has significant involvement in the day-to-day transactions. tribes have long complained about the miscommunications, delays, inefficiencies that result from trying to navigate the processes of both o.s.t. and the bureau of indian affairs. the information the bill requires the secretary to provide will assist congress in determining the future of o.s.t. it is worth noting this bill has undergone a number of
changes since introduction. the bill has been revised to incorporate input not only committees of jurisdiction in both chambers but also from the department of interior, the department of justice, tribal organizations and individual indian tribes. the congressional budget office has founded h.r. 812 would not affect the federal government's overall costs. i would also point out that h.r. 812 is a voluntary program intended to provide tribes with new flexibility to promote economic development. where tribes do not -- are not willing or unable to take on these responsibilities, they will not have to. h.r. 812 is just one aspect in a larger conversation on improving the management of tribal trust assets. if enacted into law, this bill would be an important step in providing tribes with the autonomy they need to manage their assets and spur economic growth in their communities. chairman mcclintock, i want to thank you and your committee and chairman bishop and young and the staff of -- for their work on this bill. you have held two hearings and graciously taken input from tribes and the administration which is why we are here today
with this legislation. finally, i want to thank the tribes that have offered their expertise in this -- in crafting this bill. just like the intentions of the underlying bill, indian country deserves to be in the driver seat when making decisions about their own future. mr. speaker, i thank you and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. son gas: i yield such time as he may consume to mr. heck of washington. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. heck: i stand today to support h.r. 812, the indian trust asset reform act and i commend it to you for your positive consideration. when you stop and think about it this word trust actually has two pretty distinct meanings. it can be the belief that someone or something is on us -- is honest, trustworthy. the belief that you can take them at their word. on the other hand, trust can be a financial or a property arrangement. the trust is legally held or managed by someone else, it
could be for your kids or your grandkids or any beneficiary. e ishey is, the irony is a trust in the property management sense is that that often arises out of a lack of trust, as in honesty. when it comes to the person or source receiving the money. it's not a check handed over, it's a financial arrangement with conditions, or requirements. when it comes to indian country, they have plenty of historical reasons to lack trust when it comes to the federal government, but, but the federal government does not have reasons to not trust indian country's ability to manage their own resources. and natural resources are what have always been the most important asset in indian country. so the indian trust asset reform
act is based on the simple notion that indian country prospers when tribes have the opportunity to make their own decisions and chart their own paths. this is what self-determination looks like. this is what sovereignty looks like. many tribes, particularly those in my home state of washington, are among the largest employers and natural resource managers in the entire region. tribes in the pacific northwest have an abundance of trust resources on their land, from timber to rangeland to fishery resources. these tribes count on the ability to make decisions quickly, adjust to changing circumstances, and to maintain vibrant communities for their members in the region as a whole. h.r. 812 advances this idea by giving tribes new authority to propose and enter into plans, management plans, with the department of interior, plans that put the tribes in the
driver cease seat. h.r. 812 also returns more control to tribal members who are often frustrated by, as has delays ed, years long that i must go through in obtaining approval to sell, least or otherwise manage their trust land. h.r. 8 would give individuals and tribes a new option to pleat these transactions without having to wait for the department of interior to go through the lengthy review and approval process. accordingly, it will save time, it will save money, but most importantly it will allow the tribes to make their own decisions about how to use their his toric plans. when we find commonsense fixes like this, we restore some of the trust in the first meaning of the word. and build upon the trust that is already there. 27 years ago if i may make a personal note, i had the
privilege to join the office of governor booth gardner in a roll that -- a role that would quickly become chief of staff. fairly shortly we signed off on a document known as the centennial accord. my good friend and colleague in washington state will recall it well. basically, it was the first memorialization in the history of the united states that recognized the government to government relationship between the tribes and the state of washington. i have said regularly since, in an intermittent public service career extending back 40-something years, i have no higher point of pride than the small role i played in that, lo, those many years ago. accordingly i'd like to thank congressman simpson very much for his leadership on this bill and allowing me the privilege to be the democratic lead co-sponsor. i'd like to add my expresentation of gratitude for
chairman mcclintock an and all those involved. i'd like to thank the affiliated trives northwest. let it not go unsaid, there was a decade of work leading up to today. a decade of work. sovereignty means sovereignty. government to government means just exactly that. and the fact of the matter is, we have a moral and a legal and sometimes a treaty obligation to fulfill that government-to-government relationship. it is the right thing to do and it is in that spirit that i esubmit h.r. 812 for your favorable consideration and with that, mr. speaker, thank you very much and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. tsongas: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman reserves this egentleman from california is recognized. mr. mcclintock: i'm pleased to yield such time as he may consume to my colleague on the natural resources committee, mr. newhouse of washington. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. newhouse: thank you, mr.
speaker, i'd like to thank the chairman from california for yielding. last summer, more than 400,000 acres of tribal land in the yakimast burned with the and other tribes in my district enduring the worst fire season in a generation. the callville reservation alone saw 250 sakers burned, consumed by that blaze, much of which consisted of commercial timber. the indian trust asset reform act, h.r. 812, will authorize indian tribes on a voluntary basis to carry out forest management activities on their own tribal lands, without requiring review and approval by the bureau of indian affairs. it will alou the tribes across the west to move salvage logs sales more quickly than is possible under the current
process. providing tribes who maintain their timber resources with the authority to make these management decisions will expedite on-the-ground activity and open new doors to attract investment. in fact, i would argue we should give more control to states and local tais -- localities in addition to these tribes. the new authority deried in h.r. 812 will provide additional benefits to tribes with timber resources. the cullville tribe has been attempting to reopen a saw mill in washington, in my district, since 2005. one of the primary impediments to reopening has been the d.i.a.'s unwillingness to i prove an agreement between the tribe and third party investors. this new authority in this bill will allow tribes to enter into these types of agreements on their own, resulting in the creation of additional jobs as well as economic activity.
last september, while catastrophic fires continued to burn across central washington, secretary joule visited the reservation and saw the deafation -- devastation firsthand. mr. speaker, before the next fire season begins, significant resources will need -- will be needed to replant the forests as well as rehabilitate the landscapes. the administration has done not enough to provide these tribes with resources they need, we must correct that. we must change in order -- we must make this change in order to ensure that these forests can continue to be a viable and product i resource for the tribes, the communities in my district, my state, and the rest of the country. with that, mr. speaker, i thank you and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from california. the gentleman reserves. the gentlewoman from massachusetts is recognized.
ms. tsongas: i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back this egentleman from california is recognized. mr. mcclintock: i urge adoption of the bill and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 812 as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 3371 as amended the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 331, h.r. 3371, a bill to adjust the boundary of the kennesaw mountain national battlefield park to include the wallace house and hairston hill and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman mean to introduce
the bill as amended? does the gentleman have a manager's amendment to send to he desk? mr. mcclintock: not as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title. the clerk: h.r. 3371, a bill to adjust the boundary of the kennesaw mountain national battlefield park to include the wallace house and hairston hill and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from california, mr. mcclintock and the gentlewoman from massachusetts, ms. tsongas, will each control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. mcclintock: i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. mcclintock: h.r. 3371 introduced by our colleague barry loudermilk expands the
boundary of the kennesaw national battlefield park and also authorizes the secretary of the interior to acquire approximately eight acres of land only by donation or exchange from willing sellers. the expanded area includes the historic wallace house and hairston hill. the wallace house is one of the few remaining structures associated with the kennesaw mountain civil war battle while hairston hill was strategically significant as the union signal station. the battle of kennesaw mountain in june of 1864 was critical to the union campaign to split the confederacy and though it was a tactical victory for the confederates, it opened the way for the union to take atlanta. the sacrifices of more than 3,000 union troops on kennesaw mountains made possible sherman's famous telegram to lincoln three months later that atlanta is ours and fairly won. these battlefields remind succeeding generations of
americans of the price paid by so many for our constitution and the inerity it protects and the enormous responsibility each of us has to maintain and defend that same constitution today. i urge passage of the bill and reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves this gentlewoman from massachusetts is recognized. ms. tsongas: i yield myself such time as i may consume. this bill adjusts the boundary of the kennesaw mountain battlefield park in georgia to include two historically sig can structure the wallace house and coles farm and to assist in the preservation of the atlanta campaign. between june 19 and july 2, 1864, a series of bat also curred here between union and kallen -- and confederate forces. the loss of kennesaw mountain removed one they have last major obstacles protecting atlanta which fell to the wrune army in september of 164. the bill will allow for the donation of approximately eight achers to kennesaw national battlefield park a unit of the
national park service. i want to thank my colleague from georgia, representative barry loudermilk for continuing to support the preservation of the history of this great country. the civil waffer was a significant event in the history of this country and remains relevant as we grapple with civil rights discussions today. the preservation of these sites reinforces congress' dedication to equality and enables the national park service to interpret and tell our national story. with that, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. mcclintock: i'm pleased to yield whatever time he may consume to the author of the measure, the gentleman from georgia, mr. loudermilk. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. loudermilk: i rise in support of house resolution 3371, a bill that will add valuable historical property to the kennesaw mountain national battlefield park. this park which is located in georgia's 11th congressional district is the site of significant bat thals took place
during america's bloodiest conflict, the civil war. our nation has long recognized the importance of preserving historical sites, especially battlefields where americans fought and died for freedom. sites such as kennesaw mountain national battlefield park allow us to look back in time and get a glimpse of events that helped shape our nation. it is extremely important that we understand our history, otherwise we will be destinned to repeat the mistakes of the past. a recent study of american history education reveals that while 98% of college students could identify that snoop doggydog was a rapper, only 23% of college seniors could identify that james madison was the father of the constitution. mr. speaker, it's now more important than ever that the generations following us have access to these historic sites and the educational opportunities they provide or we risk losing touch with our history. it is extremely important to restore the comprehensive study
of american history in our schools, however, it is equally porn to pe serve the places where significant events in our history took place. this bill that i've sponsored bill will simply allow ken stau national battlefield park to acquire two pieces of property that will add to the his ic and educational value of this battlefield. one of the properties is a home built in 1853 by mr. josiah wallace. it was built for his family but it was eventually used as a hospital by the confederate army in the civil war. the house fell into the hands of general william sherman of the union army in his campaign to take atlanta. it was a resounding victory but not without cost. over 350 union soldiers and 1,000 confederate soldiers lay dead. ve days later, germ oliver
used the wallace house. this was also the last major battle before atlanta fell. while the assault was a failure costing the lives of 3,000 of his men, the battle inflicted heavy losses on the confederates losing another thousand men could not stop general sherman. adjacent to wallace house is eight acres known as harriston hill and was used as a signalling position during the battle. this location is essential for park visitors to understand the positions taken by union and confederate armies during the battle. in addition to being critical sites. the wallace house and harris top hill are two of the original locations associated with the nion army.
these additions will prove to be a major historical ack which situations and provide union insight. the cobb county government purchased them to prevent the house from being demolished. since then the county has been seeking to transfer the property to the park. my bill modifies the boundary of kennesaw national battlefield park and authorizes the park to acquire the property by donation. his bill is supported by the national park service, kennesaw mountain park. this legislation is an essential step forward toward preserving our nation's heritage and a valuable part of civil war history. it will provide tremendous educational and historical value and it is my hope that the park
will quickly acquire the property and restore to its original condition for visitors to enjoy. i urge my colleagues to support this bill. i thank the chairman for yielding his time and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. reserve. the gentleman from california reserves. the gentlewoman from massachusetts is recognized. ms. tsongas: i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california. mr. mcclintock: i urge adoption of the bill and yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 3371. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid n the table.
for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? mr. mcclintock: i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 3620. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 332, h.r. 3620, a bill to amend the delaware water gap national recreation area improvement act to provide access to certain vehicles serving residents of municipalities adjacent to the delaware water gap national recreation area and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from california, mr. mcclintock and the gentlewoman from massachusetts, ms. tsongas each will have 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. mcclintock: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on the bill under consideration. h.r. 3620 introduced by
congressman marino amends the delaware water nap national recreation improvement act a road that serve the local communities ajoining this federally designated land. it is in keeping with one of our objectives for federal land use policy to restore the federal government as a good neighbor to the communities impacted by the federal lands. before the federal government took control of 70,000 acres of land adjacent to the delaware river in pennsylvania and new jersey, a highway 209 served as a major trucking route for commerce. legislation that created the recreation area sought to prohibit commercial vehicles from using this public highway, promising to establish alternate routes. despite three extensions to the deadline, local residents and businesses and the communities f delaware town han and middle
submitfield town mp and they are directly threatened. h.r. 3620 would protect the people of these communities from this unnecessary disruption and convenience by allowing commercial vehicles serving these communities to continue to use this long established highway. it directs the department of the interior to establish a fee and permit program for commercial vehicles serving these communities. this bill enjoys broad support and congressman marino should be commended for his efforts for his constituents. i urge passage of the bill and reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from massachusetts is recognized. ms. tsongas: i yield myself such time as i may scum. this bill amends the delaware water gap to extend the authorization of a waiver for
certain commercial traffic on route 209 a highway that runs through the delaware water gap national area. when congress decided to restrict traffic, the law included an exemption for certain vehicles that belonged to businesses and municipal government. this bill provides a five-year extension of that exemption in order to facilitate local access. it is supported by the national park service. and i urge my colleagues to support its adoption. ith that, i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. mcclintock: i yield to the author of this measure, congressman marino of ennsylvania. mr. marino: i rise in support of
h.r. 3620. for nearly five months now, uncertainty has rained over this 21-mile stretch of road. over 30 years ago, commonwealth of pennsylvania's chairman so eloquently stated, transfer rhode island 209 then a state road. as commercial-through traffic were banned, it would be also on this stretch of route 209. but at that time, a 10-year exemption to support the local freight industry and because acceptable alternative routes were ununable. after multiple extensions, the most recent commercial vehicle authorization expired at the end of september, 2015. to address the problem officials met with the national park service and my staff to
negotiate a new plan. they recognized the continued need to allow commercial vehicles access and settled a carefully crafted language we are considering today. the work to produce this extension acknowledges the continued need of employers, businesses and homeowners i represent in pike and monroe counties. the -- this cast a cloud on local business communities and put countless jobs in jeopardy. passing this bill so it can be swiftly considered by the senate is imperative. as the weather warms and business activity increases through the region. i want to thank bishop for his support and assistance in bringing this bill to the floor as quickly as possible and i urge my colleagues to support this bill and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance
of his time. the gentleman from california reserves. ms. tsongas: i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. mr. mcclintock: i urge adoption of the bill and yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 3620. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. the speaker pro tempore: the chair will now entertain requests for one-minute speeches. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek
recognition? mr. thompson: permission to address the house for one minute and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. thompson: mr. speaker, i rise today to congratulate mike herr on his retirement from the united states postal service for generations of students, mike is lovingly known as the mike the mail marn. his first day was april 1, 1968. 48 years to the day of his expected retirement this day and in his nearly five decades at state college, he has formed bounds with countless students and become a fixture the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. mike has become known for delivering mack trucks for letters and packages for dancers participating. when asked about becoming a penn state institution, he said, my
secret is simple. kindness matters, staying enthusiastic about the big and little things and showing compassion to every single person i meet, end quote. these are words we could all live by. and i wish the best to mike the mailman in his retirement. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house the following personal requests. the clerk: leave of absence requested for mr. buck of colorado for today. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. he request is granted. under the speaker's announced policy january 6, 2015, the ntleman from nebraska, mr.
fortenberry, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader. mr. fortenberry: i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days to include remarks under this special order. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. fortenberry: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i had the extraordinary privilege of being in the room when pope francis .as given a small cross this cross belonged to a young syrian man who had been captured by the jihadis and then given a choice, convert or die. and he chose, he chose his faith and tradition, he chose christ
and he was beheaded. his mother was able to recover his body and the cross that he wore and buried him and subsequently made her way through austria, which this cross came into the possession of the holy father. this type of incident, the killing, the beheading, the crews fixons occur day after day after day to the religious minorities of the middle east. the christians and others who have faith and traditions and have every right to be in their homeland as anyone else. this is a genocide. this is a deliberate attempt to exterminate an entire set of peoples based upon their faith.
mr. speaker, in the year 2004, then secretary of state colin powell came to the united states congress and in a committee hearing, the senate foreign relations committee, he declared what was happening in darfur in sudan, a genocide. and in making that simple declaration, using that powerful word, he helped put an end to hat grim reality. thankfully what is happening now, that should give the beleaguered communities of the middle east some hope, is that there's an international coalition developing that has recognized the fact that this is a genocide being committed. 00 members of the united states congress, body, nearly 200, have signed on or are co-sponsoring a resolution that declares this a
genocide. the international association of genocide scholars has stated it as such. hers, including the yazidi community, the catholic clinton, n, hillary marco rubio, have declared this to be a genocide. jeb -- genocide is a powerful word. it evokes special meaning. it create a -- creates the conditions for when there hopefully is inevitably and perhapsmy rack lousely, some proper settlement in the middle east, security arrangements, political, economic, and cultural settlements. that the religious minorities of that area who once made up the rich tappestry of that ta -- of that region will have their rightful place restores and reintegrated back to those communities. this would give hope again to persecuted peoples. it provides a gateway for the
discussion of further policy recommendations. for instance, it would place people being forced to flee under the threat of genocide in proximity to where their ancient homeland is so that once peace, once stability is restored they can return and reclaim what is rightfully theirs. little while back, when the yazidi community, men, but primarily women and children were trapped on mount sindar, president obama acted quickly. the house of representatives passed a resolution calling for additional humanitarian assistance and the president, with great deliberateness, decided to save their lives and i want to personally say that i'm grateful for that. yazidi nt the largest community, refugee community in america. this is an ancient faith
tradition that usually enjoyed a quiet, peaceable life in areas of iraq and who began to come under increasing pressure in the iraq war and now are, of course, subjected to isil's attempt to exterminate them. they were saved by quick action. so in an exchange with secretary kerry today, i asked the secretary, i commended the administration for that quick action to cey them, but i asked the administration to actively consider and call this what it is a genocide. when we do so, again, we create the conditions not only for which the international consciousness on this problem will be raised, and other international organizations, including the european parliament, the parliamentary
union of europe, the european union parliament have spoken to it. other parliaments around the world have declared this a genocide. however , in our complicated times we rush from urgetscy to urgetscy and it's difficult to keep the mind focused because the horrors that continue to come at us are so extreme, we almost get numb to it all, yet we have to act. and in doing so we can save lives. we can reposition and potentially preserve the remnant of the rich tappestry of minority voices that are critical to stability in the middle east. d are critical to saving civilization itself and stopping this grievous assault on human dignity. that's why i urge the secretary to make the declaration of genocide tambings thoughtful exchange, but we will continue to do so and i am so grate to feel so many of my colleagues who again have signed onto this
a genocidethat calls against the christians and others. i'm grateful to have colleagues here including my good friend congressman dan lipinski of illinois who has tirelessly spoken to the issue of human rights and stood for life, stood for stability, stood for justice on the whole spectrum of issues face hugh manity now. with that said, i want to give congressman lipinski, yield to him a few minutes to give us his consideration on this essential topic. mr. lipinski: i thank the gentleman for yielding. i only have a few minutes this afternoon but it's -- no matter how busy things get, there has to be time to come here, to stand up for basic human rights. i want to thank congressman fortenberry, also congresswoman eshoo for organizing this
special order and for all the work that they have done to speak out on this issue of protecting all those minority groups who are under threat, so many murdered, driven from their homes. so it's very important that we focus the eyes of congress and the nation on this humanitarian tragedy that's happening in syria and iraq. it's very important, it's really pastime as far as i'm concerned, but it's never too late. we need to stand up and pass use concurrent resolution 75 to declare that for this -- for congress to declare there's a genocide that's going on.
and a genocide that is against ot just yazidis but also christians, turkmen and other groups in syria and iraq and the region. since 2013, when isil began their murderous march through syria and northern iraq, the world has witnessed the targeted killing of all of these groups that i had mentioned. and i think, as i said, we should have done this a while ago, the united states should have stood up and declared this a genocide. now it seems, there are reports, at least, that the united states may be declaring a genocide against, there's a genocide of the yazidis, and while certainly no one is going to downplay that as my colleague was mentioning,
we all remember what happened with those trapped on mount sinjar and the quick intervention that helped to save continued es and the genocide going on against yazidis. we don't want to downplay that in any way but i think it's important that ewe recognize it's not just yazidis who are suffering from genocide. in fact the state department is reporting on international religious freedom from 2014 acknowledged that isil was systematically targeting religious minorities it considered heretical an that their disproportionately affected religious minorities, with between 00,000 and 200,000 christians and 300,000 yazidis displaced in iraq. now these numbers are only got b
greater since that time. in syria, the same report states that isil has executed christians, kidnapped priests and forced tens of thousands to flee across the desert or face isil's genocidal campaign. leaders from across the world, including european union parliament and pope francis have recognized that genocide is being committed by isil against many ethno-religious groups and the united states should, we must join them in condemning these crimes as a genocide. here in congress, we remain in a critical position to promote religious freedom and ensure it remains a priority in our foreign policyle that's why i was an original co-sponsor of congressman fortenberry and completwoman eshoo's h. -- h.con.res. 57 which expresses that congress views the attacks on christians and other ethnic
religious minorities as war crimes, crimes against humanity and, yes, genocide. we must not wait or be apprehensive about speaking the truth. the administration and congress must prioritize religious freedom and protect all minorities in the middle east from the ongoing genocide. it should begin here in congress by passing h. congressres. 75 and i certainly want to ask all my colleagues to join us in co-sponsoring this resolution. again, we continue to see the horrible crimes being committed in syria and iraq and we're not here today to say that there are easy sloughs. to any tissue that any of this is easy to solve. ut we have to look, not look
away, we need to look at what's going on in syria and iraq an call it for what it is. a genocide. a genocide against a number of groups including christians there in syria and iraq. by kuok standing up, it means something, the world takes notice when it happens. we must do more, it is our duty to do more. to protect pro tect these people starting out with the declaration of genocide. i want to begin by thanking cookman fortenberry for the work he's doing on this issue and many other human rights issues standing up for life itself. which is something critically important that we all must do here. so i thank the gentleman for organizing this and yielding to me and for all your work on this. mr. fortenberry: thank you,
congressman lipinski, as well, for your tireless commitment to justice, human dignity, human flourishing and really ultimately that's what this resolution is intended to do. call it what it is a genocide. in order that there might be the proper settlement when we finally come to the day where there's a proper security arrangement in the middle east, where there's a reintegration of the religious minorities who again made up the rich diversity of the middle east in a prior time who are critical to the ongoing stability of iraq and syria and other places. i'm graftful -- grateful as well you pointed out the work of our colleague, anna eshoo, a democrat from california. i'm a republican, we have other republicans who will speak, in a time when congress seems divided on every issue, we've got 200 of our colleagues in a transpartisan initiative to say that this is unjust.
unjust. this must be stopped. and by our actions of calling it a genocide, we not only elevate international consciousness but again we create the conditions for the proper redress once we come to some proper settlement in the middle east. but i'm so grateful for your time and efforts on this behalf and your leadership in general in congress. thank you, mr. lipinski. let me turn to my good friend as well, congressman jody heist a new member from georgia who has shown nearby ty, entrepreneurial endeavor, end grating quickly as an impact player in the proceedings in congress. mr. heist: i want to thank my -- mr. hice: thank you for yielding. this time for me and for you and ms. eshoo for bringing attention
to this incredibly important issue and the absolute carnage in a is occurring in the middle east against christians, yazidis and people of other religious faiths and minorities. you know the right to practice a chosen religion is a right that i and i believe all of us believe should be universal. t the religious persecution, especially by such violent means that is occurring now, is absolutely deplorable. and isis has shown its true nature in the treatment of these religious minorities. we've all witnessed in recent months the violent expansion of isis in the middle east as they have single mindedly persecuted those who adhere to different faiths and in fact those who refuse to convert have been driven from their homes,
brutally tortured, crews fid, raped, murdered, and -- enslaved, and not by just few in number. we're talking thousands. that fall under this horrific scenario. the systematic violence of isit -- isis toward communities of yazidis, christians, kurds, turkmen, whatever it may be, as you have well mentioned goes far beyond war crimes. we are talking absolute genocide. and in looking at all this, it was interesting to me that when the world came together after the atrocities of the second world war in an effort to define genocide, they actually defined it as an actor committing certain acts against a designated group with an intent to destroy the group in whole or
in part. and isis have the intent to destroy in whole, christians, yazidis and their entire propaganda even brags about the crimes they are committing and show absolutely no signs of willingness to stop these atrocities. and so it's clear to me that we have an obligation not only a moral one, but a legal obligation to prevent these atrocities from occurring. in fact, three weeks from now, this administration must fulfill its own legal obligation to make a determination on whether it will name ice ayes' crimes as acts of genocide or not. the time has come in fact, the
time has long passed for our nation and our world to officially recognize these crimes by isis for what they truly are and to commit fully to defeating isis. we cannot ignore this any longer and by h. con. res. 74 to the floor as soon as possible and i thank you for your leadership in this regard. i yield back. mr. fortenberry: i thank the gentleman from georgia for his thoughtful commentary on this essential issue. this is an assault on all humanity. this is a threat to civilization itself. if a group of people can succeed and exterminate another group because they have the power to do so because they do not believe in another's religion, they violate that sacred space
that is essential to all persons and therefore the conditions of liberty that are necessary for human flourishing. this goes beyond the grotesque tragedy in the middle east. it is a call to all nations to 8thto say we will not allow century mr. barrow:ism to rule in a land to destroy, kill and maim entire groups of people. it's wrong and unjust and if not addressed, all of civilization is a threat. that is the core of the problem here. i that i you for your willingness and your leadership on these critical points. thank you so much. mr. speaker, again, it's h. con. res. 75, house concurrent resolution 75.
it has been introduced here in the house and there is a similar resolution in the senate. it will be forth coming in the coming weeks. the house foreign affairs committee will be considering this resolution soon. i'm hopeful again with my colleague from california and others who have shown extraordinary leadership and deep concern, compassion for those who are in need that we can continue to build the numbers and make the case for our colleagues and our government that it is time to call this genocide and by declaring such, again setting the conditions that will be necessary to re-integrate people, those who have survived back to their lands for which they have a rightful claim. you know, i heard a story from a commander who had been in most you will during the height of the iraq war and part of their obligation and responsibility was to protect the various
religious minorities who were there. talked about seeing the very beautiful christian church that was there. all the christians are gone from most you will. the remaining ones had the ara bilk letter spray painted on their door in blood red. and that is a symbol for the word nazarene which some use as a derog georgia tower term to christians and told, convert, leave or die and many had to flee with whatever they had on their back and we know the horrific stories of those who gave their life and fidelity. this is a system attic feament to wipe certain peoples off of the map. it is not fair, it is unjust and must be countered with a worldwide response and the
designation of genocide is that critical first step again towards the possibility of restoring some order whenever there is the right type of security and economic and cultural settlement that must come to the middle east if it has any chance again to flourish. we can lead in this regard. we must lead. other countries around the world have taken up this banner. and as i said earlier, the european parallelment has declared it so. with that, mr. speaker, i'm grateful for the ability to converse today with my colleagues on this threat, this threat to civilization itself and our need to act. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. . does the gentleman have a motion at this time? mr. fortenberry: i move to adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn.
we are going to go through a process as we have done to fill two previous supreme court vacancies to identify a candidate with impeccable legal credentials and would bring the nd of ability and compassion and objectivity and legal reasoning to the court that the highest court in the land demands. once i've made a nomination then leader mcconnell and all the
members of the senate are going to make a decision about how do they fulfill their constitutional responsibilities. i recognize the politics are hard for them. because the easier thing to do most give in to the extreme voices within their party and stand pat and do nothing. but that's not our job. our job is to fulfill our constitutional duties. and so my hope and expectation is that once there is an actual nominee, once this is no longer an abstraction, that those on the judiciary committee recognize that their job is to give this person a hearing, show the courtesy of meeting with them. they are then free to vote whatever their conscience dictates as to whether this
person is qualified or not. in the meantime, the american people are going to have the ability to gauge whether the american i've nominated is well within the mainstream, is a good jurist is somebody who is worthy to sit on the supreme court. and i think it will be very difficult for mr. mcconnell to explain how, if the public concludes that this person is well qualified, that the senate should stand in the way simply for political reasons. we'll see what happens. and i think the situation may evolve over time. i don't expect mitch mcconnell to say that is the case today. i don't expect any member of the republican caucus to stick their head out at the moment and say that. but let's see how the public responds to the nominee that we put forward. the one thing i think is important to dispel is any
notion that somehow this is some well established tradition or some constitutional principle that a president in his last year of office cannot fill a supreme court vacancy. it's not in the text of the constitution, ironically, these are republicans who say they believe in reading the text of the constitution and focusing on the intent of the constitution. none of the founding fathers thought that when it comes to the president carrying out his duties he should do it for three years and then on the last year stop doing it. there's an argument that, well, the president shouldn't do this because he is a lame duck. well, the truth of the matter is that, traditionally the term lame duck refers to the two or three months after an election has taken place in which a new
president is about to be sworn in. i've got a year to go. i don't think they would approve of me abdicating on my duties to -- as commander in chief and to stop doing all the other work that i've got to do. well, this is part of my job. there's been arguments that for 80 years this has been the tradition. that's not the case. justice kennedy was approved after being nominated by ronald reagan in ronald reagan's last year of office. they say, well, that's different because he'd been nominated in 1987, even if he was confirmed or 1985 even if he was confirmed in 1986. well, the notion that there's some two-month period in which suddenly it all changes and everything shuts down, that's
not a credible argument. what other arguments have they made? they suggest, there have been a couple of times where democrats said it would be wise for a president not to nominate someone. first of all, we know senators say stuff all the time. second of all, these were comments made where there was no ctual nomination at stake. so it has no application to actual -- the actual situation hat we have right now. i'm trying to think of any other leaf that they're grasping as to why they would not carry out their duties and i can't really think of one. i recognize that this is an important issue for their
constituents. and it's particularly sensitive because this was justice scalia's seat that is now vacant and that a whole host of decisions on the supreme court ninth rn on this justice. and their vote. but that's how our democracy is supposed to work. what i do -- the last point i'll make, we have already seen a breakdown of the judicial appointment process that gets worse and worse each and every year. each and every congress. it becomeshearteder and harder to get any candidates for the judiciary confirmed. we saw senator reid have to employ the so-called nuclear option because there was such a lob being in terms of getting
judicial appointments through. if in fact the republicans in e senate take a posture that defies the constitution, defies logic, is not supported by tradition, simply because of politics, then invariably what you're going to see is a further deterioration in the ability of any president to make any judicial appointments. and appointments to the supreme court, as well as the federal bench, suddenly become a complete extension of our polarized politics. and at that point, not only are you going to see more and more vacancies and the court systems break down, but the credibility of the court itself begins to
diminish because it's viewed simply as an extension of our politics. this is a republican judge or this is a democratic judge. as opposed to this is a supreme court justice who is supposed to be standing above the day-to-day politics that take place. so i understand the posture they're taking right now, i get the politics of it. i'm sure they are under enormous pressure from their base and their constituencies around this issue. i talked to many of them and i told them, i'm sympathetic. and by the way, there's not a lot of vigor when they defend the position that they're taken, that they wouldn't even meet, for example, with a supreme court nominee. they're pretty sheepish about it when they make those comments. so we'll see how this plays itself out but i'm going to do my job. i'm going to nominate somebody and let the american people decide as to whether that person is qualified and if they are qualified let the american
people decide whether there's enough time for the u.s. senate to hold hearings and have a vote. it's not as if, from what i see, the senate calendar is so full we don't have time to get this done. >> now, veterans affairs secretary robert mcdonald testifies about the 2017 budget, highlighting the progress he's observed since becoming secretary and the goal he is and his staff are working on to improve the overall efficiency and accountability of the v.a. after secretary mcdonald and his team testify, the senate veterans affairs committee heard from representatives from veterans service organizations.
have danny pummell, laverne council and ed murray. with all that support, mr. secretary, i'm sure you'll do a great job. aisle make my opening statement, then turn to senator blumen that'll and then go straight to your testimony. as in the last case, i don't want you to feel compeled by a five-minute light, i want you to say what you have to say, understanding that the attention span of a united states senator is around nine minutes, after that we all start blinking. speaking for myself. that's a self-imposed limitation. thank you very much, mr. secretary for being here today. we're looking forward to discussing the $182 billion budgetary appropriation for the veterans administration. .9% increase over the fiscal 2016 budget, should it be adopted, medical funding would increase by 6.3%. the office of technology would be increased by $145 million.
i'm very encouraged that you've embraced a program to merge the non-v.a. programs to see that choits is delivered correctly and appropriately and we look forward to hearing discussion on that. your testimony also talks about accountability. in fact, i read the information, accountability as a word is used one time but it's probably the most important thing that this committee is interested in doing. you and i had a great meeting at your office and i want to acknowledge publicly with the member of the committee and thank senator murray's staff and senator blumen that'll's staff for their work. my goal is to see to it that by the obed they have march we have an accountability bill for veterans administration employees that's right for the veterans and those employees and we look to the future to see to it. if we have problems in the future, i hope we don't, that we have a defensible accountability system in the department to correct a wrong and make it not
happen again. we've had too many cases, most of them, in fact if not all of them, preyour service, mr. speaker. but i.t. reports impossible to explain, lack of accountability that's impossible to understand. we want to put that behind us for the future and build a platform that's good for employees, good for middle management and good for the veterans administration but most importantly good for the veterans themselveses so they know they're getting quality services and quality accountability. it's important that we do that, that's the most important thing we can do. lastly, you talked about reforming the appeals process. i hope you'll address that in your remarks, that's something we talked about many times, have not done, something we rightfully need to do. i'd love to know as much specific about what you're going to recommend as possible. we're glad you're here today, appreciate your service to the country and it's an honor for me to introduce the ranking member, senator blumen that'll. mr. blumen thaul: thank you, mr.
chairman. i -- mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to thank the secretary and the president for a very robust and profoundly significant budget that v.a. is going through major changes as it looks toward the future and prepares for an even more challenging future so far as the needs of our veterans are concerned. in areas of not only health care but also jobs and job training and skill preparation and of course homelessness and connecticut, i am very delighted to say is at the forefront of that effort, announced just last week that we have ended homelessness for veterans in connecticut. and of course that's a continuing effort, it's a milestone, not finished, and we need to continue to provide
permanent housing for all of our veterans, not just a temporary of it. ition form this budget request focuses, fortunately, on a numb of areas that i think are important, breakthrough priorities such as community health care, accountability, the appeal prosssess, i also think that in terms of our medical care, the challenges of post-traumatic stress and the research and outreach that needs to be done, need to be given priority. i hope that this hearing will be an opportunity to hear from you about more of the details of this proposal but i also think that the vision for the future is tremendously important, not only this year but looking beyond this year, just as you would at a company like procter and gamble, beyond this quarter, beyond this year, to think about what this enterprise is going to look like in five years, in 10
years, because now is the time to build for the veterans who will be coming out of the service and there'll be more and more of them over the next few years as we downsize our active force. so i thank you for being here and i'm looking forward to hearing from you and from the veterans service organizations that perform such an important and vital role in keeping us informed about veterans' needs and making sure that all of us are held accountable. thank you. senator isakson: mr. speaker -- mr. secretary, it's all years. secretary mcdonald: thanks for the opportunity to present the president's 2017 budget and 2018 advance appropriations requests for the department of veterans' affairs. i have a written statement that i ask be submitted for the record, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, the president's
proposal is another strong, tangible sign of his devotion to veterans and their families. it proposes $182.3 billion for the department in fiscal year 2017 which includes 78.-- which includes $7 .7 billion in discretionary fund, a 4.9% increase above the 2016 inactive level, largely for health care. it includes $12.2 billion for care in the community and a new medical community care budget account consistent with the v.a. budget and choice improvement act. it includes $103.6 billion in mandatory funding for veterans benefit programs and $103.9 billion in advanced appropriations for three major mandatory veterans benefits accounts. it supports the v.a.'s four agency priority goals and our five my v.a. transformational objectives to modernize v.a. and
improve the veteran experience, improve the employee experience, improve internal support services, establish a culture of continuous improvement and expand strategic partnerships. those five transformational objectives are about growing v.a. into the high performance organization veterans deserve and taxpayers expect. i learned over three decades in the private sector at procter and gamble what makes a high performance organization. it takes a clear purpose, strong values, enduring principles and technical competence. high performance organizations depend on sound strategies that ethrive with passionate leader who are willing to take tough decisions and make bold changes to improve. and high performance organizations require responsive systems and processes designed and managed in a high performing culture. well, v.a. has a clear purpose in our most noble mission, to
care for those who have borne the battle. we have strong core values, integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect, and excellence. our strategic plan makes clear that we're a customer service organization, we serve veterans. our five my v.a. transformational objectives and our 12 breakthrough priorities for 2016 are about accomplishing that strategy. 10 of our top 16 executives are new since i became secretary. they're part of a growing team of talented, enthusiastic former business leaders and experienced government and health care professionals, and they're making innovative challenges and creating opportunities for even greater progress. we're making the sweeping changes necessary for v.a. to be a high performing organization and we'll know we're getting there when, by design, veteran's needs shape our systems, our processes, and our culture. for example a responsive health
care system for veterans means veterans have 24-7 access to v.a. systems and nowhere to get accurate -- and know where to get accurate answers whether it's the veteran contact center or the crisis line. veterans visiting primary care facilities have their clinical needs addressed the very same day. veterans calling for veterans receive suicide risk assessments and immediate care if needed. and veterans already engaged in mental health care who need urgent attention speak to a provider the very same day. for employees serving veterans, it means a high performing culture where continuous improvement drives responsive forward-thinking and innovative change. it means training our work force on advanced business techniques. it means responsive performance management systems that resonate with employees and encourage rather than discourage continuous improvement and excellence.