tv U.S. House of Representatives Legislative Business CSPAN February 25, 2016 12:00pm-2:01pm EST
congressman, you know, our medical professionals are very experienced and very good in preventative health in the areas, something like this, they are very good at making sure we're proactive in keeping the force healthy and ready. >> you can continue to watch this hearing online at c-span.org. the u.s. house is gaveling in momentarily. couple of items on the agenda, including a measure to expand access to federal lands for recreational sporting activities. live coverage here on c-span. o our chaplain, father conroy. chaplain conroy:. let us pray, god, we give you thanks for giving us another day. as we med date on the blessings of life, we pray for the blessing of peace in our lives and in our world. as you have created each person we pray you would give our hearts and minds that every person and every place and background may focus on your great gift of life and so learn
to live in unity. may special blessings be upon the members of this assembly and important and difficult work they do. give them wisdom and charity that they might work together for the common good. may all that is done this day in the people's house be for your greater honor and glory. amen the speaker pro tempore: the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1, the journal stands approved. the pledge of alieges will be led by the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. fitzpatrick. mr. fitzpatrick: i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house the following enrolled bill.
the clerk: senate 2109, an act to direct the administrator of the federal emergency management agency to develop an integrated plan to reduce administrative costs under the robert t. stafford disaster relief and emergency assistance act and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the chair will entertain up to 15 requests for one-minute speeches on each side of the aisle. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from florida seek recognition? ms. ros-lehtinen: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you, sir. mr. speaker, i rise today to recognize the legacy of a dear friend and longtime public servant, steve very milian, who passed away -- vermilian, who passed away in 2012. he began his career here in the house in 1986, working for colleagues like jim sensenbrenner and lincoln diaz-balart. he was a strong defender of
democracy and human rights, especially when it came to u.s. policy toward cuba, and he helped co-found the congressional hispanic leadership institute. team vermillian, led by his son, joe, has committed to raising funds to support the leukemia and limb phonea society. they are a fitting tribute to a good man who sought to help lift others throughout his life. steve, you are greatly missed but you will never be forgotten. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from south carolina seek recognition? mr. butterfield: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. butterfield: mr. speaker, i rise today to recognize the life and work of attorney earl thomas brown of greenville, north carolina, who on this past saturday tragically died in a one-car collision at the age of 64.
attorney brown was a native of edge comb county. he was an extraordinary lawyer. during my years as a superior court judge, earl appeared before my court on many occasions. he treated each case as unique. exceptional in his scholarship, compassionate to his clirchtse. at the time of his passing, he was a candidate for district court judge, a position he wanted to achieve so very much. not only was earl an exceptional lawyer but a man of faith and a strong patriarch for his family. he's survived by his wife, dr. hazel j. brown, son, daughter, grandchildren, austin, elena and miles. he's also survived by his beloved mother, mrs. anna brown. and many other relatives and friends, too numerous to mention. mr. speaker, i ask my colleagues to join me today in celebrating the life and work of a great american, attorney
earl thomas brown. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from south carolina seek recognition? mr. wilson: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. wilson: mr. speaker, 10 days ago, congress expected the president to submit his plan to counter the rise of islamic terrorism in the middle east. american families deserve to know that the president has a strategy to defeat isil and keep us safe. the 2016 national defense authorization act, signed by the president, was clear. the president must submit a plan to congress by february 15 on how to defeat isil and reduce risk to american families. sadly, the president has not presented a strategy. this is another example of the president's continued disregard for law and the constitution. we should support our troops by giving them a clear mission and a clear strategy to protect american families. while i am disappointed the president's failed to submit a strategy, we cannot be
surprised. after he dismissed isil as the j.v. team, he claimed isil was contained just one day before the paris slaughter and he incorrectly assured americans to be confident just as the mass murder was beginning at san bernardino by isil terrorists. in conclusion, god bless our troops and may the president, by his actions, never forget september 11 and the global war on terrorism. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from north carolina seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for ne minute. ms. adams: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today during black history month to recognize a fellow north carolina artist and living legend harry davis. originally from wilmington, north carolina, harry davis' natural talent was evident from his early drawings. after serving our nation in the u.s. army and accidentally shooting himself permanently confined him to a wheelchair which led him to turn to oil
painting as a means of expression and therapy. self-taught artist harry davis attended to detail and the use of bold and brilliant hues and compositional precision has captivated people around the country. an award-winning artist, davis' work is in private collections of more than a dozen actors, actresses and public figures. he received many honors throughout the country since the 1970's, including best of show in new orleans heritage festival and featured artist of the greensboro african-american art fest vafment he's worked tirelessly to share his love for the arts and african culture with students throughout north carolina. we applaud him on this day, thank him for his service to this country and his service through the arts. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from north carolina seek recognition? ms. foxx: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. foxx: thank you.
mr. speaker, on tuesday president obama presented his plan to close the military prison at guantanamo bay and proposed transferring up to 60 prisoners to the united states mainland. bringing a dangerous terrorist to the american homeland has been consistently rejected by bipartisan majorities in congress and the president's plan is lacking key details required under the law, including the exact cost and location of an alternate detention facility. on the same day that the president announced his plan, spanish and moroccan police arrested four suspected members of a jihaddi cell that sought to recruit fighters for islamic state. including one individual described as a former guantanamo detainee who once fought with militants in afghanistan. president obama's stubborn insistent on fulfilling an ill-advised campaign promise to close the detext facility at guantanamo bay dis-- detention facility at guantanamo bay highlights the failures of his foreign policy agenda. i yield back.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from california seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. lee: thank you, mr. speaker. s the chairman of the income inequality, i will highlight the disproportionate impacts still of poverty on the african-american community. sadly, our nation has a long history of individual and institutional racism from slavery in jim crow to red lining on policing, this has locked people out of opportunities even with the enormous progress we made with the great civil rights leaders and foot soldiers who we honored yesterday. these deplorable inequalities continue at every level of our society. for example, the african-american poverty rate is 26%, nearly triple the poverty rate of white americans, and one in three african-american children lives in poverty. the unemployment rate in the african-american community is more than 8%, twice the unemployment rate of white
americans. and the median wealth of white household is 13 times the median wealth of african-american households, the widest gap since 1989. and poverty just doesn't hurt african-american families. we know that communities of color are two times more likely to live in poverty, and too many rural white and native americans have help persistent poverty for many generations. these statistics paint a clear and stark picture that congress cannot ignore. we need to get serious about ending poverty and give everyone, including african-americans and people of color, to live the american people. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> request unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to acknowledge and honor the life of a personal friend, mr. william rushal. mr. denham: bill passed away in kentucky. from 1952 to 1962, bill served as a fighter pilot in france and germany for the united
states air force and air force reserves. bill proudly served in the 417th tactical fighter squadron and was awarded the accommodation medal for his outstanding work with the united states military. in 1962, he retired and returned home to paducah to help with the family trucking company usher transport. bill became the manager of the company and eventually the owner for many years. bill established the local christmas cop organization, was honored as a kentucky colonel and a duke of paducah for all of his contributions. mr. speaker, please join me in honoring the life and legacy of major william aim os "bill" usher, for his many outstanding contributions to the community as well as his service to our country. god bless him always. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? >> request to address the house and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, i rise today to introduce my resolution expressing support for the
designation of february 28, 2016, as national rare eye disease awareness day and in solidarity with those living with rare eye conditions and blindness, i'm introducing it in braille. mr. fitzpatrick: joining me today is the smedly family whose sons michael and mitchell suffer from a rare eye condition which has caused them to lose their sight at a very young age. but this is not -- this has not stopped them from pursuing his dreams. michael served in his high school student government and is a member of the track team and mitchell is on the wrestling team and is in plays. this will highlight exceptional individuals like michael and mitchell as they overcome challenges and show us true inspiration. and in doing so this day will increase awareness for all rare eye diseases and conditions that lead to blindness as well as the need for increased funding for research and for accessibility of treatments. as a member of the
congressional rare disease caucus and as a voice for the smedlies and the millions more living with blindness, i'm proud to introduce this resolution today and urge my colleagues to support it. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> i seek unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, the 2016 national defense authorization act prevents the president from closing the detention facility at guantanamo bay unless he submits a plan that receives congressional approval. mr. lamalfa: he has not. this week president obama submitted the plan to close the prison anyway. there are currently 91 detainees at guantanamo bay. there were 242 when the president took office. his plan calls for transferring 35 of the remaining detainees to other countries. these detainees have been cleared for transfer by the relevant national security agencies, but -- and approximately 60 detainees would be transferred to facilities in the united states
on our own soil. these are not even specified in the plan. the department of defense has identified many potential sites but, again, this has not received congressional approval. construction for a new facility on american soil would cost nearly half a billion dollars. so with all these things going on, with the former gitmo detainees getting rearrested for recruiting new isis members and an expiration of the timeline for developing an isis plan to defeat isis, this is a misplaced priority by the president and we need to stick to business of what's going to keep our country safe, not fulfill some campaign promise. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? mr. thompson: mr. speaker, request unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, as a senior member of the house agriculture committee, i rise today in recognition of future farmers of america, or f.f.a. week.
earlier this week the country marked the birthday of our first president, george washington. since 1948, the week of washington's birthday has been f.f.a. week as an agriculturist and a farmer. agriculture is a key to not only the history and heritage of our nation but also to pennsylvania and to our commonwealth's fifth congressional district. it's important we help the future leaders of this industry continue to grow. ensuring that future of agriculture is just as bright as it was in its present and its past. i believe in the future of agriculture or the first words of the f.f.a. creed. and i met with f.f.a. members from across pennsylvania at the pennsylvania farm show where i held a forum focused on agricultural issues. i was impressed with their issues impacting farming across the nation and echoing the words of the f.f.a. creed i'm sure with the dedication of f.f.a. members across the nation the future of agriculture is in good hands. thank you, mr. speaker.
i yield back the balance of my time. >> permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. >> mr. speaker, on november 25 of 2015, our commander in chief made 2006 national defense authorization bill the law of the land. section 1031 now states in part, no amounts authorized may be used to transfer, release within the united states of muhammad or any other detainee. on monday, despite those clear words, our commander in chief announced that he will try to
transfer guantanamo bay detainees to american soil. his reasons, political campaign promise he made nearly one decade ago. the president has more important to keep muhammad behind bars. mr. speaker, the american people want his last breath to be in prison in guantanamo bay, cuba. this house, their house, will grant their wish. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. front the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? >> permission to address the house for one minute and revise and extend. i rise today to talk about legislation that my colleagues and i recently introduced that works to restore our article 1 powers of the constitution. we all learned about separation
of powers in our grade school civics class. as you know, the separation protects one branch of government doesn't overrule or overstep another and ensures that the american people are never diminished. article 1 specifically grants legislative powers to congress. as congress was established to be the most direct voice of the people. we are the people's house. it seems the president simply chooses to ignore this. i have consistently heard from folks in the 12th district that are sick and tired of this administration overstepping its bound drace and welcome in their lives. americans are frustrated with an executive branch that creates new rules and regulations daily. my biggest disappointment is our lack of authority to carry out the will of the american people in this house. as the original co-sponsor of h.r. 613, i strongly support
this legislation and urge my colleagues to join me in restoring and respecting the most sacred document in our nation's history, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from indiana seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house and revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentlewoman is recognized. >> i rise today to celebrate black history month and the remarkable contributions of black hoosiers to our state and country. adam c.j. walker, a leader who became an accomplished of fracture entrepreneur of hair self-made ts and was female millionaire or emma christie who patrolled the city streets with the department's all female unit, the largest in
the world in 1925. or the first all-black basketball team in the country to win a state title. these are some of the african-american hoosiers who shaped indiana's history and transformed our nation. as this month draws to a close let us recognize all of the trail-blazing black hoosiers who contributed so much. we recognize their great work which has paved the way and we leave lasting legacies in their wake. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlewoman from colorado seek recognition? >> permission to address the house for one minute and revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. >> the united states is blessed with 30% of the united states' coal reserves nearly twice as russia and three times as china.
colorado is the 10th leading coal. and they provide taxes and jobs as they produce affordable electricity on which americans rely. the people who work in colorado's mines and coal-fired power plants take great pride in their communities and want to develop the resources as responsibly as possible with as small a footprint as possible. i do not support the clean power plan and have voted to stop his overreach numerous times. e search for more with ways to have energy and carbon capture act will facilitate that. our energy will ensure the ability to use natural resources responsibly to provide abundant energy continues. thank you. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlewoman from north carolina
seek recognition? >> i ask permission to address the house for one minute and resize and stepped my remarks. >> i rise today in recognition of national eating disorders awareness week. this annual campaign sheds light on a disease that affects 30 million americans and has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. while recovery is certainly possible, early detection and intervention is key. unfortunately, many people are unfamiliar with the signs typically associated with an eating disorder. i introduced a bipartisan bill with several of my colleagues called the educating and prevention eating disorsdz act which is h.r. 4153 and create a pilot program in middle schools to begin educating counselors, teachers and nurses about the symptoms. the facts are clear, education and early detection save lives
and this legislation h.r. 4153 would allow for us to provide both. we have the responsibility to improve the public's understanding of eating disorders so we can prevent this mental illness. that, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from washington seek recognition? mr. newhouse: thank you, mr. speaker, by direction of the committee on rules i call up house resolution 619 and ask for its immediate consideration. the clerk:resolved, that at any time after adoption of this resolution the speaker may, pursuant to clause 2-b of rule 18, declare the house resolved into the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for consideration of the bill h.r. 2406 to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting, nd for other purposes. the first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with.
all points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. general debate shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed one hour equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the committee on natural resources. after general debate the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. it shall be in order to consider as an original bill for the purpose of amendment under the five-minute rule the amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the committee on natural resources now printed in the bill. the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be considered as read. all points of order against the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute are waived. no amendment to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be in order except those printed in the report of the committee on rules accompanying this resolution. each such amendment may be offered only in the order printed in the report, may be offered only by a member designated in the report, shall be considered as read, shall be debatable for the time specified
in the report equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to amendment, and shall not be subject to a demand for division of the question in the house or in the committee of the whole. all points of order against such amendments are waived. at the conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment the committee shall rise and report the bill to the house with such amendments as may have been adopted. any member may demand a separate vote in the house on any amendment adopted in the committee of the whole to the bill or to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute. the previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or ithout instructions. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington is recognized for one hour . mr. newhouse: all time yielded is for purpose of debate only.
i yield the customary 30 minutes to the gentlelady from new york, ms. slaughter, pending which i yield myself such time as i may consume. i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. newhouse: on tuesday, the rules committee met and reported a rule, h.r. 619, providing for consideration of h.r. 2406, the share act, also known as the sportsman bill. the rule provides consideration for h.r. 2406 under a structured rule with 17 amendments made in order that are evenly split between democratic and republican members of this legislative body. mr. speaker, the share act is an important bipartisan package of proposals that will promote greater opportunities for hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation as well as safeguard the rights of hunters, andlers
and recreational shooters. while similar bills have passed in the house the past two congresses, the senate has failed to adopt them, making this legislation long overdue. this is especially true when considering the current administration's ongoing assault on the second amendment as well as restrictions on access to federal land. this includes restricting hunting and shooting on federal lands where many people participate in these time-honored american activities. the congressional sportsman foundation stated that roughly 37 million american sportsman and women spend over $90 billion annually on outdoor sport activities. highlighting the economic impact this legislation will have on small businesses across the country that comprise our recreational industries.
mr. speaker, these outdoor activities are deeply engrained in america's heritage and culture with the values past down from generation to generation. ccording to a 2013 report, hunting, fishing and slooting are growing in growing popularity throughout the country with almost 40 million people over the age of 16 hunting or fishing in the united states. however, over the past seven years we have seen the federal government continually find ways to block law-abiding americans from exercising this most fundamental right. people all across my state of central washington are avid hunters, andlers and outdoorsmen. and many americans look to our vast federal lands to hunt, fish and shoot. unfortunately over the past few years we have seen federal
agencies such as the u.s. forest service and the bureau of land management prevent access to federal lands, which should otherwise be available for these purposes. lack of access to acceptable areas to participate in these activities is often one of the main reasons why men and women stop participating in these traditional american past times. ensuring access to our nation's federal lands must remain a priority of this congress. mr. speaker, we should be fostering and growing participation in outdoor sporting activities rather than trying to create regulatory barriers that drive americans from them, which instill lifelong values and principles. these include responsibility, firearm safety and conservation as well as patience, discipline, respect for wildlife and most of
all, an appreciation of our country's rich natural heritage and beautiful national parks, forests and vast wilderness areas. h.r. 2406 is critical to protecting our way of life and ensuring all americans have the ability to enjoy outdoor recreation and develop a profound appreciation for our country's marvelous natural landscapes. this legislation is comprised of a number of provisions that will help provide future generations of americans with access to our country's federal lands for outdoor recreation, sports shooting and fishing. this will affirm the second amendment of second amendment rights to carry firearms on federal lands and prevent federal overreach, eliminate regulatory impedements and protect against the promulgation
of new onerous regulations that impede access or restrict lawful activities on federal lands. . sportsmen contribute to habitat d wildlife contribution so i don't know the rationale behind many of these federal decisions. mr. speaker, the share act also includes legislation that i introduced that the federal land transaction facilitation allows the a, which federal government to sell to localities or private entities that can be put then to economically beneficial use. since its initial enactment, the fltfa reduced federal landownership by more than 9,000 acres over the course of a decade which also enhancing -- while also enhancing access
for hunting, fishing and shooting on these federal lands. this critical program brings a commonsense approach to land transactions and helps streamline landownership patterns all without spending taxpayer funds or adding to the surplus of federally owned property. additionally, the bill includes recreational lands self-defense act, legislation that protects the ability of gun owners to exercise their second amendment rights when they are legally camping, hunting and/or fishing on property owned by the army corps of engineers. like many in central washington, i grew up responsibly exercising the right to bear arms and i'm a long-standing advocate for the protection of those rights, which is why i'm proud to co-sponsor this bill. in my district, access to federal lands is a paramount importance. the share act will ensure that sportsmen, outdoorsmen and all
americans wishing to enjoy our treasured federal parks and forests have the ability to do so. for this reason i have also introduced an amendment to the share act that would require the u.s. forest service to publish a notice in the federal register, along with the justification for the closure of any public road in our forest. in central washington and across our country, the forest service has closed public roads with mo prior notification, preventing access to public areas -- no prior notification, preventing access to public areas. often, these roadways have been used for many decades and many residents rely on them for both everyday activities as well as for recreational purposes. the first indication of a closure should not come when an individual is faced with an impasseable roadway but rather through an adequate public notice from the forest service which my amendment would
provide. our country has a deep and long-standing tradition of using federal land for outdoor and reek retional activities, and -- recreational activities, and using our abundant federal lands for these purposes must remain one of our top priorities in congress. which is why i am committed to working with my colleagues in the house and in the senate to advance this much-needed legislation. mr. speaker, for generations americans have passed down these values to their children and to their grandchildren, which have deeply engrained hunting, fishing and recreational shooting in america's heritage and cultural fabric. as i said, growing up in central washington, i experienced the importance of these values firsthand and they continue to play an important role in my life to this very day. the rule we consider here today provides for consideration of
legislation that will protect these values, increase opportunities for hunters, anglingers and shooters -- anglers and shooters and ensure that future generations of americans have equal opportunity to access and enjoy our nation's vast public lands. this is a good straightforward rule, allowing for the consideration of a critically important measure and i support the rule's adoption and i urge my colleagues to support the rule as well the underlyinging bill and with that, mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentlewoman from new york. ms. slaughter: mr. speaker, i thank very much the gentleman for yielding to me, my colleague on rules, and i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. slaughter: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, for months the chamber's majority has been bringing recycled bills to the floor to stall and waste time
knowing full well these bills will not be signed into law. the majority's introduced no budget. our infrastructure is crumbling. americans are in need of new bridges, new roads, housing and more. it has been said it cost an estimated $24 million to run the house of representatives for a week. money basically wasted when we do bills like these. as a matter of fact, i think if we would add up all that money we might be able to do high speed rail in the united states. wouldn't that be a venture? the majority sidesteps addressing the high cost of a college education and student loan debt crisis and puts our heads in the sand concerning the threat of the zika virus. we've done nothing about the century-old water pipes crisscrossing the country, even in light of the tragedy in flint. no wonder americans are so
disgusted and angry. instead of focusing what people are crying out for, we now bring up this old package of bills that has no chance of advancing. today we have the sportsmens heritage and recreational enhancement act. it advances an anti-conservation agenda at odds of a long-standing tradition, benefiting our uniquely american landscape, wildlife and sporting community. the share act has seven separate legislative proposals as long with six other titles. that is a seem stress work. it's a grab bag that would undermine the wilderness act, the national environmental policy act and other essential conservation laws. what's more, the share act would drive the extension of domestic and international wildlife by adding language that would block the administration's efforts under the endangered species act to
stop ivory trafficking. it basically says you can bring back if you go on safari bring back elephant tusks because they are in the any danger despite what we all hear to the contrary. and to prevent the slaughter of american elephants, which is necessary to get those tusks. the u.s. fish and wildlife service wouldn't be able to stop the illegal ivory trade and the importation of polar bears would be made possible again. i think one of the worst things it brings back the traps that captured so many people's pets, small animals who died a very cruel and long death. why in the world would we do that? what is sporting about catching an annual, sometimes a person or a pet, something which they can't extricate themselves and to suffer and to die? let's be clear, this bill undermines bedrock conservation
laws. it won't benefit the average hunter or angler. it will if people go on safaris and get something out of it like elephant tusks but it will destroy years of work done by advocates and conservationist. our ecosystem's food chain is not to be trifled with, and we disrupt it at our own peril. aside from rolling back decades of work, conserving our majestic natural resources, the bill is a distraction from what we should be doing. may i remind my colleagues on the other side of the aisle a piece of wisdom from teddy roosevelt, america's favorite outdoorsman and the person who is responsible for the wonderful national parks we have and he said, and i quote, we are prone to speak of the resources of this country as inexhaustible. this is not so, end quote. if he had this worry that we have today, 100 years ago, i
can only imagine what he would think of this state of affairs. i urge a no vote on this rule and a no vote on the underlying legislation, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from new york reserves. the gentleman from washington. mr. newhouse: thank you, mr. speaker. i would just respond that certainly there are many issues facing the congress today, many important things that we have to consider in many issue areas but that should not preclude us from addressing a very important issue and that's access to our national -- our federal lands by sportsmen, by hunters, by fishers. protecting the ability of americans to enjoy our natural abundance of federal lands i think is something our president roosevelt who the good lady from new york quoted would be very much in favor. certainly he was a proponent of
enjoying those same federal lands. any efforts that we can put forth to make sure that we can continue those strong traditions of americans being exposed to the great outdoors in this country is something that we should do all we can to preserve. i might note, too, that this is a bipartisan-led effort in the house of representatives. passed in the last two congresses, many of the provisions of this bill have enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support, and this year we do have a clear path forward as the committees in the other body across the rotunda are already marking up very similar legislation in their work on this important issue. so i feel very positive about the direction we're taking, about the bipartisan nature of the effort that we have here
before us today. i think it's an important thing that we need to address as well as many of the other things that the lady from new york discussed, but certainly this is something we can and should move forward and with that, mr. speaker, i'd reserve my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentlewoman from new york. ms. slaughter: mr. speaker, i don't have any speakers. could i inquire if my colleague has any? mr. newhouse: well, we seem to have the same amount of speakers. ms. slaughter: how about that? it's nice working with you, mr. newhouse. mr. newhouse: i guess we said -- ms. slaughter: everything that needs to be said. but one thing more. mr. speaker, if we defeat the previous question, i'll offer an amendment to the rule to bring up a resolution that would require the majority to stop the partisan games and hold hearings on the president's budget proposal. mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to insert the text of the amendment in the record along with extraneous material
immediately prior to the vote on the previous question. i thank you and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentlewoman yields back. the gentleman from washington. mr. newhouse: so thank you, mr. speaker. out of ng courtesy to the lady from new york, i do have one member that would like to speak on this bill if that's ok with you. ms. slaughter: of course. mr. newhouse: so with that i would be very happy to yield to the gentleman from michigan for as much time as he may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. benishek: mr. speaker, thank you. i rise in support of h.r. 2406, the sportsmens heritage and recreational enhancement act of
2015, or the share act. the share act has 13 important provisions that will work to expand opportunities for sportsmen and women to enjoy their favorite outdoor activities throughout the country. title 6 of this bill is the recreational fishing and hunting heritage and opportunities act. i grew up in northern michigan and like many of my constituents, spent my summers fishing, in the fall, hunting grause. and spending quality time with our kids and grandkids are the kind of things we must make sure are preserved for generations to come. this portion of the share act seeks to have an open until closed door policy. as you know, nearly a quarter of the united states land mass, or over 500 million acres, are federal lands that are owned by all americans. it's important that the right to fully utilize these lands is ensured for future generations.
over the years, legislative ambiguity has allowed anti-hunting groups to pursue an anti-hunting agenda that has eliminated opportunities for many of these activities on our federal lands. groups like these are taking advantage of loopholes in the law to deprive our constituents of the right to fully use federal lands. many of whom have endorsed this bill are passionate supporters of the conservation movement. these dedicated sports men and women need to know that the land they cherished will not be shut off. this is a bipartisan issue. both presidents clinton and bush recognized the value of these heritage activities. it's time we finally close the loopholes and firm up the language and make sure that future generations will be able to ensquoy the outdoors,
hunting, fishing or just taking a walk in the woods and urge my colleagues to support this important piece of legislation and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from washington. mr. newhouse: i would offer the gentlelady from at any time since she yielded her time. ms. slaughter: i continue to yield. mr. newhouse: i do have one other speaker that would like to say a few words on this issue, the sponsor of the bill, the virginia, rom mr. -- mr. wittman. i t wyatt i -- >> i join my colleagues in introducing h.r. 2406, the sportsman heritage and enhancement act. this bipartisan package of legislation protects and
advances hunting, andling and shooting traditions and promotes fish and wildlife conservation act. it pasted the 113th and 112th congress with bipartisan support and the natural resources committee voted in favor of the bill. h.r. 2406 is supported by the nation's leading hunting and fishing conservation organizations which represents millions of sportsmen and women across the nation. this will expand opportunities for hunting and fishing and promote conservation particularly on federal lands. in many parts of the country, american men and women rely on federal lands to hunt and shoot and would require the bureau of land management to keep land open for hunting, fishing and shooting. the bill requires the national parks service or office of
national marine sank tu areas to consult with state and wildlife agencies and give them flexibility needed to conduct public shooting ranges. it protects second amendment rights and protects the rights to possess firearms on lands and waters managed by the united states corps of engineers, which is consistent with the rights afforded on other federal public lands. the bill also prevents the environmental agency from regulating ammunition and fish ing tackle and i'm produce to introduce this to advance the priorities of american sportsmen and women. this needs to be a top priority for the federal government to for years to come. i urge my colleagues to support the rule and support h.r. 2406.
i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from washington. mr. newhouse: thank you, mr. speaker. in closing, let me first say very much appreciate the good lady's indulgence on allowing folks to speak on this issue which is important to a lot of people. thank you very much for your indulgence. the debate we have had today underscores the importance of the legislation that is considered under this rule. i believe we must take a firm stand against executive overreach and infringement on americans' constitutional rights to keep and bear arms by protecting the second amendment as well as protecting the public's access to federal lands for the purposes of hunting, fishing and sport shooting. people all across the country are avid hunters and outdoorsmen and the share act will ensure
that the federal government does not restrict their ability to participate in these activities. federal lands represent an important and precious national resource for many mixed-use purposes. we must not tolerate efforts by federal agencies such as the forest service or the b.l.m. to restrict, impede or prevent access to federal lands that should jore wise be available for use as well as sportsmen and women. by adopting this rule and proving for consideration of the underlying bill, the house will make -- will be takeing an important step resolving the issues confronting our outdoor community. the share act will instill values hunting and fishing and shooting to be passed down to future generations of americans just as our parents passed them to many of us. this is particularly important
to me, because as a farmer, i consider myself a con serveationist, a steward of our resources and believe we have our bility to preserve resources. this is a good straightforward rule allowing for consideration of a long overdue piece of legislation that ensures future generations have access to our country's federal lands for outdoor recreation and sporting activities. i appreciated the discussion here today, which underscores the importance of this issue to so many people and i believe this rule and the underlying bill are strong measures that are important to preserving our nation's cultural heritage. and i urge my colleagues to support house resolution 619 and the underlying bill. with that, i yield back the balance of my time and move the previous question on the resolution.
the speaker pro tempore: the question is on ordering the previous question on the resolution. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. ms. slaughter: i request the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. those favoring a vote by the yeas and nays will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8, rule 20, further proceedings on this question will be postponed.
the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman rom virginia seek recognition? mr. goodlatte: i ask unanimous consent that will all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on h.r. 3624. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to house resolution 618 and the chair is in the consideration for h.r. 3624. the chair appoints the gentleman from louisiana, mr. graves, to preside over the committee of
the chair: the gentleman from virginia, mr. goodlatte, the gentleman from tennessee -- michigan, mr. conyers, will each control 30 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from virginia. mr. goodlatte: thank you, mr. chairman. i yield myself such time as i may consume. hardworking americans are some of the leading victims of frivolous lawsuits and the extraordinary costs that our legal system imposes. every day local business owners routinely have lawsuits filed against them based on claims they have no substantive connection to, as a means of forum shopping on the part of the lawyers filing the case.
these lawsuits impose a tremendous burden on small businesses and their employees. the fraudulent joinder prevent action -- act, introduced by representative buck from colorado, will help reduce the litigation abuse that regularly drags small business noose court for no other reason than as part of a lawyers' forum shopping strategy. in order to avoid the jurisdiction of the federal courts, plaintiffs' attorneys regularly join in state departments to the lawsuits they filed in state court even if the in-state defendant's connections to the controversy are minimal or nonexistence. typically, the innocent but fraudulently joined in-state defendant is a small business or the owner or employee of a small business. even though these innocent in-state defendants ultimately don't face any liability as a result of being named as a defendant, they nevertheless have to spend money to hire a lawyer and take valuable time away from running their
businesses or spending time with their families to deal with matters related to a lawsuit to which they have no real connection. to take just a couple of examples, in bendy vs. c.b. fleet company, the plaintiff brought product liability claims against a national company for defective drink. and a health clinic neglectly and instructing the plaintiff to ingest the drink. the national company removed the case to federal court and argued that the small local defendant was fraudulently joined because the plaintiff's claims against the clinic were time barred by the statute of limitations showing no possibility of recovery. despite finding the possibility of relief against the local defendant remote, the court remanded the case after emphasizing how hard it is to demonstrate fraudulent joinder under the current rules. the court practically apologized
to the joined party stating, quote, the fact that maryland courts are likely to dismiss bendy's claims against the local defendant is not sufficient for jurisdiction given the fourth circuit's strict standard for fraudulent joinder. shortly after remand, all claims against the local defendant were dismissed. of course, after its presence in e lawsuit served the trial lawyer's tactical purpose of keeping it in the state court. when courts complain about the unfairness of the current court rules, congress should take notice. in a home depot case, home depot removed a slip and fall case to federal court the day after removal and before conducting any discovery, the plaintiff amended the complaint to name a local business which it alleged failed to maintain the store's parking lofment the court found the timing of the amended complaint was suspect. noting, the possibility quote that the sole reason for amending the complaint to add
the local defendant as a defendant could have been to defeat diversity jurisdiction." nevertheless, the court held home depot had no met its heavy burden of showing fraudulent joinder under current law because the court found it was, "possible even if it were just .10 possible that the newly added defendant could potentially being held libel" and remanded the case back to state complet once back in state court, the plaintiffs stipulated to dismiss the innocent local defendant from the lawsuit but only after it had been successfully used as a forum shopping pawn. trial lawyers join these unconnected in-state defendants to their lawsuits because today a case can be kept in state court by simply joining as a defendant a local party that shares the same local residence as the person bringing the lawsuit. it when the primary defendant moves to remove the case to federal court, the addition of the local defendant will
generally defeat removal under a variety f-r of approaches judges currently take to determine whether the joined defendant prevents removal to federal court. one approach judges take is to require a showing that there is, "no possibility of recovery" against the local defendant before a case can be removed to federal court, or some practically equivalent standard. others require the judges jug to resolve any doubts regarding removal in favor of the person bringing the lawsuit. still others require the judge to find that the local defendant was added in bad faith before they allow the case to be removed to federal court. the current law is so unfairly heavy-handed against innocent local parties joined to lawsuits that federal appeals court judge j. harvey wilkinson of the fourth circuit court of appeals has publicly supported congressional action to change the standards for joinder, saying, "that's exactly the kind of approach to federal jurisdiction reform that i like
because it's targeted and there is a problem with fraudulent jurisdiction law as it exists today, i think, and that is that you have to establish that the joinder of a nondiverse defendant is totally ridiculous and there is no possibility of ever recovering. that's very hard to do. so i think making the fraudulent joinder law a little bit more realistic appeals to me because it seems to me the kind of intermediate step that addresses some real problems." the bill before us today addresses those real problems in two main ways. first, the bill allows judges greater discretion to free an innocent local party from a case where the judge finds there is no plausible case against that party. that plausibility standard is the same standard the supreme court has said should be used to dismiss pleadings for failing to state a valid legal claim. and the same standard should apply to release innocent parties from lawsuits. sec, the bill allows judges to
look at evidence that the trial lawyers aren't acting in good faith in adding local defendants. this is a standard some lower courts already use to determine whether a trial lawyer really intends to pursue claims against the local defendant or is just using them as part of their forum sthopping strategy. this bill is strongly supported by the national federation of independent businesses representing america's small businesses, and the u.s. chamber of commerce among other legal reform groups. please join me in supporting this vital legislation to reduce litigation abuse and forum shopping and to protect innocent parties from costly, extended, and unnecessary litigation. mr. chairman, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from virginia reserves. the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i yield myself as much time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. conyers: thank you. members of the house, h.r. 3624,
the so-called fraudulent joinder prevention act, is not really about fraud but rather this measure is just the latest attempt to tilt the civil justice system in favor of corporate defendants by making it more difficult for plaintiffs to pursue state law claims in state courts. and here's why i say that. to begin with, h.r. 3624 addresses a nonexistent problem. under current law a defendant -- remove a case alleging alleging solely state law claims to a federal court only if there is complete diversity of citizenship between all plaintiffs and all defendants
with an exception. if the plaintiff adds an in-state defendant to the case to defeat diversity jurisdiction, this constitutes fraudulent joinder and in such circumstance the case may be removed to federal court. in determining whether a joinder was fraudulent, the court must consider only whether there was any basis for a claim against the nondiverse defendant. for the case to remain in federal court, the defendant must show that there was no possibility of recovery or no reasonable basis for adding the nondiverse defendant. this very high standard has guided our federal courts for more than a century, and it has
functioned well. but h.r. 3624 would replace this time-honored standard with a thoroughly ambiguous one. the measure would remand -- would require a remand motion to be denied unless the court finds among other things that it is plausible to conclude that the applicable state law would impose liability and in-state defendant that the plaintiff had a good faith intention to prosecute the action against each in-state defendant or to seek a joint judgment, and that there was no actual fraud in the pleading of jurisdictional facts.
additionally, h.r. 3624 would effectively overturn the local defendant exception which prohibits removal to federal court even if complete diversity of citizenship exists when the defendant is a citizen of the state where the suit was filed. the bill's radical changes to long-standing jurisdictional practice reveal the true purpose of this measure. it is simply intended to stifle the ability of plaintiffs to have their choice of forum and possibly even their day in court. ld ddition, h.r. 3624 wou sharply increase the cost of litigation for plaintiffs and further burden the federal court system. for example, terms like faith e and good
intention are not defined in the bill. this ambiguity will lead to greater uncertainty for both courts and litigants and will spawn substantial litigation over their meaning and application. further delaying many decisions in some cases. additionally these standards require a court to engage in a mini trial during an early procedural stage of the case without an opportunity for the full development of evidence. thus, the bill would sharply increase the burdens and costs of litigation for plaintiffs and make him more likely that they would be prevented from choosing the forum for their claim. finally, the amendments made by
this bill raise fundamental federalism concerns. matters of state law should be decided by state courts. subject to certain exceptions as set forth in our constitution. . removal of a state court case to federal court always implicates federalism concerns, which is why the federal courts generally sfavor jurisdiction and read removal statutes narrowly. h.r. 3624, however, ignores these federalism concerns. by applying sweeping and vaguely-worded new standards to the determination of when a state case must be remanded to state court, the bill denies
state courts the ability to decide and ultimately to shape state law. .r. 3624 not only violates the sovereignty but also violates our fundamental constitutional structure. accordingly, i sincerely urge my colleagues to join me in opposing this legislation. mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from michigan reserves. the gentleman from virginia. mr. goodlatte: i yield myself such time as i may consume to some of the points raised by the gentleman from michigan, the ranking member. first of all, it is not this bill that removes cases from state courts to federal courts. it's the united states constitution and the federal laws that have been passed by
this congress over 200 years that recognize the principle of jurisdiction and having parties from different states in cases and controversy able to remove those cases to the federal system that represents all citizens not just the citizens of one state courts as state courts are perceived as doing. it is not, this legislation that creates the kind of circumstance that the gentleman from michigan claims it does of denying access to the courts but the purpose of this legislation is to treat people fairly who have been treated unfairly in the process. if you have no liability in a case, you should not be sued. and if you are sued by a lawyer trying to manipulate the rules to keep a case in a court that he has forum shopped, in other words, picked the court that he prefers it to be in, that
individual or business as quickly as possible should be able to seek redress from the federal courts to have a determination made about whether or not they are indeed a party that is, quote, plausibly liable, which is a supreme court standard to be held in the case. if they're not, then the rules of federal procedure would allow for the removal of that case to federal court. they should not be blaming innocent parties for spoiling the plans of trial lawyers to try to forum shop into a favorable jurisdiction. let me make a quick other points. some of the rhetoric suggest that it is strange for federal courts to be deciding state law claims, but as a matter of history, that is totally inaccurate. state law claims are heard by federal courts when the federal courts have the jurisdiction outlined in the constitution. that has been a major part of the federal trial court's work far longer than federal claims
have existed and out of state defendants have been able to remove cases from state court since the beginning of the federal judicial system created by the very first congress of which james madison and many other founders were members. all the bill before us today on the eing removed part of trial lawyers. h.r. 3624 protects in-state individuals and small businesses from being dragged into litigation just so the plaintiff can keep the case in state court when the platform's primary target is an out of state corporation. is it unfair to say to the trial lawyer when your real target is an out of state corporation but you want to keep the case in state court, you have to come up with a claim against the local individual or small business that is at lease plausible? that's the simple, fair and modest demand that this bill makes on trial lawyers.
it is fair to the local individual or small business that they are required to bear the costs -- and is it fair they are required to bear the costs and burdens when the claim against them isn't even plausible? no, it's not. but that is what is allowed under current law and that is what h.r. 3624 will correct. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: i'm pleased to recognize the gentleman from tennessee, distinguished member of the judiciary committee, mr. cohen, for three minutes. the chair: the gentleman from tennessee is recognized for three minutes. mr. conyers: would the gentleman yield to me? mr. cohen: yes. mr. conyers: somehow the ntleman from illinois'
misunderstood what i said. this bill makes it too difficult to remand cases back to state courts to the point where federalism concerns are raised and plaintiffs are frequently harmed. and now i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. cohen: thank you, mr. conyers and mr. speaker and future governor or senator of louisiana. this bill which has come before our committee is one that the president has said he will veto because the president says that it is a problem solution -- solution looking for a problem or something to thanking effect. this bill will make it more difficult for plaintiffs, people who have been harmed, to get relief because their cases in
state court can more easily be removed to federal court. the gentleman from virginia is xactly right, that they have been permitted and you can move a case to federal court if you can show that the defendant -- the plaintiff in the state court is not a proper plaintiff. and so you can show there is diversity of citizenship but not omplete diversity. the problem is, this has always been the way it is and the way the rule is now and the courts haven't said this is a problem and asked us to correct it. corporate defendants want to make it easier for them to move these cases to courts where they get better results, make it more difficult for plaintiffs to get judgments in state courts which have been historically been a bit healthier. this makes it impossible.
it increases litigation. makes you have to show your case and increases the courts and burdens on the courts and the government is larger because there is more activity in federal court because of these particular law, if it becomes law and takes from the states the right to determine their own state law which is generally the position of my friends on the states' to be for rights. but gives the federal courts more power. like the position when we had reciprocity on gun permits rather than state laws be paramount, they thought the federal law should superimpose it. the idea of state laws being sovereign and states having more authority and giving more power to the states, falls second to
being for things that corporations and the n.r.a. desire. those cases, states' rights come second and that is unusual. at this point, there are so many problems in our nation. mr. conyers: i yield the gentleman another minute. mr. cohen: this bill will probably not pass the senate, but if it does, it probably will be vetoed. yesterday we had a program where we honored the foot soldiers of the civil rights movement. and one said, i should have done more. and i hear that from a lot of folks when they go to the south and march. meanwhile you can do something today, there is a civil rights act that needs to be extended approved and that is the right to vote. voting rights are in peril,
income inequality continues and millions of americans in both parties are voting for candidate that appeal to those folks, race relations are fraught. young people have burdens of student loans and infrastructure is in danger. let's deal with those issues and let's make congress great again. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from virginia. mr. goodlatte: it's my pleasure to yield such time as he may consume to the chief sponsor of this legislation, the gentleman from colorado, mr. buck, a member of the judiciary committee. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. buck: trial lawyers' main target is a national business but if the only defendant is an out of state business, it can be heard in federal court. by suing a local defendant in addition to the national defendant that is the true target of the lawsuit, trial lawyers can keep their case in
the preferred state court. trial lawyers who sue innocent local people and small businesses simply to keep the lawsuit and their preferred state court usually drop their case against these innocent local parties but only after the case is safely back in state court and om after the local parties have had to spend time and money dealing with the lawsuit. that's not right. trial lawyers shouldn't be able to subinnocent local people and small businesses to costly and time-consuming lawsuits just to rig the place the lawsuit will be heard. this led respected a judge of the fourth circuit court of appeals to change the standards for joinder to allow judges greater flexibility to make the right decision on questions to removal to the federal court and discretion to determine earlier in the case whether a local party joined in the lawsuit is
there for good reason or fraudulent reasons. this is precisely the remedy that this is the approach i like because it is targeted and there are problems in laws that exist today. you have to accomplish that the joinder of a local defendant is totally ridiculous and no possibility of ever recovering. that's very hard to do. so i think making the fraudulent joinder law a little more realistic appeals to me because it seems the step that addresses some real problems, end of quote. h.r. 3624 would protect innocent local defendants in two main ways. it allows federal judges greater discretion to relief local defendants from a case and that applicable state law would impose. the term plausible is taken from the supreme court jurisprudence in interpreting rule 8 and the
court's decision provides substantial guidance as to the meaning of the term. bell atlanta corps versus trumbley they answered the question. the right to relieve above. in ashcroft versus ickball, it is more than a sheer responsibility. this standard demands more than an an adorned defendant. and elements of a cause of action supported by mere statements. said the martin redish standard represents the fairest and most efficient resolution of the conflicting interests and the context of pleading. t will simply provide an approach to fraudulent approach.
the bill codifies a proposition that the supreme court has recognized in deciding whether joinder is fraudulent they may decide about the plaintiff has a good faith position. consistent with supreme court precedent they continue to find fraudulent joinder where there is no good faith intention to prosecute the action against all defendants. as the federal court in faulk in consumer outdoor products said where actions are viewed objectively demonstrate the claim of judgment against a local defendant. the court should dismiss the defendant and retain jurisdiction over the case. the language of this provision is taken veer bait imfrom a decision in the third circuit. the court said that the joinder is fraudulent if there is no real intention in good faith to
prosecute the action against the defendant or seek a joint judgment. i urge all my colleagues to support this simple commonsense bill that will protect innocent parties from being dragged into expensive and time-consuming lawsuits for the sole reason of furthering a trial lawyer forum shopping strategy. the chair: the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: i'm pleased to recognize a veteran member of the house judiciary committee, the gentleman from new york, mr. nadler, for three minutes. the chair: the gentleman from new york is recognized for three minutes. mr. nadler: i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. chairman, i rise to oppose the so-called fraudulent joinder prevention act. the main purpose of the bill is to make it easier to remove state cases to federal courts where large corporate defendants have numerous advantages over consumers, patients, and injured workers. this bill is yet another attempt by the republicans to tilt the legal playing field in favor of large corporations.
it will enclosing -- clog the federal courts, upset well-established law, and delay justice for plaintiffs seeking to hold corporations accountable for harming consumers or injuring workers. this bill is part of a general effort by the republicans to close up access to the federal courts to ordinary americans. with every step the republicans take, whether it be to put forward bills to make class action suits more difficult, to remove more local cases to federal courts, to reclassify more lawsuits as frivolous and subject to mandatory sanctions, or oppose legislative attempts to limit mandatory arbitration clauses, they are transforming our system of justice. our courts are being turned into a forum only very rich people can get justice. where corporations can easily escape liability, and consumers and the injured can get no relief. it is all tilted one way. there is nothing in this bill or in any bill put forward by the other side that will help ordinary consumers hold big corporations responsible for actions that harm the little
guy. under this so-called fraudulent joinder prevention act, any time there is a case of one in state and out-of-state diverse defendant, the defendant will use this forum shopping bill law to delay justice. these attempted removals will result in contentious disputes over whether the court has jurisdiction. it will drain court time as the courts will have to engage in almost a mini trial, reviewing pleadings, affidavits, and other evidence submitted by the parties since this bill turns a simple procedural determination into a merits determination. at a minimum, the bill will allow corporate defendants to successfully force the plaintiff to expend their limited resources on what should be a simple procedural matter. under this bill, this preliminary decision would become a baseless time consuming merits inquiry of the case before a second time consuming merits inquiry on the substance. while large corporations can easily accommodate such cost, injured workers, consumers, and patients cannot. i am amazed by some ply colleagues who with this bill
will bring more cases to our federal courts. our federal courts are facing an enormous number of judicial vacancies with no end in sight due to delays in the other body. this bill would increase the workload ofth -- in federal court. it will take up valuable time based on state law preventing the courts from hearing and managing cases properly before them. despite its name, this bill is not about fraud. the proponents sight no examples that alleges actually fraud. i would say this is a bill in search of a problem. i would say if i didn't understand that the true for other purposes of the bill is not to stop fraud but tilt the scales of justice over the needs of ordinary americans. for these reasons i oppose it and urge my colleagues to oppose this bill as well. we should defeat this bill and start making congress great again. thank you. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from michigan is
recognized. the gentleman from michigan reserves. the gentleman from virginia, mr. goodlatte, is recognized. mr. goodlatte: i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from virginia reserves. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. speaker, -- mr. chairman, i am pleased now to yield to the distinguished , ms. lee, from texas 3 1/2 minutes. the chair: the gentlewoman from texas is recognized for 3 1/2 minutes. ms. jackson lee: thank you very much to the ranking and chairman of the full committee. mr. chairman, just a few minutes ago the judiciary committee, the ranking and judiciary committee chairman were in a hearing that exuded bipartisan expressions for fixing the chal lection that
-- challenges that we have with the location of data and international request for data being held by america's technology companies. it was an interesting and open discussion which i juan wapt to evidence on the record -- which i want to evidence on the record. the judiciary committee is continuing and has had over the years bipartisan approaches to a number of difficult questions. which we have solved. including our approach to criminal justice reform. i want to thank the chairman and ranking member for that. i also want to acknowledge that we have some challenges as was evidenced by comments by the gentleman from tennessee on the restoration of the voting rights act, and we find ourselves again in a challenge that i hope can be fixed. first i want to make it very clear that i practiced law for a number of years and served as an associate municipal court judge nd as well was a
quasi-prosecutor on the select committee on assassinations which i allow this body to research when that select committee was in place and the issues of the investigation of dr. martin luther king's assassination and j.f.k. -- john f. kendy. i know the importance of lawyers which i have the greatest respect, which i am one. i understand that trial lawyers are both representing defendants and plaintiffs and corporations come into the court with trial lawyers. so i'm a little taken aback by any suggestion that the word trial lawyers is a negative connotation. anyone who wants to win case in a courtroom must have a lawyer. and you would want to make sure that they are a trial lawyer. and as well, you want to make sure that you have the rights of due process. i would make the argument that trial lawyers go into court, whether they are representing corporations or plaintiffs, corporations in many instances may be defendants.
and in that case i will tell you you are making it far more difficult by pushing cases into the federal court under 3624 more expensive, they take longer, making it difficult for workers, consumers, and patients. generally to have their cases closer to home in state courts. however, there may be an instance where a corporation is a plaintiff and you will have the same blocking of that corporation by this bill. this bill was enacted, it would tip the scales of justice in favor of corporate defendants or others and make it more difficult for injured plaintiffs. it would effectively eliminate the local defendant exception by diversity jurisdiction, and i heard someone say and it bears repeating, it is a solution looking for a problem. current standard used by the courts to determine whether the joinder of a nondiverse defendant is improper, however, has been in place for a century and we have no evidence that
this has put anyone in a position of not getting due process. that is our goal in the court system. fraudulent joinder doctrine is well established, and in fact it is -- will he only be found if the defendant establishes that the joinder of the diversity destroying party in the state court was made without a reasonable basis. we have a system. but this particular bill reverses this long-standing policy by imposing new requirements. finally, mr. chairman, if i might, further, taking away a defendant's responsibility to prove that federal jurisdiction over state cases indeed proper alters the precept of a party seeking removal. i ask my colleagues to recognize we have bipartisanship on this committee. i oppose this legislation and ask my colleagues to oppose it. i yield back. the chair: the gentlewoman yield back. the gentleman from michigan reserves his time. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: i continue to reserve. the chair: the gentleman from michigan is recognized.
i'm nyers: mr. chairman, eased to recognize another distinguished member of the house judiciary committee from eorgia, mr. johnson, and i recognize him for two minutes. the chair: the gentleman from virginia -- georgia is recognized for two minutes. mr. johnson: i return to the floor today, ladies and gentlemen, for the second time in as many months to speak against another crony capitalist republican-led bill to benefit big business. h.r. 3624, the fraudulent joinder protection act, as it is so-called, is a solution in search of a problem. current federal law already provides federal courts with ample tools to address possible forum shopping. this crony capitalist legislation would add needless
complications for civil litigation seeking redress for violent claims in the state courts and, two, it further stretches the already limited resources, federal courts are experiencing, due to republican passed budget cutting sequestration measures. currently, america is burdened with a republican party scausecausted judicial vacancy crisis in this nation's federal courts where there are over 81 federal court judicial vacancies around the country, including the one left vacant by the passing of justice scalia. republicans who control the senate and who in the press conferences and meetings they have held this week have fully exposed their plot to add to this judicial crisis are refusing to fill that vacancy on the state -- on the country's highest court.
and they have an ulterior purpose for doing so. that purpose, ladies and gentlemen, is because they know that justice delayed is justice denied. and they want to gum up the works of the federal courts by defunding the federal courts while at the same time bogging them down with state court matters that should be left to the states and then what it results in is crony capitalist being able to avoid being held accountable in the state or federal courts. this congress should not further burden the federal courts which are already strapped for time and resources when state courts are more suited and capable of hearing state, not federal, but state law claims as state courts have been empowered to do since this country was formed. for those reasons -- the chair: the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: i yield an additional minute to the gentleman from georgia.
the chair: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for one minute. mr. johnson: i thank the ranking member. the 10th amendment in this country means something. it means something to republicans and it means something to democrats. sometimes we disagree on what it means. and what impacts it should have, but it's no doubt that the federal court system has its body of law and the citizens should be able to bring their claim into their state courts as they have been doing since this country's foundation. they use the 10th amendment when it's convenient to them, and then they violate it when it's not convenient. that's not the way that conscious -- consciencious republicans should operate. challenge them to stop this encroachment on states' rights. this legislation presumes that federal courts are not currently preventing forum shopping in
civil suits, but there is absolutely no credible evidence that federal courts are failing to do their duty. i'd ask my colleagues to oppose this crony capitalist legislation. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. johnson: with that i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from georgia yields back. the gentleman from michigan is recognized -- reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: i continue to reserve. the chair: the gentleman from virginia reserves. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. . conyers: mr. chairman, i yield myself just one minute. the chair: the gentleman from michigan is recognized for one minute. mr. conyers: i thought you might be interested in knowing that 21 different organizations strongly oppose h.r. 3624, the fraudulent joinder prevention act including the american association of
justice, the center for effective government, the center for justice and democracy, the consumer federation of america, the d.c. consumers rights coalition, main street alliance, the national association of consumer advocates, the national disability rights lawyers. he national employment lawyers association, and i'll put the rest in the record. i thank the chairman. i yield back. the chair: covered under general leave. the gentleman yield back. mr. conyers: i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: mr. chairman, i yield myself such time as i may consume. mr. chairman, it's not often that the house has the
opportunity to protect innocent local people and businesses from costly and meritless lawsuits and holding them to a good faith standard in litigation all by passing a bill that's just a few pages long. but that's the opportunity the house has today. i thank the judiciary committee member, ken buck from colorado, for introducing this vital measure, and i urge all my colleagues to join me in supporting it. . the chair: all time for general debate has expired. pursuant to the rule, the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule and be considered as an original bill the amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the committee on the judiciary printed in the bill. the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be considered as read. no amendment to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be in order except those printed in house report 114-428 and may be offered by a member designated
in the report, shall be considered read and debatable for the time specified in the report equally divided by the proponent and opponent, shall not be subject to amendment or be subject to demand of the question. it is now to consider amendment number 1. for what purpose does jample colorado. mr. buck: purposes of offering an amendment. the clerk: amendment number 1 printed in house report 114-428 offered by mr. buck of colorado. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 618, mr. buck and a member opposed each will each control five minutes. mr. buck: this makes a few technical changes to the bill, striking references to multiple defendants and replacing them with single defendants to make clear if one in-state defendant has a case the case can remain in state court.
i urge my colleagues to support this technical and clarifying amendment. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from michigan seek recognition? mr. conyers: i rise in opposition to the amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. conyers: members of the house, i oppose the manager's amendment, something i rarely -- while i this don't take issue with the changes to the bill that the manager's amendment makes, this amendment fails to address any of the concerns that i raised about the underlying bill, because the bill is flawed in its very exception. there is no real problem that this bill addresses. xisting fraudulent joinder law
addresses the improper joinder of in-state defendants and the bill's proponents have offered no evidence to the contrary. this unnecessary bill instead creates great uncertainty and delay in the consideration of state law claims with its ambiguous new requirement. it will spawn much litigation leading to increased costs that will be borne disproportionately by plaintiffs. this bill in addition violates states' sovereignty by significantly diminishing the ability of state courts to decide and shape state law matters. those are my objections to the manager's amendment and i hope it will be voted down and i return the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from
colorado. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is goode to. it is now in order to consider amendment number 2 printed in house report 114-428. mr. cartwright: i have an amendment at the desk. the clerk: amendment number 2 printed in house report 114-428, offered by mr. cartwright of pennsylvania. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 618, mr. cartwright and a member opposed will each control five minutes. mr. cartwright: i yield myself such time as i may consume. mr. chairman. i also oppose the underlying 'ill which i call the wrongdoer protection act or multi state
and multi corporations. it is no -- that these corporate wrongdoers want them to fight them in the federal court. that's the effect of this bill to enlarge federal court diversity jurisdiction. the corporate wrongdoers want to fight there and it's not because they think the federal judges are better looking or they are more polite or that the decor is nicer. no. they want to go there because they are more likely to beat consumers in federal court cases. after a generation of bad decisions by the supreme court of united states, federal court has become candyland for corporate wrongdoers, generations of bad decisions that invite and ex ort district judges to forget about the 7th amendment in the bill of rights. you remember what it says.
it was written by james madison and announced and approved by secretary of state thomas jefferson whose statue stands outside this chamber. in suits of common law where the value and controversy shall exceed $20, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved. nothing ambiguous about that. but since the 1980's, there has been this steady drumbeat of united states supreme court decisions encouraging federal court judges to decide and dismiss cases without the trouble of a jury trial and their tool kit is enormous. motions to dismiss, motions for judgment on the pleadings, motions for summary judgment, motions for directed verdict, motions for judgment as a matter of law and cases do get thrown out every day without the trouble of jury trials.
and the seventh amendment right to jury trial is not preserved and that's why wrongdoer corporations prefer to be in federal court. that's the backdrop, mr. chairman. but on top of that, i want to give you some strong reasons why this underlying bill is bad, number one, it is discriminatory, unless you are a multi state or multinational corporation, this bill doesn't help you. if you are an individual sued in state court, you get no help. if you are small business owner only doing work in your state, you are out of luck. only multi state, multinational corporations get help and that's why i call it the wrongdoers protection act for multi state and multi corporations. number two, it is burdensome and representative johnson from georgia made this, the federal courts are overworked and understaff.
the civil case load is growing at 12% a year, much of that is contract cases filed by corporations and there are currently 81 vacancies in the federal judiciary. no reason to add to this burden. it is ironic this bill. we have a crowd in this house that constantly preaches about states' rights and the need to cut back on the federal government. but a bill like this comes along and drop that states' rights' banner like it's a hot poe tateo and the number 4 and maybe most importantly, it is wrongheaded the underlying big because these diversity cases are filed in state court under state law and since the 1930's, if you take these cases and handle them in federal court, the federal judges have to follow state law, not federal law. mr. chairman, there is nobody
better than interpreting state law than state court judges. it stands to reason. i offer this amendment that's on the desk to exempt consumer cases against insurance companies for bad faith and insurance practices. if the majority is going to persist and present this enormous gift to the multi state and multi corporate wrongdoers, include this amendment and give a couple of crumbs to the average american consumer trying to defend himself or herself in court. and i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from reserves.ia for what purpose does the gentleman from colorado seek recognition? mr. buck: i rise in opposition to the amendment. i yield myself such time as i shall consume. this amendment should be roundly
opposed for the simple reason not only does not protect any victims but the types of cases covered by the amendment. the purpose of this bill is to allow judges greater discretion to free innocent local parties, that is innocent people and innocent small businesses from lawsuits when those innocent local parties are dragged into a case for no other reason than to further a trial lawyer's forum shopping strategy. these innocent local parties have a connection to the claims made by the trial lawyer against some national company a thousand miles away and innocent local parties shouldn't have to suffer the time, expense and emotional drain of a lawsuit when the plaintiff cannot come up with a claim. the base bill protects those innocent local parties being dragged into a lawsuit for no other reason to keep the case in a state court the trial lawyer
prefers. now this amendment denies the bill's protection to innocent local parties joined to a lawsuit simply because the legal allegations in the case fall into one category rather than another. that is terribly unfair. if this were any other kind of bill designed to protect innocent people, no one would argue that it shouldn't apply when the lawsuit relates to a bad faith suit against an insurance company. innocent people are innocent people and should be protected from being dragged into lawsuits regardless of the nature of the case. let me say something about this amendment based on my career as a prosecutor. as a prosecutor, i deeply respected all the rules developed in this country, to protect the innocent. these are rules of general application such as rules protecting people's rights to have their story told and protect people from bias or inaccurate testimony. i would have been appalled if anyone suggested that these protections designed to protect
innocent people from criminal liability should be suspended because the case was one of saub or murder or related to insurance. our country is proud of its principles providing due process and equal protection. but those concepts are meaningless that they are only applied to some cases, but not others. and for the same reason, we should be outraged at the suggestion that rules of fairness designed to protect the innocent should be suspended in the civil law because the case involves one particular subject or another. but that's exactly what this misguided amendment does. further, courts could read this amendment not allowing them to consider the fraudulent joinder argument. no matter how clear it was there was no valid claim. this bill defines and limits fraudulent joinder. it does not license courts to make up their own fraudulent joinder doctrines for cases not
within its coverage. under that reading, claims could be made against local insurance agents with no basis supporting the lawsuit. the amendment would also allow a plaintiff's lawyer to drag an individual insurance adjust ter into the lawsuit even when the applicable state law makes absolutely clear that only insurers, not individual people, are subject to bad faith claims. how does the sponsor explain to a person like jack stout while a lawyer pulled him into a bad faith lawsuit. he was an insurance agent who sold a policy to the plaintiff met and spoke with the plaintiff once and nothing to do with the processing of the claim. the federal district court in oklahoma found he was fraudulently joined and dismissed the claim against him. but under this amendment, this innocent person could be struck back into the lawsuit. how does the sponsor explain to a person like douglas bradley
while a plaintiff's lawyer named him in a bad faith lawsuit. in that case, the complaint included mr. bradley, an insurance agent as a defendant in the caption referred to as defendant, sing did you lar, and not defendants throughout. and federal district court in indiana dismissed the claim as fraudulently joined. this person could be sucked back into the lawsuit. for all these reasons, this amendment should be rejected. i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from colorado reserves. mr. cartwright: and to respond to my mr. collins: eeg from colorado who cited two cases where existing law and procedure, fraudulent joinder of bad faith insurance claims was claimed and actually succeeded, the proof is
right there, the statute does not need to be amended, it's working already. and that's why we don't need to include bad faith insurance cases in the wrongdoers protection anth from multi state and multinational corporations. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from colorado is recognized. . mr. buck: i urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment and yield back. the chair: the question son the amendment offered by the gentleman from pennsylvania. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the oes have it. mr. cartwright: we ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from pennsylvania will e postponed. mr. buck: i move that the