Skip to main content

tv   U.S. House of Representatives Legislative Business  CSPAN  February 25, 2016 4:00pm-6:01pm EST

4:00 pm
the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 229, the nays are 189. the bill is passed. without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. the unfinished business is the vote on ordering the previous question on house resolution 419 on which the yeas and nays were ordered. the clerk will report the title of the resolution. the clerk: house calendar number 92, house resolution 619. resolution providing for consideration of the bill, h.r. 2406, to protect and enhance
4:01 pm
opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing and shooting and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on ordering the previous question. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
4:02 pm
4:03 pm
4:04 pm
4:05 pm
4:06 pm
4:07 pm
the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 237, the ays are 178.
4:08 pm
the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 240, the nays are 178. the previous question is ordered. the question is on adoption of the resolution. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the resolution is adopted. ms. slaughter: mr. speaker, on that i request the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
4:09 pm
4:10 pm
4:11 pm
4:12 pm
4:13 pm
4:14 pm
the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 24 and the nays are 175 -- 241 and the
4:15 pm
without 175. objection the motion is laid upon the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from virginia seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend and extend their remarks and include -- revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on h.r. 2406, the share act. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. pursuant to house rule 619 and rule 18, the chair declares the house in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for the consideration of h.r. 2406. the chair appoints the gentlewoman from tennessee,
4:16 pm
mrs. black, to preside over the ommittee of the whole. the chair: the house is in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for consideration of h.r. 2406, which the clerk will report by title. the clerk: a bill to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting, and for other urposes.
4:17 pm
the chair: pursuant to the rule, the bill is considered as read the first time. the gentleman from virginia, mr. wittman, and the gentleman from virginia, mr. beyer, each will control 30 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from virginia, mr. wittman. mr. wittman: thank you, madam chairman. the house is not in order. the chair: the committee will be in order. please take your conversations off the floor. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. wittman: thank you, madam chairman. i yield myself such time as i may consume. before the house today is the sportsmens heritage and recreational enhancement, better known as the share act. it is a package of commonsense bills that will increase opportunities for hunters, recreational shooters and anglers, eliminate unneeded impediments, safeguard against new regulations that impede sporting uth activities and support -- impediments and support activities.
4:18 pm
outdoor sporting activities, including hunting, fishing and recreational shooting are deeply engrained in the fabric of pleark's culture and heritage -- america's culture and heritage. these are passed down from generation to generation and play a significant part in the lives of millions of americans. much of america's outdoors sporting activity occurs on our federal lands. unfortunately, agencies like the bureau of land management impede access to federal lands for outdoor sporting activities. because lack of access is one of the key reasons sports men and women stop participating in outdoor sporting activities, ensuring the public has reliable access to our nation's federal lands must remain a top priority. the share act does just that. one of the key provisions of this bill, the recreation, fishing, heritage opportunities act, will increase and sustain access for activities on federal lands for generations
4:19 pm
to come. it protects sports men and women from arbitrary effects from the federal government to block federal lands from hunting and fishing activities by implementing an open until closed management policy. another provision of this package will give state and federal agencies the tools to jointly create and maintain recreational shooting ranges on federal lands. in addition, the bill allows the department of interior to designate hunting access corridors throughout our national parks so that sports men and women can access adjacent federal lands to hunt and fish. the package also protect second amendment rights and the use for additional ammunition and tackle. it defends law-abiding individuals constitutional right to keep and bear arms on lands managed by the army corps of engineers and ensures that hunters are not burdened by outdated laws, preventing bows and cross bows from being transported across national parks. finally, the package prevents the implementation of onerous constraints by the u.s. fish and wildlife service on
4:20 pm
lawfully possessed domestic ivory products and eliminates red tape associated with the importation of 41 lawfully harvested polar bear hunting trophies. this important legislation will sustain america's rich hunting traditions for responsible outdoor sporting activities and help ensure that the future generations of men and women are able to enjoy the sporting activities our country has to offer and what we hold near and dear. i ask my colleagues to vote yes on this important legislation, and, madam chairman, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from virginia reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. beyer: thank you, madam chair. and i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. beyer: thank you, madam chair. and i rise today oppose h.r. 2406, with great respect for my friend the gentleman from virginia, and i respect very much what representative
4:21 pm
wittman and others are trying to do. the best i can do is describe h.r. 2406 is a missed opportunity. many of the titles in the bill are inoffensive, but others would significantly hinder conservation efforts that benefits hunters, anglers and other lovers of the outdoors. i am an avid hiker. i completed 25 miles in the appalachian trail. 1,288 miles on the appalachian trail and i'd like to protect the legacy of the appalachian trail like the land and water conservation fund. simply put, this bill doesn't include the sporting community's top priorities. the democrats have been clear from the beginning that we're open to discussions that could lead to compromised legislation. legislation that would include many of the pieces of this bill but also additional titles that would earn it broad bipartisan support. in a letter several days ago, ranking member grijalva wrote to the chair expressing
4:22 pm
optimism that noncontroversial outcome could still be achieved and request negotiation to produce a bill that would pass the house without opposition. unfortunately, this request was denied. so i'd love to have this bill on the suspension calendar but not on the suspension calendar, i'd like to detail nine specific objections. objection number one, this bill owe mitts the top two priorities of the outdoors community. the permanent re-authorization of the land and water conservation fund and the permanent authorization of north american wetlands conservation act. lwcf has provided funding to protect virginia's most special places, the wildlife refuges, shenandoah battlefield historic district and the appalachian trail. studies have shown that for every dollar of lwcf invested there's a $4 return on communities and the broader outdoor recreation economy is responsible more more than $600
4:23 pm
billion in consumer spending every year. it this is one of the nation's premiere programs. over the years, lwcf has been responsible for more than 40,000 state and local outdoor reekryation projects, playgrounds, parks, refuges and baseball fields. strong bipartisan support, i believe 88% of americans want congress to preserve it. so now is a perfect opportunity to do that. we've had hearings in natural resources on representative chairman bishop's bill. we need hearings on representative grijalva's h.r. 1814, which has more than 200 bipartisan co-sponsors, but this bill is the perfect opportunity to include that. there's also the perfect opportunity to do the northern american wetlands conservation act. this program, farmers, ranchers and other private landowners support the program and every project is voluntary. it fosters conservation efforts by the nonfederal sector and over the years nearly 5,000 corporate, small business, nonprofit, state and local
4:24 pm
entities have tripled naca dollars by providing matching funds. of the 50 wildlife agencies are active partners in it and nawca continues to receive funds. so this was debated and vetted in the 112th and 113th congress. it was re-authorized in 2006 and this was a great vehicle to do that. objection number two, title 10, i believe, which is the ivory title. this would gut the administration's proposed ivory rule. last year the u.s. fish and wildlife service seized a one ton stockpile of illegal elephant ivory, most of which was seized by a philadelphia antique dealer by gordon. he imported and sold ivory from african elephants in violation of the u.s. laws and the laws where the ivory was stolen. there is no way to know how much gordon had sold during the previous decade or where it is
4:25 pm
now. had did he get away with it for so long? it was doctored so it looked old enough to pass through a loophole of the african elephant conservation act, a law that was passed by us in 1989 to end the commercial import and export of ivory. the obama administration's proposed ivory rule would close that loophole and prevent u.s. citizens from being involved, knowingly or unknowingly, in elephant poaching and trafficking crisis. ending the commercial ivory trade does not mean taking away people's musical instruments, ivory handled pistols or family air looms. museum collections, scientific specimens, sports trophies will be allowed to move freely. near the direct order nor the forthcoming endangered species act rule would restrict transport within the united states and transport into and out of the country will still be allowed with the appropriate documentation. further, items up to 200 grams, seven ounces of ivory can still be bought and sold and that's
4:26 pm
more ivory than is in any piano or ivory-gripped pistol. what the rule will do is stop profiteering off elephant parts in this country. as long as ivory have monetary value, people will kill elephants to get it. his is part of the broader strategy to stop poaching. i'm surprised that ranking member grijalva's amendment was not made in order. but regardless, the inclusion of that provision in this bill before us today shows that somehow we're unaware or unconcerned about the fact that poachers are slaughtering nearly 100 african elephants a day. objection number three, madam chair. is section 302 of the share act that would allow polar bear trophies. it creates a loophole in the marine mammal protection act to allow a handful of trophy hunters to import polar bear trophies into the u.s. in
4:27 pm
defiance of current law. if passed, this will be the fourth major carveout by congress since 1994 for americans who have hunted polar bears in canada. although the number of polar bears affected by this loophole will be relatively small, the cumulative effect of the carveout has been detrimental to an imperiled species. and these were not caught you have in government bureaucracy or red tape. all the individuals hunted the bears after the george w. bush administration proposed the species for listing under the threatened endangered species act. despite hunting groups and the conservation community that they could face a bar on importation and the hunters were hunting at their own risk. granting this request would create a dangerous precedent by encouraging hunters to race for trophies. when such species most need protection, knowing they can rely on congress later to let them import their trophies. objection 7, 4, rather.
4:28 pm
the provision that gives states the veto power on federal fishing -- national marine parks and sanctuaries. i flew to homestead, florida, this past spring, madam chair, for the public hearing on the biscayne bay national marine that was set aside by the park service. it was a small, small percentage of the total federal lands and waters. about half the fishermen there were against it but it missed the fact that these were not state waters and that we in congress have a responsibility to the entire nation, not just for any one county or one region. our oceans cover more than 70% of the earth and 99% of that water is open to fishing. in some cases science shows that we must protect certain areas. we all want people to have more fishing opportunity but the fish has to be there. i was impressed what the director of noaa told me. the fishing marine in the pacific set aside by george w.
4:29 pm
bush, you can now see them from space because the fish have recovered so quickly within those reserves that fishing vessels outline the perimeter of the reserve, which you can see from hundreds of miles away. objection number 5, title 15 bars the forest service from restricting hunting, dog deer hunting in mississippi, louisiana, arkansas. the aim is to allow for continued hunting of dear with dogs which is an extreme -- deer with dogs which is an extremely controversial practice which pits landowners with hunters. landowner complaints. this did not come from overzealous activists. it came from landowner complaints to the forest complaints to ban deer dog hunting. congress should let land manager manage lands. in this decision to ban hunting with dog with deer -- deer with dogs was necessary to create balance among multiple users of
4:30 pm
the forest and congress should respect that. objection number 6 is title 4 that creates the self-defense act. this bill would actually prohibit the army from developing or enforcing interregulation that prohibits an individual from possessing a firearm in recreational areas in areas by the army corps of engineers. it's hard to restrict that we'll restrict arm. it should be able to determine whether firearms are appropriate on the site. army land corps abuts family homes and other sites and we should not lightly permit access in places where an accidental shot could wind up on someone's back yard or in a sensitive location. accidental shots are real. a long time family friend, a west point graduate, a retired army colonel was sitting at his desk when a bullet, an accidental bullet came through the window, hit him in the back of the neck and he is a quadriplegic today. .
4:31 pm
objection seven is title 9, that change the successful program, the federal land transaction facilities act. on the natural resources committee we've heard much about -- from the majority, appropriately, about how beneed -- about how we need to deal with the incredible infrastructure deferred maintenance backlog that we have on lands that we own. basically that we shouldn't buy more until we take care of what we already have. this would allow the existing act to take 100% of the land from -- land transactions and spend it on deferred maintenance. this violates the whole original idea of the act, that we would sell federal land to get more federal land back. furthermore, it makes these expenditures subject to appropriation. so if we bring in x million dollars in land sold, we don't have to buy or even use that x million on new deferred maintenance, it could just go to wherever. i'm disappointed that this bipartisan land for land fltfa
4:32 pm
version, sportsmen and 155 groups have championed for decades isn't included in the share act today. objection eight, currently, this is title 6, currently over 75% of all federal lands open to hunting and fishing, but title six deems all bureau of land management and forest service land open for hunting unless it's closed by the head of the agency through a long closure process. right now that can be closed by local land managers. i find this a little ironic because so much of the theme from the majority is to move decision making back close to the communities that are actually affected. in this case they're moving it away from the communities and to washington, d.c. to close these lands. it also undermines the wilderness act, the national environmental policy act, the national wildlife refuge system administration's act. and finally, madam chair, objection number nine is trapping. the share act would dramatically expand the use of body gripping traps on federal public lands, including ensitive wilderness areas.
4:33 pm
it adds trapping to the definition of hunting. by then creating a presumption that all these federal public lands are open, millions of acres of land would be open to trapping. even under current law, roughly six million target animals are killed in traps every year, according to the association of fish and wildlife agencies. held in a painful leg hold trap, a beaver, a bobcat, a fox will try desperately to break free in the hours or days until they succumb to predators or death at the hands of trappers. traps are dangerous and they're indiscriminant. in snaring not only target animals, but threatened and endangered species, pets or even unsuspecting children and adults. leg hold traps have already been prohibited or severely restricted in nine u.s. states and over 80 countries. congress should be acting to protect the public and endangered species and pets from dangerous body gripping traps, not expanding their use into additional areas. and really, how can trapping be
4:34 pm
scribed as sportsman -- described as sportsmanlike think? reserve the balance of my time and yield to the gentleman from virginia. >> i'd like to yield three minutes to the gentleman from california, mr. mcclintock -- mr. mcclintock the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from is recognized for three minutes. mr. mcclintock: three overarching goals should guide our federal lands policy. first, to restore public access to the public lands. second, to restore sound and proven scientific management to the public lands. and finally, to restore the federal government as a good neighbor to the local communities impacted by the public lands. this measure does all three. it removes the arbitrary restrictions that are increasingly imposed on hunting and fishing by various federal agencies. it enlists sportsmen in long
4:35 pm
neglected management of overpopulated species and it gets more funds to states for recreational activities on public lands while encouraging greater participation by the public in developing these policies. outdoor sporting activities, including hunting and fishing and recreational shooting, are deeply engrained in the fabric of america's culture and heritage that are now under attack by the radical left. in 2011 over 37 million americans hunted or fished across the country. these traditional outdoor activities contributed over $90 billion to the u.s. economy in 2011, much of it in the gateway communities to our public lands. unfortunately federal agencies like the forest service and the b.l.m. often prevent or impede public access for outdoor sporting activities. this is a large and growing class of complaints that my office fields in a district that includes five national
4:36 pm
forests in california. one of the key provisions of this bill will increase and sustain access for hunting and fishing and recreational shooting on public lands by implementing an open until closed management policy. it also requires federal agencies to report to congress on any closures of federal lands to these pursuits and another provision would provide state and federal coordination to create and maintain recreational shooting ranges on the federal lands. this bill protects the property rights of those who have acquired ivory products and other trophies over generations, long before any of this hunting was banned, and often that are passed on down through the generations within a family. it does absolutely nothing to imperil the protected species under current law. the purpose of the public lands can be found in the original
4:37 pm
yosemite grant act of 1864. public use, resort and recreation for all time. the share act recognizes our nation's hunting and fishing heritage, it strengthens the fundamental right of the public use, it secures the vital role that recreational hunting and fishing play in resource management and it guarantees the freedom to sustain that heritage for the many generations of americans to come. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from virginia reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. beyer: i'd like to yield three minutes to my colleague from california, representative capps. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized for three minutes. mrs. capps: thank you to my colleague for yielding and, madam speaker, i rise in strong opposition to h.r. 2406. you know, this bill is being described as a simple package to support hunting and fishing on federal lands. for fishing and hunting to be
4:38 pm
sustained, it must be done with a mind toward conservation. unfortunately this bill fails to achieve this need and it threatens the very environment that supports the animals. and of course by doing so, it endangers the sustainability and long-term viability of hunting and fishing also. furthermore, this bill ignores scientifically based best practices, leaving these lands at risk. while there are numerous bad provisions in the bill, including allowing ill-advised i've i -- ivory and polar bear importation and preventing scientifically based regulations, this bill is particularly troubling because it limits federal management lead ammunition and fishing tackle. we hear every day about the dangers of lead and the devastating impacts of lead poisoning are not just restricted to people. i have seen these dangers firsthand as they are extremely apparent in my district on the central coast of california.
4:39 pm
as anyone from california knows, the california condor, the largest north american land bird and an iconic species along the central coast, was on the brink of extinction in large part due to lead poisoning. and a looming threat to the species remains. so we must stay vigilant. in fact, this danger is so imminent that published research shows that the species is unlikely to survive unless we continue to substantially reduce the threat of lead in the environment. the source of this lead is not a mystery. it is in large part the result of lead from hunting and fishing equipment. lead poisoning is a terrible and cruel way for any animal to die. and while the risk to condors is immediate, this risk is not limited in any way to this one species. continuing to pollute our lands
4:40 pm
and waters with lead ammunition and fishing tackle makes absolutely no sense. but the bill before us would keep the federal government from doing anything to address this issue. it is so dangerous and short-sighted. that's why i offered an amendment at the rules committee, which would have removed this dangerous language from the bill. but unfortunately we will not be able to fix this problem on the floor because my amendment has been blocked from vote. despite its name, the share act would do little good and a great deal of harm. this is a bad bill. and i urge my colleagues strenuously to oppose it. and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from virginia reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. >> thank you, madam chair. i yield two minutes to the gentleman from louisiana, mr. scalise. the chair: the gentleman from louisiana is recognized for two minutes. mr. scalise: thank you, madam chair. i want to thank my friend from virginia for yielding and for
4:41 pm
his leadership in bringing the share act forward. i rise in strong support of this legislation, that protects the rights of sportsmen, protects the rights of gun owners. i'm proud to come from louisiana which is called the sportsman's paradise. we have great traditions of hunting and fishing throughout our state. if you look at the barrage of regulations that have come out from this administration over the years, it's a -- it's attacked so many different fundamentals aspects of our society, so many of the things that make our country great. and of course the right to hunt and fish. it's something that's not only a fundamental right for people but it's something that brings families together. it's one of the great that depigses that we love to share -- traditions that we love to share with our traditions. our parents brought us hunting and fishing. yet you look at some of the regulations coming out of these federal agencies today and it's actually undermining those rights. and what this bill is targeted at is restoring those rights. to make sure. for example, when you have agencies like the corps of engineers that are trying to
4:42 pm
arbitrarily shut off lands for the ability to people to go hunt, they shouldn't be able to do that. and in fact under this legislation they won't be able to continue doing that. no unelected bureaucrat should be able to limit the rights of law-abiding citizens. something else we've seen, madam chair, is the environmental protection agency. unfortunately an agency we hear a lot about around this town, that's out there threatening jobs, taking away the ability for people to do things that are important to their everyday life. well, the e.p.a.'s been threatening to ban lead ammo. and tackle. in this bill, we block the e.p.a. from being able to ban lead ammo. again, this is something that's fundamental to our right. right to enjoy the fruits of our land. there are over 50 sports organizations that are supporting this legislation. i just want to read from the national riffle association's institute for legislative action. the share act would give law-abiding gun owners more access to carry firearms on
4:43 pm
lands managed by the army corps of engineers, protect lead-based ammunition and promote the construction and maintenance of public target ranges. so, madam chair, it's important legislation, i encourage all of our colleagues to support it and pass it over to the senate. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from virginia reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. beyer: i'd like to yield three minutes to my colleague from minnesota, representative walz. the chair: the gentleman from minnesota is recognized for three minutes. mr. walz: i thank you. i rise in support of the share act. thank my co-chair on the sportsman's caucus for his work on this bill. we as a nation are blessed with an abundance of opportunities in the outdoors. like so many, i take advantage of them. hiking, biking, and hunting and fishing. and for those who do participate in hunting and fishing, it truly is a passion, it's a way of life, it's a heritage that we share with our parents. i don't think there's one of us that participate in it that
4:44 pm
doesn't remember a crisp morning waking up with my father and cooking breakfast and going out to the field with the dew on the grass and the sun coming up. to this day i don't remember if we necessarily got a pheasant but i remember my dad and i remember talking about it. and it was on that -- those trips that i think we understood, hunting and fishing as a way of life is not in a vacuum. hunting and fishing in minnesota, 1.7 million minnesotans participate in hunting and fishing. that contributes $3 billion to our economy and creates 48,000 direct jobs. if you take that across the nation, it's $90 billion a year to our economy. and that's not in a vacuum either. because we have a really unique system of conservation in this country, user pays and public benefits. every shell and cart raj that's purchased -- cartridge that's purchased has an excise tax in it that goes back into the conservation. people who are hunting and fishing understand as well as anyone, if you don't have the proper habitat, you don't have the fess abilities. so organizations like i belong
4:45 pm
to, fess abilities forever, has literally put in all of the money and leveraged this to turn back tens of thousands of acres in the prairie back to virgin prairie that are now abundant with game for people to take advantage of. those are the types of things that make sense. i understand the concerns that the gentleman expressed. i understand that this is not a perfect bill. but i can tell you that it's been worked on for a long time, it is a starting point, there's a realization and an understanding that we have to compromise on issues, we're going to have to work with the senate and we have to get this in front of the president. but i think most of us agree, our goal on this is to allow americans to continue to have their constitutional rights and their ability to do those ax tiff -- those activities they want, whether that be hiking, mountain biking, hunting or fishing. and at the same time making sure that there's an economic engine in it that contributes to the ability to keep those lands up. so i ask my friends, approach it with an open mind. understand that this is truly
4:46 pm
deeply engained in this culture. there are commonalities here. we have the same goals to make sure these are available for our children and if we can come together and work on this, we have to make this first step. we're becoming a more populated country, there's less opportunities for people to get on there, many people are not landowners themselves so the public lands are the only place these activities can take place and there is enough out there if we manage it right that we can share the land as the act says, -- we can do those activities that mean a lot to us and we can continue for future generations. i encourage my colleagues to support this piece of legislation and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. . mr. wittman: thank you, madam chair. i'd like to yield to the chairman of the natural resources kentucky, mr. bishop, three minutes. the chair: the gentleman from utah is recognized for three minutes. mr. bishop: i'd like to thank mr. wittman and mr. walz for
4:47 pm
working with our committee to protect hunting and shooting hair damages. you know, one of the things i, as well as many of my colleagues here hear repeatedly from our constituents that the complaint that land management agencies have blocked access to federal lands. and that especially goes for hunters and anglers and target shooters. our national monuments alone, those national monuments have already closed 928,000 acres to hunting and recreational shooting and most of those areas are unfortunately easily accessible. you don't have to walk miles to try to get to them. there are some across -- there are some who condemn this by saying, well, the vast majority of public lands are still open for hunting and shooting and the problem is the proximity, the ones that are being closed are those easily accessible, especially those that live in urban areas, those that don't have to go miles and miles to do it. the bureau of land management make no impact on closing lands
4:48 pm
to shooters or anglers. they don't identify what the -- where the displaced recreationists are being able to go, how far they have to travel, what kind of access will be available to them. at the minimum, this bill forces them to take that into consideration. i wish it was tougher language that would force them to make some kind accommodation but at least for the first time they're actually going to consider those issues. because hunting and fishing and shooting are part of the multiple use mandate for our public lands. i want to also make a couple points very clear. language in title 4 that deals with this -- this bill that deals with the army corps lands allows law-abiding american citizens to carry firearms on army corps recreational lands. the army corps is not the army. there is a difference between the two. we are not talking about military lands but recreational lands and what this does is make these recreational lands owned by the army corps of engineers compliant and parallel to the laws we have
4:49 pm
for the forest service as well as for b.l.m. and the park service as it deals with carrying weapons as long as they are in compliance with state and federal law. this is a s thinks hunting issue. it is not. it does make it consistent. i want to make two final points here. the national resource -- natural resource committee strongly encourages the bureau of land management and the u.s. forest service to develop agencywide policies in consultation with the wildlife hunting heritage conservation council and the sports, fishing and boating partnership council that reflects the intent of this act. these policies should ensure that there is more access to america's federal lands for hunting, fishing and recreational shooting. these councils represent the interests and needs of sports men and women who depend upon access of federal lands for outdoor sporting activities. i will also be reaching out to the bureau of land management
4:50 pm
and the forest service for regular updates on the progress made in developing these policies within 30 days of each respective council meeting. madam chairman, i appreciate the time and your compliance in understanding both what is good for this bill. i yield back what i don't have. the chair: the gentleman from virginia reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. beyer: thank you, madam chair. i yield four minutes to my colleague from oregon, representative blumenauer. the chair: the gentleman from oregon is recognized for four minutes. mr. blumenauer: thank you, madam chairman. i appreciate the gentleman's courtesy in allowing me speak on this bill. i, too, am a passionate advocate of outdoor recreation and understand the importance of protecting some of our nation's most pristine places. my constituents enjoy hunting and fishing and involved in exploring the great outdoors. that's why it's unfortunate
4:51 pm
that what we have before us today is a piece of legislation that is unduly partisan and special interest-oriented and not speaking in terms of things that could have brought us together in something that could have been a love fest. why aren't we making a permanent re-authorization of the land and water conservation fund and making sure that it's funded? yesterday, we had hundreds and hundreds of women from the fed rated garden club of america. -- feder ated garden club of america. just one more group for -- who enjoy what the land and water conservation law represents. instead we're veering off. we're in the process now of having legislation in this bill that does pose serious problems in terms of environmental protections. i will give one specific example in terms of what's
4:52 pm
happening in the area of ivory. voters in washington recently voted overwhelmingly to ban on a state level traffic in ivory. you're going to see in my state of oregon this fall an initiative is going to be approved that's going to close loopholes in terms of allowing trade in my state for ivory. this has nothing to do with grandma's anteing piano or somebody that's got an ivory handled pistol that's been in the family for years. we have a thriving international trade in ivory that is resulting in the destruction of the species. we're losing 100 elephants a day. 100 elephants a day. at the rate we are going, by the end of the decade -- within 10 years, there will be no more wild african elephants.
4:53 pm
the trade in ivory fuels some of the most heinous acts by some of the most vicious people in the world. terrorists use these funds for their horrific activities, particularly in sub-saharan africa. poisoning wells so that animals are dying by the dozens. cking off the tusks of -- at that site. we have to stop the trade of ivory. the united states is the second largest destination. we have china that is finally stepping up and working with us. this is something that we shouldn't make it harder for the united states to crack down on ivory trade. there's no reason for a civilized society to continue trade in things like ivory tusks and products. it enables this black market to
4:54 pm
continue. people will find their way into it, and we will continue to slaughter elephants every single day. what we should be doing is not restricting what the federal government is doing. we should tighten it further, like we will do in the state of oregon. i find it a little frustrating that people are talking about protecting traditional ammunition and fishing lure. there are some people that might say in flint, michigan, using lead in the pipes is a traditional way of plumbing. we figured out that traditional mechanism is actually poisoning people. there are alternatives to using lead-based and -- may have i 30 more seconds? mr. beyer: madam chair, i yield my companion another minute. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. blumenauer: there are in fact alternatives if what you want to do is kill animals with guns. don't need to do lead-based
4:55 pm
ammunition which ends up in the environment. you're p not what killing. it doesn't go away. it persists and it adds to lead pollution. there is no reason that we can't make changes in these policies that we know are destructive, that we know there are viable alternatives that actually protect the environment. as people work through this legislation and hear from animal welfare groups, sports people, environmentalists and look at the problems that are associated with it, it's not a consensus bipartisan bill. it is an approach that actually leads us in the wrong direction. it's not rational. it's not popular. it's not based on sound policy, and i strongly urge its rejection. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired.
4:56 pm
the gentleman from virginia reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. wittman: thank you, madam chair. i'd like to respond just briefly to the gentleman's remarks concerning ivory. if you look at the current state of regulatory efforts by the u.s. fish and wildlife, it would actually make it much, much more difficult for those nations that have sustainable elephant populations from managing them and it would actually encourage more poaching. we want to make sure that we allow the legal trade of legally harvested elephants, and in doing that, that makes sure that african nations can put in place sustainable programs for the harvest of elephants where there are overpopulations to make sure we have the wherewithal to put people on the ground to stop poaching. this is a sustainable effort, i believe, that is critical, and these regulations will actually stop that. so i'd like to point that out. at this point i'd like to yield two minutes to the gentleman from michigan, mr. benishek. the chair: the gentleman from michigan is recognized for two
4:57 pm
minutes. mr. benishek: thank you, madam chair. i rise today in support of h.r. 2406, the sportsmens heritage and recreational enhancement act of 2015, or the share act. madam chairman, this legislation is vital to ensuring that federal agencies, like the u.s. forest service, and the bureau of land management can no longer continue to prevent or deny full access to federal lands for activities like hunting, fishing and recreational shooting. access to public federal lands for these heritage activities is not only an important part of our shared american value, it's also a significant contributor to national, state and local economies. in 2011 in the state of michigan alone, over 1.9 million hunters and anglers spent over $4.8 billion hunting and fishing. to put this in perspective, spending by sports men and women in michigan generates over $576 million in state and local taxes each year.
4:58 pm
that's enough to support the average salary of over 10,000 police officers. madam chairman, when i was a kid, my family owned a small hotel and bar. i worked making beds, filling ice buckets, hauling beer to save for college. and our business depended on hunters in the fall and winter and fishermen in the summer. without those sportsmen, we would have no small business. there are small businesses like this all over northern michigan and across america today. there are also grandparents, parents and children all across the country excited for their next hunting and fishing adventure. that's why we must make sure that we do everything possible to ensure access to public lands for hunting, fishing and recreational shooting on public lands for all americans, including future generations to come. madam chairman, i urge my colleagues to support the share act, and i yield the remainder of my time.
4:59 pm
the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from virginia reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. beyer: madam chair, i'd like to yield three minutes to my friend from texas, representative jackson lee. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized for three minutes. ms. jackson lee: i thank the gentleman from virginia for his leadership, mr. beyer, and the service that he's given to this congress. we're so delighted to have him join us. i thank the manager, his colleague out of virginia, mr. wittman, as well. but let me -- coming from texas and knowing many of those who seek recreational hunting, shing and participation on lands, private and federal, you know, you wonder whether or not we could have found a way to deal with the concerns of our friends of whom i support, environmental groups, humane society and just a litany of
5:00 pm
individuals from the alaska wilderness league, alliance for the rockies, endangered species coalition, environmental investigation agency and tional society, kentucky heartwood and just a whole array of individuals which i'll offer into the record at another time but yet this bill comes and specifically interferes with what i believe is the important protection, if you will, of managers of items that impact our wilderness. this bill undermines the national refuge act. it blocks the rule to restrict trade in elephant ivory and elephants being slaughtered. and adds trapping practices to the legal definition of hunting
5:01 pm
and does not include a long-term of land and water conservation fund, a high priority for hunters and andlers. couldn't we have found some common ground and supporting legislation that my amendment on polar bears that will impact, that the wealthy trophy hunters have full knowledge of the pending rule. 41 polar bears were killed when the fish and wildlife service listed a rule. the polar bears are vulnerable and not yet under the endangered species act, but they are vulnerable. we have individuals who want to seek to utilize the loophole. that is my opposition to this legislation is that it does not find a balance. what it does do is put our animals in jeopardy, animals
5:02 pm
that make for the ecosystem in a positive way. i would ask my colleagues to go back to the drawing boards and come forward with a bill that actually protects animals, allows sport, but does not undermine the ecosystem and undermine the structure of protecting animals and certainly in the memory of cecil, continue to kill our species of polar bears just to have trophies. i ask for opposition to this bill and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. wittman: i yield two minutes to the the gentleman from ohio, mr. gibbs. mr. gibbs: i rise today in support of the sportsman heritage enhancement act, title 4 of the bill which includes the legislation to preserving and expanding the second amendment rights of law-abiding.
5:03 pm
campers and hikers and sportsman who are legally allowed to possess a firearm on land operated by the national park service and the fish and wildlife service. unfortunately, this law left millions of acres overseen by the u.s. america corps of gears closed who want to arm and protect themselves. millions of americans camp, hike and hunt on federal lands and ften in. peace of mind and the ability to protect themselves. the army corps of engineers interpretation of the law preempts preventing americans even if someone is permitted by the state to carry a firearm they cannot do it on the acres or camping at one of the camp sites. title 4 will prevent the corps
5:04 pm
from carrying a firearm as long as they are not prohibited from owning a firearm and it is in compliance with the state they are located in. this title will provide clarity for hunters, campers and hikers who want to protect themselves who want to bear arms. i thank congressman wittman and including the self-defense act in the underlying bill. . support the share act the chair: the gentleman from irginia is recognized. the chair: gentleman has 2 1/2 minutes. mr. wittman: i yield such time as he may consume to the
5:05 pm from ohio such mr. latta: mr. chairman, i rise today in support of h.r. 2406, the share act, passage of this bill will increase opportunities and reduce regulatory burdens for all sportsmen and women. i want to highlight two provisions. this legislation will authorize the wildlife and hunting hers teage council which will be an advisory board to the departments of interior and agriculture on policies that affect resources. hunters maintain an advisory role. this legislation will provide levels of certainty and stability necessary to ensure the accountability to engage in assisting the federal government in implementing long-term solutions that are necessary to
5:06 pm
address policy issues important to sportsmen and women. the legislation directs the secretaries to create a new permit that authorizes a crew of five or fewer people to film on federal lands and waterways at an a.m. cost of $200. aside of this fee no fees may be added to that time. we want to improve regulation between smaller crews and on public lands. the financial burden is too great and limits their ability to access our national parks. as the former co-chairman and a co-sponsor of the share act, this legislation will serve to the betterment of current and uture generations of hunters and outdoors men and women.
5:07 pm
i urge the passage of the share act and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. beyer: i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. wittman: in closing, i would like to thank the co-chairs of the congressional sportsman caucus, mr. wittman and mr. walz or putic this together and our opposition comes from the radical left, the hunters and fishermen are not democrats or republicans. representative mcclintock and chairman bishop talked about the 928,000 acres which are closed now. that seems like a big number and perhaps there should be movement on that. should those decisions be made by state and local land managers
5:08 pm
or moved to washington, d.c., to the head of b.l.m.? i think it's weird that in this body we are moving things to washington. in fact, in the hearing that we have on chairman bishop's re-authorization, much of it was moving the decisions back to states and local governments and perhaps opening up the 928,000 acres with more input. on iffery and trafficking, we had a good conversation about how which don't want it to address heirlooms have been in the families. we are looking at preventing trafficking. every 15 minutes every day, an elephant is killed. i would love to explore the economic argument that this ivory rool rule will make it more endangered.
5:09 pm
representative scalise talked about it being hostile to hunting and fishing. hard to silly think it is a radical leftist organization. but this is not the legislation to do it. many of these provisions will be dead on arrival in the senate. if it passes as it is likely to do, i'm looking forward to working with representative wittman and walz to get a good bipartisan bill at the end of the day that we can support the hunters and fishermen. i yield back. mr. wittman: i thank the gentleman from virginia for his perspectives and the good conversation to try to find common ground that we are supporting the great outdoors and the sportsmen and women and i thank for his efforts. and at this point, i would like to yield as much time as he may
5:10 pm
consume to mr. duncan. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. duncan: thank you for your leadership on this issue as the vice chair of the congressional sportsmen caucus, i would like o commend representative wittman and ranking member. the caucus is the largest bipartisan caucus by offering solutions that expand the joys of hunting, andling as well as shooting sports and access to public land and all the great outdoors. our goal is to be the voice of sports men and women who treasure this unique feature of american heritage. the share act is supported by leading organizations, make it a bipartisan win for the experts men and women of america. it includes hunting and fishing
5:11 pm
recreational protection act, the target practice and marksmanship act and the hunter protection act. these along with other conservation provisions will strengthen americans. most important to our role leaders in the caucus is the remote policies that bring potential hunters, andlers and shooters into the community. sports men and women are leading contributors to the conservation of the great american outdoors. as a sidebar i ask folks to research the contribution that hunters make in the whole african elephant goal because the lack of the hunter in that equation means there is more poaching and that will be detrimental to the african elephant and detrimental to
5:12 pm
those who want to protect that. i request your support to ensure we can protect this sacred institution of the american heritage. with that, i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. beyer: i thank the gentleman from from south carolina for his leadership. i would like to insert for the record. mr. wittman: and exchanges of letters from different committees, judiciary, transportation, infrastructure and ways and means and thank them for scheduling this bill for consideration by the house today. the chair: it will be covered by general leave. mr. wittman: i yield myself such time as i may consume. we have heard a lot of good efforts in wanting so assure our experts men and women have access to federal proper
5:13 pm
properties to make sure they can enjoy the outdoor sports. it's about clarifying to make sure it's the legislative body that does the directing, not the bureaucrats and there is a balance there. we hear from our constituents about what they feel what need to happen with their land. this land belongs to the taxpayers and we must find responsible ways to make sure there is access to that land for everyone. i want to make sure we do that. this bill achieves that. we want to make sure their voices are heard. many times from the side of these agencies, they will consider comments that many times the comments aren't included. this assures that congress has a role in defining what those opportunities are. and i can't believe or i can't help but believe that everyone here is in favor of making sure that their voices are heard and opportunities exist across all
5:14 pm
these federal lands for our our sports men and women. all of us are against stopping the trafficking, the illegal trafficking of ivory. i think there are thoughtful ways to inhibt that. and? areas where there is overpopulation, the dollars are used to support local populations in that area of villages. none of that animal is wasted. the fees that are collected for hunters are put into stopping the poping effort there. i think those are sustainable models to ensure that populations continue in those areas and we have the ability and resources in africa to stop those efforts by poachers. i think sustainable hunting is a way to do that and any way impeding the flow of riferey doesn't allow us to do that.
5:15 pm
and simple and straightford of owners of riferery to own that especially those that are family heirlooms and not go through a bureaucratic process to prove that something is yours that has been passed down where you may not have documentation to do that. these efforts the u.s. fish and wild life agencies are making it difficult for individuals and families to demonstrate that. let's make that process easy and get at the issue with the illegally harvested ivory that is coming out of the united states. we talked about the access elements and 99% of our ocean waters are open to fishing, to recreational fishing. but remember the entire ocean is different in its habitat. fish live in certain areas. i would argue that the 1% that is being closed off, many times
5:16 pm
is the most productive habitats. so if you were to say, don't worry about it, you can hunt the entire sahara desert, that wouldn't mean much. and don't hold the habitat that allow fish to live in those areas also doesn't keep in mind making sure fishermen have access to the place where fish live. 1%. s clear versus 99% and . it's about making the opportunity for those that hunt and use and the outdoors. i am in full support of lwcf. i'm in full sport of nawca. i think we ought to re-authorize those pieces of legislation. there are mechanisms to do that. the vast majority of folks on our natural resources committee
5:17 pm
and congress wants to see that happening. the difficulty in taking one bill and adding a bunch of different element to it -- i believe they deserve their own level of attention what we do in re authorizing those bills. i think folks outside the 90 square miles of washington look at us and say, you know, why are you putting those other elements in a bill instead of debating them individually? i think we can put too much into a piece of legislation where it becomes confusing and it doesn't get after the true purpose behind the original bill. we tried to put together pieces that were similar in scope but didn't include other areas that really deserve their own level of debate. so that's the reason that lwcf and nawca was left out of this, not to say we shouldn't address those, but by understanding we have a responsibility to try to keep these packages of bills as simple and straightforward as we can. also when we talk about lead, remember that the lead we talk about are in things like fishing sinkers.
5:18 pm
remember, they're used in water. the gentlelady from california talked about the issue with california condores. well, they are not an aquatic bird. i don't think we would have them get a hold of these sinkers. and then bullets. there are a few instances where they might have injection with the california condor. but the vast majority of shooting sports are put together in legal ranges where the lead ends up in the ground. it ends up in the ground in a shooting range. remember, that's the exact area where it came from. it does indeed decay. it does indeed break down. those things are legal and i think environmentally responsible ways that lead is used in both hunting and fishing. let's not stop those efforts. i want to make sure those things happen. if there are specific issues related to the california condor, i think we should address that. but the cart blanche, one-size-fits-all effort to get
5:19 pm
rid of lead in hunting and fishing doesn't get at those root issues and it creates unnecessary burdens on folks that are using those in a legal way, in a way that doesn't affect our fish and wildlife population. so i want to make sure those things continue. i do believe that there are many more areas of agreement and disagreement on this bill. i think we have talked to folks on many aspects of this. it is different in its scope with the senate bill. i look forward to its successful passage out of this house and for our ability to bring it to a conference committee in the senate and to work through those particular differences between the house and the senate bill. so with that, mr. chairman, i would urge all of my colleagues to support h.r. 2406, the share act, and with that i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the time for general debate has expired. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. wittman: mr. speaker, i do
5:20 pm
request the committee rise. the chair: the question is on if the committee rises. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is adopted. accordingly, the committee rises. speaker, the committee having had under consideration h.r. 2406 directs me to report it has come to no resolution thereon. the speaker pro tempore: the chair of the committee of the whole house on the state of the union reports that the committee has had under consideration h.r. 2406 and has come to no resolution thereon. the chair will now entertain requests for one-minute speeches. the gentleman from pennsylvania . >> i ask unanimous consent to
5:21 pm
address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. >> mr. speaker, i rise today in remembrance of the soldiers of the 14th quarter master detachment of the united states army reserve who were killed or wounded in their barracks by an iraqi scud missile attack in saudi arabia during operation desert shield and operation doesered storm in 1991 on this date. mr. rothfus: the soldiers of the pennsylvania army reserve served with bravery and honor in operation desert shield and operation desert storm and they will forever make western pennsylvania proud. they were deployed to saudi arabia during this campaign. these brave men and women were supporting operations to liberate the people of kuwait. even though 13 of these soldiers gave their lives 25 years ago today, another 43 were wounded. the impact of their sacrifice and their loss has not faded and will not be forgotten. we owe these soldiers and their families a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid and
5:22 pm
sympathize with the pain endured by those they left behind. may god bless them. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from tennessee seek recognition? mr. cohen: 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. cohen: thank you, mr. speaker. we're nearing the end of black history month. we have a special program yesterday recognize really foot soldiers of the civil rights movement. it reminded me a man who's a foot soldier up here in washington, wade henderson. wade henderson is the president and c.e.o. of the leadership conference on civil and human rights and the leaders of conference education fund. he announced he's going to be retiring after 20 years at the head of that organization at the end of this year. wade henderson has worked with democrats and republicans to bring about change in our country. he was largely responsible for work on the voting rights act when it passed and had been working on trying to get it renewed in this congress. he worked in a major way on the fairness and sentencing act that took away the disparity of
5:23 pm
crack and cocaine sentences that was wrongful. before he came to his position, he was active in the naacp here in washington where he was the bureau director and he worked on the aclu and other groups on civil and human rights. when wade henderson came to the capitol, he was a voice of conscience. he and hillary shelton, together with the naacp, are two of the most conscientious men i know. they served this country well. i will appreciate him in his retirement. he's a foot soldier and i thank you for your service. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from washington seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask permission 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. reichert: -- mr. newhouse: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise to recognize the efforts of an incredible breakthrough in humanity's understanding of the universe. the first detection of the existence of gravitational waves. gravitational waves are invisible ripples in the fabric
5:24 pm
of space time. albert einstein theorized their existence 100 years ago as part of his theory of general relativity. after more than a decade of work by researchers at two identical on servetories, one in louisiana and another -- observatories, one in louisiana and another located in my district, einstein's existence of gravitational waves has direct evidence as scientific fact. on february 11, the laser gravitational wave observatory, or lago, scientific collaboration officially confirmed that the world's most sensitive instruments at these observatories had detected gravitational waves for the first time. the gravitational wave detected by the team was the result of the collision of two black holes, 1.3 billion years ago. congratulations to my constituents and the entire lago team on their historic discovery, which will continue
5:25 pm
to add to the scientific understanding of the universe for generations. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. poe: 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. mr. poe: mr. speaker, benjamin franklin said those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. a federal judge now has ordered that apple take an unprecedented step developing a back door key for an iphone. the software that the government is demanding does not exist. it would have to be created from scratch. the government wants the golden key to crack this phone, such a key could be used to crack all other phones in the future. giving a master key for the government to access any phone of any citizen at anytime without their knowledge violates the right of privacy.
5:26 pm
americans' constitutional right of privacy is under attack by the spying eyes of a powerful government. my legislation, h.r. 2233, surveillance of americans act, specifically prohibits the government from either mandating or requesting that a back door key be installed in the private phones of citizens. mr. speaker, privacy must not be sacrificed on the alter of temporary safety and false security. and that's just the way it is. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from north dakota seek recognition? mr. cramer: 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. speaker, i rise to pay tribute to a hero. fargo police officer jason mozer. while in the army national guard, he was deployed as a combat medic to bosnia and iraq. he joined the fargo police
5:27 pm
department in 2009. in 2012 he and a fellow officer were awarded the department's silver star medal for rescuing two children from an apartment fire. on the night of february 10, officer mozer responded to a domestic disturbance, putting himself in danger to help others. something he had done many times. on this night, however, gunshots were fired and a bullet struck officer mozer, causing a fatal wound. he died the next afternoon but not before one last heroic act. it is reported at least five people, ages 26 to 61, are being helped thanks to his donated organs. i thank our u.s. capitol police officers for their service to us every day. i especially thank officer andy mabel who traveled to fargo to represent the capitol police and the national memorial committee, which he chairs. andy lent his expertise to the fargo p.d. and planters as -- planners as they prepared for a fellow officer's funeral, an event that had not occurred in fargo in over 130 years. god bless all the men and women
5:28 pm
who wear the badge and god bless the memory of officer mozer. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? mr. carter: 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. carter: mr. speaker, i rise today to remember a true civil servant and my friend, representative bob bryant, who died this morning. over his lifetime, representative bryant's professional career included a variety of services in different areas. he began his career serving two years in south vietnam and 10 years as an army recruiter before retiring in 1982. he then worked five years as general manager for a local radio station, spent time as office manager to a local law firm and worked 13 years for the city of savannah, where he retired in 2001. after 40 years of service to his community, he was not done when he was elected to the
5:29 pm
georgia house of representatives in 2004 and was currently serving his 12th year. i will always remember representative bryant as he and i worked together to pass our first pieces of legislation in the georgia house, over a decade ago. i can truly say that he was beloved by his constituents and colleagues alike. i am deeply saddened by the loss of my friend and colleague. i wish to extend my condolences to his family. he will be missed. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house the following personal request. the clerk: leave of absence requested for mr. cooper of tennessee for today and tomorrow. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the request is granted. under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2015, the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. murphy, is recognized for 60 minutes as designee of the majority leader. mr. murphy: thank you, mr.
5:30 pm
speaker. before i begin, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. murphy: thank you. count.aker, let i call it the y last year in 2015 in the united states there was 41,000 suicide deaths in this country. 45,000 deaths from drug overdoses. 1200 homicides from people who are mentally ill and half of deadly police encounters occurred with someone who is mentally ill. there are unknown mentally ill who die 25 years sooner. about one person per day in los angeles a day who is homeless and 200,000 homeless in this country who are mentally ill.
5:31 pm
it is a sad case in my numbers, but if you add them up, even the most conservative version of 85,000 deaths last year related to mental illness, but it is ore that have died from mental illness-related problems than the u.s. combat problems than korean and vietnam wars combined. that is sobering. it is worse because we could prevent a large number of these mental illness problems. we could save those from their early demise and their families. but the federal government is the problem. let me lay out this evening as we have this special order some of the particular problems that we have. in particular, for those who are low income, medicaid itself is one of the biggest diss krim natureors.
5:32 pm
first consider this. 5% of medicaid recipients have mental illness like schizophrenia and severe depression. 31% of those on s.s.i. have mental illness. and those with social security disability have serious mental illness. and 2.6 of the general population. look at how much higher those numbers are among the poor. mentally ill people are three times to be low income as a result of their mental illness and many as a result of being poor. poverty and homelessness are associated with serious mental illness and both are associated with inadequate preventtive care. here are some ways that medicaid makes it harder.
5:33 pm
first of all there is a rule called the same-day-doctor rule. take a family member, they are told they have to come back another day. that is a serious problem, because when you have the handoff, you have 95% return versus less than half that they have to come back another day and treatment is the key to getting better. 16-bed rule which says if the hospital has more than 16 beds and between ages of 22 and 64, we aren't paying for it. the problem with that, it is diagnosed before the age of 14 and the very time when problems are emerging when someone may have their first crisis, they are told there will be no room. only 45% of medicaid recipients
5:34 pm
ith schizophrenia get evidence -based care. and listen to this statistic. 92% of low-income children and foster children are prescribed drugs off label, that are drugs that are not approved by f.d.a. according to h.h.s. inspector germ's report and many are done without clinical justification. the homeless with schizophrenia have a rate of hopization almost twice as high as others. and and don't adhere. they need assistance and half of chronic e at least two health conditions such as pulmonary disease, and these folks are in poor health.
5:35 pm
so what happens is those with serious mental illness have compromised symptoms and we don't have a place to treat them. we used to have 550,000 psychiatric beds. but during that same time the population climbed from 150 million to 00 million. where do people go? sadly, whether it is acute or chronic, 200,000 of our homeless are mentally ill. 28% of them get some of their food out of a garbage can. we have a large portion of those with mental illness who fill our prison. because when we close our psychiatric hospitals. we traded a hospital bed for the prison cannot, a blanket over a ubway great great or a slab in
5:36 pm
some morgue. the incarceration rate is 16% of the population. 60% of the incarcerated may have some level of mental illness. what happens in the area of violence? well, in general, people with mental illness are no more violent, but when untreated, they are 16 times more likely to be perpetrators of violence. as i said, 1,000 homicides a year and we have no idea of how many are victims of crime. so what happens if a person with mental illness is not treated? the longer the person waits, the longer it takes for a person's illness to come into remission. the greater their improvement. it means it would cost less.
5:37 pm
delusions and hallucinations increase the longer treatment is withheld. the cost of schizophrenia far coronary t of disease. the direct cost of direct serious mental illness in this country are $55 bill i don't knowion and there is added cost of primary care and the cost of treating other medical problems and the deinstitution nationalation. such that while our country has made great strides in heart , wetch seen to uge increases in drug overdose deaths. as a nation, we should be
5:38 pm
ashamed. we should be ashamed if we do nothing about this. that requires a great deal. we need to do something, about half of them are not come plipet and don't adhere to the medication and medical problems get worse and medicaid bills get higher. half of those with serious mental illness have two or more chronic conditions and it gets worse for them. there are several things we must do. and tonight we are going to hear from members of congress and we are go to go talk about the number of issues and what we must do. and i yield six minutes to the the gentleman from washington, dr. mcdermott. you, mr. ott: thank speaker. i want to first begin by saying my acknowledgement of
5:39 pm
congressman murphy. he's taken on an extremely difficult issue and it takes courage to bring that kind of issue to the floor of the house. more than half of a million americans continue to fall through the cracks of a broken and outdated system. and as congress begins this consideration on how to address this national crisis, it's important we take some stock of history. prior to the 1960's, commitment was based on a middle model where two physicians made a determination that a patient needed treatment. i did that in seattle. but when the first attempt to mental health reform began in the 1960's in california, it signaled from the medical model to the legal model. ronald reagan was interested in reducing the population of the
5:40 pm
mental hospitals in california. the result was an act in the california assembly. this act set a new standard making it increasing difficult. that are standard was that a patient must be suicidal, homicidal or greatly disabled. greatly disabled meaning they can't take care of their basic needs. i moved to california in 19678 after that bill was passed to serve as the chief where i saw servicemen and women and their families. for two years i was in california and i almost had no success in getting civil commitments for people that i thought was suicidal. i was overruled by state employees to evaluate the need for civil commitment. the pressure was so great on
5:41 pm
them and the court system that it was nearly impossible to get anyone in a secure facility. the hospitals were quickly emptied. and thousands of mentally disabled people went out on the streets. at the same time, in congress, the mental health center movement was taking hold. the act was signed into law in 196 . the bill promised adequate funding to go to mental health centers to treat these patients on an outpatient basis. the political reality resulted in insufficient money going to them and led to more patients wandering the streets in need of treatment. when i fin ird my time in the military and went back to washington state, i went to the legislature and saw a similar movement was occurring in my
5:42 pm
state remembering what happened in california, i argued against changing that commitment standard and the majority ruled and a similar law was passed. we closed one of the three hospitals with the assurance that the money we saved with closing that hospital would go to the mental health centers. we saved $11 million. $ million went to the health centers. the streets and the cities of the city of washington saw homeless people lying on the streets. as a result, some of the most vulnerable patients were left without a support structure. many became homeless or were imprisoned. we simply replaced hospital beds with hospital beds. right now there are 10 times more mentally ill patients in jails and prison than in state
5:43 pm
hospitals. roll the clock forward, 1979, i was the jail psychiatrist in king county which was the second highest in the state. i had over 200 patients every day who belonged in treatment and not in jail. this was a tremendous cost in our society. washington is no different than anywhere else you go in this country. it has a human and financial cost. the average cost in a jail is $22,000 a year. for a mentally ill patient who is a prisoner, the cost is more than double, $55,000 a year. cost 20 times more to imprison a mentally ill patient. these statistics are deplorable.
5:44 pm
there are some places that have done things on their own and made efforts on how they care for their patients. in illinois, two young people died. the sheriff said i'm going to do what they are doing in the angel program. he made the statement to the community. anybody who is addicted to heroin or opioidses, come in and we won't you, we will treat you. 27 people showed up in that jail. he said, amazingly, another thing happened. the jail was empty because crime went down dramatically. most of those people were out committing crimes to buy drugs. this program encouraged those to go to the police to be not prosecuted. since then many individuals have
5:45 pm
had effected treatment. we need to treat it as a diseased state and not as a criminal offense or a moral failure. the same is true with mental illness. a bill would go a long way to that effort. now, out on the floor, we pause for a moment of silence, some awful things happen some place in this country, in my city, 25 cities across this country and we stand here for one minute and commemorate the tragedy with a moment of silence. after that pause we do nothing. virtually all mentally ill patients are more likely to be victims of violent crimes rather than perpetrators and we must recognize there are tragic situations that can be prevented with treatment and early intervention. i understand. i've been involved in this my
5:46 pm
whole professional life that the most contentious issue is whether or not the society has a right to detain a citizen and treat them in the most medically effective way. many fear a return to the indeterminant confinement of people in the 1960's. i saw that in chicago when i was in medical school. none of us want to see that happen. not me, most of all, but certainly no one on this floor wants that to happen in society. but the balance between personal liberty and the needs of a society is a challenging one to strike. and difficult as it may be, we have to rise to that challenge. that's why i commend congressman murphy for bringing it out here and beginning the debate that ought to go on in this society. if a mentally ill person is a danger to a person or
5:47 pm
themselves, they need to commit that person long enough for the treatment to take effect. we need to listen to those who know the patient best. in many cases, it's not their doctor. we often hear stories from families who've tried desperately to get treatment for their loved ones or from police officers who have tried desperately to get treatment for people. we as doctors can't possibly make the best assessment without hearing from family, friends and those who live with patients and play an integral role in their life. giving patients and families the help they need will dramatically improve and even save lives. that's why we need to work together on a bipartisan basis on a bill that mr. murphy has brought out. is it a perfect bill? no. but it's a bill from which we can work and reach an agreement to try and help the needs of our society. we've had enough moments of
5:48 pm
silence on this floor. it's time to act. i yield back the balance of my time. mr. murphy: i thank dr. mcdermott. you've been a champion of mental health issues in your career and on this bill as well. i want to point out the bill is our helping families of mental health crisis, h.r. 2646. it is bipartisan. it has 183 co-sponsors today. 50 democrats. the rest republicans. because we all recognize that when you're dealing with someone with a mental illness in the 40 years that i practiced as a psychologist, i have never once asked any of my patients what party they are. we know mental illness affects people, regardless of gender or race or age, and certainly not by party. we also know, however, that getting care is tougher. studies have said if you're black, your chances of getting treatment for your mental illness are even tougher. in fact, in los angeles county, 9.6% of the population is black. and yet they institute 31% of the l.a. county jail prisoners.
5:49 pm
and they have a lower likelihood of getting psychiatric medications, and although most crimes committed by people with mental illness tend to be nonviolent, they tend to serve four times longer sentence when they're mentally ill than someone who is not. so that's what we mean when we say we filled our prisons and we've increased our cost with this. i want to turn now towards my friend, french hill of arkansas, to also talk about the things we need to do and our problems with mental illness. mr. hill: mr. speaker, i thank congressman murphy for this time and for bringing this issue to the floor of the house. i thank my friend, mr. mcdermott from washington, for his views. congressman murphy's bill opens a bipartisan conversation on how best to address the challenges that have been facing mental health services and our citizens in this country for decades. president john kennedy implementing a groundbreaking community-based treatment model
5:50 pm
for individuals with mental health illnesses. however, in the decades following his service, the federal government has missed opportunity after opportunity to effectively address the needs of americans with mental illness. over the years, we've seen our prisons, our hospitals and our homeless shelters bear the brunt of providing services for our nation's mentally ill. 1/3 of the homeless are mentally ill, some 200,000. 16% of incarcerated americans, some 300,000, have mental illness. and mental disorders are some of the most costly health conditions we face in our country. as noted, many of our incidents of mass violence have mental illness as a factor. now, most states still rely on the standard of imminent danger for commitment of mentally ill individuals. this is in part of past supreme court decisions, most importantly in 1975, o'connor
5:51 pm
vs. donaldson, which has been used consciously and many times to impose involuntary commitment and argue that committing individuals who are not imminently dangerous to themselves or others is unconstitutional. congressman murphy's bill, helping families and mental health crisis act, holds our federal agencies accountable and requires that our states follow evidence-based practices that have proven to reduce hospitalization, homelessness and violence. his bill also provides alternatives to institutionalization for americans with severe mental illness and those that need to be institutionalized, it requires states to include need-for-treatment commitment standards in their civil commitment laws in order to remain eligible for certain federal block grant programs. this will help clarify for our standards
5:52 pm
states and will ensure that we no longer wait until it's too late to potentially commit angerous individuals and those who need help. it's important that we seize this opportunity for future generations of americans and i commend my colleague for his leadership on this important issue. i yield back. i thank the gentleman. mr. murphy: thank you so much for your kindness, your support for this legislation. as been said, that whenever one of these tragic killings occur or when some tragedy occurs, we moment of silence and then we do nothing. we have a chance to do something. america demands it. i know that the overwhelming majority of americans expects us to do something more than talk about it, particularly are so many family members struggling. you know, as we close many of these institutions, what we ended up with is families themselves ended up being told here's your son, your daughter, your brother, sister, mother, father, go take care of them. by the way, we are not going to give you much information on them. we are not going to provide you much support unless that person indeed is a danger to
5:53 pm
themselves or others. i've heard from many family members that they have called the police when they have had struggles at home. a he way, when someone has problem, we call the police. when someone is having a heart attack, we call the paramedics. but with mental illness, out of our fear, out of our stigma, we call the police and police are oftentimes not fully trained to do this. we tell the parents, good luck in taking care of them. we are not going to give you that much mfings. that grand experiment of closing down the hospitals, which those asylums needed to be closed down. but the stopping institutional care and stopping our treatment, that whole process has actually shown more failures than successes. especially when we have not provided community-based treatment. we provide treatment for so many diseases, but when it comes to mental illness we fall far short and we somehow have this idea, this misguided and
5:54 pm
self-centered and projected belief of our own that people are at all times fully capable of deciding their own fate and direction, regardless of their deficits and diseases and that the right to self-decay and self-destruction overrides the right to be healthy. but remember what i said earlier about people with severe mental illness and having so many chronic illnesses and somehow going into the slow motion death spiral. we walk right by and pretend that is ok and it's not. and it shouldn't be. but somehow in so doing we comfortably advocate our responsibility to action and live under this perverse redefinition that most compassionate compassion is to do nothing at all. and it further bolsters the most evil of prestigiouses we have that the personal with disabilities deserves no more than what they are. we'll leave it up to them. under that approach, there's no dreams, there's no aspirations, there's no goals to be better that can even exist. indeed, to help a person heal is some head-on collision with this bigoted belief we have
5:55 pm
that severely mentally ill have no right to be better than we are and we have no obligation to help them. this is the corrupt evil of this hands off approach and in some cases the anti-treatment model and the thing we have lulled ourself into where we become comfortable with crossing the street or stepping over a homeless person, we fear those when we hear the term mental illness. and it's this per version of thought embedded in the glorification that to live a life of paranoia and filth and squalor trumps a healed brain and the true chance to choose a better life. what a sad state of affairs our nation has to become easy with that. what a sad statement it is about this congress for taking so long to take action on this. i don't know how we look ourselves in the mirror and continue to delay this. a number of my colleagues feel very strongly about this issue of memory health.
5:56 pm
i would like to call on dr. ralph abraham of louisiana and what we need to do with health. doctor. mr. abraham: thank you, doctor. want to say for doctor urphy's -- dr. murphy's determination. dr. murphy, great thanks for your work with our men and women in uniform in the mental health field. much appreciated. as a family doctor in rural louisiana i witnessed firsthand the hardships mental illness can put on families, individuals, friends. i'm sure every american has a story someone they know and love has been affected by mental illness. it's not a partisan issue as has been said here just recently. thankfully the study and treatment of mental health has improved dramatically in the last 50 years leading to better
5:57 pm
outcomes and better lives but as our knowledge of mental health improves, we must routinely ensure that our government is keeping up. it's been over 15 years since congress last passed comprehensive mental health reform. during that time, the size and authority of our federal mental health bureaucracy has grown to the point where the amount of coordination required to function effectively is too immense. how much has it grown? a recent report from the independent government accountability office found that there are now a total of 112 federal programs intended to address mental illness. 112. and as you can imagine, the report also found that there is serious fragmentation and lack of coordination among these programs. as history continues to prove time and time again when the size of bureaucracy increases, the effectiveness decreases. but when mental health bureaucracy fails, it fails
5:58 pm
individuals. it fails families and it fails communities. the president's solution is to throw more money and to increase bureaucracy. his 2017 budget adds $500 million in mandatory spending to the same federal program that had been proven to be inefficient, uncoordinated and inadequate. this is a short sided response to a long-term -- shortsighted response to a long-term challenge. we must do more than throw money at a problem and want a solution. mr. murphy's bill refocuses the programs that work and removes the ones that don't, greatly increasing program coordination across the federal government. this is only one of the many reasons why i've co-sponsored this comprehensive bill, and i welcome rigorous debate on this floor on the rest of the bill's merits. finally, i would thank, again, dr. murphy for his dedication and leadership on this mental
5:59 pm
health issue. the time, effort and attention to detail that he's put into this comprehensive reform bill is what the american public should expect from elected officials, and i strongly encourage and support his efforts. i yield back. mr. murphy: thank you, doctor. i appreciate your comments and your support for this bill and, of course, your practice in the field and understanding our needs. a couple of points you made there i want to elaborate on. you said there are 112 federal programs scattered across eight departments that teal with mental health. there are 26 programs for the homeless but many of these programs have not met since 2009 and according to the government accountability office, it is uncoordinated. a patchwork quilt would complement because it is at least stitched together and our mental health approach is not. part of this bill is to assign an office for the assistant secretary of mental health and substance abuse disorders. that person, that doctor would then be charged with meeting regularly with these programs and agencies to get them to
6:00 pm
work together. where there is unnecessary redundancy, get them to merge. where there's exemplary programs, let's expand it. but above all, get treatment back to the states and back to the communities where they can do the most good with evidence-based programs that work. i'll elaborate more on these for a minute but first i want to call upon my friend, chris gibson of new york. mr. gibson: thank you, mr. speaker. lso i want to thank my want to thank my friend and colleague, for your strong leadership in an area so important to all americans and i want to thank you for your service to our nation. indeed, i rise to give a voice for so many of my constituents who are calling on this house to strengthen federal mental health policies and you know, i think this is important, not only in terms of these policy changes that we're talking about this


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on