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tv   U.S. House of Representatives Legislative Business  CSPAN  February 25, 2016 6:00pm-7:01pm EST

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and agencies to get them to 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
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evening, but quite can kidded -- candidly also about the mindset. i think we need to think about this issue area differently. misconceptions. i hear this often from my constituents, how we need to change the way that we think and too often we think of mental health as a permanent state. that individuals are either well or not well, when in fact what we have learned is that over the course of our life, that mental health is really a spectrum. sometimes we're flourishing, and sometimes we're challenged. for me, this is certainly a personal issue, my closest advisor is my beautiful wife mary jo, who is a licensed clinical social worker and i get the benefit of her counsel on a regular basis. i also look to doc murphy as someone who spent over 40 years in this field. i also want to thank grace napolitano, also a leader in the mental health caucus, i've worked with her as we push
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forward these important initiatives. i want to say i do think we have made some progress. in a moment here i'll talk about some of the details of that. i think we're making some progress, particularly with knew row cease, anxiety, to some degree, depression. but candidly we're not take -- we're not making progress at all, with regard to policy, when it comes to very severe mental health issues. in part, dr. mcdermott addressed this earlier. we know that in the 1960's and 1970's there were a series of exposes, issues, very severe issues going on in our psychiatric hospitals. consequent to that, we went through a process of deinstitutionalization. but we have learned that when we did this and put nothing in behind it, and i can understand a lot of abuse was going on and understood the need to take action and roll back and make sure we don't have those abuses, but what we have learned is that it was a mistake not to put
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policy in behind that. and we see this all the time. it's been mentioned already this evening, the issues with homelessness, the issues with mass violence. and ins a much as we know most with severe mental illness are not violent, we also know when we have these very tragic events that at times these are correlated with severe mental illness without federal support, without any support. so that's part of the calling for this evening and you know, the american people want to know, is our congress listening. we are listening. that's part of the reason why doc has organized this tonight to express this to the american people that we know this is a very important priority. i want to provide some overview of some of the actions we have taken. first of all, last year, i was at the white house when the president of the united states signed into law the clay hunt suicide awareness and prevention bill. corporal hunt, a great american hero, served our country
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honorably in iraq and afghanistan and lost his life to mental health disease. his family has taken up the standard and are working hard to move us forward on that. this bill that the president signed into law last year a very bipartisan bill is going to help strengthen mental health support for our service men and women and our veterans. likewise, the james zadroga 9/11 health care bill for our first responders. also includes a provision in there that strengthens mental health system of we're supporting our veterans. we're supporting our first responders. important bills that have been enacted into law. we've also passed in this this -- in this house an important bill called the female veterans suicide prevention act and we're calling on the senate to pick this up so we can also send that to the president. while we have made progress in some of these areas, we have much more to do in other areas. i want to talk thabt mental health in schools act. this is important, certainly a
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challenging period in the lives of americans in the teenage years, and so many emotions all going through, we need to provide support and what we have found in some pilot programs in new york is when we have social workers in schools, this absolutely stems incidents of drug abuse and crime because we're dealing with this in the area that needs support in mental health. we have a bill to address that to scale that. i hope we can get more support here in the house. in addition to that, to our teenagers, i also have a bill that helps with our senior citizens. it's a very simple bill. it basically just adjusts medicare so that for seniors looking for counseling, that they'll get that support. and then finally, of course, the bill we're all rallying around tonight, h.r. 2646, the helping families in mental health crisis act. i think we've heard about some of the important dimensions of this bill. i want to highlight the fact that i think that this bill is going to help us with the very
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severely mentally ill, particularly those suffering from psychosis. we've heard tonight how we have a shortage of in-patient care and we've got to address this. because if we don't address it, we end up seeing it in the penal system. and that's not -- and that's absolutely the wrong approach to this and it's costing the taxpayers as well. in addition to that, we see more coordination among agencies, suicide awareness and prevention programs strengthened. so mr. speaker, i'll close with this. this is an important issue that the american people are counting on us to take action. i think we've got a series of bills we can rally around, bipartisan bills, that will truly make a positive different system of let me end where i began and just thank dr. murphy her -- for his great leadership and call on my colleagues to support his bill and these other bills as we move forward. hank you and i yield back. >> i thank my friend from new
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york for your support in these issues of mental illness. mr. murphy: and now i want to call on my friend, whether blumenauer. -- mr. blumenauer. i'd like to yield a few minutes to mr. blumenauer. mr. blumenauer: i appreciate your courtesy in permitting me to join you this evening. i appreciate the conversation we've had. dr. mcdermott's experience in the 1960's and 1970's really touched me. i started in my political career when i was much smarter than i am now and was part of the deinstitutionalization movement in my state of oregon where it was quite clear that we could provide better quality services that were less intrusive and more cost effective through a program of the institution -- of deinstitutionalization. it made perfect sense on paper. what happened, and luckily karma
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intervened, i was a local official when it hit full force. and the commitments that had been made to help with med case, to help with housing, to help with counseling, to be able to provide the support services weren't ironclad guarantees and it was easy for subsequent legislators to erode them and people were out on their own. and this was a process that took place across the country and we've seen the impact as dr. mcdermott mentioned. i really appreciate your sinking your teeth here to bring this forward. there are some elements that are clearly controversial and i have found over the course of two years that we have been talking about this, a willingness to engage in conversation, to be open to refinement, because we're all seeking the same objectives. but one of the things that has just become clearer and clorer to me, that there needs to be a
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stronger pro-- there needs to be stronger provisions to deal with assisted outpatient treatment program, that in some cases we used to call it involuntary commitment. it strikes me that we would not have a cancer patient just sort of cast loose on their own to sort of fend for themselves. but we have some of the most vulnerable members of society who in many cases are not capable of fully comprehending the situation they're in. in fact, that's part , in some cases, of the illness they suffer from, is that they don't think they are sick. that we make it much more difficult than it should be, in some cases impossible, for people who care about them most to be able to participate in treatment. and i appreciate your willingness to work with us to strike the balance. i see this as part of a much larger movement in my community
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-- much larger movement. in my community we are finally opening a facility this fall to get people with mental problems out of emergency rooms where they actually can't be treated. they can just be warehoused. at actually great expense and risk to the employees in the emergency room. i am convinced that if we're able to work together to tease out the expenses, dr. mcdermott talked about how incarcerating people and treating them behind bars with so many people -- where so many people with mental illness end up is 20 times more expensive than treatment. being able to hit that sweet spot, to be able to balance treatment, to be able to have intervention with appropriate safeguards to empower the families, to be able to help people on a path to treatment like we would do with any other illness, is very, very important.
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i would hope that we would be able to continue this conversation. i hope that there will be other special orders where we have a chance to involve people who want to explore and maybe refine some of these elements, to be able to answer questions about the necessary protections and have the give and take that sometimes is hard to do when we're in sort of a formalized setting. i've appreciated your willingness to tackle tough issues, to be open to suggestions, to be willing to engage others, but most important, that this congress not go home without having legislation to meet our responsibilities to refine and focus our mental health programs to get more out of the resources that we have, provide new tools for families, and i think build on a foundation, i think the bill you introduced is a great start, i'm encouraged that other
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-- that you sparked a very robust conversation, that there are other bills that are moving forward, but i hope we can build on this to be able to get across the finish line. and i look forward to continuing our conversation whether it's here tonight, on another evening, or with our colleagues to make sure we are doing what we should do to correct a situation that is a national tragedy, that's unnecessary, that's wasteful, and inhumane. mr. murphy: i thank the gentleman for his comments and i'll add to that, about 10 people per hour die related to mental illness, and it's probably more than that. i may have been doing this for 40 years but i have a lot to learn in the field of mental health. i have learned a lot from colleagues, and from people like the leads of the american psychiatric association from full ler tory, that's a whole host of names in this country who continue to write about and talk about this, show us reserge
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on this osteopaths, physical therapists, you name the field, they're out there talking about the problems we have with this. but you're right, it's the most compassionate thing to make changes on this. one of my colleagues who is also on the energy and commerce committee with me, susan brooks, would like to comment on this as well and our needs and what we need to do in mental health. ms. brooks: i want to thank dr. murphy for introducing this legislation and arranging for this special order today. as i'm sure has been stated, one in five americans struggle with mental illness. one in five. this is a critical situation in the country, as we have just heard. national tragedy. that's why we must address it with a comprehensive, community-based mental health proposal like the one we're talking about here today and we must do it in a bipartisan way so i'm very pleased we have colleagues from the other side of the aisle here as well this evening talking about it. we have all seen the tragic headlines about people who lose their battle with mental illness and their families who are often
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powerless to help them or prevent them from harming themselves or others. according to researchers, about half of the people with schizophrenia and 40% of people with bipolar disorder don't believe they're mentally ill. these individuals have the right to refuse therapy and medication and under current law, their families are only abe to intervene when their condition becomes suicidal or extremely dangerous. so in practical reality, my young adult children in their 20's if they struggled with serious mental illness, i could be completely shut out from their diagnosis and treatment. unable to help them before their condition became completely debilitating. as a mother, as a parent, this is heartbreaking and it's further evidence that something has to change. and we've all talked to too many families, whether it is at ceremonies remembering their lives when they have taken their lives or when they've overdosed, that's too late.
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this bill is important for all parents in america. the loved ones, the family members who desperately want to help but are unable to do so. but it's also important to every american, regardless of whether or not they have a personal connection to mental illness. it's critically important when we look at our criminal justice system. 60 years 670 years ago there was one psychiatric bed for every 300 americans. fast forward 50 years later, that number has shrunk to one psychiatric bed for every 3,000 americans. and today it's even less. and the people, as you've mentioned, the people who work in our emergency rooms and in our criminal justice systems are paying the price. those people who work there are paying the price as well. the national alliance on mental illness estimates between 25% and 40% of people with mental illness will be jailed or incarcerated at some time in their lives. i'm a former criminal defense attorney and a prosecutor.
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so i can tell you similar, not with respect to treatment, but dealing with them, i've seen the statistics. these are real people. our courts, jails and prisons are full of people with mental illness and most of them are not getting the treatment they need. in our state prisons and local jails, more than half of the women and 3/4 of the men have at least one mental health diagnosis. in federal prisons, about half of all inmates, regardless of gender, struggle with some form of mental illness. so we must reform the way we care for and treat people. with mental illness. we can't rely on the prisons and jails to serve as the de facto mental health institutions that they've become. and we must make families the partner to ensure that patients with serious and debilitating illness can maintain a comprehensive regiment of care. so i applaud the work of my colleague, dr. murphy. the only psychologist serving in congress. for his leadership and for crafting the helping families in mental health crisis act, h.r. 2646.
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i'm not going to go through all of the proposals because you have so many people, i'm so pleased that you have people, because i'm sure you've talked about all that is in the bill. but i must say, i urge my colleagues in joining us in supporting this proposal. it does focus on the programs that will help families and patients. it will improve that connecttivity between primary care doctors, mental health professionals and the patients and families. it will help with the existing shortage of the in-patient psychiatric beds and it will bring accountability to programs, to make sure that their resources are being used in the most effective and consistent way for patients. and i just want to applaud dr. murphy and all of those who care deeply about mental illness. because i don't want to go to more of these ceremonies, of family members who were remembering their family members who have died from suicide or have died from overdose. thank you. for your work. and i yield back. mr. murphy: i thank my friend, mrs. brooks. i might say that we've all
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heard those stories from families and i'm sure there are families watching tonight, mr. speaker, who will consider contacting their member of congress and share that story as well. nothing is more painful than to hear the story of a parent, like you described, a nate mayor for a parent, to be hold -- a nate mayor for a parent to be -- a nightmare for a parent to be told that their child has a problem. while i'm waiting for my other colleague from california to come forward, i want to mention a couple of things on the bill that have been referenced. i said before that the bill has an assistant secretary of mental health and substance abuse disorders that would organize the programs. it would drive evidence-based care for programs like assisted outpatient treatment and other treatments. and a government-funded program, exceptionally good, high-quality work. we need to build the mental health work force to take care of our extreme doctor shortage. there aren't enough psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers. when we have 9,000 child and
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adolescent psychiatrists, we need 30,000. we have too few clinical psychologists and others who want to work with those with serious mental illness. as i said earlier, we have to fix this shortage of mental health beds, pleases to treat people who are -- places to treat people who are in crisis instead of strapping them to a gurney in an emergency room, giving them a tie-down and some sedtific. we need to eliminate that same-day doctor barrier which says you can't see the same doctor -- two doctors in the same day. let me turn towards mr. lamalfa for some of his comments. mr. lamalfa: thank you, dr. murphy. i really appreciate you holding this special order, your dedication and your persistence in moving this issue along. it's very important because mental health is an issue that is getting more and more rampant in our communities and we really have some challenges in northern california with it and the lack of available treatment. i just had a doctor visit my
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office yesterday who, had she had this ability, had that county had these resources available, in the way that your bill prescribes, tragedy would have been prevented. with an attempted suicide and a suicide that actually happened in that same family. it's really inexcusable after a point that we're not able to channel the resources and have the effectiveness of the program that you're seeking. previously in nevada county, california, we witnessed a devastating shooting at a nearby health clinic that took the lives of three individuals back in 2001. now, the shooter, who suffered from the mental illness, had repeatedly refused treatment, despite his family's best efforts to get him help. this is where the system again is broken. outdated laws leave individuals suffering with severe mental illness, to fend for -- elves, only to have to intervention, step in, when it's too late. does it really take an
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attempted suicide, does it really take drug overdoses to get attention, instead when people who know about these triggers would be able to get them the help they need with the right implementation? we need to break down barriers and provide that pathway. the assisted outreach treatment program, for example, helps patients and families experiencing severe mental health issues to get the treatment they need before a crisis occurs. patients are able to live at home and meet their therapists on a regular basis while having access to life-save medications. success -- life-saving medications. success rates are a testimony to the program. one of my counties, nevada county, this program was in effect, hospitalization swass relosed -- was reduced 46%, homelessness reduced 61%, emergency contacts emergency needs reduced 44%. of the patients who entered the program overall, 90% said it made them more likely to keep their appointments and take their medication. 81% said it helped them get well and stay well.
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this is what it's all about. to give them hope. to put them in the mainstream of society, where they can function well and be successful. 49% fewer abused alcohol. 48% fewer abused drugs. yet instead of investing in programs such as this, we continue to spend billions on duplicative behavioral wellness programs while far too many americans fall through the cracks. we have to do more to care for our neighbors in this country and i rise again in support and i'm proud to be a co-sponsor of your legislation, sir. i cannot -- we cannot stand by anymore and allow the status quo. because as we know too well, the cost of inaction is too high for those that suffer from it, for their families and the communities. this is going to be very effective in helping to channel that and have success we can all be proud of. thank you for your time and persistence again. mr. murphy: i thank you for your support. i thank the gentleman for his support. while waiting for my friend from new york to come forward, i want to reflect on how long it's taken us to do this.
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what we used to do up through the 1800 was throw people in jail -- 1800's was throw people in jail. then along came a woman who saw the abysmal conditions in our prisons for the mentally ill. chained to the walls in filt, beaten and abused. she spoke up to have institutions built that would be better for them. that took place for a while but they become overcrowded. that's part of what we should down -- shut down. as my other colleagues talked about, mr. blumenauer mentioned that then we thought, well, we have other outpatient care for them. that promise never came through . the legislation would, as i mentioned before, allow us to have more providers and psychologists, psychiatry, social work. it would also allow states to use both. we have to be treating mental health and substance abuse dollars, not to cut either one, but to make sure that a person with substance abuse disorder and mem illness can be treated. and -- mental illness can be treated. and bring accountability.
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our bill would establish a national mental health policy b within samhsa, and set scientific measures. we'd also have an interagency of serious mental illness coordinating committee which could coordinate the spending in mental health and make suggestions to the assistant secretary's office and to congress and bring together government offices with experts in the field, to develop reforms in the mental health system. and we want to have alternatives to institutionalization and jail diversion, assisted outpatient treatment is one version. assertive treatment community is another one. we want to make sure we provide the wrap-around services instead of keep dumping them intole -- them into jails and leaving them there to get worse and we want to advance early intervention and prevention programs, where this bill establishes most of its funding to make sure we have those programs. but someone who is also -- someone who i've also gotten to know pretty well over this bill, i'll turn toward mr. katko of new york. mr. katko: thank you, dr. murphy. i rise today to talk about one
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of the most serious challenges facing our country and that is the mental health issue. it's a problem that affects the rich and the poor, old and young, employed and unploiled. it can strike anyone -- unemployed. it can strike anyone. for far too long the issue of message health has stayed in the shat -- issues of mental health has stayed in the shadows in our country. we cannot allow the silence to continue. that's why i support your bill. a short time ago i met with some of my commints -- of -- constituents in upstate new york. one of the individuals teeled me of his personal -- told me of his personal bat well mental health. his sister died -- battle with mental health. his sister died of cancer and his marriage broke down. he couldn't sleep because of the trauma and stress which led to the anxiety and depression which he suffered and he didn't know what to do. as he was doing yard work one day, someone he knew walked past and said he could provide something to help him sleep. it was heroin. he tried it and pretty soon he was hooked and his life was ravaged for years and years.
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in fact, it took seven years of him being pushed to the brink by drugs for him to seek help. seven years. seven lost years. six years later, he's found paid work, probably for the first time since his addiction. he told me that we lived in a culture where the traumatic of grief, the need to get -- trauma of grief, the need to get help for mental health problems, if they were better records -- recognized, things could be different for him. think how much better it would have been for him and others in the country. the reality is for many people today, mental health is a huge issue. the awareness of mental health issues increasing, i hope that the acceptance and understanding from the individuals suffering from it will as well. we the company prevent all mental health issues. there are no cures for all conditions. but we can help the culture change in our country and this bill goes a long way toward doing that and commend you for that, doctor. we can assist -- insist that everyone counts and everyone matters. that no one dealing with any form of illness could -- should ever feel ashamed.
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that's how we bring real change to america. before i close, i want to note that the second leading cause of death among individuals 24 years or younger in this country is suicide. the 10th leading cause of death in this country for all adults is see side. it's an endemocrat -- is suicide. it's an epidemic. it's high time we treat it as such. for every suicide attempt in this country, there are -- for every suicide rather in this country, there's 12 suicide attempts. think of the cost to our society. think of the cost and the burdens on families, the burdens on the health industry. who have to deal with this. we must do a better job. we have to do a better job. that's why i'm proud in my district to have, we formed a mental health task force. we're enthusiastic about a lot of things and changes it's going to bring about. i really commend you for this bill. and i hope that we get this past the house and get this
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bill moving once and for all. i yield back the balance of my time and i again commend you, congressman murphy. murphy thank you. i thank my friend from new york. mr. speaker, how much time do i have left in this? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman has about two minutes remaining. mr. murphy: i yield one minute to the gentleman from indiana. mr. buck: thank you. -- mr. bucshon: dr. murphy is -- thank you. it dr. murphy is leading the -- thank you. dr. murphy is leading the charge on this. i have direct experience with this. i have a high school friend who suffered from schizophrenia and eventually lost her family as it's related to that. hiveb two high school friends who -- i've had two high school friends who suffered from severe depression and ended up suicidal and did take their own lives. this is critical legislation and with people like dr. murphy working hard to get this done,
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we really can make a difference on behalf of people with severe mental ill innocence our country. so i commend you, dr. murphy, for the strong work. continue to push. i'm hopeful we can get this through the house of representatives this year. i yield back. mr. murphy: i thank the .entleman let me close with these statements. with 60 million americans out there with some form of mental illness this year and 10 million or so with severe mental illness, they all have families. i hope those families wake up and speak up. i hope they contact their member of congress. i know that mental illness can be treated. but it cannot be treated if we ignore it and it gets worse. i don't want more tragedies here and i hate to wish any of these tragedies on my colleagues in congress, but i know it will happen. we'll be here again for moments of silence, we'll have more members that face this suffering in their own families. and in their communities. and we should not allow that. i hope that soon we can call forth h.r. 2646, because to delay it is to cause more harm, to deny it is to cause more
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death. let's finally do something to help turn around this problem with mental health in america. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2015, the gentlewoman from new jersey, mrs. watson coleman, is recognized for 60 minutes. mrs. watson coleman: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on this subject of my special order. the speaker pro tempore: ithout objection. mrs. watson coleman: thank you, mr. speaker. next tuesday, the supreme court will take up a case that challenges texas' outright offensive effort to strip women of their right to choose. last night, the fifth circuit court of appeals allowed a similar law to move forward in louisiana, all but guaranteeing the closure of three of four abortion clinics in that state unless the supreme court
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intervenes there as well. the men who have passed these laws, because to be clear the texas legislature is 80% male and louisiana has just made it up from dead last this year at 85%, claimed it would increase the medical accountability and safety of facilities that provide abortion. that's the new message. the new veil that covers these laws with the air of legitimacy. we want to make your abortion safer, so every doctor needs to have admissions privileges at a local hospital. and every clinic needs to function like an emergency center. it sounds logical until you hear what the folks behind these walls have to say after they -- behind these laws have to say after they passed. in texas, then-governor rick perry said an ideal world is one without abortions. until then, we will continue to pass laws to ensure that they
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are as rare as possible. close quote. and one of the authors of the bill said that she was especially proud that, quote, texas always takes the lead in trying to turn back what started with roe v. wade, close quote. the first question we deal with is one we've dealt with over and over. roe v. wade is not something you turn back. it was not an executive order or a law pass pa -- passed by congress. it was a legal challenge 40 years ago that reared the supreme court to consider whether or not women had the right to make decisions about their bodies. and they decided and set precedent that every woman in this nation has a constitutional right to an abortion. what's more, the court made it
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clear that states cannot use laws to create an undue burden for women seeking to exercise their right. the court affirmed that decision once more in 1992. women in texas now have firsthand experience of what happens when states ignore the supreme court and from what i can see, there's no way the texas law can be considered anything other than an undue burden. that brings us to the second problem. there is absolutely no logical, medical reason to suddenly require these clinics to meet the standards of a hospital. these laws are opposed by a host of leading medical groups, including the american medical association and the american college of obstetricians and gynecologists. professionals who know better
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than anyone who kinds of skills and resources should be necessary for an abortion, which is one of the safest medical procedures out there. i find it incredibly hard to believe that whole organizations of physicians would oppose any of these laws if they really did make clinics safer, mr. speaker, but i digress. in texas, the full implementation of the bill being challenged next week would force more than 75% of abortion clinics in that state to close. in fact, with the limited implementation they've had to date, the numb of clinics has been cut in half. and if it is allowed to go into effect, only 10 clinics will remain to serve the 5.4 million texas women of reproductive age. what's even worse is that while
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they're masquerading as efforts to make abortions safer, these laws are forcing more women down the dangerous path of attempting to end their pregnancies on their own. a study by the texas policy evaluation project found that women who reported barriers to abortion are more likely to self-induce an abortion. putting their lives at risk. -- at risk in the process. this sounds like 1955, not 2016. mr. speaker, these laws are an absolute farce and it's time to stop the sham. women deserve to make the choices that work for them and if that means having an abortion, they should be able to do it safely, without traveling hundreds of miles or waiting weeks to be seen. my colleagues and i are here on the floor tonight because we stand with the women in texas, the women in louisiana, and the
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women across this country. women who want to make their own decisions about when, where, and how to make decisions that will change their lives. women whose voices are seldom represented in the legislative bodies that are filled with men ready to take away their rights. it is new my pleasure to yield to the ill lust res you member of our congress from the state of texas, someone who has been a constant fighter for everyone's rights, including women's rights, congresswoman jackson lee. ms. jackson lee: i thank the distinguished gentlelady from new jersey and i thank her for her leadership as well and i thank my colleagues who are here on the floor of the house that have joined us together. let me associate myself with the comments of the gentlelady from new jersey as she relates to
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louisiana. let me be clear, as i stand here as a constituent of the state of texas, as a representative of the state of texas, and as a woman who lives in texas. texas state law h.b. 2 has led to the closure of more than 20 abortion facilities in the state, taking the number, the total number of providers from 40 to 19. its true purpose, to take every woman's right to -- to take away women's rights to make their own health care decisions and it couldn't be more blatant. again, to take away every woman's right. the right to choose. no one stands on this floor tonight to promote and coddle an abortion but we do stand on the floor to protect a woman's right to choose her health and her sacred right of making such decisions with her god, her family, and her physician. where does h.b. 2 and other bills have the right to interfere with that?
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let me also cite for you a u.n. working group concluded that women in the united states inexplicably lag behind international human rights, pointing to data research on political representation and economic and social rights and health and safety protections, experts of the u.n. working group boldly acknowledge that there's a myth that women in the united states already enjoy all the expected standards of rights and protections afforded under america. isn't that shameful? under america, we are still denied our rights. the reality is, women in the united states are experiencing continued discrimination and daunting disparities that prevent the true ability for them to participate, fully participate as equal members of society. we stand here this evening to acknowledge one striking issue that will be argued in the supreme court next week, that is this case, h.b. 2, that is shut down -- has shut tun clinics and denied to women new york other access would be open to them
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with this particular legislation. and so we're advocating as it goes to the supreme court that this is an issue of human rights , equals women's rights. we face a real problem in america of hypocrisy. isn't it interesting that we say that we believe in the right to family and the sacredness of one's religion and choice between their family, their drrks and their god, but yet danielle deaver denied abortion even as the uterus crushed the fetus this family wanted children, wanted to be able to have this child. but unfortunately, for medical reasons this young lady needed to have this baby taken. for 22 weeks she was in this condition, she was 22 weeks pregnant. but the real crime is that this was not allowed to take place in a legal manner because just one month earlier, nebraska had enacted the nation's first fetal
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pain legislation banning aabortions after 20 weeks, not one she wanted, not one she desired but because of health care and needs and a tragedy had happened to her and her family. but yet denied. women's rights equal human rights. with respect to the texas case, the supreme court is scheduled woman'sthis case, whole a law vs. hellerstedt, that stripped women of their rights. whole woman's health care is the most consequential case in decades, about the right of women's access to have abortions, not supporting abortion but allowing a woman's choice, in protecting the life of the mother, and that you engage with your family, your god and your physician.
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ever since the roe v. wade decision that was affirmed again in 1992, the u.s. supreme court has made clear the -- that women have the right to legal abortion care and states don't have a right to unduly interfere. these matters involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy are central to the liberty protected by the 14th amendment. the so-called experts who testified in favor of h.b. 2 have been discredited by and ple federal courts submitted testimony written by an anti-abortion activist with no medical training. it's led to the closure of more than 20 abortion facilities in the state, taking the total of number -- total number of providers from 40 to 19. let me give an additional anecdote that is taking place in the state of texas. that is the masquerading of going into the planned parenthood offices who have
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provided these clinics, who have provided health care to rural communities and college students where there are no doctors, ob gins and are no -- no ob/gyns, no doctors to hand they will medical needs of these women. remember what i said, women's rights are human rights, human rights are women's right, so said by then-first lady hillary rodham clinton. it's true today. the working group has challenged whether or not we provide women the same rights in america as men and that is a daunting question and an unfortunate answer because the u.n. working group has said no. in this backdrop of this great discussion and the texas h.p. 2, we had the circumstances of people falsifying who they were, stealing the i.d. of this person's high school classmate and imitating that they were looking for fetuses for
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research. interestingly enough, all of those were calling for the indictment of the planned parenthood personnel but an unbiased grand jury in texas did not indict those innocent persons having a discussion about what was legal, but they indicted those who falsified their documents and tried to mislead people. again, this case will be argued in the backdrop of so many tiing to undermine women's rights. i will continue to work with my colleagues to find ways to address the illogical, unfair, and unjust disparity by reviewing and responding to unwanted restrictions that result in the disparate access to constitutionally protected rights. i hope one day we will learn and have as our constitutional premise that the constitution works and women's rights are human rights. with that, i yield back my time. thank you. mrs. watson coleman: thank you, congresswoman. i'd like to yield time to the gentleman from illinois, mr. quigley. mr. quigley: thank you. let me thank congressman watson
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coleman , my pro-choice colleague, for inviting me to participate in this timely and important conversation. as we await to hear the supreme court oral arguments in whole woman's health next week, we must reflect on not only the serious implications of this particular case, but the attacks on choice across the country this past year. the case against whole woman's health threatens to take the number of clinics in texas down from 19 to just 10 clinics for the 5.4 million women of reproduct i age in texas. it will also set a legal precedent for years, perhaps decades, to shape continued debate on a woman's right to choose. clearly this unacceptable assault on women's health places an undue burden on women of texas when accessing abortion and family planning services. i was proud to sign on to the brief with 162 congressional colleagues in support of whole women's health because this
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case's particular us is a high profile and extreme example of the attacks becoming all too common across the united states. while abortion remains legal in the years since roe vs. wade, opponents have attempted to chip away at a woman's right to choose. this despite the fact that abortions are at their lowest rates since roe. st year we saw ideological tacks from anti-choice activists attempting to mire the organization in scandal and force its closing. . those stem from the questionably edited so-called sting videos filmed by these same anti-choice activists. unsurprisingly, planned parenthood has been cleared of any wrong doing in every state that has conducted an investigation. and to top it off, a grand jury in missouri has indicted those responsible for filming the videos. it goes to show this campaign against planned parenthood has been nothing less than a fraud. while i fundamentally support a woman's right to choose, it's
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important to point out that the clinics forced to close in texas and across the u.s. serve women in ways far beyond providing safe abortions. in many cases, especially for low-income and minority communities, these clinics serve as a primary health care provider. the services they provide include birth control, s.t.d. testing, cervical screenings, mammograms, counseling and health education. and it's crucial that we understand reproductive rights and choice is not a woman's issue. it's a civil rights issue. and it's an american issue. in the city of chicago, which i represent, women have widespread access to reproductive health services. but women in neighboring states like indiana are often forced to cross state lines to find a clinic where she can have a safe abortion. this reality is unacceptable. civil rights should not be dependent upon your zip code. the decision in whole woman's health will ultimately hold
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national implications. as man, i am proud to stand up for choice. as a male member of congress, i take my responsibility to protect choice for women very seriously. statistics show women's economic output is dramatically impacted for the better when they determine the timing and spacing of their pregnancies. when she is able to plan pregnancy, a woman is more likely to advance in education and the work force. conversely, unplanned pregnancies too often force women to leave school and to delay or abandon career ambitions outright in order to care for children before they are ready and with limited support and resources. in order for our society to ever truly be equal, women must have control of their bodies and determine with their partner if and when they want to have children. here in congress, most of us were afforded the right to plan our families. should we deny this right to the constituents we serve? the future of millions of young women depend on the decision to
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be handed down in cases like whole woman's health. and it is my sincere hope that the court remains consistent in recognizing a woman's right to privacy, protects her right to make her own choices about her health. thank you and i yield back. mrs. watson coleman: thank you, mr. quigley. i now would like to yield to the gentlelady from washington who is a member of the select panel that will undoubtedly be examining some of these issues, the gentlelady from washington, ms. delbene. ms. delbene: thank you. i want to thank the gentlelady from new jersey for yielding. 43 years ago the supreme court ruled that women have a constitutional right to decide whether and when to have a child. americans overwhelmingly think that is the right decision and i agree. -- that was the right decision and i agree. according to bloomberg, at no time since 1973 has a woman's access to reproductive health care been more dependent on her
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income or zip code. politicians across the country are passing dangerous laws to block women from exercising their constitutionally protected right to choose. and their efforts are working. that's why the case before the supreme court is so important. as the justices weigh the whole woman's health case, i hope they recognize that the shameful attacks undermine roe vermont wade, put women's -- roe vs. wade, put women's ealth at risk. if the court upholds these harmful laws, it could pave the way for similar restrictions at the federal level and republicans are already trying. we cannot let that happen. women deserve better. they deserve the freedom to make their own health care choices. thank you and i yield back. mrs. watson coleman: thank you,
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congresswoman. i now would like to yield time to mr. cicilline from rhode island. mr. cicilline: i thank the gentlelady for yielding and thank the gentlelady from new jersey for leading this special order hour. on this very important issue. as my colleagues have mentioned, the supreme court is scheduled to hear whole woman's health vs. hellerstedt next tuesday, challenging a texas law that has already led to the closing of more than 20 abortion providers in the state. this is just the most recent example of the attack which is under way all across this country on women's health. not just in the state of texas, but in many other places around our country. as was just mentioned, politicians are passing laws and enacting regulations to deny women full reproductive health care. in fact, just last sunday ohio governor john kasich signed a law defunding planned parenthood and during his time in office half of ohio's abortion clinics have closed. one in three women will have to
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make a decision in their lifetime if an abortion is the right decision for them. i'm very proud to be a member of the pro-choice caucus here in the congress and i know that this is an extremely personal decision for women. a decision that should be made between a woman and her physician and a decision the government has no right to intrude upon. a constitutionally protected right as established in our law. it's absolutely critical that women in every part of this country have access to full reproductive health care, including safe abortion services. if the court upholds women's health vs. heller stat, there will only -- hellerstedt, there will be only 10 clinics available to women in texas. this is settled law in our country. it reminds us of the importance of the decision our supreme court will make in connection with this case they'll hear on
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tuesday. a doctor -- doctors are being required under texas provisions to affiliate with nearby hospitals and it also limits abortions to surgical centers. these measures are designed to reduce or even eliminate in some circumstances access to abortion services. and although there's the argument that's made, these are medically necessary or they're in fact intended to improve women's health, the president for the center for reproductive rights said it best when she said, the laws pretend to be about women's health, but are actually designed to close clinics. that's exactly what they intend to do. these regulations and requirements are very disputed medical value. they're things like limits on nonsurgical drug induced abortions, mandated building standards for clinics, or two or three-day waiting periods. all of these things are intended to infringe upon a woman's right to choose and to make it more difficult for women to access full
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reproductive health care. and we all have a responsibility to -- in the congress to stand up against this. i'm proud to join my colleagues tonight to say that we will continue to fight to ensure that women have access to all of the reproductive health care they need and that we will resist any effort to infringe upon this important constitutional protection and i again thank the gentlelady for yielding and for leading this discussion tonight. mrs. watson coleman: thank you, mr. cicilline. appreciate your taking your time. i'd now like to yield time to the gentlelady from north carolina, congresswoman adams. ms. adams: thank you very much. i want to thank the gentlelady from new jersey for her leadership and for yielding. you know, it frightens me that in 2016 we're still fighting the same politically motivated battles to roll back women's rights. it's been 43 years since the landmark supreme court decision in roe vs. wade made abortion a constitutional right. but year after year g.o.p. lawmakers and anti-choice
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extremists have tried to tear it down. states like texas have passed egregious laws to disenfranchise women and infringe on their ability to access safe and legal abortions. their state law lass -- law has cut the number of abortion providers in texas in half. increasing delays and severely limiting access and frankly punishing women for exercising their civil liberties. this obvious war on women has got to stop. no law should control a woman's right to make decisions about her own body, no government, no legislature, no congress. a woman's personal decision should be between her and her doctor and nobody else. and every woman deserves equal access to all forms of safe and affordable reproductive health. and so as the supreme court prepares to hear this case, i will continue to stand with women in north carolina and women across the country in the fight to protect a woman's right to choose.
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hank you and i yield back. mrs. watson coleman: mr. speaker, we thank you for this opportunity to raise what is a very important issue in 2016. women are being attacked on several fronts. whether it is on cases that are being brought before courts or whether it is in this house. we have got to recognize that this decision, the decision for a woman to make with regard to her reproductive rights, have already been established and we as congress and we as a society of lawmakers and policymakers need to do all that we can to facilitate those rights, to ensure that we do not .iscriminate against people and to discriminate against women in this regard is illegal and it is unacceptable and it
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is time for us to recognize our responsibility, to be stewards of the laws which have been put before us, and to uphold the constitution that we have pledged to support and to uphold, and to recognize that the abridgement of a woman's right is the abridgement of a civil right and that is unacceptable. thank you. with that i have no more speakers and i yield back the balance of my time back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2015, the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. perry, for 30 minutes. mr. perry: thank you, mr. speaker. before i begin, i ask unanimous consent that all members have -- may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on the topic of this special order. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. perry: thank you, mr.
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speaker. the safety of americans, the security of america, should never be jeopardized -- well, it should never be jeopardized for any reason, but certainly not simply for the purpose of fulfilling a campaign pledge. the president recently released a plan about closing guantanamo bay. and it demonstrates to me, and i think to the american people, at his -- this plan is misguided, as well as his priorities. the proposal to close guantanamo proves that his priority lies in leaving behind a legacy rather than protecting the american people and the american national security. as a matter of fact, it presents nothing more than another attempt to fulfill a campaign promise and distracts, actually distracts, based on the timing, from the administration's failure to defeat isis. perhaps that explains why the administration missed a separate congressionally mandated deadline last week for
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a plan to counter radical islamic extremism. he missed that deadline. but was on time with an incomplete plan to close guantanamo. and the facility, the detention facility, that -- the detention facility for terrorists that remains on that coast. congress is co-equal to the president. equal in power, equal in representation of the americans -- of america's interests. and it comes -- has come to a different conclusion than the president. and we have absolutely strong and justified reasons for our concern. mr. speaker, last september the director of national intelligence reported that 30% of transfer detainees are confirmed or suspected to be reengaging in terrorist activities -- re-engaging in terrorist activities. 30%. they're not necessarily in some prison overseas. they're out running around conducting terrorist activities. 30% of them. the director's report clearly shows that the detainee transfer process is deeply flawed and it poses a real
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significant, unnecessary and unacceptable risk to the security of our nation. just this week spanish and moroccan police arrested four members of a jihadi cell that fought to recruit for isis fighters, including one former guantanamo detainee who once fought against americans in afghanistan. that's this week. i guess he's part of the 30% or maybe it's 30 point something now. i suspect will it keep going up the more rewe lease. the president claims that -- we release. the president claims that gitmo furthers the recruiting propaganda of islamist terrorist groups. essentially saying, we can't keep these people in prison because it makes the terrorists mad. and makes them want to do more terrorist things. i guess we shouldn't put gang members in prison either, because their gang buddies would then be mad and want to conduct more gang activities in their communities. based on that logic, we should let all these people out.
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al qaeda has waged war against the united states long before guantanamo, right? long before the detention facility was constructed in cuba. it didn't exist when the world trade center was first bombed in 1993, when the u.s. embassies in east africa and tanzania and kenya were bombed in 1998. it didn't exist when the u.s. -- u.s.s. cole was attacked in 2000 and it certainly didn't exist on 9/11 when islamists attacked our country. islamic terrorists will be at war with america and american culture regardless of whether gitmo is open or closed. the president claims cost savings. his plan to move or transfer detainees abroad and to the u.s. would lower costs between $140 million and $180 million annually which is nothing to sneeze at. but i had aea


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