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tv   U.S. House of Representatives 10242017  CSPAN  October 24, 2017 3:59pm-6:00pm EDT

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it is a red, white and blue issue where justice should be given a fair chance to prevail for all of america's people. and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan reserves the balance of his time. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. issa: thank you, mr. speaker. i'll yield myself two minutes. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. issa: i'm putting this sign up not for the people in the chamber, because people in the chamber on the other side have continued to read the same talking points from their leadership that says there's no evidence. now, this is in the record. this is a bigger part of it. so for the people in their offices who will come down to vote, if there's not a motion to recommit, they're not going to get an opportunity to see this. so i hope that they'll look just now and realize, this is one of those things you don't normally get. as chairman goodlatte said, this is a smoking gun.
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this is a clear statement that an ideological bent against a nonprofit was very specifically there, while other emails in the same chain of emails shows that they were picking who they wanted. that's the politics that was going on. it's the politics we're trying to prevent. as i said in my previous statement, the department of justice is given a number of dollars for grant programs, we may not always agree with how those grant programs are run, but we give them that. additionally, congress appropriates a tremendous amount of money, much of it going to the same groups. a year and a half ago this body came together on the violence against women which has and will continue to do good work in exactly the area people are talking about. but this is the reason we have
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legislation before us today. we've had political activity that's been going on according to the democrats by republican attorneys general, according to this document by the last attorneys general, the fact is we need the legislation, we have to have it, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: we have no further people to recognize, i'm prepare t.d. to make my closing remarks now. -- prepared to make my closing remarks now. mr. issa: i'm repair -- prepared to let you make your closing remarks. the speaker pro tempore: the -- the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. conyers: i note that a broad coalition of public interest organizations, including public citizen, americans for financial reform, the national urban league, among others, strongly
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oppose h.r. 732. they warn, and i quote, that this measure would undermine law enforcement goals by reducing the vailability of suitable remedies to address these kinds of injuries to the public caused by illegal conduct. this bill is in effect a gift to lawbreakers that comes at the expense of families and communities impacted by injuries that cannot be addressed by direct restitution. so i have to ask, why are we giving a gift to lawbreakers in the guise of h.r. 732? if you value, as i do, upholding the rule of law, then you'll join me and many others in posing this seriously flawed
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measure and i thankern that's participated in this discussion and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from california. mr. issa: thank you, mr. speaker. in closing, i don't think there's any -- i'm sorry, mr. chairman. in closing, i don't believe there's any question at all but that the minority has missed the point. we intend, in no way, shape, or form, are we changing. we intend to make sure the department of justice prosecutes wrongdoing, both criminal and civil. the gentleman from new jersey, rightfully, mr. prass cell, rightfully said we shouldn't have money paid in lieu of criminal prosecution. it should be both. i agree with him. what we're dealing with here is a recognition that under
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republican and democratic administrations, we have had mandatory donations that in fact went to charity, you will, or organizations of the choice of those political entities. the fact is, what we're doing is reining in, reining in wrongdoing that is actual and has been observed. nothing more. one -- one of the challenges we face every day, one of the reasons i'm imploring both sides to come together on this vote, one of the challenges we face is shouch of our obligation we have ceded to the executive branch, often then only to be horrified when behind closed doors, unelected, unaccountable people make decisions that would never be made on the house floor or the senate floor and this is one of them. we are scrutinized when we pick nonprofits to provide funding to
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on the left, on the right, or if there is such a thing left in america, the middle. we are scrutenidse, but when we scrutinize the department of justice's action, according to my colleagues, under republicans there's been clear wrongdoing. according to the documents we put in the record today and showed on the floor, in the last administration there was clear partisan politics. we are simply saying, if they want to make that kind of a settlement, bring it to congress. otherwise, it's very clear that they must, and i repeat, must stop the action of taking money that would otherwise go to the victims and moving it to nondescript third parties of their choosing, no matter how benevolent they might be including coast guard foundation. it can't continue to happen. we have to have the money that's in settlements, flow to the victims or flow to the treasury. with that, i urge passage of the
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bill and yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields. all time for general debate has expired. pursuant to the rule, the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. the amendments recommended by the jew dish printed in the bill shall be continued -- adopted. no further amendment to the bill as amended shall be in order except those printed in part b of house report 115-363. each such further amendment may be offered only in the order printed in the report by a member designated in the report, shall be considered read, shall be debated for the time specified in the report equally divide and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to amendment and shall not be subject to demand for division of the question. it is now nrder -- it is now order to consider amendment number 1 printed in part b of
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house report 115-363. for what purpose does the gentleman seek recognition? >> i was an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 1 printed in house report 115-363, offered by mr. goodlatte of virginia. the chair: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman in virginia, mr. goodlatte and a member opposed each will control five minute thsms echair recognize this is egentleman from virginia. mr. goodlatte: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the stop settlement slush funds act of 2017 prohibits settlements that provide for payments to nonvictim third parties. but what happens to leftover money if the settlement doesn't specifically provide for its disposition? it turns out that this situation is ripe for abuse. in 2013 a shocking "new york times" expose revealed that the obama administration bilked over $1 billion from the taxpayer funded judgment fund and handed it to special interests.
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the case called keeps eagle concerned claims against the department of agriculture. the settlement, spear hed by then assistant attorney general anthony west, vastly overstated the number of claims against the government. one result was a $60 million windfall for the plaintiff's lawyer who was on president obama's transition team the year before. the other result was $380 million in funds left over. this was taxpayer money but instead of demanding it back, the department of justice agreed to direct it to nonvictim third parties to be selected by the same plaintiff's lawyer and member of president obama's transition team. this quite rightly troubled the presiding judge. my amendment would close this loophole by requiring that money left over after all victims have been compensated must be returned to wherever it came from. this amendment also clarifies that permit red medial payments must go to victims who suffered
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the injuries on which plaintiff's claims are based -- thisvents situations prevents situations in which a payment is classified as remedial but is directed to an intermediary. the abufse power i jut lined today in the settlement context are truly disturbing. this is our opportunity to stop the abuse. we should be as comprehensive as possible. i urge my colleagues to support this amendment and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from michigan rise? mr. conyers: i rise in opposition to the amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. conyers: members of the house, this amendment makes a bad bill even worse. to begin with, it would prohibit distributions pursuant to which
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they attempt to find the next best use of funds that remain after class action settlement has been finally administered. it's especially important in actions where the recovery is so small for an individual class member that he or she may not bostonner to make a claim or where distribution is not practical. for example, courts under this may permit unclaimed settlement funds to provide indirect compensation to the class such as future price reductions or remediation efforts. as a result of this amendment, however, the unclaimed settlement funds would be returned to the very entities that caused the injury in the
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first place. simply put this amendment would benefit the wrong doe doers to the detriment of the victims they harmed. in addition, this amendment would restrict the amount of compensation a victim could receive under a settlement agreement to the extent the vim was actually harmed by the wrongdoer. the amendment completely ignores the pragmatic realities of systemic hamples such as widespread, long-term, or latent environmental damage like lead contaminated public water drinking systems -- think of flint, michigan. where the extent of a victim's exposure to such harms may be
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difficult and perhaps even impossible to quanltfi. in a letter opposing this amendment a group of public interest organizations, including earth justice, public citizen, alliance for justice, the center for justice and democracy, and the american it ciation for justice said is terrible public policy because wrong doers would benefit from a windfall for cheating an harming consumers. undoing accountability or deterrence function of the entire settlement. this is absolutely the wrong result. so i urge that this amendment be rejected. i thank the chair.
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the chair: the gentleman yields. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: mr. speaker, i don't have any additional speakers on this amendment, i am prepared to close. i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: i urge my colleagues to support this amendment and yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from virginia. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. it is now in order to consider amendment number 2 printed in part b of house report 115-363.
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for what purpose does the gentleman from tennessee seek recognition? >> i seek recognition because i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 2 printed in part b of house report 115-363, offered by mr. cohen of tennessee. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 577, the gentleman from tennessee, mr. cohen, and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from tennessee. mr. cohen: thank you, sir. the reason i have this amendment is because i don't think the bill hasst a good bill and shouldn't affect settlement agreements on the basis of race, religion or national origin or division. rotected i'm surprised it was made in order, i'll be even more surprised if it passes. but it doesn't matter, it won't
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go anywhere in the senate. what with do in the judiciary never go anywhere senate. we're the only committee that can deal with issues in the white house, with the russia investigation, with the firing of james comey, with emoluments clause violations. the senate and house intelligence committees have investigations. and so does the senate judiciary committee. only our committee has done absolutely nothing. absolutely nothing. today senator jeff flake a today, senator jeff flake, a man of moral recollect tude, said he cannot continue to serve in the senate because to be quiet on issues in relations to decency and truth and other matters would involve complicitity. he couldn't remain complicit. by our committee not taking any action concerning activities of the white house we are complicit.
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we should be the most responsible committee in the congress because we're the people's house and we have the juju dishary, the f.b.i. -- we have the judiciary, the f.b.i., all within our purview and yet we have been silent. some say because groups are doing the investigating. we don't not take up bills like this because the senate is not going to take them. we take them up all the time and throw them over there and they never come back. i'm distraught with the fact that my friends, jeff flake, who is a great person i served with, is not going to run for re-election. he wasn't a knee injury republican just like bob corker is not a knee jerk republican and a lot have said many truths today what's going on in the executive branch. we are an equal branch of government. the house judiciary committee
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has that responsibility. i once again call on the chairman of the committee to hold hearings on elections, on russian interference on our elections, on threats of democracy, in violations of the emoluments clause and obstruction of justice and firing of the f.b.i. director. the f.b.i. is under our charge. we should have hearings. we should have hearings on emoluments. we should have hearings on all these issues and not be complicit. being complicit is the same as being guilty. i'd ask we pass the amendment and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields. does any member seek time in opposition? >> yes, mr. chairman. i rise to claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. >> the amendment is unnecessary ban e it would prevent a -- nothing prevents a victim of
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discrimination from relief. this bill does not have remedial payments to third party victims who are harmed by the defendant's wrong nothing. nor does it preclude wider conduct remedies used in discrimination cases. nothing in the bill bars the department of justice from requiring a defendant to implement workplace training and monitoring program. the ban on third party payments merely ensures the defendant remains responsible for performing these tasks itself as not forced to outsource set sums for the work third parties who might be friendly with a given administration. accordingly, i urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment and i reserve the alance of my time. the chair: the gentleman has the only time remaining. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from tennessee. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair,
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the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. >> ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from tennessee will e postponed. it's now in order to consider amendment number 3 printed in part b of house report 115-363. for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognize snigs -- recognition? the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 3 printed in part b of house report 115-363 offered by mr. ohnson of georgia. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 577 the gentleman
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from georgia, mr. johnson, and a member opposed, will each control five minutes. the chair recognizes the entleman from georgia. mr. johnson: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise to offer an amendment to the so-called stop settlement slush funds act. it's not a slush fund at all. it's a fund that goes to compensate people who are harmed due to the wrongdoing of mostly large multinational orporations. and so it's misnamed. there is no slush fund here this is an unwise and odious bill and what my amendment would do would be to exempt cases concerning manipulations f emissions standards from the harshness of this bill. so in other words, the federal government through the e.p.a. could institute a lawsuit
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against a firm or company, large multinational foreign company like volkswagen, as it did a couple years ago, and obtain benefits that would accrue to not just the direct recipients of the harm from volkswagen but also to society at large that was harmed by volkswagen's fraudulent activity. you see, what happened was volkswagen sold about 590,000 diesel-powered vehicles here in the united states. hese vehicles were supposed to -- they were supposed to conform with u.s. law insofar as the emissions are concerned and what volkswagen did was put in a mechanism in the cars that ould defeat the ability of the
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regulators who wanted to check to find out whether or not the vehicles complied with emissions standard. so volkswagen cheated. they sold 590,000, almost 600,000 vehicles on america's roads that were unknowingly polluting the very air that all of us breathe so we all suffered a harm as a result of volkswagen's fraud but there ere 590,000 vehicle owners who had to be protected as well. so e.p.a. sued volkswagen. volkswagen knew they were wrong. they settled the case. it was about $15 billion. that shows you how much money they have. how much money they're trying to protect here. with this bill. and the $15 billion was to go to compensate the egrieved vehicle owners as well as society at large for the harm
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that was done due to the fraudulent conduct. and what this legislation would do would be to cut the ability of the u.s. government to sue a corporate wrongdoer and receive benefits that it would then put into the hands of the individuals who were harmed as well as to rectify the harm done to society. this amendment would exempt this kind of case, the volkswagen case, from the harsh restrictions of this -- of this legislation and so i would ask in the interest of our environmental consciousness that this body would vote in favor of this amendment and with that i will reserve the alance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from louisiana seek recognition? >> i rise to claim time in opposition.
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the chair: the gentleman is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this amendment is unnecessary because it would exempt settlements that direct funds to remedy indirect harm resulting from violations of the clean air act and other violations but that is precisely the problem. how best to address indirect harm is a policy question that's properly decided by the elected representatives of congress only and not by agency bureaucrats or prosecutors. mr. johnson: an example that highlights this is the $2.7 billion mitigation fund that the department of justice required in that settlement of claims against volkswagen. that fund mitigated direct harm. the problem through a second fund, the obama justice department required volkswagen to spend an additional $ 2 billion on an administration electric vehicle initiative after congress twice refused to appropriate funds for it. it's that subversion of congress' power of the purse this bill is designed to target. nothing in this bill lets corporate polluters off the
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hook and it's nonsense to say otherwise. if direct remediation is impractical, the full penalty is still paid but goes to the treasury. after that the decision on how best to use it is left to the people's elected representatives in congress. accordingly, i urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. johnson: thank you. so this bill is nonsense to say that it protects corporate polluters and corporate wrongdoers. that's what we just heard and that the amendment is unnecessary because it addresses indirect harm and that indirect harm should be addressed by not bureaucrats in the e.p.a. but by congress. we all know how gridlocked congress has been over the years. it's been nothing coming out of this congress. i predict they won't be able to
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do -- they couldn't do repeal and replace. at it for nine months. stalled everything else out. couldn't do repeal and replace so now they are on comprehensive -- what they call tax reform which is also -- which is only tax breaks for the top 1% when you peel everything back. they are not going to be able to do that because my friends in the freedom caucus will prevent them from adding $1.5 trillion to the national debt. and i support them in that endeavor. they can count on my vote for that. but this is nonsense, ladies and gentlemen. we have to stop protecting these corporate wrongdoers and put the hands back into the courts and to the american people. and with that i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields. the gentleman from louisiana is recognized. mr. johnson: i'll yield. >> thank you. you made reference to the decision of -- the word you
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used to describe bureaucrats -- mr. johnson: let me tell you how i define them. i don't know. bureaucrats. you tell me. r. cicilline: i think you said some prejor tiff word describing bureaucrats. the settlements that would require court approval and enforcement. so i think in fairness when you say a bureaucrat doesn't get to decide this, this is pursuant to litigation which the parties come to agreement that the court must then approve. so this is really about respecting the ability of the court to assess the propriety of a judgment and i think there was a very famous decision where one of the courts said the purpose of the clean water act was not to endow the treasury but to prevent harm. so the idea is not just to generate money for the government but to actually remediate and respond to the harm that was caused by the
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corporate wrongdoer. that's why mr. johnson's amendment is brilliant. mr. johnson: reclaiming my time about the brilliant amendment. it's again not necessary. in response to the question, the court does not always approve every one of these. that's the point. the gist of this amendment and the purpose of the bill is to restore and strengthen our article 1 power under the constitution. you may not like the way congress operates. you may not like all the decisions that are made here but in that infinity wisdom this is how the founders founded our system. it works well. for that reason we oppose the amendment. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from georgia. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. he amendment is agreed to. mr. johnson: request a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings
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on the amendment offered by the gentleman from georgia will be postponed. it's now in order to consider amendment number 4 printed in 363. b of house report 115- for what purpose does the gentlewoman from texas seek recognize snigs ms. jackson lee: amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 4 printed in part b of house report 115-363 offered by ms. jackson lee of texas. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 577, the gentlewoman from texas, ms. jackson lee, and a member opposed, will each control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from texas. i think when e: we come to the floor we are obligated to as much educate our colleagues who may be back in their offices or with meetings as it is to educate the general public. the name of this bill is
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distorted and incorrect. and i think it's important to note what happens when the department of justice engages in lawsuits on behalf of the american people and they are the american people's lawyer. in many instances -- or they are sued -- in many instances there's something called a consent decree and a settlement that generates funds that can be utilized for the betterment of the american people. so why don't you view this side of the aisle for the betterment of the american people because we're questioning the legislation that would limit the opportunity for those who are doing good work to be funded by career professionals in the justice department. and so the basis of this bill is to throw this money over into the congress, of whom i have great respect in terms of its article 1 powers, requiring a congressional appropriation for
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each beneficiary fund, established as relief in a lawfully negotiated settlement to victims, such as predatory lending, discrimination, environmental hazards and would greatly strain congress' already limited legislative resources and scarce time. they want us to now, line by line, to disseminate these funds that can be done by career professionals dealing with improving on the issue upon which the government was sued. it opens the doors to industry influence an obstruction and what happens is, i don't believe we have earmarks anymore, i happen to be a supporter of getting moneys to the community, and we don't have an appropriations bill now, we don't have a budget now so it is almost november and the congress has not yet appropriated funds to run the government, nor have they passed a budget. that would be the maze of which you would throw a very
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proficient process of allowing these funds to be distributed. the jackson lee amendment would exempt from this confused bill, settlement agreements that would provide restitution states that are not parties to litigation. that means, for example, after hurricane harvey, there was an explosion at the chemical plant, nine trailers exploded and several first responders went to the hospital. i would want to seek funds to be able to help them. we also understand that there are many organizations representing the people, the public citizen, a nonprofit membership organization, they're against it. the urban league is against it and the counties have issued a resolution, local county, they're against it. i think there's no clearer evidence to vote this particular bill down but to support the jackson lee amendment. i reserve my time. the chair: the gentlelady reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from louisiana seek recognition? >> i rise to claim time in
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opposition to the amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the amendment would exempt settlement providing restitution to a state. the idea presumably being that the state could distribute money as it sees fit to address generalized harm to its citizens. mr. johnson: but nothing in this bill prevents congress making block grants to states to address generalized harm. congress regularly gives money to states. examples include the e.p.a. superfund. this insists on when such grants are appropriate and those accounts be made by accountable represents in congress and not agency bureaucrats and prosecutors. compensating direct victim sass job for the justice department. broader projects are a policy question that should be decided by congress. according toly, i urge my colleagues to support this amendment and reserve the
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balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from texas, ms. jackson lee. ms. jackson lee: my very point a transparent and clear system of distribution of funds under career professionals determining what entities need those funds is a clearer system than what would occur if moneys were dumped onto the congress outside of the normal budgetary and appropriations process, which we're having a very difficult time as we speak. the process that we have now, my amendment says that these settlement agreements that provide restitution to states that are not party to the litigation, they shouldn't be covered by the elimination of the right for the career professionals to distribute funds. it also acknowledges the respect for the congress and the work it has to do. but it also acknowledges counties like justin county, texas, the resolution to the national association of counties. they are against this bill
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because it would disallow funds derived from court setments for injuries to the environment from being distributed to states, counties and parishes in proximity to the event. these are real people representing real people on the ground asking for us to not pass this legislation. i would say to my good friend, why don't we use our article 1 powers to begin investigations on the separation of powers relevant to the administration and its action? why don't we begin looking at whether they are heeg crimes and sneerns? there are many thing ours article 1 powers can do but in this instance, i think this has not proven to be a failure and the only failure in it is the obsession that my friends have with the past administration. i want to have something that is worked for, the county government, people who live in counties and cities and states and if they were harmed during hurricane harvey, for example, by an explosion and 23 first responders went to the hospital and many houses were evacuated, i believe it would be
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appropriate to leave the system in which those dollars can go strictly -- directly to those counties and cities and states and to improve the quality of life. i reserve. the chair: the gentlewoman's time has expired. ms. jackson lee: i ask my friends to support the jackson lee amendment. the chair: the chair recognizes the gentleman from louisiana, mr. johnson. mr. johnson: thank you, mr. speaker. i would just respond to my learned colleague by quoting a renowned liberal legal scholar, e late abner migva who explained in a law review article back in 1986, that even if it were less efficient to go through congress that would be no reason to cede the point of principle. this is what he wrote, to ensure congress would act sstheas first branch of government, the founders gave them the ability to control the purse strings. they knew this was the most far-reaching and effectule of all government powers. they understood that a diverse
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group of individuals would less efficiently and less coherently device fiscal policy than would a single treasurer or fiscal czar yet they chose for good reason to suffer this cost and bear its risks. that's from a liberal legal scholar and of course conservatives agree. the system that the founders set up, the reason and if you were for article 1 is to allow these major decisions to be made by the elected representatives of congress. for that reason, we oppose the amendment and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from texas. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair the noes have it, the amendment is not agreed to. ms. jackson lee: i ask for the yeas and nays. the chair: does the gentlelady ask for a recorded vote? ms. jackson lee: i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the
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gentlewoman from texas will be postponed. it is now in order to consider amendment number 5 printed in part b of house report 115-363. for what purpose does the gentleman from rhode island seek recognition? mr. cicilline: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 5 printed in part b of house report 115-363, offered by mr. cicilline of rhode island. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 577, the gentleman from rhode island, mr. cicilline, and a member opposed, will each control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from rhode island. mr. cicilline: thank you, mr. chairman. i rise in support of my amendment which would exempt from h.r. 732 any settlement agreement that directs funds to reduce the effects of the mortgage foreclosure crisis through foreclosure assistance
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and prevention programs. there's little debate that fraudulent activity in the mortgage securities market was a primary cause of the mortgage crisis. as u.s. district court judge max coburn observed in 2014, one need not be an expert in economics to take notice it was the trading of toxic residential mortgage backed securities between financial institutions that nearly brought down the banking system in 2008. the financial crisis blighted entire cities and communities, resulting in more than 13 million americans losing their homes between 2006 and 2014, an average of 850,000 per year. beyond the hard ship and stressed place odd families by the unlawful conduct in the housing market, the exponential rise in foreclosure placed sig can costs on communities across the nation. it undermined economic development and municipal revenue derek privated communities of public services and resulted in increases of
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violent crime in areas of significant foreclosure ctivity. it underscores the diffuse around systemic impacts of mortgage fore cle sures. in response to the cry, president obama anouned the creation of an investigative department to hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners and turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many americans this unit se cured more than $40 billion in civil penalties, compensation and consumers relief through settlement with five financial institutions for alleged misconduct regarding the sale and marketing of mortgage products. it was testified in 2015 that these settlement addressed the vicious cycle of harm caused by fraud in the housing market by achieving accountability from
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financial institutions that engaged in wrongdoing related to mortgage backed securities and to the extent possible bringing a measure of relief to home oners who suffered as a result of the crisis. these settlements included statements of fact of the pervasive fraud in the mortgage market. in one example a bank employee state head would not be sur prides if half the loans went down and the bank should start praying. the settlements include consumer relief provisions designed to enable many americans to stay in their homes by directing funds to distressed homeowners, neighborhood stabilization and income-based lending for borrowers facing foreclosure. it directed $50 million in funds to charitable housing counsel programs and legal aid organizations to provide counsel to homeowners entitled to relief under the settlement because they were directly affected by the predatory banks.
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these support services provided by housing counselors and other trusted intermediaries that enable consumers to access the consumer relief to which they're entitled under the settlement. we should be ding everything in our power to keep americans in their homes and off the streets, not letting banks off the hook for predatory and fraudulent prackities. i urge many ecolleagues to adopt this amendment that will address this important issue and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the chair reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from louisiana. mr. johnson: i rise to claim time in opposition to the amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. . johnson: this would exempt -- ironically it creates an exception in the very situation in which the abuses we highlighted earlier arose. the key point here is that nothing in the underlying bill prevents direct victims of
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mortgage fraud from obtaining relief. the concern of this amendment is that there may be cases of generalized harm to communities that cannot be addressed by restitution but this fisses the fundamental point. the department of justice has authority to obtain redress for victims. federal law defines victims to be those, quote, directly and proximately harmed, unquote, by the department's -- defendant's acts. once those victims have been compensated deciding whether additional moneys, other than for penalties, shall be allocated to address other problems becomes a question properly decided by elected representatives in congress and not agency bureaucrats or prosecutors. congress already funds homeowner assistance program, balancing it against competing priorities. as we have repeated throughout this debate, the spending power is one of congress' most effective tools in reining in the executive branch. this is true, by the way new york matter which party is in the white house this amendment would weaken that essential
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congressional power and for that reason we urge members to pose it on institutional grounds. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves this echair recognizes the gentleman from rhode island. mr. cicilline: the notion that congress can just do these appropriations themselves sort of misses the point. it's the responsibility of article 3 courts to hear disputes, supervise litigation and enforce settlements. it's an odd moment for congress to take on the work of another branch of government when we can't do our own work here. and with that, i yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from michigan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank my friend for yielding. s that subject that i think we have a great deal of experience on in this country. it's only a decade since the housing crisis wreaked havoc, not just on individual family bus on whole communities. mr. kildee: and the notion that one of the available tools that
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we can deploy to deal with the consequence of this sort of predatory activity, by going right at the source of that predation and require them to supply the resources to offset the impact of that activity, is something we really ought to hink carefully about. mortgage foreclosures wrecked communities and we ought to use every tool to prevent them, by ensuring -- the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. kildee: resources they need in order to prevent this from happening again. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. kildee: we ought to do everything from preventing it from happening again. thank you. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from louisiana. mr. johnson: i would say those compelling policy arguments should be made appropriately in this chamber, and it is the elected representatives of the people in this chamber that can
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make those faithful decisions. there may be good arguments and things we need to do but the thing is we are the persons who have the constitutional authority to make those decisions, not bureaucrats, not prosecutors. for these reasons we oppose the amendment and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from rhode island. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the amendment is not agreed to. mr. cicilline: mr. chairman, i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from rhode island will be postponed. it's now in order to consider amendment number 6 printed in house report 115-363. for what purpose does the gentleman from michigan seek recognition?
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mr. conyers: to speak on behalf of my amendment. the chair: does the gentleman have an amendment at the desk? mr. conyers: yes. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 6 printed in part b of house report 115-363 offered by mr. conyers of michigan. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 577, the gentleman from michigan, mr. conyers, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: thank you, mr. chairman. my amendment would exempt from h.r. 732 settlement agreements that direct funds to remediate the indirect but catastrophic effects of unlawful conduct resulting in lead contamination in public drinking water. lead contamination in public drinking water is potentially a national public health crisis as older cities continue to rely on aging lead pipes for
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the delivery of public drinking water. a report from the american water works association estimates that this problem could potentially affect millions of water service lines. for example, highland park, located in my district, has been dealing with issues resulting from aging lead pipes. just last month, officials closed public water fountains and fixtures due to unsafe samples of lead in public drinking water. the well-publicized flint water crisis is another painful example of the disastrous consequences of lead contamination in public drinking water. he director of the pediatric residents at hurley children's hospital in flint wrote that,
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quote, to understand the contamination of this city, think about drinking water through a straw coated in lead. as you sip lead particles flake off in the water and are ingested. flint's children have been drinking water through lead coated straws. the flint water crisis has generated numerous lawsuits by individuals, local and state agencies and public interest organizations such as the natural resources defense council and the american civil liberties union. while these cases tend to involve numerous victims directly affected by unlawful conduct, they can also affect the interests of persons who are not parties to the case or are likely to receive compensation for unlawful conduct.
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given the system -- systemic nation of lead contamination in drinking water, settlement greements resolving to the flint water crisis may require setting aside funds for unidentifiable victims. directing payments to address generalized harm or establishing environmental compliance program to avoid lead contamination in the future. unfortunately, these entirely legitimate forms of indirect remediation of environmental harms would be prohibited by h.r. 732. accordingly, i urge my colleagues to support the amendment, and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from louisiana. mr. johnson: thank you, mr. chairman.
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i rise to claim time in opposition to the amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. johnson: thank you. this amendment undercuts congress' power. it's another attempt to do so. it would exempt settlements to direct funds to remedy indirect harm resulting from lead in drinking water. it's a terrible problem. the amendment is forced to focus on indirect harm because nothing in the bill prevents remediation of direct harm. but settlement provisions directing indirect harm are precisely why this bill is needed. the bill's guiding principle is once direct victims have been compensated, deciding the best use of additional funds to address related problems, whether that is addressing indirect harms or otherwise, is again a policy question properly decided by elected representatives in congress and not agency bureaucrats or prosecutors. we've proven the point. last year congress did this. congress appropriated $120 million to address drinking water problems in flint, michigan. if there's further need,
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congress can make additional appropriation. the department of justice should not augment those funding decisions outside the oversight processes because they are important to protect and preserve. again, the spending power is one of congress' most effective tools in reining in the executive branch, and we cannot afford to weaken that congressional power. for these reasons we urge all committee members to oppose this on institutional grounds and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: mr. chairman, i am pleased now to yield the balance of my time to the distinguished member from michigan, mr. kildee. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. kildee: thank you. i appreciate the gentleman yielding and particularly for this thoughtful amendment. i'm from flint. born and raised in flint. i represent flint. and i was here on the floor and i was the one pushing for the legislation that the gentleman
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on the other side mentioned that provided $120 million to help offset the costs of this terrible tragedy. but when i introduced the first legislation, we calculated what the direct direct and indirect cost was $1.5 billion -- what the total direct and indirect cost was, $1.5 billion. we ought not put a community like flint in the position of having to depend on this congress to fully fund the total cost of that recovery or another community that might be facing a similar situation. if the gentleman is sincere that congress can act to help offset the incredible indirect costs that my home community is facing, then i would suggest the gentleman join me in my effort to do just that. but so far congress has not done that. the notion that we would exempt the people of flint from access
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to the resources that could be determined by a court as being part of the justice that they deserve is not an act we ought to engage in. flint, as sad as this case is, is not an anomaly. flint is a warning and we need to make sure are we heed that warning. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from louisiana. mr. johnson: thank you, mr. chairman. i would just respond by saying that no tragedy, however sad and however large, justifies us deviating from our constitution, from the way the founders set up this system and the way that this body operates. there's a reason that these responsibilities are given to us as members of congress. and each of us have the same challenge. when there's a tragedy or a mishap or a natural disaster, anything that affects our districts, our job is to come here and convince a sufficient number of our colleagues to support those appropriations to
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handle those measures. the system is designed with safeguards in place. it's designed so the interests of the entire nation can be represented here in this chamber. for that reason this amendment would bypass that. it would bypass the design. it would bypass article 1 and would create a whole different way of governing. we simply can't allow that. this is preserving the original intent of the institution, preserving the power of this body and for that reason we oppose the amendment. i reserve the balance of my time. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from michigan. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the amendment is not agreed to. mr. conyers: may i have a record vote on that? the chair: the gentleman has requested a recorded vote? mr. conyers: yes. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from michigan will be postponed.
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pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, proceedings will now resume on those amendments printed in 3 t b of house report 115-36 on which further proceedings were postponed in the following order. amendment number 2 by mr. cohen of tennessee. amendment number 3 by mr. johnson of georgia. amendment number 4 by ms. jackson lee of texas. amendment number 5 by mr. cicilline of rhode island. amendment number 6 by mr. conyers of michigan. the chair will reduce to two minutes the minimum time for any electronic vote after the first vote of this series. the unfinished business is the request for a recorded vote on amendment number 2 printed in rt b of house report 115-363
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by the gentleman from tennessee, mr. cohen, on which further proceedings were postponed and on which the yeas prevailed by voice vote. the clerk will redesignate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 2 printed in part b of house report 115-363 offered by mr. cohen of tennessee. the chair: a recorded vote has been requested. those in support of the request for a recorded vote will rise nd be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this will be a 15-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the chair: on this vote the yeas are 187. and the nays are 233. he amendment is not adopted. the unfinished business is the request for a recorded vote on amendment number 3 printed in 363 b of house report 115- by the gentleman from georgia, mr. johnson, i.c.e. i.c.e. -- on which further proceedings were postponed and on which the yeas prevailed by voice vote. the clerk will redesignate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 3 printed in part b of house report 115-363 offered by mr. johnson of georgia. the chair: a recorded vote has
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been requested. those in support of the request for a recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this will be a two-minute vote. a two-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. fds -- 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.]
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the chair: on this vote the yeas are 183 and the nays are 235. present one. this amendment is not adopted. the unfinished business is the request for a recorded vote on amendment number 4 printed in rt b of house report 115-363 by the gentlewoman from texas,
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ms. jackson lee, on which further proceedings were postponed and on which the noes prevailed by voice vote. the clerk will redesignate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 4 printed in part b of house report 115-363 offered by ms. jackson lee of texas. the chair: a recorded vote has been requested. those in support of the request for a recorded vote will rise nd be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this will be a two-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.]
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the chair: on this vote, the yeas are 185 and the nays are 234. he amendment is not adopted.
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the unfinished business is request for a recorded vote on amendment number 5 printed in ouse -- part b of house report 115-163 by the gentleman from rhode island, mr. cicilline, on which further proceedings were postponed and the noes prevailed by voice vote. the clerk: amendment number 5 printed in part b of house report 115-163 offered by mr. cicilline of rhode island. the chair: a recorded vote has been requested. those in support for the request of a recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a two-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
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commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the chair: the yeas are 189 and the nays are 231. the amendment is not adopted.
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the unfinished business is the request for a recorded vote on amendment number 6 printed in part b of house report 115-363 by the gentleman from michigan, mr. conyers, on which further proceedings were postponed and on which the noes prevailed by voice vote. the clerk will redesignate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 6 printed in part b of house report 115-363 offered by mr. conyers of michigan. the chair: a recorded vote has been requested. those in support of the recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a two-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.]
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the chair: on this vote, the
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yeas are 191, the nays are 229. the amendment is not adopted. there being no further amendments. under the rule, the committee rises. the speaker pro tempore: mr. chairman. the chair: mr. speaker, the committee of the whole on the state of the union has had under consideration h.r. 732 and pursuant to the house resolution 577, i report that the bill as amended back to the house with a further amendment adopted in the committee of the whole. the speaker pro tempore: the committee has reported has had under consideration the bill
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h.r. 732 and pursuant to house resolution 577, reports the bill as amended by that resolution back to the house with a further amendment. under the rule, the previous question is ordered. the question is on the adoption of the amendment. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. he amendment is adopted. the question is on engrossment and third reading of the bill. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. third reading. the clerk: pursuant to settlement agreements which the united states is a party and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the passage of the bill. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. mr. conyers: mr. chairman, on this, i ask for a record vote. the speaker pro tempore: a record vote is requested.
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those favoring a recorded vote will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. . pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, the -- this is a five-minute vote and followed by five-minute vote on motion to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 3998. 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.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 238 and the nays are 183. the bill is passed. without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table.
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the unfinished business is the vote on the motion of the gentleman from kentucky, mr. barr, to suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 3898 as amended, on which the yeas and nays were requested. the clerk will report the title of the bill. to clerk: h.r. 3898, a bill require the secretary of the treasury to place conditions on certain accounts at united states financial institutions with respect to north korea, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the estion is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill. 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
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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.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 415. he nays are two.
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he the bill is passed. on this vote the yeas are 415. the nays are two. 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. without objection, the title is amended. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. sessions: mr. speaker, thank you very much. mr. speaker, i send to the desk a privileged report from the committee on rules for filing under the rule. the clerk: torpt. the clerk: report to accompany house resolution 580, resolution providing for consideration of the senate amendment to the concurrent resolution, house concurrent resolution 71, establishing the congressional budget for the united states government for
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fiscal year 2018 and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2019 through 2027. the speaker pro tempore: referred to the house calendar and ordered printed. for what purpose does the gentleman from oklahoma seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that i may here after to be the first sponsor of h.r. 3545 a bill originally introduced by representative murphy of pennsylvania for the purpose of adding co-sponsors and requesting reprinting pruett to clause 7 of rule 12. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from indiana seek recognition? mrs. walorski: i'd like to ask unanimous consent to remove ed perlmutter of my bill h.r. 3798. he was mistakenly added to the legislation. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered.
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the house will be in order. members take their seats and staff. clear the row. please remove your conversations from the floor. he house will be in order.
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the chair will now entertain requests for one-minute speeches. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from new york seek recognition? without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. tenney: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to discuss the recent community forum i held at binghamton university to raise awareness about the heroin and opioid epidemic ravaging our country. every day in america more than 144 americans die of a drug overdose. in broom county where a forum was held 76 people died of an overdose last year, 90% from opioids. before the forum i had an opportunity to go to united health services to see firsthand the arduous work our health care professionals are doing to fight back against this disease.
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the opioid forum revealed that our health care professionals, law enforcement agencies and community organizations continue to struggle to keep pace with the rise of addiction and it became clear to me by the end of forum more resources are needed. it was an honor to bring together members of our community to talk about solutions and highlight that there is hope for the future. i look forward to taking those ideas that we learned from the forum and putting those ideas into action by working with my colleagues to reduce and eliminate the scourge of addiction. i yield back. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the house will come to order. please take your conversations outside the house chamber. for what purpose does the gentleman from new jersey seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one inute. mr.

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