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United States House of Representatives 1000- 1100
HOUSE FLOOR DEBATE: The House meets for legislative business. Suspensions (3 bills): 1) H. Res. 781 - Congratulating charter schools and their students, parents, teachers, and administrators across the United States for their ongoing contributions to education, and for other purposes (Sponsored by Rep. Porter / Education and the Workforce Committee); 2) H.Con.Res. 359 - Authorizing the use of the Capitol Grounds for the District of Columbia Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run (Sponsored by Rep. Shuster / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee); 3) H.R. 4700 - To provide for the conditional conveyance of any interest retained by the United States in St. Joseph Memorial Hall in St. Joseph, Michigan (Sponsored by Rep. Upton / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee) // H.R. 4975 - Lobbying Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 Structured Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Dreier / Judiciary Committee) // H.R. 4954 - SAFE Port Act (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Lungren / Homeland Security Committee) 10:01:00.5 the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the chair lays before the house a communication from the speaker. the clerk: the speaker's rooms, washington, d.c., may 3, 2006, i hereby appoint the honorable 10:01:20.9 jo bonner to act as speaker pro tempore on this day, signed, j. dennis hastert, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: the prayer will be offered today by the guest chaplain, the reverend frank m. deary junior, senior pastor of the first 10:01:36.6 baptist church of labelle, florida. the chaplain: may we pray. dear heavenly father, this morning i ask your blessing upon the men and women who are gathered to conduct business as representatives for the people of this great nation. god, each of these leaders has a need on his or her heart and i pray that you will be 10:01:52.6 recognized as a god who will meet every need as you are called on to provide strength, wisdom, and the discernment to make difficult decisions that will affect so many people of the united states. father, i pray for these leaders who have been given the 10:02:08.1 awesome responsibility to lead that you will guide them to lead in a way that pleases you and strengthens your plan for this country. you have blessed the united states incredibly, and we give you praise for these blessings. father, guide us to remember 10:02:22.7 the words of the sammist, to know that the lord is -- of the psalmist, to know that the lord is god. he made us, we are his people and the sheep of his pasture. in jesus' name i pray, amen. the speaker pro tempore: the 10:02:40.2 chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1, the journal stands approved. our pledge today will be led by the gentleman from florida, mr. meek. mr. meek: i pledge allegiance 10:02:57.2 to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker pro tempore: 10:03:14.5 without objection, the gentleman from florida, mr. foley, is recognized for one minute. mr. foley: mr. speaker, i rise today to welcome our guest chaplain, reverend frank michael deerey junior, who is currently serving as senior pastor at the first baptist 10:03:29.7 church of labelle, florida. i first met him during our visit with governor jeb bush after hurricane wilma hit south florida and we witnessed first baptist church of labelle's humanitarian operation for the hurricane victims who were in need of a hot shower, meals, clothing and other resources. 10:03:47.2 labelle is a small city with a big heart, and that was truly visible under pastor deerey's leadership as his church rallied along with the community to help those who were adversely affected by the wrath of hurricane wilma. pastor deerey was born in new 10:04:04.6 orleans, louisiana and lived there until 1995 when he came to florida to serve in labelle. he received a bachelor of arts in 1979 from southeastern louisiana university in hammond, louisiana. 1982, he received a masters of divinity from new orleans 10:04:20.2 baptist theological seminary. pastor deerey was licensed and ordained as a minister and served as youth pastor, associate pastor and pastored four louisiana churches. since moving to florida he's been actively in the local 10:04:35.1 community as president of the local unit of the salvation eerm and is currently -- army and is currently serving the office. his wife kathy joins us today and has taught in public schools for 27 years and currently is a school guidance 10:04:53.1 counselor. his son is a graduate of emory riddle aaron naughtic university in daytona, florida, his daughter is currently rolled in edison college in fort myers, florida. it's a great pleasure in welcoming pastor frank to the house chambers to open our 10:05:07.4 legislative day with prayer and thank him for all of his services not only to labelle but all of florida. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the tchare will now entertainment -- chair will now entertain one-minute remarks. 10:05:22.3 the chair recognizes the gentlelady from new york. without objection. mrs. kelly: mr. speaker, we must always keep the promises we've made to our veterans who have dedicated themselves to faithfully serving our country. however, under current law veterans are being prohibited from using medicare coverage at local v.a. hospitals. 10:05:38.5 they can only use medicare at a non-v.a. hospital and they lose out on the personalized care that they prefer to receive at a v.a. hospital. this forces veterans to choose between cost and comfort. that's not the way our veterans should be treated. i've introduced the veterans 10:05:54.9 medicare assistance act to correct this problem. our laws should be working for veterans, not against them. i urge my colleagues to join me 10:06:03.0 in this effort to enable our veterans to use their medicare benefits to help them pay their bills at a v.a. hospital. most veterans pay into the medicare for most of their lives. this law should not prohibit them from using those medicare benefits at a v.a. hospital 10:06:17.7 later on in life. co-sponsor h.r. 4992, and show our veterans that we are putting their needs first. we need to work together in congress to enhance health care options for our veterans, not take them away. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the 10:06:35.1 chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois for one minute. mr. emanuel: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. emanuel: mr. speaker, later this morning the president will unveil his plan for responding to a flu pandemic. the homeland security department will be taking a key 10:06:52.1 role in the response. that's right, the pandemic flu response will be brought to you by the same people who gave us one heck of a job in responding to hurricane katrina. the other great initiatives were duct tape as a national response to chemical weapons and dubai ports fiasco. 10:07:08.3 according to reports, the president's plan predicts chaos, quote-unquote, a scenario of nearly two million american deaths. given the department of homeland security's track record, are these the folks you really want to put in charge of managing our responsible crisis 10:07:23.2 of this magnitude? the homeland security had a plan for new orleans, they just ignored it. and the parts that they did follow were so bungled and mismanaged we're still dealing with the aftermath. mr. speaker, no well funded plan can go forward without a good general. at a time in which we need grant, we've got mcclellan. 10:07:41.1 forget the compassionate conservative this president promised. at this point, i'd settle for a competent conservative. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. poe: mr. speaker, part of the reason gasoline prices have jumped to record highs is because there have been no new refineries or major refinery 10:07:58.1 expansion in america. the united states refineries are at 97% capacity by turning that black gold, crude oil, into gasoline at a rapid rate. but there is a tremendous demand for more refinery capacity. oil dutch she will has announced the plant in port 10:08:15.8 arthur, texas will expand to become the biggest refinery in the united states. construction will begin next year. currently exxonmobil in texas is the biggest refinery in america. by the way, mr. speaker, both of these refineries are in the entering belt of the texas gulf 10:08:29.8 coast. to get back on the path of energy self reliance united states needs more american refineries and more offshore drilling. the country has not built a refinery in over 25 years because of burdensome bureaucratic regulations and 10:08:46.0 environmental energy obstructionists. we need to increase offshore drilling to increase supply. so the gasoline supply at the pump can come down to an acceptable american consumer level. the people of texas welcome the new endeavor there. 10:09:01.1 that's just the way it is. the speaker pro tempore: the chair is pleased to recognize the gentleman from oregon for one minute. mr. blumenauer: well, we've just heard an example of the republican line of why there's 10:09:18.2 an energy problem. we haven't built new refineries because of burdensome environmental regulations. hogwash. we have had the industry actually close refinery capacity. 10:09:32.1 there's no evidence that there's an inability, but sadly, we're continuing the spectacle of the republican control in congress to waste opportunities and try and change the subject. whether it's wasting subsidies on oil companies that don't need it, starving renewables, or conservation. 10:09:48.8 the latest debacle is scheduled here on the floor in a few hours where they're going to force communities to accept refineries on closed military bases with no markups, no hearings, no meaningful records. there will come a time when congress will act like a congress. 10:10:04.7 we'll legislate on energy, on conservation, on innovation, and prepare for the future, but sadly, not with this republican leadership. the speaker pro tempore: the chair is pleased to recognize the gentleman from florida for one minute. 10:10:19.9 mr. keller: well, thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, vicente fox, the president of mexico, is at it again. yesterday, he said he would sign into law an irresponsible law legalizing the possession of drugs. as a result, millions of american young people who 10:10:35.6 travel to mexico for summer vacation will now legally be able to use cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and marijuana. how much is ok? two ecstasy pills, four joints, four lines of cocaine, and 25 milligrams of heroin are now 10:10:51.6 all allowed, according to vicente fox. who's advising this guy? courtney love? what a year president fox is having. earlier this year, his mexican 10:11:02.3 government provided maps to illegals to help them cross our borders. then his mexican military soldiers got caught providing an armed escort to mexican drug smugglers into texas. and now he wants congress to reward millions of illegal aliens with amnesty and 10:11:17.4 permanent citizenship so they can earn money here and send it back to mexico. vicente fox says he's our friend. with friends like these, who needs enemies? mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the 10:11:32.3 chair recognizes the gentleman from michigan for one minute. mr. stupak: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. stupak: mr. speaker, it seems almost everyone these days is rightfully outraged at the massive profits of oil and gas executives and companies. while they are raking in record profits, gas prices hit 10:11:50.8 historic highs. that's everyone except house republicans. it isn't enough that republicans supported provisions in the energy bill last year that provided oil companies with $20 billion in special interest gifts while neglecting to include any real initiatives that would lower 10:12:07.5 gas prices. house republicans then repeatedly refused to support democratic efforts to give the federal trade commission the authority to investigate all price gouging at all points of the supply chain. then last week, house republicans had the opportunity to roll back $5 billion in 10:12:24.4 additional tax breaks for oil companies over the next five years, but voted overwhelmingly to reject this democratic proposal. are house republicans that far out of touch? don't they realize companies with profits of $113 billion last year do not need tax 10:12:41.2 breaks? mr. speaker, the cozy relationship between house republicans have with oil and gas executives is hurting everyday americans who are struggling to pay record prices at the pump. the speaker pro tempore: the chair is pleased to recognize the gentleman from illinois for 10:12:55.8 one minute. mr. shimkus: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. shimkus: thank you, mr. speaker. our problem we have is our reliance on imported crude oil. the way we try to address this solution is through renewable fuels, conservation, additional 10:13:12.9 exploration, and new technologies. i want to talk about one of those new technologies today, which is coal to liquid applications, which is called b.t. uconn version. imagine this, a coal mine in the midwest which on top of it sits a refinery, a liquid fuel 10:13:30.0 refinery. sound far-fetched? no, this technology has been around for 50 years. the germans used it in world war ii. the refinery bill that we have on the floor of the house toads will provide the same incentives to expansion of petroleum refineries to 10:13:43.5 coal-to-liquid applications. mr. speaker, the u.s. has 27% of the world coal supply, the largest of any country, but less than 2% of world's oil and less than 3% of natural gas. for a response to the energy challenge, the u.s. must make 10:13:59.9 greater use of its unrivaled coal reserves. thank you, mr. speaker. and i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair is pleased to recognize the gentleman from rhode island for one minute. mr. langevin: mr. speaker, as of this morning, rhode 10:14:28.2 islanders are paying an average of $2.94 per gallon for regular gasoline. that's nearly 40 cents more than they were paying a month ago and 70 cents more than they were paying a year ago. well, last year, congress passed an energy bill which i opposed because it gave away 10:14:45.4 billions of tax dollars to oil and gas companies instead of investing in new technologies, alternative fuels, and energy efficiency. as it turns out, oil and gas prices have gone up since we passed the republican energy bill, and you know what else has gone up? 10:14:59.7 the profits of oil and gas companies. well, now the republican majority is proposing even more giveaways to the oil and gas industry by handing over federal lands to open refineries and by opening up the arctic national wildlife refuge. 10:15:15.5 well, mr. speaker, enough is enough. we cannot simply drill our way out of this crisis. growing demand from china and india and other countries is going to keep the cost of oil high for years to come and subsidies to the oil and gas industry will not change that. we need new leadership that will 10:15:32.4 promote an energy policy that encourages new technologies, energy efficiency, and creates american jobs. this morning on the "today" show the chairman of exxonmobil said that he wasn't going -- they were in the business of making money. 10:15:47.1 we are in the business of protecting the american people. it's about time this congress does its job. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the chair is pleased to recognize the gentlelady from north carolina for one minute. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. in country line dancing there is 10:16:01.9 a dance called two-step. when it comes to energy policy the democrats have come up with their own dance, the four step. here's how it goes. first democrats don't acknowledge the supply component in the supply and demand principle of economics. 10:16:15.0 when confronted with solutions to the supply problem, democrats always vote no and drive up prices. step two for democrats is to scream about the evil of s.u.v.'s even though they may be driven around in one. step three for democrats is to call for investigations, point fingers, call for investment in 10:16:32.5 r&d that already exists and say if it weren't for those darn republicans we could get off oil tomorrow. step four is repeating steps one, two, and three until voters and the medium start paying attention. 10:16:45.7 mr. speaker if this sounds familiar, it should. since president clinton vetoed anwr in 1995, democrats have performed this dance when it comes to increasing or energy supply. but with gas reaching $3 a gallon, democrats need to retire it and learn a new dance. but they should try to learn one that will actually increase our oil supply. 10:17:03.5 i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair is pleased to recognize for one minute the gentlelady from new york. without objection. mrs. maloney: mr. speaker, when president bush took office five years ago, the average price at 10:17:20.9 the gas pump was $1.45. today it has more than doubled over the past five years. and republicans over the past five years have controlled the house, the senate, and the white house. 10:17:36.7 washington republicans have done nothing to pass a sound energy policy that would wean us from foreign oil, create conservation programs, and provide incentives to develop alternative fuels. programs that would help us 10:17:52.7 provide consumers some relief. it took republicans four years before they finally passed an energy bill. but that bill continued massive subsidies to the oil industry like the rip-off royalty in kind 10:18:08.8 program. the president's own energy department admitted at the time that the energy bill would do absolutely nothing to lower gas prices. five years of republican power and five years of no positive 10:18:25.2 results for the consumer. the speaker pro tempore: the chair is pleased to recognize for one minute the gentlelady from tennessee. mrs. blackburn: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. thank you, mr. speaker. everyone is talking about the 10:18:42.0 issues of the day. immigration and energy prices. and too many in this body are overcomplicating the issue. it's really not that hard. on immigration build a wall if necessary. 10:18:56.2 secure the border. it is whature constituents -- what our constituents in tennessee want. it's what the republican majority want. it is what the american people want and need. on energy, we should be exploring for domestic sources of energy. 10:19:13.2 we should pass the energy legislation that is going to come before this body this week. we should define price gouging. encourage construction of refineries. currently we are not doing that. liberals in congress have spent 10:19:30.1 the past three decades pandering to environmental extremists. the policies that they have put in place are in large part responsible for the energy crunch that we are seeing today. we have not built a refinery in this country for 30 years. mr. speaker, the liberals need 10:19:48.4 to start serving american families and stop serving special interests. thank you, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair is pleased to recognize the gentleman from arkansas for one minute. >> i ask unanimous consent to 10:20:03.7 revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. barry: -- mr. berry: first of all i would ask everyone remember our men and women in uniform and keep them in your hearts and minds and certainly in their prayers, 10:20:20.5 especially those on the battlefield today. today the republican congress is going to attempt to extend the culture of corruption and chaos. they are going to offer a so-called lobby reform bill. 10:20:38.6 it makes me think of that wonderful american merle haggard that wrote a song called "rainbow stew" and it goes something like this. when a president goes through the white house door and does what he says he'll do, we'll all 10:20:54.0 be drinking that free bubbleup, and eating that rainbow stew. 10:21:00.2 this bill is clearly rainbow stew. it is a phony lobby reform bill. america deserves better. america deserves integrity. america deserves honor. 10:21:14.5 and they certainly don't deserve another dose of rainbow stew and free bubble up. i yield. the speaker pro tempore: the chair is pleased to recognize the gentleman from south carolina for one minute. mr. wilson: mr. speaker, i ask permission to address the house for one minute. 10:21:29.4 revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. wilson: america's economy continues to surge ahead, delivering tremendous benefits to families throughout our country. over the past three years, over 5.1 million americans have found new jobs. i'm glad that my visitors from grace christian school will 10:21:46.0 enjoy expanded job opportunities inspired by jeannie slayer and tim stevens. while house democrats ignore this continued job creation, it's obvious that the 2003 tax cuts were the true source behind the tremendous economic growth in our country. 10:22:02.3 last week we witnessed another example of economic excellence in america. last friday the department of commerce reported that the economy grew by 4.8% over the last -- past three months. which is the fastest rate in three years. as republicans finalize our 10:22:17.7 plans to extend the 2003 tax cuts, i would like to urge house democrats to abandon their tax and spend plans. instead of playing the politics of obstructionism, they should join republicans in implementing meaningful tax reform n 10:22:34.4 conclusion, god bless our troops. we will never forget september 11. the speaker pro tempore: the chair is pleased to recognize the gentlelady from california for one minute. ms. solis: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. ms. solis: today i rise in support of the goals of cover 10:22:49.2 the unindshured week. nearly 46 million americans, including more than eight million children, are living without health insurance. more than 1/3 are latinos, 20% are african-americans, about 19% are asian pacific islanders who lack any form of health care 10:23:05.8 insurance. in california one out of five uninsured is a child under the age of 18. many current health proposals offered by republicans will do more harm than help people living in districts like mine. association health plans which ignore our state regulations are 10:23:20.9 not working for families. health savings accounts will do nothing to improve the well-being of our families in districts like mine. instead congress should be taking action to ensure that no child has to skip needed health care examinations. we should ensure that working 10:23:36.6 families never have to choose between going to see a doctor and putting food on the table. we must work to eliminate racial and ethic health care disparities. together minorities comprise about 46% of the uninsured population. all these groups represent only 10:23:52.4 24% of the u.s. population. however insurance coverage is an important predictor of whether individuals obtain health promoting and life extending services. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. 10:24:06.1 the chair's pleased to recognize the gentleman from florida for one minute. mr. stearns: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. stearns: mr. speaker, today is asthma awareness day 2006. on asthma awareness day may 7, 2003, there were only 20 asthma friendly states in the united 10:24:23.2 states. even more limiting, of those 20 only nine extended protection even further to anna if a plaquesis medication. today historically 47 states protect for asthma. 10:24:38.4 38 for asthma plus anna if a laxcies -- anaphalaxis. this is a positive turn around in just a few years for our children. 10:24:53.3 i'm pleased with the momentous progress we have made on our nation's capital and statehouses. i encourage all of us who work here, visit the capitol today to stop by the cannon caucus room from 11:30 to 4:00 and learn more about asthma. get screened, take the test. 10:25:09.9 and let's enjoy another successful asthma awareness day. the speaker pro tempore: the chair is pleased to recognize the gentleman from florida for one minute. mr. meek: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. meek: mr. speaker, i come to the floor today to announce that 10:25:27.5 last friday a bipartisan coalition, 15 state senators and six -- 15 democratic state senators and six republican state senators came together to protect the people of the state of florida as it relates to 10:25:44.0 smaller class sizes. the people of the state of florida in 2002 voted and approved class size limits in the state of florida to make sure that the state pays for smaller class sizes and not local districts. floridians said three things, 10:25:58.1 public education is a high priority, that classrooms that are packed with students are unacceptable, and that floridians want tax dollars to be spent, provide a quality education to all florida's children but some state officials try to undercut that decision by -- that was made by 10:26:14.5 the voters and for florida's children. today i want to enter the names today, mr. speaker, of those senators and those state representatives that put forth their vote to make sure that we protect those that are in public education now in the state of florida and those that are yet 10:26:29.7 unborn. they should be commended and placed into the congressional record for future generations. thank you so very much. the speaker pro tempore: the chair is pleased to recognize the gentlelady from michigan for one minute. mrs. miller: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, the situation at 10:26:44.3 our porous border is absolutely in a state of emergency. we are all hearing this message from our constituents in a variety of ways, and this morning i wanted to share a very clear message that i received in my office the other day from one of my constituents. a constituent of mine sent me this brick in the mail. 10:26:59.9 on this brick it says, since the u.s. government seems to be struggling with the illegal immigration problem, i thought i would send you the means to begin solving the problem. this brick is sent to support stronger border security. mr. speaker, the american people are demanding action. 10:27:16.8 and last december this house passed a very good border security bill that would, in fact, put this brick to very good use in building a security fence on our southern border. the debate in the other body is now turning toward amnesty for those who come here illegally. that is the wrong direction for 10:27:32.8 america. we cannot offer amnesty or expanded opportunities for guest workers until we deal with the problem at hand. and i urge the u.s. senate to listen to the people, to look at the bill that was passed by this house in december, and as this brick says, support stronger border security. 10:27:48.8 i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair is pleased to recognize the gentlelady from california for one minute. >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. ms. sanchez: thank you, mr. speaker. we are now just about three weeks away from the memorial day 10:28:06.7 holiday. and a gallon of gas in my district costs $3.38. look at this photo from home. $3.38 for unleaded. the cheap stuff. 10:28:20.2 it is now cheaper to buy a fast food lunch than it is for people in riverside to drive to anaheim. before the memorial day holiday, let us give america a fuel tax holiday, 60 days with no gas 10:28:35.0 tax. i'll be the first to admit this is a short-term solution to a long-term problem. but the american people should not need to suffer the pain at the pump simply because this republican-led congress has 10:28:50.9 forsaken its obligation to address our country's energy crisis. last week exxonmobil announced it had a made $8.4 billion in a quarter. the first quarter of this year. now, why should the federal 10:29:08.5 government give handouts to a company that made $8 billion in three months? i urge my colleagues to support this revenue neutral bill. it gives money back to the taxpayers. it stops the needless oil company give aways, and it gives 10:29:25.1 consumers relief when they need it the most. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair is pleased to recognize the gentleman from texas. mr. carter: permission to address the house for one 10:29:37.9 minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. carter: this morning and every morning in my memory members of my district, americans all across this country, and my colleagues in the democratic party went out and got in their cars, started them up, and drove to work or drove to school. 10:29:53.8 they wouldn't have done that if they hadn't been gasoline or diesel in those automobiles. and yet the democrats have been opposing refining capacity, opposing pipelines, opposing drilling in anwr, opposing going to the reserves that we know are 10:30:10.8 available if we'll just drill the wells and produce the petrochemicals that are necessary to keep this country running. the reason we've got the problem today is obstructionism to solve the problem, which is let's put gas and diesel in our 10:30:25.5 tanks so we can keep america going to work. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair is pleased to recognize the gentleman from ohio for one minute. mr. kucinich: permission to address the house and revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: 10:30:39.8 without objection. mr. kucinich: now, everyone knows the oil companies are posting record profits. oil companies are blaming everyone but themselves for large gas increases. the consumer is being gouged and oil companies continue to avoid their responsibility. the most recent data for the nation shows the average price 10:30:56.6 of gas is close to $3 a gallon. gas prices increasing, wages across the nation dropping, gas prices hurt even more because folks have less money to pay for it. you know what's going on, people are actually going into their change jars to go to the 10:31:12.7 gas station to be able to pay for the increased cost of gas. some people are hawking their jewelry to be able to pay for the increased price of gas. price gouging is occurring. as the oil companies are reaping profits close to $3 billion since 2001, time for 10:31:28.9 windfall profits tax, time for a bill, the gas price spike act, over 50 members of congress want a windfall profits tax. that's what the oil companies understand. when we get that up to 100 co-sponsors, then the oil companies are going to start 10:31:43.0 backing off, because right now their foot's on the accelerator. they're looking at $3 a gallon, $4 a gallon, $5 a gallon. we have to stand up for the american people, and that's what we're here to do. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. 10:31:57.4 the chair's pleased to recognize the gentleman from louisiana for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the nation's energy prices continue to rise. families and businesses are feeling the pinch. we're paying the price for decades of extra taxes, poor energy policy, curtailed 10:32:15.0 exploration, and a lack of new refineries. the nation needs to take a new approach to our energy problems. we need to break our dependency on foreign sources of oil which leaves us at the mercy of foreign powers. to do that, we should increase domestic energy production. my bill, h.r. 4761, gives 10:32:31.8 states control of the waters off their shores and encourages increased energy exploration by giving them a share of the revenues generated. we should increase our development of alternative fuels taking advantage of renewable fuels like corn and 10:32:46.2 sugar to produce biodiesel. finally we should help developing nations to help curb their increasing consumption of oil and natural gas which is driving oil prices higher. india in particular is looking to develop nuclear power for domestic use and we should work 10:33:02.6 with them. this is a good deal for both companies, india develops its own self-sustaining power sources, we get a reduction in the demand for world energy lowering prices in the process. clearly the energy problems are too big to use yesterday's thinking. 10:33:18.6 thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair is pleased to recognize the gentleman from tennessee for one minute. mr. cooper: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. cooper: mr. speaker, we've heard a lot of problems mentioned on the house floor today. we should be aware that this house is doing a very poor job of addressing any of these 10:33:35.9 problems. why? because this is one of the laziest congresses in all of american history. we are scheduled to meet this year fewer days than any congress since at least 1948, 10:33:52.1 and that's even before i was born. so far, we're in the 123rd day of this year, and yet we've only had 26 voting days in this body. that's a shame. this congress is simply not doing its job under republican 10:34:08.0 leadership. they are the ones that set the schedule. you know, harry truman called that congress of 1948 the do-nothing congress of 1948. how do you do less than nothing? 10:34:22.9 sadly, the american people are about to find out thanks to our friends on the other side of the aisle. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the chair is pleased to recognize the gentleman from north carolina for one minute. mr. hayes: i ask unanimous 10:34:41.4 consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. hayes: mr. speaker, i want to recognize american idol cafta kelley pickler for using her god given talent to sing. she is returning home but she consistently received some of 10:34:56.4 the highest rote totals than any of the other contestants and it's easy to understand why. kelley's charm and talent clearly identified her success each week as americans tuned into the most popular show on television. kelley will be returning home to stanley county and north 10:35:12.7 carolina, a true idol to many for her performances. her extraordinary singing voice and the grace she personified in front of millions as she represented her community, family, and friends, kelley, we wish you the best, i know that great opportunities lie ahead for you. 10:35:27.5 thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the chair is pleased to recognize the gentleman from illinois for one minute. >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. 10:35:45.1 >> in less than 12 days seniors face a critical deadline. by may 15, they must sign up for a medicare drug pan. after this date, they'll pay a permanent penalty of 1% for 10:35:57.1 every month that they wait to join, a penalty they will pay on top of their premium for the rest of their lives. i have held more than three dozen seminars across my district to help seniors navigate through the overly 10:36:13.0 complex program and they keep calling asking for more help. they're understandably confused by the more than 60 different choices that they have. the least we can do is give seniors more time to understand their options so that they can 10:36:27.7 make their best choice. to do this, congress must pass the medicare informed choice act, which would delay the late enrollment penalty, prevent beneficiaries from losing their employer-based coverage, and allow seniors to switch plans 10:36:42.7 if they make a mistake. more than 70% of seniors are asking for more time. it's long overdue for congress to listen and make sure that seniors have a prescription drug plan that works for them. i yield back the balance of my 10:36:57.1 time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair is pleased to recognize at this time the gentleman from minnesota for one minute. mr. kennedy: thank you. mr. speaker, i rise today as a member of congress and a parent to thank the many law enforcement officers whose hard 10:37:13.3 work resulted in yesterday's capture of escaped child sexual predator michael benson. i would also commend john walsh and the viewers of "america's most wanted," who helped make benson the 888th criminal apprehended after being 10:37:30.1 featured on the show. however, i stand here today deeply frustrated that obstructionists in the other body are using procedural gimmicks to block passage of the child safety act, which the house first passed overwhelmingly more than eight 10:37:46.8 months ago. mr. speaker, this act will help our children keep safe from predators like michael benson, and i urge the other body to quit obstructing and pass this vital bill. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the 10:38:02.0 gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the chair is pleased to recognize the gentleman from washington state for one minute. >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. larsen: i rise to recognize the naval base atwoodby island. 10:38:23.4 the captain will accept the award for excellence on friday. this award recognizes the hard work and exceptional efforts of the people who operate n.a.s. woodby and i praise that team effort from the men and women on the ground to those in the 10:38:35.5 sky. they make this installation run. the community and the residents of oak harbor play an integral role in protecting and promoting n.a.s. woodby. it is their work year after year this makes it great. it is the national center for 10:38:51.2 electronic warfare and anti-submarine warfare operations. these missions will be pivotal to creating the type of military the department of defense wants to build in the upcoming years. n.a.s. woodby will likely have to accommodate tremendous growth in the future and this award shows the team and 10:39:06.6 infrastructure are in place to do the job. thank you, mr. speaker. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the chair is pleased to recognize the gentleman from indiana for one minute. mr. pence: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. pence: gas prices are too 10:39:22.4 high, and so washington has already begun to posture. i know how angry people can become when gas prices rise. i spent five years working my way through college pumping gas at ray's marathon. 10:39:40.0 and it is important that washington respond. but we ought to respond with a real answer, which is to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by opening up america's own domestic reserves in the inner coastal regions and in the alas 10:39:57.6 sca national wildlife re -- and the alaska national wildlife region. if we opened up anwr, we could increase our domestic reserves by 50%. if president bill clinton had not vetoed legislation opening anwr to environmentally responsible exploration in 10:40:14.5 1995, we would be pumping millions of barrels from anwr today. let's reduce the price of gasoline for future generations of americans. let's reduce our dependence on foreign oil. the speaker pro tempore: the 10:40:28.7 chair is pleased at this time to recognize the gentlelady from california for one minute. ms. watson: permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: wukes. ms. watson: mr. speaker, the american people are fed up with us in congress. they finally see the house republican majority for what it is, nothing but a rubber stamp 10:40:45.4 for president bush and his special interest friends. house republicans simply have no agenda for helping everyday americans. 10:40:55.7 perhaps that's the reason we've only been in session for 26 days so far this year. if house republicans were really interested in helping the american people, they'd join us in tracking and tackling our nation's energy 10:41:12.5 crisis. house republicans failed to address skyrocketing gas prices in their energy bill last year. instead, they chose to follow the president in supporting a bill that gave the oil and gas companies $20 billion in 10:41:27.7 special interest gifts by doing absolutely nothing to ease the sticker shock consumers face every time they fill up at the pump. we have a plan. democrats have a plan that works for all americans, not 10:41:42.4 just big oil and gas c.e.o.'s. our plan not only cracks down on price gouging, but also calls for an increase in production of our alternative fuels. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the 10:41:56.3 chair is pleased to recognize at this time the gentleman from new york for one minute. mr. nadler: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. nadler: mr. speaker? the speaker pro tempore: without objection. 10:42:11.7 mr. nadler: mr. speaker, today president bush is expected to announce his appointment of homeland security chief michael chertoff to lead the administration's efforts to combat a potential avian flu epidemic. didn't the president learn anything from hurricane katrina? 10:42:27.2 michael chertoff is the same man responsible for the incompetent, inept, and tragically unacceptable response to hurricane katrina. if secretary chertoff couldn't properly oversee the administration's response to a hurricane along the gulf coast that we knew about days in advance, how is he supposed to 10:42:42.9 lead the response to a flu pandemic that could hit at any time? the bush administration is already woefully unprepared to fight an avian flu pandemic. the president's own administration has already warned a worst-case scenario here in the u.s. would entail 10:42:59.2 an 18 month long crisis in which as many as 1.9 million americans could be killed. the flu crisis needs a serious and competent administration to oversee our response. the bush administration is showing once again it will take a crony over a competent administrator every time. 10:43:13.7 it's time for the administration to show that it actually can lead. it's time they turn away from the cronies and find someone competent for a change so the avian flu pandemic doesn't surprise us the way the expected hurricane katrina overwhelmed us. 10:43:28.7 thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20 , the chair will postpone further proceedings today on motions to suspend the rules on which a recorded vote or the yeas and nays are ordered. or on which the vote is 10:43:44.3 objected to under clause 6 of rule 20. recorded votes on postponed questions will be taken later today. for what purpose does the gentleman from nevada rise? mr. porter: mr. speaker, i move 10:43:59.7 the house suspend the rules and pass resolution h.r. 781. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the resolution. the clerk: house resolution 781, resolution congratulating charter schools and their students, parents, teachers, and administrators across the united states for their ongoing 10:44:16.4 contributions to education, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to house rule, the gentleman from nevada, mr. porter, and the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. kind, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from nevada. 10:44:29.6 mr. porter: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks and include any extraneous material on h.r. 781. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. porter: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. mr. speaker, this resolution 10:44:45.4 honors the nation's charter schools, their parents, the teachers, of course, the students, administrators, and other individuals involved with their hard work and dedication promoting equality public education. this week, may 1 through may 7, has been designated national 10:45:01.9 charter schools week. during this week, charter school organizations and others around the united states recognize these schools for their continued contribution to education. the nation's charter school deliver a high quality education and challenge students to reach 10:45:17.1 their potential. when president bush took office in 2001, there were only about 2,000 charter schools nationwide. today there's approximately 3,600 serving over a million students in 40 states, including the district of columbia and puerto rico. 10:45:33.9 in nevada, we have 18 charter schools serving approximately 5,000 students. very proud to have been involved with nevada's first legislation in 1997 to introduce and to pass our first charter school legislation. 10:45:49.2 we also have an example of a charter school that is 10:45:54.6 nationally recognized. that's the andre aga as college prep atory -- prep tory academy. it's designed to enhance a student's character, respect, motivation, and self-discipline. agassi prep is to improve skill 10:46:14.5 levels and combat lower expectations among the community's most challenged children. extended few hours are a few of the practices utilized to 10:46:26.9 achieve a higher standard of education. i commend the charter schools in the state of nevada and across this great nation for recognizing the immense need for improved education and for their commitment to improving student achievement for students who attend these schools. nationwide charter schools serve 10:46:44.4 a very special need. many of the schools under their charter take care of kids with special needs from hearing to speaking to other challenges, even in the state of nevada we have a charter school that was neglected through its charter to 10:47:01.7 serve children from the state of california that are juvenile delinquents. charter schools provide a great service to our communities. also grade schools, all different levels of schools across the country to provide 10:47:16.9 parents, communities, leaders, business, all members of the community access and the ability to be involved in education. nearly 56% of charter schools report having a waiting list, and the total number of students on such waiting lists is enough to fill another 1,000 10:47:33.9 average-sized charter schools across the nation. allowing parents and students to choose their charter schools we stimulate change and benefit all public school students. the exchange for flexibility and autonomy, they are held 10:47:48.7 accountable by their sponsors for improving student achievement. a charter school is just that. a charter school is a school with a contract of performance. if they do not perform, they do not provide excellence in education, these schools can lose their charters. charter schools must meet the 10:48:05.4 same no child left behind student achievement accountability requirements as other public schools. and often set higher and additional individual goals to ensure they are all high quality and truly accountable to the public. according to the center for education reform, as many as 15 10:48:21.1 studies find that students who frequently enter charter significantly or below the normal grade level. these students then achieve the same or even higher gains as compared to their surrounding districts demographically compared schools or even the state averages. a report from america's charter 10:48:38.1 school finance corporation called, take me on a reading adventure, cites research from several states that show greater gains and/or higher scores in reading for charter schools as compared to their traditional school peers. 10:48:51.7 charter schools have enjoyed broad bipartisan support from the administration, congress, state governors, and legislators, educators, and parents across this great nation. the sixth annual national charter school week held this week, may 1 through may 7, 2006 recognizes the significant 10:49:10.0 impacts, achievements, and innovations of our nation's charter schools. through this resolution congress today acknowledges and commends the charter school movement and the charter school students, teachers, parents, and administrators across the united states for their ongoing 10:49:26.4 contributions to education and improving and strengthening our nation's public schools. mr. speaker i urge support for this resolution and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the chair is pleased to recognize the gentleman from 10:49:39.6 wisconsin. mr. kind: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. i commend my good friend and colleague from nevada for his support of this resolution as well as the chair and ranking member of the education and work force committee. as a member of the house education and work force committee, and as an original 10:49:56.5 co-sponsor of h.res. 781 i strongly support passage of this resolution honoring national charter schools week. since the first charter school began in 1992 in st. paul, minnesota, the number of charter schools has grown to over 3,600 serving more than one million 10:50:14.4 students across the country today. in wisconsin, my home state, there are nearly 200 charter schools educating close to 30,000 students and in my congressional district in western wisconsin, we have 24 charter schools. 10:50:29.4 charter schools provide parents along with their children, their students another choice within the public education system. one school in particular that i'd like to highlight during national charter schools week is lacrosse roads in my hometown of lacrosse, wisconsin. 10:50:46.5 it's an alternative high school. a specific project that has become part of the curriculum at this school was introduced by their teacher, karen shanefeld. 10:50:57.7 it requires the students to record the orel histories of our veterans and submit them to the library of congress to be included in the veterans history project. such projects are commendable and highly valuable to our students. 10:51:08.6 it's provide add unique link between the younger generation with the older generation. and a wonderful teaching opportunity and great history lesson for those students at lacrosse roads. i praise teachers such as karen who have broken down barriers to work with all students using 10:51:26.3 innovative and creative strategies to teach. it is important that charter schools give flexibility and options to teachers and parents, but we must remember they are not the cure all for improving public education. we have to be diligent at 10:51:40.8 monitoring the success for failure of charter schools throughout the country and not afraid of chutting down those that are not working. that is the key to moving forward with the option of choice in our public school system, i believe. charter schools have consistently been at the 10:51:55.6 forefront of my priority list and i'm pleased that wisconsin is one of seven states with over 100 exceptional charter schools today. i have consistently advocated for increased support for charter schools and supported the charter school facilities financing demonstration program during consideration of the no 10:52:13.4 child left behind legislation of 2001. mr. speaker, i urge my colleagues to submit this -- to support this resolution honoring charter schools. it is our duty as representatives of this congress to ensure that all our students reach their highest academic potential and a charter school 10:52:30.0 may provide a model better suited towards and individual student's needs w that i retain the remainder of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from nevada. mr. porter: at this time i yield as much time as he may consume to the chairman of the full 10:52:44.6 committee, mr. buck mckeon. the speaker pro tempore: the chairman of the full committee is recognized for as much time as he may consume. mr. mckeon: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. speaker, i rise today in strong support of house resolution 781, a measure to recognize charter schools as 10:53:00.2 well as their students, parents, teachers, and administrators. this week marks the seventh annual national charter schools week. and i thank my colleague, mr. porter, for taking the lead in recognizing these schools today. mr. porter is a strong supporter 10:53:16.0 of education and serves on the house education and work force committee. each year congress honors charter schools and those involved in the role they play in reforming and improving our nation's public education system. 10:53:30.2 and for good reason. year after year charter schools make significant contributions across our nation. charter schools are public schools that agree to improved academic achievement and accountability in financial and other operations in exchange for added flexibility and 10:53:49.0 independence. they are subject to all the same no child left behind achievement goals as other public schools, but with greater flexibility in how they improve student success. this enhanced autonomy allows charter schools to focus on increasing academic achievement 10:54:06.4 for individual students rather than complying with bureaucratic paperwork. moreover, it allows charter schools to use varied educational methods and techniques while accounting for their results. some 3,600 charter schools serve about a million students in 40 10:54:23.4 states and washington, d.c. nearly 56% of these charter schools have waiting lists. in other words, they are in high demand. with that demand growing all the time. that's because charter schools understand how to meet the 10:54:37.0 specific needs of the local communities in which they operate. these schools are particularly devoted to serving low-income communities. nationwide almost 50% of charter schools serve students considered at risk or who have 10:54:52.1 previously dropped out of school and charter schools serve significant numbers of students from low-income families, minority students, and students with disabilities. indeed these innovative public schools allow many parents and students freedom of choice that otherwise would not be 10:55:09.7 avoidable. mr. speaker, through this resolution honoring charter -- national charter schools week, we recognize the continued success demonstrated by charter schools and acknowledge the benefits of charter schools provide to our local communities. 10:55:24.4 charter schools provide parents with a wider variety of educational choices and they provide students the opportunity to receive a high quality education that they may not have received otherwise. i urge my colleagues to support this resolution. i yield back the balance of my 10:55:40.2 time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california yields back the balance of his time. the chair is pleased to recognize the gentleman from wisconsin. mr. kind: mr. speaker, at this time i would like to yield three minutes to the gentlelady from 10:55:52.8 the district of columbia, strong advocate for our public education system and a terrific friend of charter schools, ms. norton. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from the district of columbia is recognized for three minutes. ms. norton: i thank the gentleman for yielding and for his kind words. i thank mr. porter for his work in bringing this resolution to 10:56:12.2 the floor. we are right to recognize public charter schools. public charter schools is the most important innovation in public education since the invention of free public education in our country. 10:56:27.0 it's become so popular, it's become a movement. it's growing like topsy. the congress when newt gingrich was here as an alternative to vouchers helped jump-start public charter schools in the 10:56:43.7 district of columbia and in the nation by passing the first public charter school bill right here in the congress with the agreement and total home rule involvement of the district of columbia. that was in 1995. 10:56:58.6 what can they do? they -- what did they do? they helped us jump-start a movement that has produced in the district of columbia the largest number of public charter schools per capita in the united states. as i look down the list, mr. 10:57:14.2 chairman, the district has more charter schools, this one city, than most states. it has really taken off now and for some years now as an alternative to public schools. 10:57:31.1 when a child does not have a school that is offering that child and that family what the child deserves, then the child must have an alternative. it can be going out of district 10:57:47.1 and the best alternative and the only acceptable alternative it seems to me would be some other kind of public charter school. that is what has happened in the district of columbia. that is why the people of the 10:58:00.7 district of columbia resent deeply that despite the growth of the charter school movement, despite the fact that we have some of the best charter schools in the country and the largest number per capita the congress imposed on us something it would not accept for the rest of the 10:58:17.5 country, and that is private school vouchers. our people have voted with their feet. they want a neighborhood school near them. these two schools are very important. most of the religious schools are in northwest. most of our kids who would need or want alternative schools live 10:58:34.1 in southeast. so congress did that for itself. it didn't do it for us. it did it against our will. when in fact we had demonstrated that public charter schools were working in d.c. and working very well. 10:58:48.6 a child must have an alternative, but that alternative cannot be one where the public dollar is not accounted for. where there is no oversight by the public. i'm the last one who wants oversight of religious schools or anything involving religion. 10:59:05.9 it follows that religious schools must not be that alternative. the thriving public charter school movement is in fact and should be that alternative. may i have another minute, mr. chairman? 10:59:21.4 mr. kind: yield an additional minute. ms. norton: all kinds of innovations are happening in the district of columbia that i invite people to come and see. shared facilities between public -- in large buildings. instead of getting rid of the building between public and 10:59:37.7 charter schools. collaboration now between the best of our charter schools and some public schools which are not doing so well. public schools, public charter schools unlike many public schools even under no child left 10:59:54.1 behind are a case of the survival of the fittest. you lose your charter, in fact, if you do not measure up. that's what happens in the district of columbia. as far as i know it happens wherever the schools are well