DALLAS POLICE PRESSER / HD
PRESSER BY DALLAS POLICE CHIEF DAVID BROWN / CHIEF DAVID BROWN REMARKS 11:19:30 BROWN>> Morning. Let me start with an update on this investigation, and a clarification on the make and model of the robot that we used to carry a device to detonate in the standoff. I'm going to start with that. So the robot is a remotec, r-e-m-o-t-e-c, andros, a-n-d-r-o-s, mark 5-A1. And that mark 5 is Roman numeral 5. So mark V-A1 We purchased the robot in 2008 at a cost of approximately $151,000. There's partial damage to the extension arm of the robot. But it is still functional. If we had to use it for other operations. An update on our investigation of the shootings. Our detectives are continuing to download body camera footage from the officers at the scene. There's over 170 hours of body camera video to download. And that is ongoing. Detectives are also collecting all dash cam video. 11:21:10 So that's the video mounted on the squad cars that also recorded some of the incident. So detectives will be reviewing all videos from surrounding businesses as well, and that's also countless hours of video. 11:21:33 What our plans are to date and time stamp the entire incident with all video footage available. So we can see from the beginning as much as we can, real time, action as it happened that evening. 11:21:56 Just an update on the injuries and deaths. Just to make sure we have clear clarification. Five officers were killed. Nine officers were wounded as a result of gunfire or fragmentation of bullets. Of the nine officers wounded, four were Dallas police officers. Three were D.A.R.T. Officers. And two were Dallas county community college police department officers there at El Centro. That brings the total number of officers -- I'm sorry, one of the dart officers that was wounded fired their weapon. So according to our investigative notes now, that brings the total number of officers who used force against the suspect to 13. 13 Used force against the suspect. Of that 13, 11 officers used their firearms. And 2 officers used an explosive device against the suspect. 11:23:33 Detectives are reviewing over 300 statements to determine which witnesses and officers need to be brought back for further interviews. Our detectives have also found some officers that were at the scene have not given statements yet. This has been confirmed through our preliminary review of body camera video. So these officers will be identified and brought in to give statements to us. 11:24:11 The Dallas police department, working with the federal bureau of investigations, we're working also with our law enforcement partners in the area to determine the meaning of the initials "R.B." That were scribed on the walls there in two locations inside El Centro. All of the police vehicles that were processed by the FBI at the scene have been taken to the naval air station here to ensure that officers personal property is returned to the families when appropriate. 11:24:57 Can I also give -- before I take questions, just an overview of the work that Dallas police officers have done here in Dallas to protect the citizens. 2015, just last year, was our unprecedented 12th consecutive year of crime reduction. For a total of 53% reduction in crime. More than any major city in this country during that period. And more than at any other time in our history here in Dallas. 11:25:39 We have our records back to 1930 to today. In 2015, we had our fourth lowest murder rate since 1930. That followed 2014 was our second lowest murder rate since 1930, in over 86 years. 2011 was our fifth lowest murder rate in our city's history. 2013 was our sixth lowest murder rate. And 2010 was our tenth lowest murder rate. And they've done this by also protecting the civil rights of our citizens through community policing. In 2015, there was a 45% reduction in police involved shootings. This year, we had one shooting. Where a subject was injured, not counting the downtown shooting. We had four other police involved shootings where we missed, shot and missed, we have averaged, over my 33-year career, between 18 and 25 shootings a year. In addition to that, in 2015, we had a 67% reduction in excessive force complaints. We averaged over 150 to 200 every year for the past 33 years. And last year we had 14. The overall crime right here in Dallas is at a 50-year low. Violent crime is at a 40-year low. Our community policing efforts put us in positive contact with over 121,000 young people here in Dallas. 11:27:50 This is the best department in the country and I'm proud to be associated with the men and women of the Dallas police department and this tragic incident will not discourage us from continuing the pace of urgency in changing and reforming policing in America. With that, I'll take my first question from Casey with Fox. QUESTIONS 11:28:15 Q>> Chief Brown, thank you, you know that all of us in this room and those of us in America, our hearts go out to you and your department. [ inaudible ] ...question regarding the investigation. I just want to know how you're doing. As you've characterized on air and in reports, law enforcements like a brotherhood and sisterhood -- what goes through your mind, chief, when you put your head on the pillow at the end of the night and when you process this in your mind and actually comprehend what is happening to this department? 11:28:51 BROWN>> To be quite honest, I'm running on fumes. Many of you have asked for interviews. I've tried to nicely ignore you. I hope you understand that my brain is fried. The members, it takes to run a city department with all the things that happens is overwhelming. So this transpiring along with the Normal things in the city is difficult at best. Again, I go back to I'm a person of faith. I believe that I'm able to stand here and discuss this with you as a testament to god's grace and his sweet tender mercies, just to be quite honest with you. Because what we're doing, what we're trying to accomplish here is above challenging. It is. We're asking cops to do too much in this country. We are. We're just asking us to do too much. 11:29:50 Every societal of failure, we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding. Let the cop handle it. Not enough drug addiction funding. Let's give it to the cops. Here in Dallas, we got a loose dog problem. Let's have the cops chase loose dogs. You know, schools fail. Give it to the cops. 70% of the African-American community's being raised by single women. Let's give it to the cops to solve that as well. That's too much to ask. 11:30:25 Policing was never meant to solve all those problems. And I just ask for other parts of our democracy, along with the free press, to help us. To help us and not put that burden all on law enforcement to resolve. So, again, just being pretty honest with you. I have raw feelings about all of what we do. And don't ask me if you don't want the answer. Q>> Public funding -- what has been given to the department itself? [ inaudible] . talk about what resources are available to officers to help them grieve and process what's happening. 11:31:07 BROWN>> What's really important now for our officers, counseling service. I'm at the point of making a tough decision about mandating some of it because we want to be Superman and superwoman and we're not. And we're the last to say we need help. Our professionals suffer from this for quite a while now. I don't want that on my conscience, that someone needs help and they're too proud to ask. I'm getting close to mandating this. I'm seeking counsel with my staff to make sure I don't make matters worse. But that's the number one thing we need. Everything else we need, we're getting from our law enforcement partners, and from our city managers and our mayor and council. 11:31:52 So we're getting all the support we need from Dallas, along with support from our citizens. This has been greatly appreciated. And heartfelt. Matt, with ABC? 11:32:08 GUTMAN>> You're running on fumes, and you're doing a good job. BROWN>> Thank you. GUTMAN>> Yesterday you mentioned the search for accomplices, going through the laptop and cell phones of the shooter. I wonder if you have any information about people who might have known about this? And also, following up on what Casey mentioned, yesterday, I noticed your bodyguard was guarding you very, very carefully. There are threats against the department. Have you received personal death threats? 11:32:35 BROWN>> Yes, me and my family have received death threats almost immediately after the shootings. We're -- as a policing family here in Dallas and across the country, there is a heightened sense of awareness around threats we received all over the country. You reported many of the things happening in other cities with shootings at headquarters and other types of things, officers being shot and injured and shot and killed. We're at a place where we're concerned for our safety. So I don't want to just single out me. Everyone's experiencing the same type of awareness, increased awareness, because of people who, in my opinion, are not stable, who could do grave damage to us. So we're all on edge. We are. We're all on edge. And we're being very careful. 11:33:32 GUTMAN>> But you are the face of this organization, and I assume that these are credible threats against you and your family? BROWN>> We're taking them all as credible, whether they can be confirmed or not. My particular threat was a post from a private Facebook to our Dallas police department Facebook. So we've been unable to identify the source of the threat but we're taking it very seriously. The language was such that we have to do that for the sake of our families. GUTMAN>> Was it racially related? BROWN>> No. Gabe, NBC, yes sir. Q>> There is a report out today that suggests that Micah Johnson may have been blacklisted by Black Power organizations based on being unstable in some way. That's my first question, was he blacklisted by several black power organizations based on your investigation? And is it a possibility that the two letters are indeed, could have been part of the acronym used by the -- RBG -- what could those letters mean? 11:34:34 BROWN>> We don't have that information to confirm either of those. We are following any and all leads. I am a little bit old-school cop. Until you show me we've exhausted every lead, I'm not going to be convinced that we know everything about what happened. Associations. Others that might be complicit. So I'm gonna -- we're going to turn over every rock. And we're going to follow every lead until it's exhausted, until I'm satisfied this was the lone person. And I may be overly concerned about this but I'm highly protective of cops and I want to make sure there's nobody else out there that has something to do with this. Q>> How is it possible no one in his family knew he was stockpiling weapons and ammunition? 11:35:30 BROWN>> You sound like a cop, brother. That's my question. Manuel. Q>> Thank you. As far as the investigation, knowing what you know now, is there anything that could have been done to prevent this attack and on at wider scale the protests around the country are intensifying. As a black person, black male, law enforcement officer, how do you bridge those two morals? 11:35:54 BROWN>> If anything can be done, it needs to be done by our public. Which includes the protesters. To have greater concern about the requirements that it puts on law enforcement when you have spontaneous protests or even planned protests. To ensure their safety. But not to be inconsiderate of the officer's safety. That's what could be done different. From the officer's perspective, they did a courageous admirable job. Bravery is not a strong enough word to describe what they did that day. Not only in planning to make sure the rally was done in a safe manner and they had the right to protest but improvising, making sure as they spontaneously began to March that we were able to block traffic where there were no accidents with vehicles and pedestrians trying to March and exercise. 11:36:57 Because that was unplanned. That was spontaneous. But again, I want to emphasize if something can be done, it's going to be done in the public square, it's going to be done by our citizens understanding that this democracy requires their participation. Get my point? It's not something you can sit on the sideline and be a part of this democracy the way our country was founded. It requires participation. Q>> And again, Chief, with the other question if I may, all the protests happening nationwide now, as an African American and a law enforcement official, how do you bridge those two (morals?) 11:37:41 BROWN>> So I've been black a long time, Manuel, [ laughter ] so it's not so much of a bridge for me. It's everyday living. I grew up here in Texas. I'm third generation Dallasite. It's my Normal to live in this society that had a long history of racial, you know, strife. We're in a much better place than we were when I was a young man here but we have much work to do, particularly in our profession. And leaders in my position need to put their careers on the line to make sure we do things right. Not be so worried about keeping their job. That's how I approach it. I hope it's an example for others to approach. The way we conduct ourselves as police officers. Is Hannah with pbs here? No. Carlos? 11:38:39 Q>> [ Inaudible ] My first question will be, what the country, the community can do for the police department, and also from the [ inaudible ] .. because right now we are approaching funerals. It's going to be another hard week for the country as well. Tell us about that. 11:39:03 BROWN>> There's a lot that can be done. Let me reserve some of that commentary because I don't want to get too far from what we have planned for the rest of the week. Some of the services start tomorrow. We have a candlelight vigil tonight at 8:00. There's much that can be done from political leaders, there's much that can be done from the free press. And there's much that can be done from everyday citizens. I've tried to talk about a lot of that. I don't want to get too distracted from grieving, the loss. There will be a time for expanded conversation on what can be done. Q>> And also, you mentioned -- this year has also been experiencing a series of (?) issues. ...increase or becoming a crisis situation? 11:40:05 BROWN>> Right. So you glossed over that. Resignations. Our officers have been leaving because we're the lowest paid in the area. Lowest paid. 44 grand, our starting pay. And they've been leaving to go to other adjoining law enforcement agencies because of that. So it's not just resignation. It's officers not feeling appreciated. And so I just want to make that pretty clear that officers are committed to this profession, but they want to take care of their families football ally as well. And we're working to correct that. I have every indication I get from the mayor, the city manager, the city council, they want to correct that as soon as possible. I trust that they will. Salvador. Q>> Yes, chief, you spoke about how the letter -- [ inaudible ] . what else in this investigation has stood out for you --? And also .. 11:41:16 BRoWN>> As far as the ongoing investigation, there's many questions in my mind. Some of the questions we may never know the answer to. But we're going to continue to ask ourselves the tough questions to make sure we don't leave anything uninvestigated. So we're making sure that we don't take anything for granted without a full investigation.There's a lot of questions. It's very complex. This person obviously has some delusion. This person was very committed to killing officers. We don't know much else beyond that that we can say with certainty. But we're going to find out. As far as what I'm saying to my officers, I'm trying to tell them I care about them when I see them face-to-face. It's a big department. 11:41:08 It's hard to touch everybody at one time. You won't see me walking past an officer without grabbing him and hugging him and shaking their hand and telling how grateful I am for their commitment and sacrifice. Jay with the Times. Q>> [ Inaudible ] You once told the "Dallas News" that growing up as a young man in Dallas that you were afraid of the police, how did you overcome that fear and how do you tell young African American men to overcome that fear? 11:41:40 BROWN>> So when I was graduating high school, I got a full-ride scholarship to UT Austin. And this was 1979. I come back home for the summers. Around '80, '81, '82, around that time frame, the crack cocaine epidemic hit Dallas pretty hard. My friends who stayed here became involved in that. And it broke my heart. And it changed what I wanted to do in college. And I actually left college my first semester of my senior year to come back and apply to the Dallas police department. Do something about what I was seeing in my neighborhood. 11:43:24 My first beat was my old neighborhood. That was just happenstance. I'm the kind of person that I probably wouldn't protest or complain. I'd get involved and do something about it by becoming part of the solution. That's still in me. That keeps me going. I get so much satisfaction that I can do a small thing to help this community. I just love Dallas. And I love serving. It's part of my character. It's part of who I am. I could get -- all the crap we have to take as police officers. The satisfaction you get with serving, much more gratifying. Much more gratifying. It's like that for a lot of police officers in this country. Q>> And what advice would you give young black men today to overcome their fear? 11:44:17 BROWN>> Become a part of that solution. Serve your communities. Don't be a part of the problem. We're hiring. We're hiring. [ laughter ] Get off that protest line and put an application in. We'll put you in your neighborhood and we will help you resolve some of the problems you're protesting about. Keith? Q>> Keith. Good morning. I wanna get into, if we can, what prompted the decisions that were made. Who prompted the decision to send that robot? And also what prompted the decision to take both continue and drop off negotiations? 11:44:59 BROWN>> He'd already killed us in a great way. Officers were in surgery that didn't make it. I didn't know they would pass, but I knew that at least two had been killed. And we knew through negotiation this was the suspect because he was asking how many did he get. He was telling us how many more he wanted to kill. This wasn't an ethical dilemma for me. I'd do it again, Keith. I'd do it again to save our officer's lives. Q>> [ Inaudible ] to use a robot? BROWN>> To use the robot? I would use any tool necessary to save our officer's lives. And I'm not ashamed to say it. Dan Q>> I'm sorry, one follow up question, does anything change, in terms of your tactics, as a result of what happened? 11:45:51 BROWN>> We are committed to community policing. It is in the 21st century, it is the best way to police our country. It's the best way. And I read those stats off to make my point. We have been a community policing organization and we have led the country for 12 consecutive years in crime reduction. By doing that type of policing. Community policing works. It makes us all safer. I'm convinced. Dan? Q>> Do you have any more information about what was used by the shooter, bought legally, where and when, and secondly, I know the president is coming, in regards to coming here, what specifically would you like to hear him say while he's here? 11:46:44 BROWN>> I don't have the information about his gun. I know we have it but I didn't bring it here with me and didn't put it to memory. I'm sure they've told me and I'm drawing a blank. So we'll try to get that out here as soon as this is over in a press release. As far as me chiming in on telling the president what to say, I'm going to pass on that, if you don't mind. He's the president for God sake. All right, Allen. Q>> About what you've learned about the explosives that were used and plans -- 11:47:30 >>Yeah, I believe Dallas because that's what happened. I don't know whether or not he planned to escape and then the bombing would start or he didn't have time to complete. We just don't know how the bombing aspect of his plans were going to play out. We're looking for those answers. And the concern is that we haven't found something that's out there. That's the concern. We don't know. That's reality. But we're asking the question and trying to find leads to see if there's any answers to that. Molly? Q>> Just to follow up on that, do you have any sense on what kind of attack he was planning or any potential timeline -- I know you said yesterday that it was fast tracked? [ inaudible ] Also, in terms of potential accomplices, have his family members been questioned -- detained? 11:48:35 BROWN>> Not detained. We questioned his mother. We don't know the scope of his plans yet. As soon as we do know that, we'll share them with you once we're comfortable it won't jeopardize the investigation. You're not Lucy so you must be Trevor. I'm sorry, Molly, did you have a follow-up question? Q>> In terms of the explosives or bomb making materials how much of that is recovered and how much was stockpiled? 11:49:05 BROWN>> There was a large stockpile. One of the bomb techs called me at home to describe his concern of how large a stockpile of bomb making materials he had. According to that bomb tech, he knew what he was doing. That this wasn't some novice. And so what's on his laptop, how he learned that, we don't think he learned it in the military. At least we don't have any evidence of that. We can learn all that online I guess. So we're trying to determine how he learned how to do that. So we don't have the amount, but as soon as -- that's another thing. Hopefully my staff is taking notes here. We can get out to you in a press release as soon as we're comfortable that it won't compromise the investigation. 11:50:12 I'm going to go back to my. just going back to my government class in high school. 5505 TVU 6 DALLAS POLICE PRESSER 11:50:15 ...Mrs. Battle, hello, said my teacher, there's three branches of government right? Legislative, judicial and executive. We're a local democracy here in Dallas and our council has a role but there is a greater role in policy making and folks just need to do their job. There are too many things folks agree on on both sides of the aisle that we haven't gotten done. We just need to get it done. Quit asking cops to chime in and do it for you. 11:50: 50 We have got a full plate. The policy making, the laws being passed, that's their job. And they need to do it so that we can be safer in this country. The issues have been long discussed. I can't stand watching cable news anymore. It's been discussed forever and we are just not getting to a place where we do anything. That's the frustration for police officers. We all know what needs to be done that we agree on, let's get that done. Just to say we did something. Do you have a follow-up? Q>> What does that mean? 11:51:34 BROWN>> Well, something on guns. I was asked what's your opinion about guns. Ask the policy makers to do something and then I'll give you an opinion. Put a law out there and I'll give you an opinion. To have me do their job, get in that debate and get swallowed up by both sides who are entrenched in their positions. I want no part of that. Do your job. We're doing ours. We are putting our lives on the line. The other aspects of government need to step up and help us. Anything else, Trevor? Q>> Can you comment on the distrust of police that runs throughout the black community? How do you begin to break down that where cooperation is tantamount to your training. 11:52:29 BROWN>> I think the biggest aspect of our community policing efforts is interacting with youth in a positive way. That begins shaping your worldview. The earlier you can get to young people, the better chance you have of shaping their worldview differently than what their environment is telling them. That's number one. Number two is holding yourself accountable. When the 1% or 2% of officers don't do the job in the right ways, say it. And hold them accountable. If that means separating them from employment, that's just what it means. 11:53:03 You can't risk that 1% or 2% defining the 98% or the profession by their mistakes. Those are two big ones we could hopefully agree on. Young people and holding officers accountable for what they do is tantamount to gaining trust. Q>> You have been very, very helpful. Is that something you would like to see go out to the departments across the country? BROWN>> Departments are understanding what needs to be done. They all have their ways of doing things. I participate in the chief's association, greater association. We all discuss every quarter. All the major cities get together, chiefs, and discuss all of this. The policing environment is the one held most accountable. The one if you look back, just generation that made the most progress. We just need to see that from all aspects of government. John? 11:54:15 Q>> Good morning, chief. BROWN>> Good morning. Q>> Your officers on the job today, after this incident, we know that some are patrolling in pairs now. One detective told me they don't know if they are being hunted. They went through your armor like butter. How do your men and women on the beat go out and practice community policing if you are subjected to that shadow of this horrific event? I want to follow up with open and carry. 11:54:55 Q>> Okay, so, how they do it, with steel resolve, bravery and courage. That's how they do it, and knowing that community policing makes them safer. It makes them safer. People are likely in the community if they trust you to protect you, and when something goes wrong to give you the evidence to resolve crime if they trust you. So trust is a thing that is invaluable, it is priceless. If we are able to build that kind of trust in these communities that need us the most. Your follow-up on open carry? Q>> We know there was at least one person of interest during the demonstration. What does this tell you about the people using the Texas law of open carry at demonstration? 11:55:56 BROWN>> That is difficult as best. We express this. You know, it's a little different here in Texas. Where are you from? Q>> Here. BROWN>> Oh, you know. Alright, so. It's a little different here in Texas the way we view open carry, concealed carry. And we've had great dialogue with our state legislators about this. [ feed skips ] We have expressed all of our concerns. We are trying as best as we can as a law enforcement community to make it work so the citizens can express their second amendment rights. It is increasingly challenging when people have ar-15s slung over and shootings occur in a crowd and they begin running. And we don't know if they are the shooter or not or they begin, as it has been the presumption that a good guy with a gun is the best way to some resolve these things. 11:56:46 We don't know who the good guy is versus the bad guy, if everybody starts shooting. We have expressed that concern as well. I have every belief and trust that our folks are listening at the state on this issue, particularly as it involves protest. 11:57:35 >> What about the conversations you had with the family of the slain officers? >> I would like to leave that private if you don't mind. >> Are they getting support? >>Yes. >> You asked for support on the night this happened. 11:57:51 >> Yes, overwhelmingly. Dallas, I use the word, Dallas loves because Dallas has had the reputation of being a city that hates. Just one example why I say it loves. They took an inner city kid like me with flaws and made me their police chief. That's an extraordinary city and they have supported me through very difficult challenges. 11:58:27 You don't see that everywhere. One of the first people to get fired when you have a controversy, the police chief, get thrown under the bus. One of the most difficult jobs in the country right now, being a police chief in a major city. I've seen my friends just thrown under the bus when something go bad. I haven't. This mayor, this council, this city manager, the previous city manager, Mary Soon, she hired me. They are different people. They are special. 11:59:02 I'm just proud to be working here as their police chief. I am just proud to be associated with the leadership in this town. It is a special place. It really is. Manning on just second. Nobody else is on my list. If you do this orderly, I will take some more questions. If y'all try to talk over each other, I'm going to have a cup of coffee, ok?. Lady in the Orange, what's your name? How do you work with? Q>> Jennifer landgren. How do you prepare yourself for this job for the next future? 11:59:38 >> I have no idea. Today will be a day hopefully after this I can really get in a quiet place and get my head around these services. It's going to be the most challenging thing in my life. I'll be quite honest with you. I don't know how I'm going to make it through the week. That's why I want to do this where I could have the rest of the day to begin the services tomorrow and hopefully you all won't bug me and respect I'm trying to get through the last funeral from Tuesday to the last funeral. If you do, I hope you respectfully understand why I ignore you. It's nothing personal. I like all of you, well most of you. We can hopefully can get past this with god's grace. Q>> Chief -- previous statements talked about that -- was there any structural damage sustained at the garage and will you release today or tomorrow a timeline? 12:00:49 >> Probably not today. Probably be several days. I'm gonna try to get my guys home to get ready for these funerals. We would like to slow down a little bit. They have been going, not wanting to go home to try to chase every lead. There was damage. I'm not sure but some parts where this happened was in the building proper, not the garage. We've misspoke on that. We'll try to correct that. We have a release that will come out about the gun. I think we had another follow-up question about something else.We'll try to include the location, a little bit more clarification about where it happened. [ Inaudible ]. Q: Do you know what part of the building? 12:01:34 >> Second floor. I can't describe what part but second floor, and we'll get the details- try to get the details of that to you today in a press release. Q>> I understand there were actually people on lockdown in the college building at the time when SWAT detonated that bomb. Is that correct? 12:01:53 >> Yes. There was a lot of students in the building before this suspect ran up the building. Our officers got most of them out. We learned here recently that two students stayed in there overnight afraid to move because of all the shooting. We got them out the next morning. It was just recently. It is a big building, a big floor. They weren't in any danger or anything like that as a result of the explosion. I'm gonna ask the morning news reporter here that's been waiting patiently, the local and only paper. If y'all don't mind, I'm going to give a little privilege here. Q>> When did the department officially -- can you speak a little bit to how the investigation is going to go with federal investigation too? 12:02:47 >> Because sources leaked the names of our officers before the families were ready, it really became a moot point for us to release officially. We didn't really see the need. If you see the need to officially release, we'll do that. We think it is a moot point. Everybody knows. No one has been misidentified. We were just taking a lead from the families. I promised them the night that their loved one was killed I would not release their name until you tell me it was okay. I believe in keeping that promise. Hang on just a second. This guy was after these two. Yes, sir. Q>> Can you talk about -- was there any concern at all? Do you see that robot as another officer on the force? 12:03:40 >> I ask the question of how much we were using and I said, don't bring the building down. That was the extent of my guidance. I just said, I trust Ya. You know what I want done. They improvised this whole idea in about 15, 20 minutes, extraordinary. There was somebody over here that hasn't asked. I'm sorry. I'll get to you as soon as I get back over here. Yes, ma'am. [ Inaudible ] 12:04:22 >> We've turned the responsibility of security detail for the president to our law enforcement partners. Arlington P.D. is working for the secret service and they'll be working with any other law enforcement partners in the area to do that. I didn't want my cops having that responsibility because of the fatigue factor. I didn't want something to go wrong with the president coming here because we are tired. They volunteered to do it. I appreciate Arlington doing that. Let me speak about the scare here at headquarters the other day. This is a little lecturing so I'm going to lecture and get off the soap box. 12:05:00 When reporters say there are shots fired irresponsibly and they did not hear any shots fired, and no one else heard any shots fired, that puts our officers at risk. If you tell me shots are fired, the adrenaline pump and rush for that, it is hard to take a step without falling let alone think about where the shots are coming from, is anybody hurt. It is the most irresponsible thing a reporter can do is say shots fired when you didn't hear it. If you heard it and you are near an officer, tell the officer.Don't tweet it so we can convey the message in the way that creates safety for our officers. I'm going to get off my soap box. It wasn't you. I'm just saying, you know who you are. Don't do that again. That makes the hair on our head raise and just makes us unsafe in the way we conduct ourselves just to say shots fired. Don't do that. That's irresponsible. Q>> What was the use for and if so, was that fire also done before? 12:06:11 >> It hasn't been used before. I am going to wrap up. I'm tired. I don't have anything left for you. This is the last question right here, lady. You are persistent. You were late and then we've been looking for you for like 30 minutes. Go ahead, Hannah. You have the last question. Q>> You have been an officer for a very long time. What do you need to do right now? What else -- 12:06:53 >> We are obviously it's a priority focused on the families for the funerals. While that's happening, we're getting 911 calls every second. We are fighting against an increase in violent crime that every city has been fighting against since last summer. We had plans to do some things as a result of the spike in violent crime this month that we had to delay. The number one thing I would say that we are doing is supporting each other as officers, watching each other's back, showing that we care about each other. I think not letting anything divide us as a police family. Not anything or anyone get us off track on our mission. 12:07:57 That's simplified but I think it's easy for cops to understand that the number one thing is for us to stick together, watch out for each other, protect each other, care about each other, say it, express it and make sure we do everything we can to go home to our loved ones every shift. You are taking liberties you don't have after being late. Thank y'all so much. I appreciate it. ##end##
KELLYANNE CONWAY HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE IN BRIEFING ROOM - CUTS
1000 WH KELLYANNE CONWAY BRIEFING ROOM CUTS FS33 80 CONWAY: Good morning. Thank you for being here. We come before you bearing good news. For the first time in four years, life expectancy in the United States of America has increased. And for the first time in 29 years, the number of drug overdose deaths has decreased. This has not happened through coincidence. It's happened through causation. It's owing in large part to a whole-of-government approach to treat the whole person, led by President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and really, the entire administration. Nearly 70,000 of our fellow Americans died from an overdose last year, and 48,000 of those involved opioids. About 70 percent of those deaths also involved some type of synthetic opioid, most prominently fentanyl, which could be an instant killer. A couple of tiny grains are a lethal dose. We've met with first responders, parents who have lost children, people in recovery, people who are running recovery centers. We've met with mothers whose babies were born chemically dependent. And we certainly have met with health professionals. All of them have shared stories of loss but, increasingly, of courage and recovery. This is a crisis that we call the "crisis next door," because we want people to know, from the beginning, that the silence and stigma that it tends to -- many people, it prevents them from seeking out the kind of treatment and help that is available to them is a very big priority for us -- busting through that stigma and silence. We also want to make clear, in this crisis next door, that it is indiscriminate. It affects all races, socioeconomic status, gender, age, and certainly other affiliations. If the crisis is indiscriminate, then the response must be indiscriminate. And that's why, in addition to everything that the President and the First Lady and the administration have done, I wanted to share with you, as a reflection, what I consider to be the most robust and significant bipartisan accomplishment of the President's first term: H.R.6, the SUPPORT Act. The President signed it into law following overwhelmingly unanimous support from every Democrat who voted for it in the House and the Senate. This overwhelmingly bipartisan action has led to an increase in the money and awareness on the opioid and poly-drug crisis. Features of the SUPPORT Act include the CRIB Act, where there is more money and more action for those neonatal abstinence syndrome babies that I mentioned before. Medical professionals tell us it's best to keep the mother -- it's best for the mother and it's best for the baby to keep them together. And, increasingly, that is happening. Also, the nearly $3.7 billion in new grants put forth by the administration have made a real difference in our municipalities. The STOP Act has helped us increase the number of seizures of fentanyl and other synthetic opiates coming through our mail. It's up to about 38 percent, and we have a goal, if not a mandate, of 100 percent. Let me go through a couple of the numbers: 4.1 percent overdose death decline overall in our nation. And that is the first time in 29 years -- nearly three decades. But in some of the hardest-hit states, we're off a peak of over 20 percent: 19 percent in Pennsylvania, 22 percent decline over the peak high in Ohio, 11 percent in West Virginia, 14 percent in Minnesota, 7 percent in North Carolina -- just to highlight a few of them. Also, the Customs and Border Protection in the last fiscal year increased the seizures of fentanyl by 21 percent. We also launched a targeted ad campaign geared at youth that was seen by over 1.4 billion views and over 58 percent. In fact, the longer documentary type won an Emmy. Naloxone prescriptions have increased over 400 percent. Our Surgeon General, in April of 2018, issued the first advisory by a surgeon general in over a decade. And Dr. Adams said at the time: We need to have naloxone more available to our first responders, to our health professionals, to our school systems, libraries, YMCAs and the rest, but also to each and every one of us. The Surgeon General says, if each of us were to carry naloxone on our person, we too can be part of the solution, reversing these overdose deaths by administering this overdose-reversing medication. Last night, Congress passed a 15-month extension of the current emergency scheduling of fentanyl analogues. This is a critical tool for law enforcement because it allows them to continue to detect, analyze, and handle safely and effectively this very lethal drug. In our effort to focus on prevention education, treatment and recovery, law enforcement interdiction, I'm also happy to report that we have record back-to-back-to-back-to-back collections on Take Back Day. And I do want to credit our partners, like Google, who have been incredibly helpful to us in raising awareness and action among the public in understanding how to safely and broadly dispose of your unused, unneeded expired drugs. In addition to Take Back Day, the prescriptions of high-dose opioids have fallen by over 32 percent since the President came into office. If you need the pain medication, it will be there. People are walking around with what's left from a bottle of 30, 40 pills, and that's where some of the peril begins. In addition, we launched FindTreatment.gov -- a completely overhauled tool for every American to access so that they can customize finding treatment for their needs. You can customize it by age, by geography, whether you're veteran, by LGBT, certainly by gender. And this promotes quality over quantity. When you type it in and you customize it, you can find treatment centers that are best for you. Maybe you need to be there for a short amount of time. Maybe you need to be there in-patient, out-patient. Maybe you need to be there a longer amount of time. You can customize that quite confidentially. From 1999 to 2015, the government reported a 20 percent reduction in our workforce due to opioid and other drug abuse and addiction. A 20 percent decline over 16 years. I'm happy to report that because we've invested over $100 million in displaced worker grants across 17 states in the Cherokee Nation, those numbers are moving. We are trying to treat the whole person, not just check in person. We got you in drug court; we got you in drug treatment. Isn't that terrific. It's really terrific if we can them help them acquire employment, education, skills, training, and certainly housing, on the way to full recovery. There is so much more work to be done. We're very pleased that the overdose deaths have declined, but 68,000 of our fellow Americans died last year from drug overdose. That's 68,000 too many. If you look at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday, that number could be represented by every single seat with 3,000 left over at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday -- just to give you the actual enormity of the problem. We will continue to fight this every single day, and we will continue to make the investments of money, of time, of education. And with that, I'd love to turn this over to Director Jim Carroll of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and then Admiral Giroir, the Assistant Secretary for Health of the United States of America. Thank you very much. Jim? CARROLL: Thank you, Kellyanne. A couple of years ago, when President Trump and I first talked about me taking the job as the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and serving as his drug czar, he instructed me to be relentless in our efforts to save lives. And that's exactly what we've done to tackle this drug problem here in the United States. The good news that we're announcing today is a testament to the President and his leadership on this issue. It's an example of what can happen when we come together and apply that whole-of-government approach. The obstacles we face could not be greater, but through our efforts on prevention, treatment and recovery, and reducing availability, we've made real progress for the American people -- which we not only want to sustain, we want to accelerate. Kellyanne discussed how we got here and what these numbers mean. Admiral Giroir will discuss the incredible headway we're making with getting people into treatment. But I want to highlight the progress that we have made with our international partners and our law enforcement who are critical in reducing the supply of these dangerous drugs. Back at the G20 Summit in 2018, President Trump raised the issue of fentanyl production with the head of China and demanded a solution. He made it clear that the United States would not tolerate the flow of fentanyl and other deadly synthetic drugs coming into our country. Because of this, in May 2019, China scheduled fentanyl and other similar analogues, such as controlled substances, which was a historic and significant event. Last night, the House of the Representatives passed a 15-month extension on the ban in scheduling of fentanyl, but a long-term solution is still needed. In September of 2019, I led a White House delegation to Beijing to ensure that China was keeping up with their commitment to President Trump. The Chinese government agreed to improve the legal framework, agreed to improve their standards for prosecution for fentanyl-related trafficking, and established law enforcement methods there that were not heard of before. In every meeting I had with the Chinese, my counterpart said they heard the President loud and clear: that the flow of fentanyl into the United States was not tolerated. Since then, the Chinese officials have invited our U.S. counterparts back there to watch the first-ever prosecutions of Chinese nationals for trafficking drugs into the United States. This progress, combined with President Trump's commitment to secure our southwest border -- which is critical to stopping the flow of drugs into our country -- brings together several lines of effort that will serve to keep Americans safe from the dangers of illicit drugs. A wall acts as a force multiplier for our Border Patrol agents, and is one of the many tools that we are using to counter drug traffickers. Taking the steps towards the humanitarian crisis at our southern border has also been critical to keeping those drugs out of the country. The more men and women we have in uniform, the more that we have on line, the more that are stopping these traffickers -- the greater chance we have of saving lives. The Department of Justice has played a critical role in this, as they have been cracking down in unprecedented numbers on drug traffickers. Under President Trump, the DOJ has ramped up trafficking prosecutions -- not only here domestically, but internationally. Under this administration, the U.S. Treasury Department has made more kingpin designations against operators of distributors in foreign countries. The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas that we fund out of the White House here -- which provides assistance to federal, state, and local drug task forces -- has received unprecedented funding from this administration, and that is beginning to show and is part of the paradigm shift that we're seeing. These HIDTA initiatives, for example, have dismantled 3,000 drug trafficking organizations, they've removed $16.5 billion of illicit drugs off our streets, and they have made nearly 99,000 arrests of drug traffickers. In 2018, we even added, for the first time in 17 years, the first new HIDTA to make sure that we're tackling this. The men and women of law enforcement, whether they're in uniform or not, are playing this vital role and putting their lives on the line every day. What this shows is the President's efforts are working and we are saving lives. Before I turn this over to Admiral Giroir, I want to ask that when you're reporting on this issue, that when you're reporting on these numbers, that numbers are really just part of the story. Behind each of these numbers is a person, is a child, is a mom, a dad, someone whose loss has left a great mourning in a family. I was with three parents yesterday who had lost their child to an overdose. Today, we remember Jason, Amber, and Eddie, and all of the other people that we have lost. And we continue this fight in their honor to make sure that we fulfill the President's commitment to save American lives. And with that, I'll turn it over to my friend, Admiral Giroir. GIROIR: Thank you very much, Director Carroll. Again, I'm Brett Giroir. I'm the Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services. I'm also Secretary Azar's principal advisor on opioid policy, and I've been that for about two years. And I'm honored to wear the uniform of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. What we see today is no accident. This is the result of an intentional whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach to overuse -- to over- -- to opioid use disorders and other substance use disorders. First of all, we recognize this as the public health emergency as it is. And as such, we have focused on many different areas to yield these results. First, as Kellyanne said, the number of opioids that have been produced -- the total amount of opioids that have been prescribed since January 2017 is reduced by 30 percent nationally. And we have been able to do that while preserving and expanding options for pain control for those who truly are in chronic pain or have debilitating injuries. Secondly, we've approached this as a public health emergency, because addiction -- opioid use disorder -- is a chronic brain disease. We have unprecedented numbers of individuals who are now receiving treatment. Our estimates are over 1.3 million individuals are now on medication-assisted treatment, and they're also getting the psycho-behavioral support and wrap-around services that they need. You heard about naloxone -- very, very important because everybody deserves a second chance at life. You have the power. I hope all of you in the media carry naloxone with you. It's very easy. You can save a life, give a person a second chance. This has resulted in, as you heard, a 4.1 percent decrease in the number of deaths and a 4.6 percent decrease in the actual overdose age-adjusted mortality rate. Very important. A couple comments on the overall longevity. I have been shocked. Everyone in the public health community has been shocked that over the three years, previously, our longevity has decreased. That really means that our children and grandchildren will live less long and less quality of lives than we have. This is shocking, and we have not seen this since the height of the AIDS epidemic in the '90s. This has been reversed. We're now on the trajectory of increasing years of longevity, and that's associated with a number of things. What does that mean? It's only one-tenth of a year, but that's 25 million person years we just gained by this increase in longevity. And the good news is the preliminary data from quarter one into quarter two of 2019 is our mortality rates continue to drop. Now, I want to talk about all the Health and Human Services issues like treatment, like prevention, but I do want to mention the social determinants of health that are very important. There was a nationwide study in December, published in JAMA, that highlighted what we all know: When an auto plant closes, opioid mortality rate among the young goes up 85 percent. We have to keep our eye on those socioeconomic issues and everything that we're doing to increase employment, increase opportunity. These all directly affect the rates that we see and that we celebrate today. And the final thing is, we are not taking our foot off the gas. We understand that this is a dynamic issue -- opioid use disorder, other use disorders -- and it's being fueled by transnational cartels. So we are going to keep working together. We work weekly, daily, together across the government to make sure we continue a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach. CONWAY: Thank you. Any questions? Kristen? QUESTION: Kellyanne, a couple of questions. How should we think about this moment? Is this, in fact, a turning point? As you point out, the rate is still very high, but do you see this as a turning point? And I have a couple of other ones. CONWAY: Sure. I'll have my colleagues speak to that as well, Kristen. It's a turning point and we hope it becomes a trend. So what we're doing is working, and it is a multifaceted approach. So I can't say it's just law enforcement and surveillance, or Customs and Border Protection; it's just a new treatment locator; it's just Take Back day and more education -- that that tiny little bottle that bears a label of the family doc and local pharmacy that was prescribed to help someone could, in fact, be very dangerous in the wrong hands, or even in your own hands, if you're the prescribe [sic], if you use it for purposes other than why it was prescribed. So we want to keep and redouble our efforts. We certainly hope that we can count on continued bipartisan action and agreement on this, because as I said earlier and I'll repeat here: H.R.6 had every single Democratic vote in the House and the Senate, including all the people in the House and the Senate running for President. So there is tremendous agreement and action on this issue because it affects every single district and state. So we want -- we want to see the trend line. We recognize that the mortality rate -- excuse me, that the life expectancy is increasing because of strides in the drug space. We still -- and cancer, frankly. We know that suicides and flu -- and flu combined with pneumonia -- are keeping that rate down among other Americans. But we're going to continue, and we hope that we have -- we have what I call the horizontal and vertical government approach. Horizontally, it's across state, federal, and local. And vertically I -- you know, I call it in terms of the federal government apparatus. To have 13 or 14 departments and agencies actively engaged on this -- ones you would expect, like HHS and FDA and NIH and CDC; SAMHSA certainly; but also Veterans Affairs, Veterans Administration; DHS; State Department has been very helpful; Department of Justice, obviously; but also Department of Labor and Department of Education; and Department of Interior to help with rural and tribal America. So there's much more work to be done. But we feel like we have a protocol that's helped us get to this point of progress. QUESTION: Let me ask you one -- if you want to weigh in on that one, I do have one on the coronavirus. GIROIR: It is -- it absolutely is a turning point, but we have to look at the complexity of the problem. Some states still have increasing rates of death. Most states have decreasing rates of death. We now know that prescription opioid overdoses that caused death are really down tremendously as a result of our work, down 13 percent in 2018, and they continue to decline. The newest data says cocaine is starting to level off, but we still have issues with fentanyl. It used to be up 30 to 40 percent year over year. Now it's up under 10 percent, so we're making progress. But we're all worried about the next wave, which is evolving, and that is psychostimulants or methamphetamine. Those continue to increase across the nation. They're being driven all almost entirely by transnational Mexican cartels, and we have been on that problem for about a year right now. So, yes, we're at a turning point but this is a dynamic, rapidly evolving crisis. CARROLL: To follow up, I think one of the things that can make this a turning point is for this to give hope to those people that are suffering from an addiction, for them to be able to come forward and realize that there is, in fact, lifesaving measures that they can take and that we can help them to get on the path to recovery: the prevention programs that we fund, like through our drug-free community programs, the efforts that we're making to get people the help that they need, and also while we're striking hope in the minds of people who have an addiction, we're striking fear in those who want to traffic, and will look to other legitimate opportunities instead of turning to selling drugs in our country. QUESTION: And just a quick question on the other big health news of the day: Has the White House ruled out stopping flights into and out of China? Can you update us on any conversations going on related to that? CONWAY: So there's a new task force that's been created. It's being led by Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar. As you are probably aware, the President was briefed yesterday in the Situation Room. I've been a part of those staff-level briefings, senior staff-level briefings, and I won't make an announcement about that right now. I will say that we're all very relieved and happy and heartened to see what happened with the flight of the 201 or so Americans who landed in Anchorage and then California. So we will continue to monitor the situation, as you know. And I think that Secretary Azar had a few interviews just this morning, maybe addressed this as well as. QUESTION: Is there a second flight next week? CONWAY: I don't want to comment on that. QUESTION: I just have sort of two -- I wanted to follow up on that one. Do you know whether the President has spoken to President Xi about this situation with the coronavirus? But I also have a follow-up on fentanyl and the overdose deaths. CONWAY: Well, the President has tweeted about President Xi, I believe last week or maybe earlier this week. You can see that, obviously, we've offered assistance. And obviously, we are also monitoring the fact that other countries now have cases. And in this kind -- I think that's all I'll say right now. The CDC director and Dr. Fauci, they're all very involved. And, Admiral Giroir, maybe you want to address that -- GIROIR: (SHAKES HEAD.) CONWAY: -- or you don't. So we are monitoring -- the President is briefed daily on this, and yesterday in the Situation Room. So I'm going to leave it at that. QUESTION: And my follow-up on the issue of overdose deaths: As you mentioned, fentanyl is up, and there are a number of other overdose areas involving drugs that are up as well. I'm not asking for a silver bullet, but if you were to pick out two or three pieces of policy that might bring down those numbers, what would it be? GIROIR: So let me say that not only does it make common sense, but the academic community has proven that there is no such thing as a silver bullet to this issue, that there has to be multimodal approaches that span prevention, that span treatment. And again, I'm a pediatric intensive care doctor. I use fentanyl every day on suffering children in the ICU in microgram quantities. This is coming into our country in hundreds of pounds -- thousands of pounds, potentially. So we have to have a law enforcement component. Overall, I would say we have to treat this as a public health emergency, which we do. Addiction -- I'd rather use "use disorders" as a more appropriate term -- is a chronic brain disease. Once you have that chronic brain disease, it is very difficult but possible to treat, but it requires medication treatment and all the supporting services we have. So a combination of prevention, stop it before it happens, get people into treatment. And that's reduction of stigma across the board. This is a disease. You need treatment. And then, again, all the kinds of follow-ups that we're doing on a national level. QUESTION: Kellyanne, can you speak to what the administration believes -- what more the administration believes needs to be done to address this crisis? Particularly, what should we expect to see in the President's forthcoming budget in terms of any additional programs? CONWAY: Sure. Well, thank you, Zeke, for your interest in the issue. We're very happy that last night -- I mean, really at the eleventh hour, because it was set to expire February 6 -- but the Congress took action. It's disappointing that 86 Democrats, I think, voted against extending the fentanyl analogue scheduling that, honestly, is a no-brainer, especially when you consider that they were all on board with the larger compilation of dozens and dozens of bills that became H.R.6 that included several different focuses on fentanyl reduction, handling, analysis, and the like. So we hope that we can -- again, notwithstanding anything else that's happening -- count on everyone to belly up and help. I think we also need to -- to Admiral Giroir's point, we're all obviously very concerned about what we consider to be the fourth wave now of the drug crisis, meth. And we hear from law enforcement routinely that whereas they're whacking the moles of fentanyl more and more, up pops meth more and more, and I think, to some extent, heroin as well. One thing I would say is, in the states that have the Good Samaritan laws where if I'm driving the car and my friend is overdosing, perhaps I have also used with that friend, in the past, I basically pull up to the emergency room, and the bluing friend starts rolling out the door and I pull away because I'm afraid of being prosecuted. That doesn't happen in many of these states now where you won't be prosecuted. In fact, both people will go in and try to get some services. So I think so much of it is education. And I think the incomplete or underwhelming coverage of this issue is probably something I would want to solve with you, in that we talk about so many things that don't affect 72,000 lost lives, and then if you draw the concentric circles around those lost lives, the dozens and dozens, or hundreds of people who are affected beyond that one lost life. So I think it's also making sure that law enforcement, which includes Customs and Border Protection; includes local law enforcement sheriffs; includes our ports of entry; and then, between our ports of entry -- where, increasingly last year, Customs and Border Protection did interdict these poisonous drug -- I think respecting the fact that making sure they have more respect and better resources. And also, I think for all the things that we're teaching our kids in the formal curricula in school today -- and speaking as a mom of four school-aged children -- it would be terrific if, on a volunteer basis even, educational programs like this were more incorporated into the formal curricula and/or for after-school programs or with the local law enforcement or health professionals. This should absolutely be included because they are in -- they're in the line of peril, all of them. This is indiscriminate. And so I think the treatment and recovery -- one thing I'll mention -- it didn't get mentioned today because they're so much to talk about -- but one of the big things that has happened in this administration is, I believe, HHS or CMS has granted -- are we up to 22 or -- GIROIR: Twenty-seven. CONWAY: Twenty-seven. I mean, it's really remarkable. Was it four when we got here? GIROIR: Yes. CONWAY: Four states or so. Now we're up to 27 states where this IMD 1115 exclusion has occurred. This is really helping people get into treatment because that was a ban on mental institutions keeping people too long. It's existed for 40 years, and it had a lot of merit for that reason. But it had a cruel -- the cruel irony, the cruel result of it was a long waiting list for treatment and empty beds, because if you filled that 17th bed, you would risk not getting Medicaid reimbursement. So we have granted twenty- -- we now, as a government, as a nation, 27. More than half the states have a waiver so that you can treat that 17th, to 50th, to 60th person in your facility and still count on Medicaid reimbursement. And I'd also say something about the veterans. The President took action several months ago on veteran suicides. He's always been very concerned about that. We are taking action, as a government also, on opioid and other drug misuse disorder among our veterans. I visited the Cleveland Veterans Administration, for example -- not the Cleveland Clinic, but for the veterans across the street from there -- and I was really struck by how there, and other places -- but by way of example, pain management may not mean pain medication. They're trying other protocols first. They're doing Reiki and swimming and yoga and other less addictive drugs to help our veterans. So I think looking at each and every department and asking them what they're doing, it's unusual for the Department of Education, Department of Labor to be so involved, but they are. I mean Labor has all these displaced worker grants, because we know -- and Dr. Giroir can speak about the factories, I think, for a moment -- we know that if you lose your job because of a substance use disorder, you lose your job because you tested positively for drugs, for many Americans, you also lose your hope of recovery. And I visited a great place called Belden -- B-E-L-D-E-N -- Industries -- just, again, by way of example -- with Second Lady Mrs. Karen Pence, and Dr. Adams, the Surgeon General, and then Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta in Indiana, where Belden's -- one of many examples now where, if you fail a drug test, instead of you losing your job immediately, they hold the job for you but you agree to go into immediate treatment. And they work with the local -- they work with the local hospital, they work with the local community college to make sure that you keep your skills and education up. And that job is waiting for you when you are ready to re-assimilate. Again, I think the government far too often pats itself on the back: "Oh, look at all the numbers." And Director Carroll and Admiral Giroir said it beautifully and brilliantly that these aren't just numbers, these are people. So you want to help these people re-assimilate into society. And if they qualify for skills education or employment opportunities, housing opportunities, we want to be able to connect them with that information. So that's a very lengthy answer because we have to -- I would -- I would never say just treatment recovery, which was the emphasis of the last administration; just, "Oh, we can arrest and punish our way out of it." No, we can't. That would be a ridiculous idea, and thankfully, this President agrees with that. And we can't just say to people, "Gee, don't start." What about all the people who are already there? Weijia and then -- QUESTION: Thank you so much. QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE.) CONWAY: I'm sorry, we'll get to you. Weijia and then Andrew. QUESTION: Oh. Thank you, Kellyanne. Can you walk us through the life expectancy increase? What are the numbers? What factors do you think contributed to that? And also, how do Americans fare with other people in the world? And, Admiral, since you're going to take this, I have another question for you on corona. GIROIR: Okay, so the life expectancy data -- again, this reverses a three- to four-year trend and a loss of life expectancy. You can look at this in many different ways. Some of the principal components that resulted in the increasing expectancy was a reduction in cancer mortality, a reduction in unintentional deaths -- and that really deals with overdoses primarily, but also things like car crashes. There was also, though, a reduction in cardiovascular mortality, a reduction in Alzheimer's mortality. So it was very broad across many causes of death. There was also a 4.8 percent decrease in homicides in 2018. So these are all positive factors. The negative factors -- the only ones that were there -- were an increase in suicides, which the administration has been incredibly attentive to with many new programs rolling out, and also influenza. Again, we talk about coronavirus, and we need to talk about that. But remember, over 8,000 Americans have died this year of influenza. There's still time to get your influenza vaccine. How do we rate? We still don't rate very well compared to the rest of the developed world, and certainly the last few years have lowered our ratings. But as I said, we continue -- our mortality rate in 2019 continues to really plummet. And I do want to make the case -- we talk about these outcomes as if it's all medical care, and medical care is very important, but about 80 percent of health outcomes in the United States are due to social determinants of health and behavior. It's really the economy, it's the jobs, it's smoking, it's alcohol and other use. So 80 percent of our outcomes are expected to be -- to come from those kinds of impacts. QUESTION: And what is the number? GIROIR: Pardon me? QUESTION: What is the life expectancy number? GIROIR: The life expectancy is 78.6 years. And that's the life expectancy in the United States right now. Women live about five years longer than men, and that's been common across the board. So women, I think, are 81.2 if I'm correct, and men are five years less than that. So again, it seems like a small increase -- an increase of a 10th of a year. But when you look at it, a 10th of a year across 300 million Americans, it's really 25 million life years of increased life expectancy. And again, this is against three years of losses in life expectancy that we haven't seen since the early '90s. QUESTION: And on coronavirus, how confident are you that it can be contained at this point? And what is the White House's plan -- contingency plan -- in case it is not? GIROIR: Well, I will say that this is an all-hands-on-deck effort. There's tremendous leadership from the White House, Secretary Azar, and Director Redfield from the CDC, the Assistant Secretary Bob Kadlec. Again, resources have been put to airports. We're doing screenings. The Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service has been deployed to support the repatriation mission as well as the airport screening. And again, this is no cause for urgent panic in any way in the United States. This is currently under control. But, really, this is a dynamic, rapidly changing event. And, you know, the news can change at any given moment. But the resources are deployed, the government is mobilized, and we feel confident and we know the steps to take right now to contain it. And you know everything else: We have good diagnostics now by the CDC. The NIH already has candidate vaccines as well as many other individuals. That is a result of dozens of years of medical research to get us to the point of being rapid. QUESTION: And, Kellyanne, I know you wear so many hats, and we're lucky to have you because you have an attorney cap as well. And I have to ask whether you agree with Alan Dershowitz's argument that every politician weaves their public -- their private interest in with public interest and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. CONWAY: I actually am not going to discuss politics from the podium. So I will tell you I was very struck by his argument that no one is above the law, including the Congress. But just generally speaking, I think we'll leave what else is going on on Capitol Hill to Capitol Hill today and our crack group of attorneys who are doing an amazing job of not preening for the cameras and not being partisan politicians, frankly, but lawyers effectively in a courtroom speaking to the jury and speaking to the American people. So I'll leave that there. But I'm not going to address the political aspect of that from the podium. QUESTION: Thank you. Admiral, I have two questions. The first: Two weeks ago, the administration announced that it was repealing a number of rules that required social service providers that receive federal funding to -- that are religious in nature -- to refer people who might not be interested in faith-based approaches to secular outside organizations. Is that going -- has there been any discussion or study as to whether that will make it more difficult for some people -- religious minorities or other vulnerable groups -- to receive drug treatment? And the second: Last year, Attorney General Barr criticized prosecutors who, for instance, might decline to prosecute low-level drug possession crimes as social justice reformers who let criminals off the hook, and said they're demoralizing to law enforcement and dangerous to public safety. Is that disdain for declining to prosecute low-level drug crimes in favor of steering people into treatment consistent with the scientific literature? GIROIR: Do you want to take the prosecution question? CARROLL: Sure. GIROIR: But I'll just -- I'll just say that I work on a regular basis with DOJ, with DEA. And at the leadership level, there is absolutely no distance between us and approaching this as a public health issue. It doesn't make sense to put a person with a use disorder, who has been using because of their addiction, into long-term incarceration without treatment. It makes absolute sense for me to get the people who are pushing tons of methamphetamine to our youth across the country, to get them behind bars as soon as possible. But I'll let Director Carroll, because he deals with the law enforcement. I'll come back to -- I'll come back to that. CARROLL: What we know is that drug courts work for people that have an addiction. We're able to push people and hold their hand and get them into treatment if they are suffering from the disease of addiction. What is so disheartening is that when there are prosecutors or judges out there that don't take seriously the peoples whose addiction is to greed. The only thing that they care about is lining their pockets and preying on the victims who do have a substance use disorder. Those are the people that we need to target. That's what the Department of Justice is doing. That's what our top-notch prosecutors across the country are doing. And those are the people that need to be in jail. The people who have an addiction -- we support, with record funding from the White House, National Drug Court programs across the country, and putting them in federal courts as well to make sure that people who have an addiction are not the ones that are going to jail. GIROIR: And just to comment, I want -- I want to make it clear that this administration stands to treat all people who are in need. I have the privilege of running the ending the HIV epidemic presidential priority announced at the State of the Union last year. And we provide care to everyone regardless of who they are, where they are, what circumstances they are. And we'll continue to support that. That is the humane thing to do, and that is the position of the administration. QUESTION: But ending the referral requirement, wouldn't that make it more difficult for some people to seek treatment if they -- if the only treatment facility in the area is a faith-based one and they won't be referred to somewhere that they might be more comfortable? GIROIR: So we work with all -- we work with all communities. I think faith-based providers have an important component in this, particularly in wrap-around services. For opioid-use disorder, MAT is the standard of care. But MAT alone, if you don't have a job, if you don't have a place to live, if you don't have a welcoming community, is not going to be the entire solution. So all of those things are important. We'll continue to study every policy and make sure there are no adverse events. But, again, we want everyone to be treated. That's the core administration policy. QUESTION: And, Kellyanne, another follow-up question on the evacuations of -- CONWAY: If I could just add just one quick thing to Andrew. I just, again, would point you to FindTreatment.gov also. We worked on that for years, and it's the first overhaul. If you go back and look at it previously, we can show you the difference. It basically just generated quantity. If you put in your ZIP code and say, "Look all of the -- look at the 400 facilities you can go to within 500 miles." And people would shut it down because, like, "Well, how do I find the one right for me?" You can customize it by any number of criteria, whether you're a veteran, male or female, LGBT, in-patient, out-patient, temporary, longer term, type of insurance -- if you're on Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance, no insurance, for example. So I would also point you to that because that is a new tool for every American to access, and they are doing it. Yes, ma'am. QUESTION: Thank you so much. This is a question for the Admiral about coronavirus again. I want to know: How high, do you think, is the risk of coronavirus spreading in the U.S.? And do you think this could be a global emergency, since we just saw the number surpass the number from SARS in 2002, 2003? GIROIR: Well, it's really hard to take theoreticals because it really is a rapidly emerging and a rapidly changing environment. There has been, at least of this situation -- the sitrep, this morning, there's been no person-to -person transmission within the United States. There clearly has been person-to-person transmission in China, but there has been no person-to-person transmission. There's extensive screening, appropriate quarantine and isolation that is currently going on, and we certainly hope that continues. But to sort of project what's going to happen over the next couple of weeks -- again, it's a dynamic situation; all of the resources are in place. The situation rooms are in place, the operation centers are in place. We have CDC deployed. We're working with the World Health Organization. Again, my organization, the Public Health Service, is deploying in support of the repatriation missions as well as the airport screenings. And there'll be updates, you know, on a regular basis from Secretary Azar, my boss, who is leading the -- leading the efforts. QUESTION: Sir, can I follow up on that coronavirus question, if you don't mind? Because you're talking about, obviously, the importance of combatting what could potentially become serious, although you don't want to get into hypotheticals. And one of the President's Cabinet members, this morning, referenced or suggested that perhaps coronavirus could be good for jobs in the United States. I'm wondering if you find that kind of rhetoric or language helpful, and what you might suggest to public officials as they talk about this. And, Kellyanne, if you want to weigh in on that as well. GIROIR: I don't have any knowledge of the comments this morning. CONWAY: I didn't see that. I'm sorry. QUESTION: A follow-up question on the repatriation efforts? QUESTION: Can I just ask really quickly: In terms of the evacuations of U.S. personnel, I know it's already happened with respect to Wuhan, but will the U.S. government give diplomatic personnel throughout China the option of leaving their posts? CONWAY: I'd refer that to the State Department. QUESTION: Kellyanne, on the STOP Act -- you mentioned the STOP Act, some numbers. Can you give us an update on how far the Post Office has gotten in compliance? I think they have to screen all packages or refuse them by the end of the year. Are they anywhere close to getting there? CONWAY: Yeah, so it's gone basically from zero -- if any of you ever go to the JFK facility -- I'm going to have Director Carroll address that -- if you ever want to take a field trip to JFK airport, you'll see how few packages actually are screened coming in from China and elsewhere. But the STOP Act essentially means that foreign origin packages now must have sender recipient and contents listed on them. Our third-party carriers have been doing that for a long time -- your UPS, your FedEx, for example. And so, now, our own U.S. Postal Service needs to get on board with that. So the last numbers that I saw were somewhere in the 35th percentile. And we're on our way to -- it needs to be 100 percent at some point. We're really pleased -- about 16 months since the STOP Act, maybe less, was signed into law -- that we're already at 37 percent. But Jim can really amplify that. CARROLL: I'd love to lead a delegation if you want to go to the JFK Airport, or one of the other ones, and show you what Customs and Border Protection, as well as the USPS -- U.S. Postal Service -- are up against. What we need is additional capital, additional investments from Congress, to make sure that we have the technology. But what we have seen is actually the President attacking this at the core, at the countries where it's coming from. And so we -- as I said at the beginning, we do have a dramatic reduction in the amount of fentanyl that is coming in the mail from China. And so that is helping at the outset, while we continue to develop the resources, technology, to tackle it actually at the facilities themself. QUESTION: It seems like they're a long way off though. I mean, are they going to get there? The law says what the law says. Can they comply? CARROLL: That's our goal. CONWAY: That's our goal. Just quickly, none of us mentioned the first-of-their-kind fentanyl advisories, which we issued as an administration in August, and that included the Department of Treasury, the departments that are here right now, and others. Essentially, we are trying to show the private sector how easy it is to disrupt and divert their otherwise legitimate supply chain. So we gave first-of-their-kind advisories on the movement, the money, the manufacturing, and the marketing by these fentanyl traffickers who are very clever, because you could have a couple of blocks of fentanyl in your otherwise legitimate supply chain. And so we're dealing with the private sector so they're more aware of how they could be unwittingly helping us to come into the country. QUESTION: Do you have any -- on the coronavirus again: Do you have any evidence or information about China's use for these biological weapons for coronavirus? CONWAY: I have no comment on that whatsoever. QUESTION: Secretary Azar said that U.S. officials should have more cooperation with China in order to get coronavirus under control. Is there any sign that China is wanting to have more cooperation? And how are those negotiations going? GIROIR: Well, I'd really refer you to Secretary Azar. But there's been, at least our perception, a high degree of cooperation with China. And there is ongoing request for assistance, and I would refer you to Dr. Redfield who runs the CDC for that. QUESTION: Kellyanne, one other question. Your former coworker, John Kelly, said he believes John Bolton. What do you make of John Kelly's statements? And -- yeah, what do you make of John Kelly's statement saying that he believes John Bolton? CONWAY: Well, I respect General Kelly enormously, and like him, personally. I don't know what he's referring to, so I can't answer it. In other words, that's just a "I believe John Bolton." I have not seen -- QUESTION: Do you believe that John Bolton -- CONWAY: Well, I have not seen a manuscript. And I will tell you that -- QUESTION: -- had a conversation with President Trump where President Trump directly tied the aid to Ukraine's -- CONWAY: He didn't say that. QUESTION: -- investigation? That's what John Bolton said. He said that he believes that. CONWAY: Did John Bolton say that -- QUESTION: Yes. He said that he believes -- CONWAY: -- or are we talking about an unpublished manuscript? I'm sorry. Where did John Bolton say that? QUESTION: John Bolton said he believes -- CONWAY: Where? QUESTION: John Kelly says he believes John Bolton. Are you now saying that he is confused? CONWAY: Yamiche, where did John Bolton say that? QUESTION: He said that in front of a number of people. It's pretty clear that John -- CONWAY: No, no, no. QUESTION: It's pretty clear that John -- CONWAY: Where did Ambassador John Bolton say that? QUESTION: -- Kelly is saying that if John Bolton said that President Trump directly tied the aid -- CONWAY: No, no, no. Back up. Yamiche, where did Ambassador John Bolton say that this week? QUESTION: It was in front of cameras. Everybody saw it. CONWAY: John Bolton or John Kelly? QUESTION: John Kelly said that in front of cameras. CONWAY: Okay, Yamiche, where did John -- what did Ambassador John Bolton say this week? QUESTION: So are you saying that John Kelly did not understand what he was saying when he said "I believe John Bolton"? CONWAY: I'm not saying that. But you're not answering my question. I can't answer your question unless I understand it. QUESTION: But it's a very clear question. CONWAY: It's not clear at all because I'm asking you -- QUESTION: It is a very clear question. QUESTION: John Bolton said in his book that he had a conversation -- CONWAY: Is that what you're talking about? An unpublished manuscript? Are you talking about a leak of an unpublished manuscript, as reported by the New York Times? QUESTION: John Kelly was talking about that manuscript. CONWAY: No, I'm asking you what he is referring to. QUESTION: I'm talking about that, and John Kelly was talking about that as well. CONWAY: Okay. Because I don't know that to be true and neither do you. In other words, I don't know what John Kelly was referring to. And I'm asking you, what exactly did Ambassador John Bolton say this week, in advance of John -- General Kelly's comments? What did he say? I didn't see him say anything. I hear about unpublished manuscripts that I, frankly, haven't seen and I bet you haven't either. QUESTION: Well, what do you make of John Kelly making that statement? CONWAY: So you want me to -- you want me to answer a hypothetical wrapped up in a conundrum. QUESTION: Yes. QUESTION: Well, yeah. But why don't you just answer: What do you make of John Kelly commenting that, if the manuscript is true, that he believes John Bolton? CONWAY: If the manuscript is true? You want me to -- QUESTION: Yeah. What do you make of John Kelly making that statement? CONWAY: You want me to answer a hypothetical wrapped up in -- QUESTION: No, it's not a hypothetical. CONWAY: It is a hypothetical. QUESTION: John Kelly commented and said, "I believe John Bolton." What do you make of John Kelly saying those words? CONWAY: I don't make anything of it. I don't make anything of it. QUESTION: You don't make anything of it? CONWAY: No. But I will tell you, particularly by NBC and MSNBC, you guys couldn't stop day after -- QUESTION: I work for PBS NewsHour. CONWAY: I know where you work. Day after day -- you appear there plenty, and I think you're paid by them. But day after day after day -- day after day after day, you know what you talked about with John Kelly? That he was on his way out. He was going to be the next one to be fired. He was on his way out. He started doing that -- there was -- first, it was the Politico article in October of 2017, about six weeks after he took the job. That person has moved on to a different outlet now, but it was still a ridiculous article. So for a year and a half, while he was on the job, the main story about General Kelly was that he was going to be on his way out. Now you want me to answer a question -- I haven't talked to General Kelly about this or Ambassador Bolton about this. And I'm not going to comment, particularly from the podium, in the press briefing room, on a hypothetical -- on a leaked unpublished manuscript that I haven't seen. I hope it doesn't -- I hope it doesn't include classified information. And I know there's always this rush to imbue credibility on whomever you think is against the President at that moment. If it's not Michael Cohen, it's Michael Avenatti. If it's not them, it's Lev Parnas -- who couldn't even get into the Senate chamber yesterday because he's wearing a tracking device because he's been charged with crimes. So that's not a hypothetical. QUESTION: But my question was about what do you think -- CONWAY: You're asking me to answer -- QUESTION: -- of John Kelly's comments? MS .CONWAY: I already told you what I think of General Kelly. QUESTION: You don't make anything of that? CONWAY: I respect him and I like him. And you're asking me to comment on -- he said, "I believe John Bolton." I don't know what he is referring to when he says that and neither do you. QUESTION: Kellyanne, on the President's State of the Union Address next week, the President -- QUESTION: Can I follow up on a question about -- just this question now? CONWAY: Probably not. QUESTION: Has the White House responded to Mr. Bolton's attorney's urgent request that you at least review the chapter on Ukraine -- CONWAY: It has nothing to do with me. QUESTION: -- so that he can use it, if he's called as soon as next week to give evidence? CONWAY: Well, I'll tell you what the President of the United States is doing. In addition to eliminating from the face of the Earth dangerous terrorists; completing two trade deals; continuing to reshape the federal judiciary -- we're close to 200 judges and we'll get there soon enough; keeping this unbelievable economy going -- and that's why his approval rating is at its highest point ever in his presidency, according to some polls -- including by your outlets, if not reported by your outlets; he is helping to bring the overdose death rate down and to improve the life expectancy. He's focused on those types of things. He will go to Michigan today to -- and I believe an auto manufacturing plant, and then to do Moines, Iowa. That's what he's doing. The idea that we should stop what we're doing to review somebody's book strikes me as not a big priority, in my view, for the President. And so -- QUESTION: He could be a key witness in the trial if witnesses are called next week. CONWAY: You would hope so, wouldn't you? But anyway, I -- again, "if," "if," "if," "if" -- hypotheticals -- I'm not answering that here. Here's what I know to be real: Sixty-eight thousand Americans died last year of a drug overdose. That's why we're here, and I'm always happy to answer all of your questions as you full well know. But I got to stick to -- I got to stick to reality and not hypotheticals and frankly -- and, frankly, wishful thinking. QUESTION: Are you confident you have the votes, Kellyanne, to prevent witnesses? Are you confident you have the votes, Kellyanne? QUESTION: Admiral, can I ask you a question on a different health topic? The Pentagon announced this week that the number of victims -- U.S. service members with traumatic brain injuries -- went up to 50, from 34, from a dozen (INAUDIBLE) before that. The President said recently that he considers that to be not very serious injuries. You, as a health professional, do you agree with that assessment? CARROLL: I really can't comment. I really do not know any of the details of the traumatic brain injuries on the DOD side. We know that traumatic brain injury can be from mild to very serious. It really depends. And I just don't know what the DOD injuries are. I have not seen those. CONWAY: Last question? QUESTION: On the President's State of the Union address next week, obviously there's a big issue for you. You know, the issue of opioid abuse, opioid addiction, it's a priority for the President. Will he make this a part of the State of Union address next week? CONWAY: He will. And I'd have to go back and check for sure, but I think that'll make it the third consecutive year that he has. We've even had guests in the First Lady's box, like little baby Hope two years ago, who was adopted by a police officer and his wife in Arizona after said police officer saw this woman using drugs visibly pregnant. I think it was behind a shopping center. And he said to her, "You're hurting -- you're hurting yourself and you're hurting your baby." And he and his wife adopted baby Hope. They were in -- also, I would just remind you that this is a huge part of the First Lady's BE BEST initiative and the work that she does. I think she has single handedly helped raise awareness and funding for NAS babies, neonatal abstinence syndrome. And happy to report -- while we're talking about a decline in overdose deaths, we also see a decline in some counties in the state of Maine and across Appalachia in the number of neonatal abstinence syndrome babies either being born or, in fact, getting into treatment right away. While we're on the topic, I think what we're talking about today is really part of the President's overall healthcare vision, because he's done things like improve kidney health initiative, surprise medical billing, transparency. We're also going to be doing maternal mortality, which is way up in this country; the highest -- one of the highest in developed countries, and increasing. We're working on rural care. I don't think the country wants to have another protracted conversation or argument about health insurance. I think healthcare -- we want to put the healthcare back in healthcare, which means improving health outcomes and preventing and curing disease. And that is precisely why we're here before you today. Thank you. List of Speakers WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR KELLYANNE CONWAY ONDCP DIRECTOR JIM CARROLL ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF PUBLIC HEALTH ADM BRETT GIROIR
KELLYANNE CONWAY HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE IN BRIEFING ROOM - STIX
1000 WH KELLYANNE CONWAY BRIEFING ROOM STIX FS32 79 CONWAY: Good morning. Thank you for being here. We come before you bearing good news. For the first time in four years, life expectancy in the United States of America has increased. And for the first time in 29 years, the number of drug overdose deaths has decreased. This has not happened through coincidence. It's happened through causation. It's owing in large part to a whole-of-government approach to treat the whole person, led by President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and really, the entire administration. Nearly 70,000 of our fellow Americans died from an overdose last year, and 48,000 of those involved opioids. About 70 percent of those deaths also involved some type of synthetic opioid, most prominently fentanyl, which could be an instant killer. A couple of tiny grains are a lethal dose. We've met with first responders, parents who have lost children, people in recovery, people who are running recovery centers. We've met with mothers whose babies were born chemically dependent. And we certainly have met with health professionals. All of them have shared stories of loss but, increasingly, of courage and recovery. This is a crisis that we call the "crisis next door," because we want people to know, from the beginning, that the silence and stigma that it tends to -- many people, it prevents them from seeking out the kind of treatment and help that is available to them is a very big priority for us -- busting through that stigma and silence. We also want to make clear, in this crisis next door, that it is indiscriminate. It affects all races, socioeconomic status, gender, age, and certainly other affiliations. If the crisis is indiscriminate, then the response must be indiscriminate. And that's why, in addition to everything that the President and the First Lady and the administration have done, I wanted to share with you, as a reflection, what I consider to be the most robust and significant bipartisan accomplishment of the President's first term: H.R.6, the SUPPORT Act. The President signed it into law following overwhelmingly unanimous support from every Democrat who voted for it in the House and the Senate. This overwhelmingly bipartisan action has led to an increase in the money and awareness on the opioid and poly-drug crisis. Features of the SUPPORT Act include the CRIB Act, where there is more money and more action for those neonatal abstinence syndrome babies that I mentioned before. Medical professionals tell us it's best to keep the mother -- it's best for the mother and it's best for the baby to keep them together. And, increasingly, that is happening. Also, the nearly $3.7 billion in new grants put forth by the administration have made a real difference in our municipalities. The STOP Act has helped us increase the number of seizures of fentanyl and other synthetic opiates coming through our mail. It's up to about 38 percent, and we have a goal, if not a mandate, of 100 percent. Let me go through a couple of the numbers: 4.1 percent overdose death decline overall in our nation. And that is the first time in 29 years -- nearly three decades. But in some of the hardest-hit states, we're off a peak of over 20 percent: 19 percent in Pennsylvania, 22 percent decline over the peak high in Ohio, 11 percent in West Virginia, 14 percent in Minnesota, 7 percent in North Carolina -- just to highlight a few of them. Also, the Customs and Border Protection in the last fiscal year increased the seizures of fentanyl by 21 percent. We also launched a targeted ad campaign geared at youth that was seen by over 1.4 billion views and over 58 percent. In fact, the longer documentary type won an Emmy. Naloxone prescriptions have increased over 400 percent. Our Surgeon General, in April of 2018, issued the first advisory by a surgeon general in over a decade. And Dr. Adams said at the time: We need to have naloxone more available to our first responders, to our health professionals, to our school systems, libraries, YMCAs and the rest, but also to each and every one of us. The Surgeon General says, if each of us were to carry naloxone on our person, we too can be part of the solution, reversing these overdose deaths by administering this overdose-reversing medication. Last night, Congress passed a 15-month extension of the current emergency scheduling of fentanyl analogues. This is a critical tool for law enforcement because it allows them to continue to detect, analyze, and handle safely and effectively this very lethal drug. In our effort to focus on prevention education, treatment and recovery, law enforcement interdiction, I'm also happy to report that we have record back-to-back-to-back-to-back collections on Take Back Day. And I do want to credit our partners, like Google, who have been incredibly helpful to us in raising awareness and action among the public in understanding how to safely and broadly dispose of your unused, unneeded expired drugs. In addition to Take Back Day, the prescriptions of high-dose opioids have fallen by over 32 percent since the President came into office. If you need the pain medication, it will be there. People are walking around with what's left from a bottle of 30, 40 pills, and that's where some of the peril begins. In addition, we launched FindTreatment.gov -- a completely overhauled tool for every American to access so that they can customize finding treatment for their needs. You can customize it by age, by geography, whether you're veteran, by LGBT, certainly by gender. And this promotes quality over quantity. When you type it in and you customize it, you can find treatment centers that are best for you. Maybe you need to be there for a short amount of time. Maybe you need to be there in-patient, out-patient. Maybe you need to be there a longer amount of time. You can customize that quite confidentially. From 1999 to 2015, the government reported a 20 percent reduction in our workforce due to opioid and other drug abuse and addiction. A 20 percent decline over 16 years. I'm happy to report that because we've invested over $100 million in displaced worker grants across 17 states in the Cherokee Nation, those numbers are moving. We are trying to treat the whole person, not just check in person. We got you in drug court; we got you in drug treatment. Isn't that terrific. It's really terrific if we can them help them acquire employment, education, skills, training, and certainly housing, on the way to full recovery. There is so much more work to be done. We're very pleased that the overdose deaths have declined, but 68,000 of our fellow Americans died last year from drug overdose. That's 68,000 too many. If you look at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday, that number could be represented by every single seat with 3,000 left over at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday -- just to give you the actual enormity of the problem. We will continue to fight this every single day, and we will continue to make the investments of money, of time, of education. And with that, I'd love to turn this over to Director Jim Carroll of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and then Admiral Giroir, the Assistant Secretary for Health of the United States of America. Thank you very much. Jim? CARROLL: Thank you, Kellyanne. A couple of years ago, when President Trump and I first talked about me taking the job as the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and serving as his drug czar, he instructed me to be relentless in our efforts to save lives. And that's exactly what we've done to tackle this drug problem here in the United States. The good news that we're announcing today is a testament to the President and his leadership on this issue. It's an example of what can happen when we come together and apply that whole-of-government approach. The obstacles we face could not be greater, but through our efforts on prevention, treatment and recovery, and reducing availability, we've made real progress for the American people -- which we not only want to sustain, we want to accelerate. Kellyanne discussed how we got here and what these numbers mean. Admiral Giroir will discuss the incredible headway we're making with getting people into treatment. But I want to highlight the progress that we have made with our international partners and our law enforcement who are critical in reducing the supply of these dangerous drugs. Back at the G20 Summit in 2018, President Trump raised the issue of fentanyl production with the head of China and demanded a solution. He made it clear that the United States would not tolerate the flow of fentanyl and other deadly synthetic drugs coming into our country. Because of this, in May 2019, China scheduled fentanyl and other similar analogues, such as controlled substances, which was a historic and significant event. Last night, the House of the Representatives passed a 15-month extension on the ban in scheduling of fentanyl, but a long-term solution is still needed. In September of 2019, I led a White House delegation to Beijing to ensure that China was keeping up with their commitment to President Trump. The Chinese government agreed to improve the legal framework, agreed to improve their standards for prosecution for fentanyl-related trafficking, and established law enforcement methods there that were not heard of before. In every meeting I had with the Chinese, my counterpart said they heard the President loud and clear: that the flow of fentanyl into the United States was not tolerated. Since then, the Chinese officials have invited our U.S. counterparts back there to watch the first-ever prosecutions of Chinese nationals for trafficking drugs into the United States. This progress, combined with President Trump's commitment to secure our southwest border -- which is critical to stopping the flow of drugs into our country -- brings together several lines of effort that will serve to keep Americans safe from the dangers of illicit drugs. A wall acts as a force multiplier for our Border Patrol agents, and is one of the many tools that we are using to counter drug traffickers. Taking the steps towards the humanitarian crisis at our southern border has also been critical to keeping those drugs out of the country. The more men and women we have in uniform, the more that we have on line, the more that are stopping these traffickers -- the greater chance we have of saving lives. The Department of Justice has played a critical role in this, as they have been cracking down in unprecedented numbers on drug traffickers. Under President Trump, the DOJ has ramped up trafficking prosecutions -- not only here domestically, but internationally. Under this administration, the U.S. Treasury Department has made more kingpin designations against operators of distributors in foreign countries. The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas that we fund out of the White House here -- which provides assistance to federal, state, and local drug task forces -- has received unprecedented funding from this administration, and that is beginning to show and is part of the paradigm shift that we're seeing. These HIDTA initiatives, for example, have dismantled 3,000 drug trafficking organizations, they've removed $16.5 billion of illicit drugs off our streets, and they have made nearly 99,000 arrests of drug traffickers. In 2018, we even added, for the first time in 17 years, the first new HIDTA to make sure that we're tackling this. The men and women of law enforcement, whether they're in uniform or not, are playing this vital role and putting their lives on the line every day. What this shows is the President's efforts are working and we are saving lives. Before I turn this over to Admiral Giroir, I want to ask that when you're reporting on this issue, that when you're reporting on these numbers, that numbers are really just part of the story. Behind each of these numbers is a person, is a child, is a mom, a dad, someone whose loss has left a great mourning in a family. I was with three parents yesterday who had lost their child to an overdose. Today, we remember Jason, Amber, and Eddie, and all of the other people that we have lost. And we continue this fight in their honor to make sure that we fulfill the President's commitment to save American lives. And with that, I'll turn it over to my friend, Admiral Giroir. GIROIR: Thank you very much, Director Carroll. Again, I'm Brett Giroir. I'm the Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services. I'm also Secretary Azar's principal advisor on opioid policy, and I've been that for about two years. And I'm honored to wear the uniform of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. What we see today is no accident. This is the result of an intentional whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach to overuse -- to over- -- to opioid use disorders and other substance use disorders. First of all, we recognize this as the public health emergency as it is. And as such, we have focused on many different areas to yield these results. First, as Kellyanne said, the number of opioids that have been produced -- the total amount of opioids that have been prescribed since January 2017 is reduced by 30 percent nationally. And we have been able to do that while preserving and expanding options for pain control for those who truly are in chronic pain or have debilitating injuries. Secondly, we've approached this as a public health emergency, because addiction -- opioid use disorder -- is a chronic brain disease. We have unprecedented numbers of individuals who are now receiving treatment. Our estimates are over 1.3 million individuals are now on medication-assisted treatment, and they're also getting the psycho-behavioral support and wrap-around services that they need. You heard about naloxone -- very, very important because everybody deserves a second chance at life. You have the power. I hope all of you in the media carry naloxone with you. It's very easy. You can save a life, give a person a second chance. This has resulted in, as you heard, a 4.1 percent decrease in the number of deaths and a 4.6 percent decrease in the actual overdose age-adjusted mortality rate. Very important. A couple comments on the overall longevity. I have been shocked. Everyone in the public health community has been shocked that over the three years, previously, our longevity has decreased. That really means that our children and grandchildren will live less long and less quality of lives than we have. This is shocking, and we have not seen this since the height of the AIDS epidemic in the '90s. This has been reversed. We're now on the trajectory of increasing years of longevity, and that's associated with a number of things. What does that mean? It's only one-tenth of a year, but that's 25 million person years we just gained by this increase in longevity. And the good news is the preliminary data from quarter one into quarter two of 2019 is our mortality rates continue to drop. Now, I want to talk about all the Health and Human Services issues like treatment, like prevention, but I do want to mention the social determinants of health that are very important. There was a nationwide study in December, published in JAMA, that highlighted what we all know: When an auto plant closes, opioid mortality rate among the young goes up 85 percent. We have to keep our eye on those socioeconomic issues and everything that we're doing to increase employment, increase opportunity. These all directly affect the rates that we see and that we celebrate today. And the final thing is, we are not taking our foot off the gas. We understand that this is a dynamic issue -- opioid use disorder, other use disorders -- and it's being fueled by transnational cartels. So we are going to keep working together. We work weekly, daily, together across the government to make sure we continue a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach. CONWAY: Thank you. Any questions? Kristen? QUESTION: Kellyanne, a couple of questions. How should we think about this moment? Is this, in fact, a turning point? As you point out, the rate is still very high, but do you see this as a turning point? And I have a couple of other ones. CONWAY: Sure. I'll have my colleagues speak to that as well, Kristen. It's a turning point and we hope it becomes a trend. So what we're doing is working, and it is a multifaceted approach. So I can't say it's just law enforcement and surveillance, or Customs and Border Protection; it's just a new treatment locator; it's just Take Back day and more education -- that that tiny little bottle that bears a label of the family doc and local pharmacy that was prescribed to help someone could, in fact, be very dangerous in the wrong hands, or even in your own hands, if you're the prescribe [sic], if you use it for purposes other than why it was prescribed. So we want to keep and redouble our efforts. We certainly hope that we can count on continued bipartisan action and agreement on this, because as I said earlier and I'll repeat here: H.R.6 had every single Democratic vote in the House and the Senate, including all the people in the House and the Senate running for President. So there is tremendous agreement and action on this issue because it affects every single district and state. So we want -- we want to see the trend line. We recognize that the mortality rate -- excuse me, that the life expectancy is increasing because of strides in the drug space. We still -- and cancer, frankly. We know that suicides and flu -- and flu combined with pneumonia -- are keeping that rate down among other Americans. But we're going to continue, and we hope that we have -- we have what I call the horizontal and vertical government approach. Horizontally, it's across state, federal, and local. And vertically I -- you know, I call it in terms of the federal government apparatus. To have 13 or 14 departments and agencies actively engaged on this -- ones you would expect, like HHS and FDA and NIH and CDC; SAMHSA certainly; but also Veterans Affairs, Veterans Administration; DHS; State Department has been very helpful; Department of Justice, obviously; but also Department of Labor and Department of Education; and Department of Interior to help with rural and tribal America. So there's much more work to be done. But we feel like we have a protocol that's helped us get to this point of progress. QUESTION: Let me ask you one -- if you want to weigh in on that one, I do have one on the coronavirus. GIROIR: It is -- it absolutely is a turning point, but we have to look at the complexity of the problem. Some states still have increasing rates of death. Most states have decreasing rates of death. We now know that prescription opioid overdoses that caused death are really down tremendously as a result of our work, down 13 percent in 2018, and they continue to decline. The newest data says cocaine is starting to level off, but we still have issues with fentanyl. It used to be up 30 to 40 percent year over year. Now it's up under 10 percent, so we're making progress. But we're all worried about the next wave, which is evolving, and that is psychostimulants or methamphetamine. Those continue to increase across the nation. They're being driven all almost entirely by transnational Mexican cartels, and we have been on that problem for about a year right now. So, yes, we're at a turning point but this is a dynamic, rapidly evolving crisis. CARROLL: To follow up, I think one of the things that can make this a turning point is for this to give hope to those people that are suffering from an addiction, for them to be able to come forward and realize that there is, in fact, lifesaving measures that they can take and that we can help them to get on the path to recovery: the prevention programs that we fund, like through our drug-free community programs, the efforts that we're making to get people the help that they need, and also while we're striking hope in the minds of people who have an addiction, we're striking fear in those who want to traffic, and will look to other legitimate opportunities instead of turning to selling drugs in our country. QUESTION: And just a quick question on the other big health news of the day: Has the White House ruled out stopping flights into and out of China? Can you update us on any conversations going on related to that? CONWAY: So there's a new task force that's been created. It's being led by Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar. As you are probably aware, the President was briefed yesterday in the Situation Room. I've been a part of those staff-level briefings, senior staff-level briefings, and I won't make an announcement about that right now. I will say that we're all very relieved and happy and heartened to see what happened with the flight of the 201 or so Americans who landed in Anchorage and then California. So we will continue to monitor the situation, as you know. And I think that Secretary Azar had a few interviews just this morning, maybe addressed this as well as. QUESTION: Is there a second flight next week? CONWAY: I don't want to comment on that. QUESTION: I just have sort of two -- I wanted to follow up on that one. Do you know whether the President has spoken to President Xi about this situation with the coronavirus? But I also have a follow-up on fentanyl and the overdose deaths. CONWAY: Well, the President has tweeted about President Xi, I believe last week or maybe earlier this week. You can see that, obviously, we've offered assistance. And obviously, we are also monitoring the fact that other countries now have cases. And in this kind -- I think that's all I'll say right now. The CDC director and Dr. Fauci, they're all very involved. And, Admiral Giroir, maybe you want to address that -- GIROIR: (SHAKES HEAD.) CONWAY: -- or you don't. So we are monitoring -- the President is briefed daily on this, and yesterday in the Situation Room. So I'm going to leave it at that. QUESTION: And my follow-up on the issue of overdose deaths: As you mentioned, fentanyl is up, and there are a number of other overdose areas involving drugs that are up as well. I'm not asking for a silver bullet, but if you were to pick out two or three pieces of policy that might bring down those numbers, what would it be? GIROIR: So let me say that not only does it make common sense, but the academic community has proven that there is no such thing as a silver bullet to this issue, that there has to be multimodal approaches that span prevention, that span treatment. And again, I'm a pediatric intensive care doctor. I use fentanyl every day on suffering children in the ICU in microgram quantities. This is coming into our country in hundreds of pounds -- thousands of pounds, potentially. So we have to have a law enforcement component. Overall, I would say we have to treat this as a public health emergency, which we do. Addiction -- I'd rather use "use disorders" as a more appropriate term -- is a chronic brain disease. Once you have that chronic brain disease, it is very difficult but possible to treat, but it requires medication treatment and all the supporting services we have. So a combination of prevention, stop it before it happens, get people into treatment. And that's reduction of stigma across the board. This is a disease. You need treatment. And then, again, all the kinds of follow-ups that we're doing on a national level. QUESTION: Kellyanne, can you speak to what the administration believes -- what more the administration believes needs to be done to address this crisis? Particularly, what should we expect to see in the President's forthcoming budget in terms of any additional programs? CONWAY: Sure. Well, thank you, Zeke, for your interest in the issue. We're very happy that last night -- I mean, really at the eleventh hour, because it was set to expire February 6 -- but the Congress took action. It's disappointing that 86 Democrats, I think, voted against extending the fentanyl analogue scheduling that, honestly, is a no-brainer, especially when you consider that they were all on board with the larger compilation of dozens and dozens of bills that became H.R.6 that included several different focuses on fentanyl reduction, handling, analysis, and the like. So we hope that we can -- again, notwithstanding anything else that's happening -- count on everyone to belly up and help. I think we also need to -- to Admiral Giroir's point, we're all obviously very concerned about what we consider to be the fourth wave now of the drug crisis, meth. And we hear from law enforcement routinely that whereas they're whacking the moles of fentanyl more and more, up pops meth more and more, and I think, to some extent, heroin as well. One thing I would say is, in the states that have the Good Samaritan laws where if I'm driving the car and my friend is overdosing, perhaps I have also used with that friend, in the past, I basically pull up to the emergency room, and the bluing friend starts rolling out the door and I pull away because I'm afraid of being prosecuted. That doesn't happen in many of these states now where you won't be prosecuted. In fact, both people will go in and try to get some services. So I think so much of it is education. And I think the incomplete or underwhelming coverage of this issue is probably something I would want to solve with you, in that we talk about so many things that don't affect 72,000 lost lives, and then if you draw the concentric circles around those lost lives, the dozens and dozens, or hundreds of people who are affected beyond that one lost life. So I think it's also making sure that law enforcement, which includes Customs and Border Protection; includes local law enforcement sheriffs; includes our ports of entry; and then, between our ports of entry -- where, increasingly last year, Customs and Border Protection did interdict these poisonous drug -- I think respecting the fact that making sure they have more respect and better resources. And also, I think for all the things that we're teaching our kids in the formal curricula in school today -- and speaking as a mom of four school-aged children -- it would be terrific if, on a volunteer basis even, educational programs like this were more incorporated into the formal curricula and/or for after-school programs or with the local law enforcement or health professionals. This should absolutely be included because they are in -- they're in the line of peril, all of them. This is indiscriminate. And so I think the treatment and recovery -- one thing I'll mention -- it didn't get mentioned today because they're so much to talk about -- but one of the big things that has happened in this administration is, I believe, HHS or CMS has granted -- are we up to 22 or -- GIROIR: Twenty-seven. CONWAY: Twenty-seven. I mean, it's really remarkable. Was it four when we got here? GIROIR: Yes. CONWAY: Four states or so. Now we're up to 27 states where this IMD 1115 exclusion has occurred. This is really helping people get into treatment because that was a ban on mental institutions keeping people too long. It's existed for 40 years, and it had a lot of merit for that reason. But it had a cruel -- the cruel irony, the cruel result of it was a long waiting list for treatment and empty beds, because if you filled that 17th bed, you would risk not getting Medicaid reimbursement. So we have granted twenty- -- we now, as a government, as a nation, 27. More than half the states have a waiver so that you can treat that 17th, to 50th, to 60th person in your facility and still count on Medicaid reimbursement. And I'd also say something about the veterans. The President took action several months ago on veteran suicides. He's always been very concerned about that. We are taking action, as a government also, on opioid and other drug misuse disorder among our veterans. I visited the Cleveland Veterans Administration, for example -- not the Cleveland Clinic, but for the veterans across the street from there -- and I was really struck by how there, and other places -- but by way of example, pain management may not mean pain medication. They're trying other protocols first. They're doing Reiki and swimming and yoga and other less addictive drugs to help our veterans. So I think looking at each and every department and asking them what they're doing, it's unusual for the Department of Education, Department of Labor to be so involved, but they are. I mean Labor has all these displaced worker grants, because we know -- and Dr. Giroir can speak about the factories, I think, for a moment -- we know that if you lose your job because of a substance use disorder, you lose your job because you tested positively for drugs, for many Americans, you also lose your hope of recovery. And I visited a great place called Belden -- B-E-L-D-E-N -- Industries -- just, again, by way of example -- with Second Lady Mrs. Karen Pence, and Dr. Adams, the Surgeon General, and then Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta in Indiana, where Belden's -- one of many examples now where, if you fail a drug test, instead of you losing your job immediately, they hold the job for you but you agree to go into immediate treatment. And they work with the local -- they work with the local hospital, they work with the local community college to make sure that you keep your skills and education up. And that job is waiting for you when you are ready to re-assimilate. Again, I think the government far too often pats itself on the back: "Oh, look at all the numbers." And Director Carroll and Admiral Giroir said it beautifully and brilliantly that these aren't just numbers, these are people. So you want to help these people re-assimilate into society. And if they qualify for skills education or employment opportunities, housing opportunities, we want to be able to connect them with that information. So that's a very lengthy answer because we have to -- I would -- I would never say just treatment recovery, which was the emphasis of the last administration; just, "Oh, we can arrest and punish our way out of it." No, we can't. That would be a ridiculous idea, and thankfully, this President agrees with that. And we can't just say to people, "Gee, don't start." What about all the people who are already there? Weijia and then -- QUESTION: Thank you so much. QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE.) CONWAY: I'm sorry, we'll get to you. Weijia and then Andrew. QUESTION: Oh. Thank you, Kellyanne. Can you walk us through the life expectancy increase? What are the numbers? What factors do you think contributed to that? And also, how do Americans fare with other people in the world? And, Admiral, since you're going to take this, I have another question for you on corona. GIROIR: Okay, so the life expectancy data -- again, this reverses a three- to four-year trend and a loss of life expectancy. You can look at this in many different ways. Some of the principal components that resulted in the increasing expectancy was a reduction in cancer mortality, a reduction in unintentional deaths -- and that really deals with overdoses primarily, but also things like car crashes. There was also, though, a reduction in cardiovascular mortality, a reduction in Alzheimer's mortality. So it was very broad across many causes of death. There was also a 4.8 percent decrease in homicides in 2018. So these are all positive factors. The negative factors -- the only ones that were there -- were an increase in suicides, which the administration has been incredibly attentive to with many new programs rolling out, and also influenza. Again, we talk about coronavirus, and we need to talk about that. But remember, over 8,000 Americans have died this year of influenza. There's still time to get your influenza vaccine. How do we rate? We still don't rate very well compared to the rest of the developed world, and certainly the last few years have lowered our ratings. But as I said, we continue -- our mortality rate in 2019 continues to really plummet. And I do want to make the case -- we talk about these outcomes as if it's all medical care, and medical care is very important, but about 80 percent of health outcomes in the United States are due to social determinants of health and behavior. It's really the economy, it's the jobs, it's smoking, it's alcohol and other use. So 80 percent of our outcomes are expected to be -- to come from those kinds of impacts. QUESTION: And what is the number? GIROIR: Pardon me? QUESTION: What is the life expectancy number? GIROIR: The life expectancy is 78.6 years. And that's the life expectancy in the United States right now. Women live about five years longer than men, and that's been common across the board. So women, I think, are 81.2 if I'm correct, and men are five years less than that. So again, it seems like a small increase -- an increase of a 10th of a year. But when you look at it, a 10th of a year across 300 million Americans, it's really 25 million life years of increased life expectancy. And again, this is against three years of losses in life expectancy that we haven't seen since the early '90s. QUESTION: And on coronavirus, how confident are you that it can be contained at this point? And what is the White House's plan -- contingency plan -- in case it is not? GIROIR: Well, I will say that this is an all-hands-on-deck effort. There's tremendous leadership from the White House, Secretary Azar, and Director Redfield from the CDC, the Assistant Secretary Bob Kadlec. Again, resources have been put to airports. We're doing screenings. The Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service has been deployed to support the repatriation mission as well as the airport screening. And again, this is no cause for urgent panic in any way in the United States. This is currently under control. But, really, this is a dynamic, rapidly changing event. And, you know, the news can change at any given moment. But the resources are deployed, the government is mobilized, and we feel confident and we know the steps to take right now to contain it. And you know everything else: We have good diagnostics now by the CDC. The NIH already has candidate vaccines as well as many other individuals. That is a result of dozens of years of medical research to get us to the point of being rapid. QUESTION: And, Kellyanne, I know you wear so many hats, and we're lucky to have you because you have an attorney cap as well. And I have to ask whether you agree with Alan Dershowitz's argument that every politician weaves their public -- their private interest in with public interest and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. CONWAY: I actually am not going to discuss politics from the podium. So I will tell you I was very struck by his argument that no one is above the law, including the Congress. But just generally speaking, I think we'll leave what else is going on on Capitol Hill to Capitol Hill today and our crack group of attorneys who are doing an amazing job of not preening for the cameras and not being partisan politicians, frankly, but lawyers effectively in a courtroom speaking to the jury and speaking to the American people. So I'll leave that there. But I'm not going to address the political aspect of that from the podium. QUESTION: Thank you. Admiral, I have two questions. The first: Two weeks ago, the administration announced that it was repealing a number of rules that required social service providers that receive federal funding to -- that are religious in nature -- to refer people who might not be interested in faith-based approaches to secular outside organizations. Is that going -- has there been any discussion or study as to whether that will make it more difficult for some people -- religious minorities or other vulnerable groups -- to receive drug treatment? And the second: Last year, Attorney General Barr criticized prosecutors who, for instance, might decline to prosecute low-level drug possession crimes as social justice reformers who let criminals off the hook, and said they're demoralizing to law enforcement and dangerous to public safety. Is that disdain for declining to prosecute low-level drug crimes in favor of steering people into treatment consistent with the scientific literature? GIROIR: Do you want to take the prosecution question? CARROLL: Sure. GIROIR: But I'll just -- I'll just say that I work on a regular basis with DOJ, with DEA. And at the leadership level, there is absolutely no distance between us and approaching this as a public health issue. It doesn't make sense to put a person with a use disorder, who has been using because of their addiction, into long-term incarceration without treatment. It makes absolute sense for me to get the people who are pushing tons of methamphetamine to our youth across the country, to get them behind bars as soon as possible. But I'll let Director Carroll, because he deals with the law enforcement. I'll come back to -- I'll come back to that. CARROLL: What we know is that drug courts work for people that have an addiction. We're able to push people and hold their hand and get them into treatment if they are suffering from the disease of addiction. What is so disheartening is that when there are prosecutors or judges out there that don't take seriously the peoples whose addiction is to greed. The only thing that they care about is lining their pockets and preying on the victims who do have a substance use disorder. Those are the people that we need to target. That's what the Department of Justice is doing. That's what our top-notch prosecutors across the country are doing. And those are the people that need to be in jail. The people who have an addiction -- we support, with record funding from the White House, National Drug Court programs across the country, and putting them in federal courts as well to make sure that people who have an addiction are not the ones that are going to jail. GIROIR: And just to comment, I want -- I want to make it clear that this administration stands to treat all people who are in need. I have the privilege of running the ending the HIV epidemic presidential priority announced at the State of the Union last year. And we provide care to everyone regardless of who they are, where they are, what circumstances they are. And we'll continue to support that. That is the humane thing to do, and that is the position of the administration. QUESTION: But ending the referral requirement, wouldn't that make it more difficult for some people to seek treatment if they -- if the only treatment facility in the area is a faith-based one and they won't be referred to somewhere that they might be more comfortable? GIROIR: So we work with all -- we work with all communities. I think faith-based providers have an important component in this, particularly in wrap-around services. For opioid-use disorder, MAT is the standard of care. But MAT alone, if you don't have a job, if you don't have a place to live, if you don't have a welcoming community, is not going to be the entire solution. So all of those things are important. We'll continue to study every policy and make sure there are no adverse events. But, again, we want everyone to be treated. That's the core administration policy. QUESTION: And, Kellyanne, another follow-up question on the evacuations of -- CONWAY: If I could just add just one quick thing to Andrew. I just, again, would point you to FindTreatment.gov also. We worked on that for years, and it's the first overhaul. If you go back and look at it previously, we can show you the difference. It basically just generated quantity. If you put in your ZIP code and say, "Look all of the -- look at the 400 facilities you can go to within 500 miles." And people would shut it down because, like, "Well, how do I find the one right for me?" You can customize it by any number of criteria, whether you're a veteran, male or female, LGBT, in-patient, out-patient, temporary, longer term, type of insurance -- if you're on Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance, no insurance, for example. So I would also point you to that because that is a new tool for every American to access, and they are doing it. Yes, ma'am. QUESTION: Thank you so much. This is a question for the Admiral about coronavirus again. I want to know: How high, do you think, is the risk of coronavirus spreading in the U.S.? And do you think this could be a global emergency, since we just saw the number surpass the number from SARS in 2002, 2003? GIROIR: Well, it's really hard to take theoreticals because it really is a rapidly emerging and a rapidly changing environment. There has been, at least of this situation -- the sitrep, this morning, there's been no person-to -person transmission within the United States. There clearly has been person-to-person transmission in China, but there has been no person-to-person transmission. There's extensive screening, appropriate quarantine and isolation that is currently going on, and we certainly hope that continues. But to sort of project what's going to happen over the next couple of weeks -- again, it's a dynamic situation; all of the resources are in place. The situation rooms are in place, the operation centers are in place. We have CDC deployed. We're working with the World Health Organization. Again, my organization, the Public Health Service, is deploying in support of the repatriation missions as well as the airport screenings. And there'll be updates, you know, on a regular basis from Secretary Azar, my boss, who is leading the -- leading the efforts. QUESTION: Sir, can I follow up on that coronavirus question, if you don't mind? Because you're talking about, obviously, the importance of combatting what could potentially become serious, although you don't want to get into hypotheticals. And one of the President's Cabinet members, this morning, referenced or suggested that perhaps coronavirus could be good for jobs in the United States. I'm wondering if you find that kind of rhetoric or language helpful, and what you might suggest to public officials as they talk about this. And, Kellyanne, if you want to weigh in on that as well. GIROIR: I don't have any knowledge of the comments this morning. CONWAY: I didn't see that. I'm sorry. QUESTION: A follow-up question on the repatriation efforts? QUESTION: Can I just ask really quickly: In terms of the evacuations of U.S. personnel, I know it's already happened with respect to Wuhan, but will the U.S. government give diplomatic personnel throughout China the option of leaving their posts? CONWAY: I'd refer that to the State Department. QUESTION: Kellyanne, on the STOP Act -- you mentioned the STOP Act, some numbers. Can you give us an update on how far the Post Office has gotten in compliance? I think they have to screen all packages or refuse them by the end of the year. Are they anywhere close to getting there? CONWAY: Yeah, so it's gone basically from zero -- if any of you ever go to the JFK facility -- I'm going to have Director Carroll address that -- if you ever want to take a field trip to JFK airport, you'll see how few packages actually are screened coming in from China and elsewhere. But the STOP Act essentially means that foreign origin packages now must have sender recipient and contents listed on them. Our third-party carriers have been doing that for a long time -- your UPS, your FedEx, for example. And so, now, our own U.S. Postal Service needs to get on board with that. So the last numbers that I saw were somewhere in the 35th percentile. And we're on our way to -- it needs to be 100 percent at some point. We're really pleased -- about 16 months since the STOP Act, maybe less, was signed into law -- that we're already at 37 percent. But Jim can really amplify that. CARROLL: I'd love to lead a delegation if you want to go to the JFK Airport, or one of the other ones, and show you what Customs and Border Protection, as well as the USPS -- U.S. Postal Service -- are up against. What we need is additional capital, additional investments from Congress, to make sure that we have the technology. But what we have seen is actually the President attacking this at the core, at the countries where it's coming from. And so we -- as I said at the beginning, we do have a dramatic reduction in the amount of fentanyl that is coming in the mail from China. And so that is helping at the outset, while we continue to develop the resources, technology, to tackle it actually at the facilities themself. QUESTION: It seems like they're a long way off though. I mean, are they going to get there? The law says what the law says. Can they comply? CARROLL: That's our goal. CONWAY: That's our goal. Just quickly, none of us mentioned the first-of-their-kind fentanyl advisories, which we issued as an administration in August, and that included the Department of Treasury, the departments that are here right now, and others. Essentially, we are trying to show the private sector how easy it is to disrupt and divert their otherwise legitimate supply chain. So we gave first-of-their-kind advisories on the movement, the money, the manufacturing, and the marketing by these fentanyl traffickers who are very clever, because you could have a couple of blocks of fentanyl in your otherwise legitimate supply chain. And so we're dealing with the private sector so they're more aware of how they could be unwittingly helping us to come into the country. QUESTION: Do you have any -- on the coronavirus again: Do you have any evidence or information about China's use for these biological weapons for coronavirus? CONWAY: I have no comment on that whatsoever. QUESTION: Secretary Azar said that U.S. officials should have more cooperation with China in order to get coronavirus under control. Is there any sign that China is wanting to have more cooperation? And how are those negotiations going? GIROIR: Well, I'd really refer you to Secretary Azar. But there's been, at least our perception, a high degree of cooperation with China. And there is ongoing request for assistance, and I would refer you to Dr. Redfield who runs the CDC for that. QUESTION: Kellyanne, one other question. Your former coworker, John Kelly, said he believes John Bolton. What do you make of John Kelly's statements? And -- yeah, what do you make of John Kelly's statement saying that he believes John Bolton? CONWAY: Well, I respect General Kelly enormously, and like him, personally. I don't know what he's referring to, so I can't answer it. In other words, that's just a "I believe John Bolton." I have not seen -- QUESTION: Do you believe that John Bolton -- CONWAY: Well, I have not seen a manuscript. And I will tell you that -- QUESTION: -- had a conversation with President Trump where President Trump directly tied the aid to Ukraine's -- CONWAY: He didn't say that. QUESTION: -- investigation? That's what John Bolton said. He said that he believes that. CONWAY: Did John Bolton say that -- QUESTION: Yes. He said that he believes -- CONWAY: -- or are we talking about an unpublished manuscript? I'm sorry. Where did John Bolton say that? QUESTION: John Bolton said he believes -- CONWAY: Where? QUESTION: John Kelly says he believes John Bolton. Are you now saying that he is confused? CONWAY: Yamiche, where did John Bolton say that? QUESTION: He said that in front of a number of people. It's pretty clear that John -- CONWAY: No, no, no. QUESTION: It's pretty clear that John -- CONWAY: Where did Ambassador John Bolton say that? QUESTION: -- Kelly is saying that if John Bolton said that President Trump directly tied the aid -- CONWAY: No, no, no. Back up. Yamiche, where did Ambassador John Bolton say that this week? QUESTION: It was in front of cameras. Everybody saw it. CONWAY: John Bolton or John Kelly? QUESTION: John Kelly said that in front of cameras. CONWAY: Okay, Yamiche, where did John -- what did Ambassador John Bolton say this week? QUESTION: So are you saying that John Kelly did not understand what he was saying when he said "I believe John Bolton"? CONWAY: I'm not saying that. But you're not answering my question. I can't answer your question unless I understand it. QUESTION: But it's a very clear question. CONWAY: It's not clear at all because I'm asking you -- QUESTION: It is a very clear question. QUESTION: John Bolton said in his book that he had a conversation -- CONWAY: Is that what you're talking about? An unpublished manuscript? Are you talking about a leak of an unpublished manuscript, as reported by the New York Times? QUESTION: John Kelly was talking about that manuscript. CONWAY: No, I'm asking you what he is referring to. QUESTION: I'm talking about that, and John Kelly was talking about that as well. CONWAY: Okay. Because I don't know that to be true and neither do you. In other words, I don't know what John Kelly was referring to. And I'm asking you, what exactly did Ambassador John Bolton say this week, in advance of John -- General Kelly's comments? What did he say? I didn't see him say anything. I hear about unpublished manuscripts that I, frankly, haven't seen and I bet you haven't either. QUESTION: Well, what do you make of John Kelly making that statement? CONWAY: So you want me to -- you want me to answer a hypothetical wrapped up in a conundrum. QUESTION: Yes. QUESTION: Well, yeah. But why don't you just answer: What do you make of John Kelly commenting that, if the manuscript is true, that he believes John Bolton? CONWAY: If the manuscript is true? You want me to -- QUESTION: Yeah. What do you make of John Kelly making that statement? CONWAY: You want me to answer a hypothetical wrapped up in -- QUESTION: No, it's not a hypothetical. CONWAY: It is a hypothetical. QUESTION: John Kelly commented and said, "I believe John Bolton." What do you make of John Kelly saying those words? CONWAY: I don't make anything of it. I don't make anything of it. QUESTION: You don't make anything of it? CONWAY: No. But I will tell you, particularly by NBC and MSNBC, you guys couldn't stop day after -- QUESTION: I work for PBS NewsHour. CONWAY: I know where you work. Day after day -- you appear there plenty, and I think you're paid by them. But day after day after day -- day after day after day, you know what you talked about with John Kelly? That he was on his way out. He was going to be the next one to be fired. He was on his way out. He started doing that -- there was -- first, it was the Politico article in October of 2017, about six weeks after he took the job. That person has moved on to a different outlet now, but it was still a ridiculous article. So for a year and a half, while he was on the job, the main story about General Kelly was that he was going to be on his way out. Now you want me to answer a question -- I haven't talked to General Kelly about this or Ambassador Bolton about this. And I'm not going to comment, particularly from the podium, in the press briefing room, on a hypothetical -- on a leaked unpublished manuscript that I haven't seen. I hope it doesn't -- I hope it doesn't include classified information. And I know there's always this rush to imbue credibility on whomever you think is against the President at that moment. If it's not Michael Cohen, it's Michael Avenatti. If it's not them, it's Lev Parnas -- who couldn't even get into the Senate chamber yesterday because he's wearing a tracking device because he's been charged with crimes. So that's not a hypothetical. QUESTION: But my question was about what do you think -- CONWAY: You're asking me to answer -- QUESTION: -- of John Kelly's comments? MS .CONWAY: I already told you what I think of General Kelly. QUESTION: You don't make anything of that? CONWAY: I respect him and I like him. And you're asking me to comment on -- he said, "I believe John Bolton." I don't know what he is referring to when he says that and neither do you. QUESTION: Kellyanne, on the President's State of the Union Address next week, the President -- QUESTION: Can I follow up on a question about -- just this question now? CONWAY: Probably not. QUESTION: Has the White House responded to Mr. Bolton's attorney's urgent request that you at least review the chapter on Ukraine -- CONWAY: It has nothing to do with me. QUESTION: -- so that he can use it, if he's called as soon as next week to give evidence? CONWAY: Well, I'll tell you what the President of the United States is doing. In addition to eliminating from the face of the Earth dangerous terrorists; completing two trade deals; continuing to reshape the federal judiciary -- we're close to 200 judges and we'll get there soon enough; keeping this unbelievable economy going -- and that's why his approval rating is at its highest point ever in his presidency, according to some polls -- including by your outlets, if not reported by your outlets; he is helping to bring the overdose death rate down and to improve the life expectancy. He's focused on those types of things. He will go to Michigan today to -- and I believe an auto manufacturing plant, and then to do Moines, Iowa. That's what he's doing. The idea that we should stop what we're doing to review somebody's book strikes me as not a big priority, in my view, for the President. And so -- QUESTION: He could be a key witness in the trial if witnesses are called next week. CONWAY: You would hope so, wouldn't you? But anyway, I -- again, "if," "if," "if," "if" -- hypotheticals -- I'm not answering that here. Here's what I know to be real: Sixty-eight thousand Americans died last year of a drug overdose. That's why we're here, and I'm always happy to answer all of your questions as you full well know. But I got to stick to -- I got to stick to reality and not hypotheticals and frankly -- and, frankly, wishful thinking. QUESTION: Are you confident you have the votes, Kellyanne, to prevent witnesses? Are you confident you have the votes, Kellyanne? QUESTION: Admiral, can I ask you a question on a different health topic? The Pentagon announced this week that the number of victims -- U.S. service members with traumatic brain injuries -- went up to 50, from 34, from a dozen (INAUDIBLE) before that. The President said recently that he considers that to be not very serious injuries. You, as a health professional, do you agree with that assessment? CARROLL: I really can't comment. I really do not know any of the details of the traumatic brain injuries on the DOD side. We know that traumatic brain injury can be from mild to very serious. It really depends. And I just don't know what the DOD injuries are. I have not seen those. CONWAY: Last question? QUESTION: On the President's State of the Union address next week, obviously there's a big issue for you. You know, the issue of opioid abuse, opioid addiction, it's a priority for the President. Will he make this a part of the State of Union address next week? CONWAY: He will. And I'd have to go back and check for sure, but I think that'll make it the third consecutive year that he has. We've even had guests in the First Lady's box, like little baby Hope two years ago, who was adopted by a police officer and his wife in Arizona after said police officer saw this woman using drugs visibly pregnant. I think it was behind a shopping center. And he said to her, "You're hurting -- you're hurting yourself and you're hurting your baby." And he and his wife adopted baby Hope. They were in -- also, I would just remind you that this is a huge part of the First Lady's BE BEST initiative and the work that she does. I think she has single handedly helped raise awareness and funding for NAS babies, neonatal abstinence syndrome. And happy to report -- while we're talking about a decline in overdose deaths, we also see a decline in some counties in the state of Maine and across Appalachia in the number of neonatal abstinence syndrome babies either being born or, in fact, getting into treatment right away. While we're on the topic, I think what we're talking about today is really part of the President's overall healthcare vision, because he's done things like improve kidney health initiative, surprise medical billing, transparency. We're also going to be doing maternal mortality, which is way up in this country; the highest -- one of the highest in developed countries, and increasing. We're working on rural care. I don't think the country wants to have another protracted conversation or argument about health insurance. I think healthcare -- we want to put the healthcare back in healthcare, which means improving health outcomes and preventing and curing disease. And that is precisely why we're here before you today. Thank you. List of Speakers WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR KELLYANNE CONWAY ONDCP DIRECTOR JIM CARROLL ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF PUBLIC HEALTH ADM BRETT GIROIR
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 1000
HOUSE FLOOR DEBATE: The House meets at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and noon for legislative business. One Minutes // H.R. 2647 - Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015, Rules Committee Print (Structured Rule) (Rep. Westerman / Agriculture / Natural Resources) // The Rule provides for one hour of general debate and makes in order the following amendments: Polis Amendment (10 minutes); Tipton Amendment (10 minutes); Lujan Grisham Amendment (10 minutes); Kilmer Amendment (10 minutes) // Complete Consideration of H.R. 2822 - Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016 (Modified Open Rule) (Rep. Calvert / Appropriations) // Postponed Amendment Votes: Zinke Amendment; Garamendi Amendment #2; Newhouse Amendment; Rouzer Amendment; Hudson Amendment; Goodlatte Amendment; Westmoreland Amendment; LaMalfa Amendment; Ellison Amendment; Buck Amendment; Grothman Amendment; Sanford Amendment; Palmer Amendment #1; Palmer Amendment #2; Calvert Amendment // Begin Consideration of H.R. 6 - 21st Century Cures Act, Rules Committee Print (Structured Rule) (Rep. Upton / Energy and Commerce) // The Rule provides for one hour of general debate and makes in order eight amendments to be considered later. 10:00:11THE 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 room, washington, d.c., july 9, 2015. 10:00:30i hereby appoint the honorable david g. valadao to act as speaker pro tempore on this day. signed, john a. boehner, speaker of the house of representatives. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:pursuant to the order of the house of january 6, 2015, the chair will now recognize members from lists submitted by 10:00:45the majority and minority leaders for morning hour debate . the chair will alternate recognition between the parties with each party limited to one hour and each member other than the majority and minority leaders and the minority whip limited to five minutes, but in 10:01:01no event shall debate continue beyond 11 50 a.m. the chair recognizes the gentleman from the gentleman from oregon, mr. blumenauer, for five minutes. BLUMENAUER (D-OR):thank you, mr. speaker. one of the most difficult and 10:01:17challenging situation any family faces is dealing with circumstances surrounding the end of life. earlier this week, n.p.r. ran a fascinating story on a little known fact that physicians die differently than the rest of 10:01:32us. they are more comfortable, they're more likely to spend their final days surrounded by loved ones. they seldom die in an i.c.u. or in a hospital setting. that's because doctors understand what works and what 10:01:48doesn't. doctors are very clear about their wishes, and they choose quality of life and concern for their families as well as their own well-being. i've been working in this area of end of life for more than six years. the ways and means committee 10:02:04unanimously approved my legislation and amended it as part of the affordable care act, to provide greater support for families with that decisionmaking process. it did pass the committee unanimously. part of the affordable care 10:02:21act, even despite the 2009 lie of the year about death panels, on the strength of some of the most compelling testimony that were delivered, not by expert witnesses but by members of the committee. one of our republican members 10:02:37discussed how his mother didn't get the care that she needed at the end of life. another physician member of the committee explained how he had these conversations repeatedly, but unfortunately they were often much later than they should have been. 10:02:52there wasn't adequate time for the family to prepare. well, there's been a sea change on this issue, in part because of rising public awareness. support for our bipartisan legislation, the personalize 10:03:07your care act, which i worked on for years now with dr. phil roe, has made great strides forward. we've had advocates like dr. bill frist, former republican leader of the senate, who spoke eloquently and forcefully about the helping families under 10:03:24these trying conditions. the reverend billy graham has written how it's christian responsibility to take this on for ourselves and spare our loved ones' uncertainty. a doctor published a brilliant 10:03:45book "being mortal," which quickly climbed to the best-seller list for "the new york times" and a 500-page report about dying in america that talked about the problems and opportunities to provide more choices and protect people's wishes. yesterday was another important 10:04:01landmark when the administration published a proposed fee schedule for next year in which they've assigned an activity code with payment for advanced care planning. now, of course, this is merely a proposal and they're still 10:04:18seeking comment but it's a historic step forward for a decision that will be finalized this fall. it's another indication that we can and will do a better job of meeting the needs of american families under the most difficult of circumstances. we will make sure americans 10:04:33have all the information they need to make the right decisions for themselves and their family and to assure those decisions, whatever they may be, are honored and enforced. medicare will pay for thousands of expensive medical procedures 10:04:50and now for the first time the government is placing a value on this important conversation between a patient and their chosen medical professional. now, it's the job of the rest of us to do our part. 10:05:06who will speak for us if it we're unable to speak fo 10:05:11ourselves, and what will they say? THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida, mr. jolly, for five minutes. JOLLY (R-FL):thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, most economists and financial advisors have recognized that families across 10:05:26the united states are headed towards a major retirement crisis. studies have shown that a majority of households headed by someone age 59 or younger are in danger of suffering from falling living standards in their retirement years and so the administration and this 10:05:41congress should be advancing policies to make retirement counseling, savings advice and investment services more accessible, not less. retirement planning, savings counseling and investment advice can improve the quality of life and economic stability of every american. yet, recent actions by this 10:05:57administration, however well-intended, will make these financial services less accessible and less affordable to those who are in most need of them. by forever changing the rules regarding financial advising related to retirement accounts. 10:06:12mr. speaker, for years the community of financial advisors, including those throughout pinellas county and those i represent, has been governed by the suitability standard. that is financial advisors are required to provide financial counseling and investment 10:06:29recommendationes that are suitable for a client based upon that client's financial position and financial goals. the suitability standards requires advisors to act fairly in dealing with clients. this suitability standard has served individual investors well for many years, creating a 10:06:44market for financial services for new and low-dollar investors seeking basic investment services and thoughtful financial and retirement planning. but the administration is now in the process of replacing that standard with a new standard called the fiduciary standard. 10:06:59this new standard under the guise of protecting investors will actually have the opposite effect. the administration's proposed rule will ultimately reduce or in some cases eliminate financial counseling, products and services to new and low-dollar investors. the rule will result in the 10:07:14elimination of financial products that adequately compensate advisors for their services, and it will increase the cost of compliance on advisors who ultimately will need to pass on those costs to clients through a higher fee structure and it will cost some 10:07:34advisors. but worst, mr. speaker, the department of labor's new rule reflects the approach that we see from regulators throughout this administration, an arrogant and demeaning suggestion that industry throughout america is necessarily comprised of all bad actors, and unless these 10:07:50actors are forced to do so by this administration, they will no longer do right or do good but for the heavy hand of government and the heavy hand of this administration making them to do so. it is a washington knows best approach that communities 10:08:05across the country continue to reject. the administration can do better. do not issue the new proposed fiduciary standard rule. members of congress from both 10:08:21sides of the aisle have sent letters to the department of labor expressing the negative impacts this proposal will have on their communities and we have begged the department of labor to revisit this rule and simply do better on behalf of the american people. congress has also taken action on its own and will continue to 10:08:36do so. recently the appropriations committee included provisions within their respective bills in the house and senate to halt the administration from moving forward on this perhaps well-intended but completely wrong proposed rule. it was right that we did so. the administration simply must 10:08:51do better. it starts with recognizing that the financial advisor industry is comprised of men and women across this country who provide a valuable contribution to individuals and couples seeking retirement guidance. and let's realize that 10:09:08transparenty and sunlight can -- transparency and sunlight can help. it results in needless and expensive litigation and ever more trial attorney fees and will ultimately eliminate financial counseling to thousands of families who need it the most. well, mr. speaker, that is the 10:09:24wrong answer. let's keep the suitability standard. let's trust financial advisors for the good service they provide. let's strictly enforce the current law against the very small number of individuals who seek to take advantage of individual investors. let's protect financial services for those who need 10:09:39them most and let's revisit a rulemaking process that focuses only on transparency. ultimately providing consumers and clients with the information they need to make responsible investment decisions and to responsibly select a financial advisor that 10:09:54is right for them. it is time that this administration begins trusting the american people. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois, mr. gutierrez, for five minutes. 10:10:12GUTIERREZ (D-IL):for the record, i'm not mexican, i'm not an immigrant. given the rhetoric of one of the 10:10:22leading republican candidates for president, it's important to point that out at the start before i'm accused of being a criminal, a drug dealer or a rapist. to be fair, donald trump didn't say all latinos or mexicans are 10:10:39rapists. just the vast majority of mexicans immigrants are drug dealers or rapist. mexican immigrants working in the united states, it should be 10:10:55the owner of hotels. but he is not basing this on personal knowledge. trump says that most of the women coming from central america to the u.s. through mexico and other countries report being sexually 10:11:12assaulted. on this point, he and i have some agreement. women and children at the lowest wrung of our economic and social ladder are incredibly vulnerable to sexual assault and rape, but from saying most undocumented women are vulnerable to assault and saying most undocumented men are rapists is, as he might say 10:11:29himself, huge. the documentary on pbs "front line," "rape in the fields" was a powerful expose on how immigrant women are regularly victims of rape, abuse because perpetrators recognize how vulnerable immigrant women are. they are afraid to talk to the police, afraid they will be 10:11:45deported and afraid they will lose their children and this fear to report crimes makes us all less safe. yes, the rape and abuse is sometimes perpetrated by other latino immigrants. perhaps even mexicans. but these crimes are also committed by men of all colors, 10:12:01including red, white and blue americans. so when donald trump says on cnn, well, someone is doing the raping, is further evidence we should be building a big wall so he can laster his name on it and keep im-- laster his name on it and keep immigrants ons its clear donald misses the 10:12:18point. the question is how do we create an immigration system that allows people come with visas and not smugglers so their work is honored, safe, protected by oir labor laws? how do we make sure that the work remembers not afraid to 10:12:33dial 911 and report assault when someone, anyone is threatening them or their families? now, the anti-immigration wing of the republican party in this body and on the air is saying that trump may have a point. after all, a beautiful, innocent woman was shot in cold 10:12:50blood by a mexican immigrant in san francisco just last week. why wasn't he deported? why wasn't he held in jail the last time? why is -- and you will actually hear this on fox news. why is president obama letting mexicans kill beautiful young 10:13:05american women? as the father of two daughters, about the age of kate, the young woman who was shot and killed, i pray every night that no one of any racial ethnic background ever does my daughters harm and i can only 10:13:20imagine the grief that her family is feeling. when we have felons in federal custody or state or local custodies with warrants for drug crimes who get deported and come back, we are not doing our job. they cope with decades of 10:13:36inaction on immigration criminal justice and a range of other issues. i have no sympathy for the man accusing this crime. murderers should rot in hail. so what if -- rot in hell. so what if we have a system, 10:13:51people that contributed productively and they have children and other deep roots in the united states, what if we allowed them to come forward? what if we made them pay for their only criminal background check, fingerprinted them, made them prove their identity and 10:14:07check on them ever so often to make sure they're not gaming the system or committing crime? what if we had a system where people came here legally in the first place if they could prove their identity and they had no criminal background? i argue that such a system would allow us to reduce significantly the number of people who are in this 10:14:23country without legal status. it would shrink the size of communities where many people are undocumented, where people are afraid to call the police so that criminals find it easy to blend in and not stick out. such a system would allow us to concentrate our enforcement and 10:14:38deportation resources on real criminals who should be jailed and then thrown out and kept out. such a system would make it easier, make it harder for criminals to hide and easier for honest, hardworking folks to contribute to their communities without fear. 10:14:55unfortunately, that is exactly the system that some republicans have been fighting against. so when a hotel and casino owner gets on his high horse about mexican immigrants, about crime and rape and murder, let's think about who is standing between the united 10:15:11states, this country, the one 10:15:12states, this country, the one we love and that we've sworn to protect and a modern immigration system based on common sense, compassion and, yes, the rule of law. . 10:15:27THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from north carolina, ms. foxx, for five minutes. FOXX (R-NC):thank you, mr. speaker. for the past two years my email in box, mailbox and phone lines have been flooded with reports of canceled health insurance 10:15:42plans, soaring premiums, increased deductibles, and exasperated constituents trying to navigate the confusing washington bureaucracy that is obamacare. members of congress have to buy 10:15:57their health insurance on the exchanges along with millions of other americans. i experience many of the same frustrations, including the nightmare of navigating a confusing, unfinished website. despite its central promise, the affordable care act it has 10:16:13proved to be anything but affordable for many north carolinians, and the supreme court's recent decision in king v. burwell doesn't change that fact. house republicans are continuing our efforts to minimize the damage caused by obamacare. 10:16:29we have passed legislation that would permanently repeal obamacare's 2.3% excise tax on medical devices which has hindered innovation as well as restricted growth and job creation in an industry that has 10:16:45improved the quality of life for millions around the world. we voted to repeal the independent payment advisory board which was created under the president's health care law and gives a panel of 15 10:17:01un-elected, unaccountable bureaucrats sweeping authority to slash medicare payment to providers or eliminate payments for certain treatments and procedures all together. the house has passed legislation that would change obamacare's 30-hour definition of full-time employment and restore the 10:17:16traditional 40-hour workweek. from adjunct professors to hourly workers i have heard from constituents across north carolina's fifth district who have one thing in common. their hours are being reduced. obamacare has placed an undo 10:17:33burden on employers and their employees by undermining the 40-hour workweek, which has long been the standard for full-time work. we voted to make it easier to hire veterans by exempting those who already have health insurance from being counted as 10:17:48full-time employees under the president's health care law. no employer shd be penal eased for hiring a veteran, and no veteran should be unemployed because of obamacare. whoever, the best approach to solving the multitude of 10:18:04problems resulting from obamacare is to unite behind a complete repeal of the law and replace it with solutions that lower costs and empoer patients 10:18:19to choose the care that's -- empoer patients to choose the care that's right for them. i recently signed o on to h.r. 2653, the american health care reform act. this bill would repeal obamacare completely and allow a standard deduction for health ensures that treats individually purchased plans and employer 10:18:36sponsored plans the same. making sure that all americans receive the same tax benefits for health care. h.r. 2653 would return decisions about health care and insurance coverage to patients. it is people not government who 10:18:52can best determine the coverage and services that meet their needs. a government takeover of health care is not what americans asked for and certainly not what we can afford. i yield back. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the chair recognizes the gentleman 10:19:08from illinois, mr. quigley, for five minutes. QUIGLEY (D-IL):thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, ronald reagan once said, where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost. when president reagan made those 10:19:25remarks in 1980 he recognized then what many can't seem to understand now. efforts to undermine unions are an attack on workers' rights. unions have long been the foundation of our middle class and helped create the most competitive work force in the world. the 40-hour workweek, minimum 10:19:41wage, six leave, workers comp, overtime pay, child labor laws. those are just a few of the basic labor rights that unions have championed over the years that many now take for granted. after all the good that unions have done to empower all workers 10:20:01across this country, there's been a recent revival in the war against them and the weapon of choice has been the right to work laws. don't be fooled by the name. the only thing right to work laws do is unfairly allow free riding workers to benefit from 10:20:13union negotiated contracts without having to contribute their fair share in the fight. the laws do not as many supporters proclaim protect workers from being forced to become union members. in fact, federal law already restricts this. in union states workers covered 10:20:29by union negotiated contracts can only be required to pay for the cost of bargaining and not for any other union activities. however, over the last few years there has been an alarming increase in anti-union sentiment. currently half of our states 10:20:44have right to work laws with indiana, michigan, and wisconsin recently passing their own version. in my own home state of illinois, the governor has made passing right to work a top priority. in fact, he's making this a cornerstone of his first term 10:21:01legislative agenda. the idea behind his right to work law is that by increasing the number of free riding workers, unions will be forced to drastically reduce their budgets, weakening their ability to negotiate stronger contracts and defend the rights of american workers. 10:21:16but the evidence clearly shows how misguided this stance is and attacks on organized labor truly are. research shows that seven of the 10 states with the highest unemployment rates are right to work states. 10:21:31on top of that, you know that even if half the counties in illinois adopt right to work laws, we would see the state's annual economic output shrink by $1.5 billion, labor income fall by $1.3 billion. 10:21:46and increase in both racial and gender income equality. so if right to work laws are not actually good for the economy, what are they good for? right to work laws do a great job at 10:22:04harming hardworking middle class families, and weakening unions. right to work states have seen an almost a 10% decline in unionization, which has undermined growth in wages and led to the deterioration in workplace safety n right to work states, wages for all workers, not just unionized workers, are over 3% lower than wages in 10:22:20nonright to work states. that's about $1,500 less per year in the pockets of teachers, firefighters, nurses, and other hardworking americans. furthermore, unions and injuries and deaths in right to work states are much higher than 10:22:38nonright to work states. in the high-risk environment of construction where unions have played a fundamental role in demanding adequate safety standards, deaths are 34% higher in right to work states than nonright to work states. you can see right to work is not right for our country, not right 10:22:54for our states, and not right for our workers. you can right to worker as a strategy to lower wages and attract more businesses is not a suitable and sustainable strategy. instead of focusing on attacking unions and middle class workers, 10:23:10governors should focus on fixing broken budgets and investing in our schools, public safety programs, and transportation systems. that's the real recipe for economic success. so let's stand up against right to work laws and stand up for the right to organize, the right 10:23:25to a safe job, and the right to a fair wage. thank you. i yield back. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the chair recognizes the gentleman from ohio, mr. gibbs, for five minutes. GIBBS, B. (R-OH):thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to honor dr. peter 10:23:42schramm at asher university in ashland, ohio. the center support 8 supporters and friends gathered to recognize him for his years of service and name the library in his honor. he's been teaching political 10:23:58science, mentoring sthuents, and shapings the minds of few turn teachers and lawyers. he was a young boy living under the soviet regime. when he was 10, peter's father 10:24:14decided it was time to leave hungary and come to america. peter asked his father why he chose america and he was told we were born americans but in the wrong place. after leaving hungary, the family found their way to california thanks to an american 10:24:29dentist his father met shortly after world war ii. just a few american dollars, his family started a new life. his parents found work and peter and his sister went to school. peter did not know english and had to learn along the way with the help of his classmates. eventually, they saved enough 10:24:45money to open a restaurant. the whole family worked there. peter tened his stuties -- studies and worked through college. he was he was unaware you had to graduate. he was content to learn for the 10:25:00sake of lerk. years later he once said i think it is true that human beings by nature desire to know. his economic veracity led him to claire month for his masters and doctorate doctorate degrees. 10:25:14it was there he studied the classics. when he began teaching, he insisted on open discussion, encouraging and directing debates among his students. he once said, a good education is a conversation. he didn't want to lecture his 10:25:29students and he believes a classic liberal arts education should teach students how to read, analyze, and explain and defend their beliefs. the ash brook center where he served as the executive director and senior fellow of the scholar program states their mission is to restore and strengthen the 10:25:45capacities of the american people for constitutional self-government. having witnessed the corruption horror of soviet rule, he was able to impress on his students how important the mission and values are. one of the most recent students 10:26:00interned in my office told me that dr. schramm has dedicated his life to preserving and perpetuating american greatness by teaching us what it means to be an american. that many of us he has taught will continue his work and honor his legacy by educating future 10:26:15generations of what makes america great. dr. schramm, who is battling an aggressive illness, can be assured the principles of self-government of free men with free minds and values of our founding fathers are alive and well in the 10:26:31generations of students he talked. on monday evening he said despite his medical condition no man has been happier than he has been. thank you for adopting america as your home and teaching so many young minds to keep the flame of freedom burning. i yield back. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the 10:26:47chair recognizes the gentleman from north carolina, mr. butterfield, for five minutes. BUTTERFIELD (D-NC):mr. speaker, i rise to express the utter outrage of the congressional black caucus regarding the calvert amendment which is scheduled for later this 10:27:02afternoon which is an amendment to the interior appropriations bill. that amendment would allow confederate imagery to remain on graves on federal land. don't republicans understand that the confederate battle flag is an insult to 40 million african-americans and to many 10:27:19other fair-minded americans? the confederate battle flag, mr. speaker, is intended to defend a dark period of american history. a period when four million blacks were held as slaves. held as property, as chattel not 10:27:35as human beings. the slaves were bought and sold and mortgaged and gifted as chattel, and this period, mr. speaker, this period of inslavement continued for more than 200 years and did not legally end until december 6, 10:27:531865. here's the history, mr. speaker. following president lincoln's election in november of 1860, 12 southern states ceded from the union in response to their belief that president lincoln would free the four million 10:28:10slaves. south carolina was the first state to cede from the union on december 20, right after lincoln's election. these southern states formed the confederate states of america. they empowered a military, 10:28:27elected a president, adopted a constitution, adopted a currency. they engaged in a brutal, brutal civil war with the union. thousands of lives were lost on both sides of the battle, and this flag, mr. speaker, this confederate battle flag, was 10:28:43their symbol. it was their flag. the southern states lost the war. the states then rejoined the union. president lincoln then proposed a 13th amendment legally ending slavery. that amendment, mr. speaker, 10:28:58passed this congress on january 31, 1865. finally, it was ratified by georgia on december 6, 1865. and during the period of ratification, president lincoln was assassinated. 10:29:13for the next 50 years, 50-plus years, every black person living in the south faced the possibility of lynching. more than 4,000 blacks were 10:29:29lynched between 1890 and 1950. 136 black people were lynched in south carolina. but there are some now who want to continue to honor slavery and hon your bigotry -- honor bigtry. 10:29:44this house must not be complicit. the shooting in south carolina was an example of a 21st century lynching. the man festo left by the charleston killer stated, quote, i have no choice. i am not in the position to go to alone, go into the ghetto and 10:30:01fight. i chose charleston because it is the most historic city in my state and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to whites in the country. he was right. 57%. . 10:30:14we have no skinheads, no k.k.k., no one doing but talking on the internet. well, someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and i guess that has to be me. end of quote. 10:30:30mr. speaker, bigotry continues to exist in this country. this congress should not pass any legislation today or any other day that would embolden those who continue to hold racist beliefs. the calvert amendment, the 10:30:49calvert amendment is misguided and it emboldens bigotry. i ask my colleagues, democrat and republican, respectfully, let's defeat the calvert amendment this afternoon and even if the gentleman would consider to withdraw his amendment and not put this house through this turmoil 10:31:05today. thank you. i yield back. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. murphy, for five minutes. MURPHY, T. (R-PA):thank you, mr. speaker. 10:31:21yesterday in the terrible attack over 200 people were killed across these united states. this headline should lead every tv news show, hit the front pages and generate outrage from across the country, but it did 10:31:37not appear. now, this is not make-believe, the news is real, but no one reported it. we lose more than 80,000 people a year now to suicide and drug addiction overdose. that's over 200 people a day. 10:31:53where is the news? now, these are the sudden and tragic deaths. then, there are the slow-motion deaths which can he can't even count. those who have a mental -- which can't even count. those who have a mental illness 10:32:08or a chronic illness such as diabetes or heart disease and face that slow-motion death sentence. in fact, people with serious mental illness tend to die 25 years earlier than their cohorts and then there are the 10:32:23mentally ill who are victims of attacks. last week the "washington post" revealed how in the first six months of this year a person who was in mental health crisis was shot and killed every 36 hours by police. 10:32:39the vast majority were armed but in most cases the police officers who shot them were not responding to reports of a crime. more often they were called by relatives, neighbors or other bystanders worried that a mentally fragile person was 10:32:55behaving erratically. the crisis built and it ended in death. further, the mentally ill are more likely to be the victims of violence, robberies, beatings and rape and other crimes. these individuals are also 10 times more likely to be in jail than in a hospital. 10:33:11if you're a minority, chances are your mental health treatment comes in a prison, not in a mental health center. have we become so numb we no longer notice? are we so numb we no longer care? 10:33:26tragically government tries to help but frankly it's a mess. the chaotic patchwork of current government programs and federal laws make it impossible for those with severe psychosis, schizophrenia and 10:33:42serious mental illness to get care. for example, when someone is haunted by deleer yum and hallucinations and doesn't know they're ill they frequently stop taking their needed medication. they don't follow up on appointments and their health declines. our federal laws prevent a caregiver from getting their loved one to the next appointment or to follow up on 10:33:58their care. we need to provide treatment before tragedy and get these individuals help before their loved ones dial 911. the helping families and mental health crisis act, h.r. 2646, provides millions of families 10:34:15the tools needed for effective care. h.r. 2646 empowers parents and caregivers to access care before the mental illness reaches the most severe stage. it fixes the shortage of in-patient beds so patients in mental health crisis can get proper care, not be sent to a jail, not tied to an emergency 10:34:35room gurney and not sent home. it helps reach underserved and rural populations. it expands the mental health work force. it drives evidence-based care. it provides alternatives to institutionalization. it integrates primary and behavioral care. it increases physician volunteerism. it advances critical medical research, brings accountability 10:34:50to mental health and substance abuse parody and it also provides crisis intervention grants for police officers and first responders. this training helps law enforcement officials recognize individuals who have a serious mental illness and learn how to properly intervene. my bill eliminates wasteful and 10:35:08ineffective programs and directs money where it is needed first. it focuses on serious serious me mental illness 10:35:15mental illness rather than behavioral goodness that have no good results. my bill helps communities adopt programs to stop the revolving door of mental health crisis, 10:35:30violence, incarcerations, e.r. visits and abanned on thement. this bipartisan legislation, now with more than 50 co-sponsors, marks a new dawn for mental health in america. i urge my colleagues to join me in this effort by co-sponsoring the helping families of mental health crisis act, h.r. 2646. 10:35:46let's no longer turn a blind eye and instead help those that need it the most. whether on the fast road or the slow road, the 200 -- the 200-plus deaths per day, the 80,000 deaths per year, an 10:36:02unknown number of victims is far, far too often. compassion calls us to act and act now. the cost of delay is deadly. for those families who are suffering, how can we look them in the eye and defend our 10:36:17delays to act? i yield back. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the chair recognizes the gentleman from maryland, mr. hoyer, for five minutes. HOYER (D-MD):thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent to 10:36:32revise and extend my remarks. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:without objection. HOYER (D-MD):mr. speaker, there are days in this house when morality and the values of our country as articulated in the declaration of independence and in the constitution of our 10:36:48country summons us to vote as americans. as moral representatives and representatives of the values 10:37:04of our country. today is such a day, my colleagues. three democratic amendments were adopted earlier in the consideration of the interior bill that would end the practice of displaying our selling confederate battle 10:37:23flags and flag merchandise in national parks and national park service cemeteries. those amendments were adopted by voice vote. they reflect the strong 10:37:39consensus in this country and hopefully in this congress that a symbol of slavery, is a digs, segregation -- sedition, 10:37:57segregation has no place in our national parks and cemeteries whose grounds have been hallowed by the veterans who rest there after having served and given their lives in defense of freedom and justice 10:38:13and the values of our country. unbelievablely, however, mr. speaker, several hours ago in the dark of night, the chairman 10:38:34of the subcommittee offered an amendment on this floor that would effectively strike those amendments which surely reflect the values to which all of us have risen our hand and sworn to protect. 10:38:51today on the anniversary of the ratification of the 14th amendment to our constitution, how ironic that we would meet this vote on this day which enshrined the principle of equality for all americans. 10:39:07we have this shameful confederate battle flag amendment on our floor. this amendment would keep in place the policy that allows confederate battle flags in our national parks and national park service sem fares. 10:39:24-- cemeteries. a symbol, as my colleague, jim clyburn, the assistant leader, and the chairman of the congressional black caucus, and an extraordinarily representative in south carolina said yesterday was so 10:39:46offensive and hurtful to so many millions of our fellow citizens and our fellow colleagues in this body. even in south carolina today 10:40:03where the confederacy was born, that flag is being taken down from are the state capitol grounds after both republican controlled houses of that state's assembly 10:40:16state's assembly voted to remove it. certainly, certainly on this day we ought not to see a republican-led congress move in 10:40:30the opposite direction. my colleagues, together, not as republicans and democrats, but as americans deeply committed to the values of equality and justice and opportunity for all , we ought to remove that flag 10:40:47from our national parks, the cemeteries where our veterans rest, and i would say further, all public places. that includes the united states capitol, and i support my friend, representative 10:41:02thompson's resolution that sits now in the house administration committee that would remove the flag of mississippi, which contains the confederate battle flag until such time as mississippiians, as south 10:41:18carolinians did yesterday make a statement and remove that from their flag. i urge my colleagues, my fellow americans, the 434 of my 10:41:39colleagues that have raised their hand and sworn to protect and defend the constitution of the united states of america, i urge my colleagues, let us do the right thing and reject this 10:41:55amendment and send a powerful message about what america truly represents, equality, justice, respect for one another, freedom for all. 10:42:13let us make america, every american proud of us this day and reject the amendment adopted in the dead of night. i yield back the balance of my time. 10:42:29THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from alabama, ms. roby, for five minutes. ROBY (R-AL):thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to talk about the negotiations taking place right now in switzerland over iran's nuclear capability. 10:42:45with all that's been going on lately, i fear not enough attention is being paid to what i believe is one of the most important issues facing our country right now. last week the obama administration quietly announced yet another deadline 10:43:00extension to the multilateral negotiations over iran's nuclear capability. and this week, negotiators blew past that deadline once again. of course, the goal for the united states and our allies must be to prevent iran from 10:43:17obtaining a nuclear weapon. however, recent reports out of switzerland have raised concerns that our negotiators have already conceded too much on major points like uranium enrichment, economic sanctions relief and inspection access. 10:43:33mr. speaker, the very fact that we keep extending the deadline tells you all you need to know about the priorities at play in this administration. it seems like president obama and secretary kerry are so concerned about striking a 10:43:49deal, any deal that they are unwilling to walk away from a bad one as deadlines keep passing. "the boston globe" reported that negotiators have spent their downtime speculating which movie stars would play 10:44:04them in a hollywood movie about the iran deal. if this is true, americans should be outraged. is this is an extraordinarily important issue that will have an extraordinarily far-reaching 10:44:21effect on this country and the world for many years to come. the fact is we've had extension after extension and concession after concession to the point that i'm not sure a good deal is even possible at this point. a few months ago i traveled to 10:44:36the middle east with the speaker as part of his delegation to the region and we visited countries that would be directly affected by dealing with a nuclear iran -- israel, jordan, iraq, saudi arabia. 10:44:54our allies in the region are rightfully concerned that what is being brokered isn't good at all. we cannot forget how high the stakes are here. if a bad deal is ratified, we aren't just talking about a nuclear armed iran. 10:45:09we are talking about setting in motion a nuclear race, a chain of events that could allow 10:45:16multiple countries in in very volatile part of the world wanting to become nuclear as well. and after seeing the international community reward iran's hostility and city nens with a nuclear deal, who would 10:45:31blame them? mr. speaker, i appreciate the leadership of my colleagues in this chamber and in the senate, and i agree with senator corker that the -- who is the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee who wrote a letter to the president quoting -- and i quote him now. 10:45:46walking away from a bad deal at this point would take courage, but it would be the best thing for the united states, the region and the world. . we may not be able to control the outcome in switzerland, but we can control how we respond if 10:46:03a bad deal is put forward. this congress can have the final say whether or not to lift sanctions in iran. it can have the final say on the deal itself by way of a resolution of disapproval. i believe members of congress must prepare to stand up and 10:46:19have the courage that it would take to stop a bad iranian deal from happening. for some, this will take a lot of courage, but it is necessary. we cannot allow president obama and secretary kerry to put their desire for a legacy achievement 10:46:40above the best interests of this nation and our allies. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york, mr. jefferies, for five minutes. JEFFRIES (D-NY):mr. speaker, had 10:47:06this federal battle flag prevailed in war 150 years ago, i would not be standing here today as a member of the united states congress. i would be here as a slave. over the last 150 years we made 10:47:28tremendous progress in this country, but we sell have a long way to go. at the tragic events in charleston, south carolina, illustrated, when nine god fearing, church going 10:47:44african-american citizens were killed by a white supremacist, there is much work that needs to be done to eradicate the cancer of racial hatred. 10:48:02when dylan roof committed this act of domestic terror, his emblem was the confederate battle flak. later today we'll have a vote on the legitimacy of this flag. on tuesday, it appeared that 10:48:19house republicans were prepared to do the right thing in support of three amendments to prohibit the use of federal funds for the purchase, sale, or display of the confederate battle flag on national park service land. but less than 24 hours later, 10:48:37house republicans reversed course. in the dead of night, under cover of darkness to introduce an amendment supporting the 10:48:52confederate battle flag. which is nothing more than a symbol of racial hatred and oppression. there are some in this who is 10:49:08who have made the argument that the confederate battle flag is about heritage and tradition. i'm perplexed. what exactly is the tradition of the confederate battle flag that 10:49:25we are supporting? is it slavery? race treason? genocide? 10:49:40or all of the above. the confederate battle flag is nothing more than a symbol of racial hatred and oppression. as i stand here with chills next to it, because of the red in 10:49:59this flag is a painful reminder of the blood that was shed by africans who were killed when attempted to be kidnapped. and thrown into the institution 10:50:15of slavery. 10:50:17the red on this flag is a painful reminder of the blood that was shed by millions of africans who died during the middle passage while being 10:50:37transported from africa to america. the red on this flag is a painful reminder of the blood that was shed by african-american slaves who were beaten, raped, lynched, and 10:50:52killed here in america as a result of the institution of slavery. what exactly is the tradition the confederate battle flag represents? 10:51:08we were sent here as leaders. to make decisions on the morality of america. 10:51:25where we are notwithstanding our painful history and the legacy of slavery, we have an opportunity today to make a definitive statement, to be leaders p not individuals who cowher in fear -- cour -- cower 10:51:46in fear who are unaware that the south lost the war 150 years ago. let's choose racial progress over racial poison. let's choose harmony over historic amnesia. let's choose togetherness over 10:52:03treason. let's come together not as democrats or republicans, not as whites or blacks, not as northerners or southerners, let's come together as americans and vote down the calvert 10:52:19amendment and relegate the confederate battle flag to the dust bin of history which is where it belongs. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the chair recognizes the gentleman from west virginia, mr. jenkins, for five minutes. JENKINS, E. (R-WV):thank you, mr. 10:52:35speaker. i rise today to honor the wyoming county west virginia chapter of students against destructive decisions, also known as sadd. the wyoming county chapter has been named the 2015 sadd 10:52:52national chapter of the year. consisting of 300 members from six different schools, these byo message county students work hard to encourage yng people to avoid underaged drinking, drurks 10:53:07and other destructive activities. wyoming county and the sr. rounding area, like many -- surrounding area like many parts of our state and country are limited in the number of youth programs and social services leading to temptations for many 10:53:26teenagers. sadd helps fill the void and is a positive force in helping students make positive life choices and avoid destructive decisions. these students represent our state's values and demonstrate 10:53:43compassion, commitment, and courage through their work. i know they will take the skills they have learned in sadd and become the next generation of leaders in west virginia. i congratulate these students and teachers and thank them for 10:53:59making wyoming county a better place to live. i yield back, mr. speaker. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from minnesota, ms. mccollum, for five minutes. 10:54:15MCCOLLUM, BETTY (D-MN):you pointed out i'm from minnesota. minnesota governor ramsay was in washington, d.c., shortly after the attack at fort sumter. and he was the first to offer up 10:54:30our support, 1,000 minnesotans to keep our union together. minnesota at the battle of gettysburg. a regiment that suffered 82% in 10:54:46casualties. the greatest loss of any unit at gettysburg on a single day. last night when republican leadership put forward a last-minute amendment that would allow for the display and sale 10:55:03of the confederate flag in our national parks, an amendment which we'll vote on today, that would allow this hateful symbol which invokes memories of racism and a 10:55:18and a painful period in our countries past to be displayed on public lands, i found myself shocked, outraged and 10:55:31disappointed because the people of minnesota sent me here to strive for what they strive for every day. to build a better, stronger america. an america in which we strive to give everyone hope and opportunity that they, too, can 10:55:47pursue life, liberty, happiness, and justice. to the flag that we are taking about is a symbol of a time when african-americans were enslaved, sold as human commodity. 10:56:02it had been used as a rallying cry throughout our history to those who wished to keep or country seggre getted. we a again last month in charleston this flag being used 10:56:18as a symbol for many who carry hatred in their hearts. a man who carried so much hatred he took the lives of nine parishioners because he viewed this flag as a symbol of his belief. this flag should be no point of 10:56:35pride for any american. and we should take this flag down. just two days ago without opposition, as i had the honor of being ranking member as we were doing the interior bill, this body voted to adopt 10:56:52amendments which would prevent the sale or display of confederate flags in national parks. those amendments were simple, commonsense efforts to place into law standards that the national park service had put forward last month. it was a moment of great pride 10:57:08for me. all those new standards will do is bring the federal government in line with desessions made by many private sector retailers. amazon, wal-mart, sears, disney, and other national retailers have all made the decision to 10:57:24take down this flag because of its racist history. private businesses are rallying behind a commonsense tea significance to stop -- to stop -- decision to stop peddling 10:57:42these symbols. how the republican cax would work to ensure that the federal government alos them to be sold? for who is republicans it appears, perhaps, the cost of getting the votes to pass the entiror, environment appropriations bill, which 10:57:57panders to polluters, is to wrap themselves in a banner of racism. i think that's wrong and i urge my colleagues to stand with people of great courage and great passion to say no to hate, 10:58:13no to racism, and yes to america. i urge my colleagues to vote no on the calvert amendment. with that i yield back, mr. speaker. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the 10:58:30chair recognizes the gentlewoman from tennessee, ms. blackburn, for five minutes. BLACKBURN (R-TN):thank you, mr. chairman. i come to the floor today to discuss h.r. 2964, the clear law 10:58:48enforcement for criminal alien removal act. this is a bill that i have had and have introduced every congress since 2007. we have many members of the body, mr. chairman, who have 10:59:03joined as co-sponsors of this legislation. what it would do specifically is this. it would ensure that state and local law enforcement officials have the tools necessary to help the federal government deport 10:59:19criminal illegal aliens from the united states. my legislation would require the department of homeland security when a state or local law enforcement agency arrests an alien and requests d.h.s. to take custody of that alien to do 10:59:38a few specific things. number one, they have to take the alien into federal custody and incarceration within 48 hours. and request that the state or municipality temporarily incarcerate the alien or transport the alien to federal 10:59:54custody. this would allow them to remove this individual from the country and bar them from coming back. . 11:00:17to 11:00:18to reimburse, the federal government to reimburse local and state government and to withhold funds from sanctuary cities. now, we have heard a lot about these issues in the last few 11:00:32days, and one of the problems that we have is the sanctuary cities, and mr. chairman, i have for my colleagues a map that was prepared by the center for immigration studies. we now have in this country 200 11:00:51sanctuary cities, and i'm reading from this map, more than 200 cities, counties and states across the u.s. are considered sanctuary cities. now, what happens in these cities is they choose to work 11:01:10around and to circumvent or not to abide by federal law when it comes to immigration policy. that's one of the reasons passing the clear act is so important. holding them accountable. 11:01:25also reading from the map, i find it so interesting that the department of justice has never sued or taken any measure, including denying federal funds against a jurisdiction that is 11:01:40a sanctuary city. on the other hand, we know that d.o.j. actually sued the state of arizona for trying to strengthen its immigration laws. so i would come to the floor today as we talk about dealing with the criminal illegal alien 11:01:56population and highlighting h.r. 2964. i would ask my colleagues, what does your vote record say about your action? are you strengthening federal law and abiding by federal law, 11:02:12or do those actions strengthen sanctuary cities? do they provide more accountability? is that what you're providing through your vote actions, or is it something that allows a violation of federal law to continue? 11:02:27i think it is imperative that we address the issue of criminal illegal aliens, we address the issue of sanctuary cities and, mr. chairman, i think that it is imperative that we move forward with 11:02:46passage of the clear act by this body. it's a simple bill. i encourage my colleagues to read it. it's 21 pages, and you will find in there that it addresses these issues that are front and fort most in our minds today -- front and foremost in our minds 11:03:03today and i yield back the balance of my time. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentlewoman yields back. the chair recognizes mr. clyburn for five minutes. CLYBURN (D-SC):thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i would like first of all to thank the speaker of this house and the other 11:03:18members who came to charleston last month to help us with the 11:03:35ceremonies for the senator. i'd also like to thank especially my colleagues, senator tim scott, senator lindsey graham, congressman 11:03:54sanford for joining with us as we stood with the governor of south carolina and called for removing the confederate battle 11:04:10flag from the grounds of the state house. this afternoon at 4 00, as a result of a very definitive vote early this morning of 11:04:2894-20, the governor's going to sign the bill, and tomorrow morning at 10 00, the flag will be removed from the state house . 11:04:43i regret that i'm not going to be able to accept the governor's invitation and be there this afternoon because around 4 00 this afternoon we're going to be voting here on this floor. 11:04:58i understand there will be around 25 votes, and 24 of them i might feel all that bad, but one of them i cannot afford to 11:05:16miss 11:05:19but one of them i cannot afford to miss because that one, the calvert amendment, votes taken 11:05:32by this body to join with south carolina, alabama and activities going on in mississippi, to get rid of any 11:05:51official application to this flag, the confederate battle flag. now, i think it's important for us to point out that this is 11:06:07not the confederate flag. the confederacy had three flags. this was never one of them. this flag is a flag, the 11:06:23confederate battle flag of the army of northern virginia. robert e. lee's army. and when robert e. lee surrendered he asked all of his 11:06:40followers to if you recall this flag. stow it away, he said. put it in your attics. he refused to be buried in his confederate uniform. his family refused to allow 11:06:55anyone dressed in the confederate uniform to attend his funeral. why? because robert e. lee said he considered this emblem to be a symbol of treason. 11:07:18yet, calvert puts up an amendment that we're going to vote on this afternoon to ask us to allow this flag to be sold and displayed in our national parks. 11:07:34i was so proud when the decision was made by the national park service. fort sumpter, a national park where the civil war started off 11:07:50the coast of charleston, south carolina, they decided to take away all of these symbols. but the calvert amendment is saying, no, don't take them away. put them back. and we are going to ratify the 11:08:07action to do so. i'm calling upon all of my colleagues to come to this floor this afternoon to remember that it is on this date in 1868 that south 11:08:26carolina, where it all started, south carolina was the state that gave the votes necessary to ratify the 14th amendment. to me, a very, very important 11:08:42amendment. full of due process and equal protection of the laws. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida, mr. bilirakis, for five minutes. BILIRAKIS, G. (R-FL):thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate it very much. 11:08:58mr. speaker, in march, before a joint meeting of congress, the prime minister of israel, benjamin netanyahu, warned history has placed us at a 11:09:15fateful crossroads. as a world leader at the forefront of this crossroad, i believe america has a responsibility to prevent a nuclear iran. an iran with nuclear weapons capabilities would further exacerbate and destabilize the region and would certainly 11:09:31inspire an arms race among other nonnuclear nations. the obama administration's foreign policy missteps does not inspire confidence that the current negotiations will conclude any differently. 11:09:48after numerous delays, negotiations are veering further away from any type of reasonable agreement that would contain iran's nuclear ambitions. i do not trust this administration as it approaches the reversal of a half century 11:10:05of nuclear nonproliferation policy. as chairman royce stated over the weekend, the obama administration's fundamental mystery of the iranian regime is part of what makes this potential 11:10:19potential agreement so dangerous to our national security. the sanctions relief numbers that are being reported now are staggering and will directly undercut years of democratic 11:10:34success. sanctions are a vital tool when working to keep our citizens and allies out of harm's way. in dealing with an aggressive state sponsor of terror, there should be no daylight between the position of republicans and 11:10:52democrats in congress nor congress, with the president or the united states, with our allies. civilized nations must stand united against the destructive output from rogue regimes like iran. as it stands now, the reported 11:11:08details of the deal will not dismantle the nuclear ambitions of the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. if the past is any indication of the future, we can expect that iran will continue to employ its stonewalling 11:11:26tactics, blocking any real transparency or inspections of its nuclear facilities. why isn't iran answering questions asked four years ago by the international atomic energy agency about their past 11:11:41activities? how can we trust a country that won't answer simple questions or allow scientists to be interviewed? how can we set up a sanctions relief system that is based on trust and verification if the 11:11:56country has proven objectively incapable of trust and transparency? we certainly cannot continue to overlook iranian compliance failures, as reported this week in "the washington post," nor 11:12:11come anywhere close to lifting a successfully firmed arms embargo. these negotiations will have long-term implications on every country on this planet. i believe the united states has a responsibility to stand with 11:12:27israel and other allies across the globe now more than ever. we must ensure our allies know they do not stand alone. with the current negotiations extended once again, it appears that the administration simply 11:12:43wants to get any agreement. this administration, i believe it's a legacy item for the president, mr. speaker. this administration's willingness to ignore iran's 11:12:58troublesome behavior throughout negotiations does not inspire confidence. president obama promised seven years ago that he would not allow iran to develop a nuclear weapon. he is failing to keep that promise to the american people 11:13:13and the rest of the world, in my opinion. the stakes are too high. negotiations are reaching a critical moment as we speak here today. this administration needs to understand one indisputable 11:13:29truth, a bad deal is worse than no deal. i yield back. thank you, mr. speaker. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from california, ms. sanchez, for five minutes. 11:13:44SANCHEZ, LORETTA (D-CA):thank you, mr. speaker. this year marks the 40th anniversary since the end of the vietnam war and 20 years of normalized relations between the u.s. and vietnam. and this week our president hosted the general secretary of the vietnamese communist party, 11:14:03tron, a political leader but not an official leader. and during that meeting, i know that the two leaders discussed more normalization of economic and military issues and i know 11:14:18that president obama brought up the issue of human rights, but i'm going to say this after 19 years in this congress of fighting for human rights around the world that the vietnamese communist government always promises when economic 11:14:34issues are on the table to do something better with respect to their human rights record but they never follow through. in fact, it gets worse. and so today, as the co-chair of the congressional caucus on vietnam, i don't want to focus 11:14:51on what the economic implications are and the trade implications are that are going on with respect to vietnam, but i want to remind my colleagues about what is happening with respect to human rights in vietnam. . 11:15:15win men is currently serving a known-year prison term after being charged with attempting to overthrow the government under article 59 of the stoogs 11:15:20contry. her crime? she was arrested he while taking photographs during a protest against chinese encroachment of the stratly island. 11:15:35a community organizer and contributing journalist for vietnam redemocraticorist news is currently serving a 13-year prison sentence for defending 11:15:51human rights and promoting democracy. he has been charged with attempting to overthrow the government. he is currently suffering from harsh treatment in prison including torture and dekneel to medical care, watt -- denial to medical care, water, and food. deng, another activist currently 11:16:08serving a 13-year sentence under article 79 in response to advocating for education. imagine this, for education for children living in poverty. for aid to people with disabilities. and for religious freedom in vietnam. 11:16:26he's also a victim of mistreatment and torture in the prison system. tran, a you human rights activist and proor, was alsoared for writing blogs that calendar 11:16:41for political reform and and improved human rights in vietnam. he only peace fle exercised his rights of freedom of expression, yet he was charged with attempting to overthrow the governmentnd article 79. 11:16:57he has been sentenced to 16 years in prison and five years of house arrest. these are just four of the so many people in prison in vietnam. the government of vietnam continues to deny its citizens 11:17:12the rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, freedom of religion. and although vietnam strives to further its relations with the u.s., it does not grant human 11:17:29rights to its people. so, i understand that president obama has agreed to visit vietnam in the near future, and i strongly urge that not only 11:17:45the president and the administration work on the issues of human rights with respect to the vietnamese people, about that we in the congress continue to patients' bill of rights because as we know, as americans, people around the world look to us as 11:18:01the shining light of upholding democrat is he and whoman rights and freedom and liberty, freedom of the press, and freedom of asemble. i yield back. thank, mr. speaker. soap the gentlewoman yields back. 11:18:16the chair recognizes the gentleman from new jersey, mr. frelinghuysen, for five meant. FRELINGHUYSEN (R-NJ):mr. speaker, we are quickly approaching one of the most important deadlines in the recent history of the national security of the united states. the often postponed end of 11:18:34negotiations to halt iran's nuclear weapons program. i support the goal of stopping iran's nuclear weapons ambition forever. and i have grave fears that the united states is headed down a very dangerous path of concession and surrender to a terrorist regime that has had american blood on its hands since 1979, military and 11:18:52civilian. each and every day we read new reports that iranian leaders are systematically moving the goal posts on these important negotiations. let me cite a few examples. first, any prudent agreement 11:19:07would allow no notice enspecials of suspected, not just declared, iranian nuclear weapon sites. yet the iranian plarlment has passed legislation banning inspections of their military installations. senior iranian officials have also taken it further declaring, 11:19:25i quote, not only will we not grant foreigners permission to inspect our military sites, we'll not even give them permission to think about such a subject, end of quotation. this attitude would make any agreement totally unverifiable. secondly, any worthwhile agreement would phase in 11:19:41sanctions relief as the regime proves over time it has complied with all provisions. yet president a hani has declared, i quote, we will not sign any deal unless sanctions are lifted on the same day. end of quotations. 11:19:59why would we allow iran to boost its staggering economy by providing an immediate capital infusion with which to support their relentless military intelligence and political efforts across the globe? president obama's explanations have been nothing short of 11:20:14baffling. he told national public radio, i quote, who if at all can you prevent aran from using its new wealth over the next 11:20:21wealth over the next several years to support assad of certificatea, to support hezbollah, van hollen toors in yemen or elsewhere? i mean, there's been no lessening of they are support 11:20:35for hezbollah or assad during the course of the last four or five years at a time when their economy has been doing terribly. end of quotation. if that's the point, mr. president. the united states should not throw up its hands and actually allow the iranian economy to be stimulated or have even more money to solidify their place as 11:20:51the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. immediate sanctions relief will only provide more resources for them to use and their proxy militias in iraq dominate that country, and advance their goals 11:21:07in syria, yemen, and elsewhere. of course they'll have more motivation to do so. the tentative agreement announced in april and everything we have heard and read since then seems to reinforce the lesson that this administration is willing to give away much more in return 11:21:25for nothing in the way of changing their behavior. once again we must never forget that iran has american blood on its hands since 1979. iran has cheated before and is likely to cheat again. yet the administration makes 11:21:41concession after concession to iran, even as iran has violence in syria and iraq and threatens our safety in the middle east and develops new icbms. 11:21:56my colleagues, iran's nuclear program weapons quest must be blocked indefinitely, including verifiable dismantlement of its weapons infrastructure. they cannot be allowed to remain a threshold nuclear weapon state only to join the nuclear club 11:22:12the moment the agreement lapses. from where i stand and what we know today, we must oppose this agreement. in fact, no deal is better than no deal. mr. chairman, i'd like to yield to the gentlewoman from texas. 11:22:29my remaining time. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentlewoman is recognized for one meant. JACKSON LEE, S. (D-TX):i rise to 11:22:45follow up, to ask america to be unified and to be able to have a debate on the floor of the house on a resolution that i offered, 342, and to the gentleman from 11:23:02new jersey, it says enhancement of unity in america. what it speaks to is for this body to go on record for saying that divisive emblems and symbols, swastikas, a rebel flag, a fighting flag, does not even represent the flag most people think it is, the 11:23:19confederate flag, this is a rebel flag. to put those away. to educate our children about the excitement of how diverse we are. to be reminded of history of reconstruction. african-americans who are senators and congresspersons. to look at schools who now carry names of people who really might 11:23:36be considered treasonous. to be able to stand on the floor today or next week as those in south carolina did in a civil way so that our children will know that these symbols that divide are not history. and to be able to stand together 11:23:53in supporting the diversity of america. that is what i stand for. and i stand with houston who is reconsidering many school names at this time. i yield back. i thank the gentleman for his kindness. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes the 11:24:09gentleman from michigan, mr. kildee. for five minutes. KILDEE (D-MI):thank you, mr. speaker. overnight house republicans have 11:24:27dramatically and inexplicably reversed their position on taking down terribly divisive symbol, the confederate battle flag. while they initially allowed house democratic amendments to remove this symbol from our 11:24:42national parks, late last night they allowed an amendment on voice which was challenged and now will be on the floor for roll call later today to keep, believe it or not, keep the confederate flag as a symbol for 11:24:57sale and for dess play in america's national parks. of course this morning's headlines, scathing headlines tell it all. house g.o.p. takes step back on confederate flag. unbelievable. 11:25:12it's a shame, it's really a shame that house republicans last night, very late last ni night, withou 11:25:21night, without warning, attempted to turn back important progress on taking down this terrible and divisive symbol. this of course happens just weeks, days literally, after 11:25:36nine americans were sleighed in an historic black church in charlton, -- charleston, south carolina, a terrible and tragic massacre committed by an evil individual who wrapped hem self 11:25:52in that very symbol. and celebrated the hate it stood for. i attended the funeral of reverend pinkney. with other members of congress grieved with that community in they are pain. and saw that community asking themselves a question, why? 11:26:07why does that hateful symbol, that flag, continue to fly over they are state capitol? so on the same day that the south carolina legislature expressed the will of its people 11:26:24and the american people and voted overwhelmingly to take down this horrible symbol, on the same day that south carolina voted to take down that hateful symbol, a member of this house 11:26:39of representatives came to this floor and offered an amendment to preserve that symbol in america's national parks. what a shame. it amazon, wal-mart, sears, all 11:26:55have taken that symbol out of their stores. no longer sell it. but the republican leadership allowed and would have allowed on voice vote an amendment to stand that would preserve the right to have that symbol sold in our national parks. what a shame. 11:27:11i hope the american people are watching and paying attention to this because it's a moment of truth, i think, for this congress. and i hope and i pray the democrats and republicans, i know the feelings of the 11:27:26democratic caucus we spoke about it this morning, but i hope we'll be joined by republicans on the other side in turning back this awful amendment that would say horrible things about the progress that we hoped that 11:27:42we had made just in the last few weeks. i ask americans to join us. use social media, hash tag take it down. express yourself. join with us in rejecting this horrible symbol of hate. 11:27:57let's take it down. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from iowa, mr. king, for five minutes. KING, S. (R-IA):thank you, mr. speaker. i appreciate the opportunity to address you here on the floor of 11:28:12the house of representatives and being recognized. i have been listening to this debate over the last week or so and it's troubled me considerably to watch divisions being driven between the american people over symbolism 11:28:27that has now been redefined by a lot of members of the opposite party. i regret like all of us do in this country the tragic and brutal and evil murders of the nine people in charleston, south carolina. i pray for them and their 11:28:42families and they stood up and showed us an example of faith that i think surpasses any that i have seen in my lifetime by forgiving the killer. i'm not to that point in my faith, mr. speaker, at least that i can tell. but that was very moving. 11:28:58and they didn't want to see a division created. they wanted to heal. and they wanted to have -- they wanted to see christ's love come out of charleston. charleston is a wonderful and beautiful city, and i don't know where i'd go to find nicer 11:29:15people if i couldn't go home. i can't say enough good about that. but i have listened to this rhetoric that has poured for the over these days. -- forth over these days. it appears knee it is being turned into something that is division rather than unifying. we unified in our grief with the 11:29:30people of south carolina, the people of charleston, and now we are seeing the confederate battle flag be put up as a symbol to be redefined as something different than it's understood by the majority of 11:29:45the american people. i grew up in the north, mr. speaker, and the confederate flag always was a symbol of the pride of the south from where i grew up, my family, my predecessors, my ancestors, were abolitionists. they went to war to put an end 11:30:02to slavery. mr. speaker, i have in my -- now in my hand this is a leather bound new testament bible that was carried in the shirt pocket of my great uncle, john richardson, and it's written in side here, presented to him on the eve of his departure for the 11:30:18war in july of 1862. . 11:30:22and he walked home three years to the day with this bible in his shoirt pocket, having protected him. it has verses that are written in it. 11:30:36i found his picture, his muss can he tell, his bayonet, his belt buckle and his ink file. that's what's left of this man who committed himself to putting an end to slavery but his cousin, my five times great grandfather, was killed in that 11:30:51effort. many gave their lives to put an end to slavery. as i was standing before lincoln's memorial reading his second inaugural address, and i'll read this into the speaker. lincoln's second inaugural 11:31:07address, march 4,1865. fondly do we hope and pray, yet if god wills does it -- by the 11:31:22bondsman 250 years of unrecognize witted toil shall be sunk and every drop of blood shall be paid by another drawn by the sword as was said 3,000 years ago and so still must be said, the judgments of the lord 11:31:38are true and righteous altogether. mr. speaker, these are not disputed numbers. the numbers of americans that were killed putting an end to slavery and saving the union 11:31:55600,000. another number not disputed, the number of black africans who was brought to now the united states to be slaves, 600,000. i take you back to the words. every drop of blood drawn by the last shall be paid by another drawn by the sword. 11:32:11the judgments of the lord are true and righteous altogether. a huge price has been paid. it's paid primarily by caucasian christians. there are many who stepped up because they profoundly believed that me needed to put 11:32:26an end to slavery. this country has put this behind us. we bend through this brutal and bloody battle. we've gone back together through the reconstruction and we've healed this countries together, and i regret deeply that in a -- that we're 11:32:41watching this country be divided again over a symbol of free country. when i go to germany and they outlawed the swaths can, i say, we have the first amendment. we're open enough. we have to tolerate the 11:32:58desecration of old glory, the american flag. yet we have people saying they're offended by a symbol. they're the ones putting it up for all to say and they're saying we should outlaw that so the american people don't have a chance to see our heritage. everything about america's 11:33:14history is not glorious. everything about our history is not right in our judgment looking back in hindsight, but none of us know what it was like for those that lived during that time and that era. we can accept our history. we can be proud of our history. when unify our history. 11:33:29we can grieve for those who were murdered and we can preserve our first amendment rights. thank you, mr. speaker. and i yield back. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. green, for five minutes. GREEN, A. (D-TX):thank you, mr. 11:33:46speaker. mr. speaker, there are seminole moments in time. the bombing of pearl hashon was 11:34:02a moment in time that will live in infamy. the crossing of the edmund pettis bridge was a similar knoll -- similar knoll moment in time. it was a turning point in the 11:34:18civil rights, human rights movement. there are moments in time. the house of representatives confronts a seminal moment in time. 11:34:33will we allow the healing to continue or will we try to roll back the clock? there are seminal moments in time. if we take this vote, and i hope that we will not -- 11:34:50there's indication we may not -- but if we take this vote, the taking of the vote itself can be a seminal moment in time. a vote to legitimize the confederate flag, the battle 11:35:06flag would be a seminal moment in time for the united states house of representatives. a flag that represents slavery, a flag that represents division 11:35:22we have come 11:35:23we have come together in this country under a flag that represents unity, one that stands for liberty and justice for all. the flag of the united states of america. this is not that flag. 11:35:39we confront seminal moments in time. in south carolina, the south carolina senate and house of representatives stood tall when confronting a seminal moment in time and the confederate battle 11:35:54flag will be removed. i was so proud to hear a relative, a descendent of jefferson davis, take to the floor of the house of representatives in south carolina and proclaim that the 11:36:10flag must come down. seminal moments in time. we have our opportunity to do that which is right, to do what dr. king talked about when he 11:36:25said, the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. we can bend the arc of the moral universe towards justice or we can turn back the clock, 11:36:42understanding that this is a symbol that cause loose of pain for a lot of people. this symbol would have 11:36:58prevented my having an opportunity to stand here if it had prevailed. i call upon all people of good will to please do the righteous thing, not just the right thing, do the righteous thing. how can you possibly vote for 11:37:17this after you saw the relatives of the nine who were killed stand in court before a judge and before the person who was the assailant, the person who actually killed people and 11:37:32say, i forgive you? we have forgiven those who have fought to enslave us. we have forgiven. i forgive you. how could you possibly now 11:37:50decide that you will legitimize this symbol of hatred, of slavery, of a bygone era, of a time when people were not even proclaimed to be human beings 11:38:05in the minds of many? so this is a great opportunity for this house of representatives to answer the clairian call of justice to do as dr. king indicated, to bend 11:38:21the arc of the moral universe toward justice, but it's also something else. it's an opportunity to see where we are. there will be a moment in time beyond this time when someone 11:38:38will look back upon these moments and they will look to see where we stood. where did you stand when you had the chance to stand for righteousness? where were you when you had an 11:38:54opportunity to vote to recognize justice as opposed to the injustice associated with this symbol? and i leave you with these words. harder yet may be the fight. right may often yield to might. 11:39:09wickedness may seem to rain and satan's calls may seem to gain. but there is a god that rules above to the hand of power and when we are right he will help us fight. i stand against this symbol. i stand for the american flag. i stand for justice. 11:39:24THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. poe, for five minutes. POE (R-TX):thank you, mr. speaker. today the terrorist army of isis is stronger than ever. 11:39:42it mames, rapes, pillages, burns and beheads in its zeal to commit religious genocide against anyone who disagrees with them. isis controls and manipulates 11:39:57the minds of thousands of foreign fighters, including those that come from the united states. this is done arrogantly through american social media companies. the u.s.' answer to the isis threat -- well, let's see what 11:40:14it is. part of the current u.s. strategy is to train foreign mercenaries to fight against isis. it's had a year-long american 11:40:23it's had a year-long american budget of about $500 million. the program is to equally fund equipment and to train these so-called moderates from syria to fight isis. i call them mercenaries. 11:40:38however, the secretary of defense of the united states carter admitted that even after this one year of training the united states has only trained 60 -- 6-0 -- of these moderate 11:40:56syrian rebels. if i do my math correctly, mr. speaker, we are spending about $4 million apiece on these 60 fighters to go and fight 11:41:13supposedly isis. this is embarrassingly pathetic. the greatest nation that has ever existed sees isis as such a threat that we're going to send 60 folks to do -- to try to take care of them. 11:41:30ironically, there are more americans fighting with isis than we have rebels that have been trained to fight against isis. the united states obviously is not taking isis seriously. 11:41:45isis even mocks the united states and its 60 fighters on once again american social media. there is more. the president has recently 11:42:00admitted that the united states didn't have a complete strategy against isis. now, isn't that lovely? the question is mr. speaker, is isis a national security threat to the united states? that is the question. that is the question that has 11:42:16to be answered by the administration and by congress. and a decision needs to be made by the administration. it's time for the administration to pick a horse and ride it. if isis is a threat, then we 11:42:31must have a plan to defeat them. then actively implement the plan and defeat isis. mr. speaker, the commander in chief needs to lead. he needs to command or isis 11:42:48will continue its reign of terror in the middle east and other parts of the world and that's just the way it is. i yield back. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from minnesota, mr. ellison, for five minutes. ELLISON (D-MN):thank you, mr. speaker. 11:43:04if there's any doubt in the mind of any person what this confederate battle flag stands for, i urge people not to listen to me. i urge you to listen to the successionists themselves. 11:43:20here's a quote from the declaration of the immediate causes which induce and justify the succession of south carolina from the federal union. it says, this sectional combination for the submergeon of the constitution has been aided in some of the states by 11:43:36elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy hostile to the south and destruction of its beliefs and safety. 11:43:52those persons from black people. that -- those persons were black people. that policy was ending the enslavement of millions of people based on their race. here's a quote from the vice president of the confederacy. 11:44:09i think he can speak authoritatively of what the symbol means. mr. vice president alexander stevens said, our new government is founded upon the exactly opposite of the 11:44:25american idea. its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man, that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. that is what the vice president 11:44:41of the confederate states said under banners like this one as they were fighting and offering the lives of their own children to maintain slavery. this is what the flag 11:44:57represents. and i hereby yield the remainder of my time to mr. cicilline. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman venged. -- is recognized. CICILLINE (D-RI):thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the gentleman for yielding. last night the south carolina 11:45:13house of representatives finally approved legislation to take down the symbol of hatred and bigotry in the darkest time in our nation's history. it's shameful that less than 24 hours a hours after the 11:45:24hours after the state of south carolina took this important step for progress and equality, the united states house of representatives would consider an amendment that would allow the confederate flag to be placed in national park service 11:45:38cemeteries. let's be clear. this amendment is a symbol of hate and anyone who supports its being in a place of honor is imposing an insult on anyone who has experienced racism in their lives or believes in america's 11:45:54founding principles that equality, justice, and freedom. 150 years ago, hundreds of thousands of brave soldiers died to save our union and to defeat all the ugly beliefs that the confederate battle flag represents. dr. martin luther king was fond 11:46:11of saying that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. our country has come far since the end of the civil war, but returning this flag to a place of honor would undermine that progress. it's time to relegate this symbol of hate to the duft bin 11:46:29-- dust bin of history. take it down. with that i yield back the balance of my time. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:to mr. swalwell. the gentleman is recognized. 11:46:45SWALWELL (D-CA):i thank the gentleman from minnesota for leading on this issue. it must be throwback thursday because just yesterday the south carolina statehouse finally voted to take down the confederate flag. however, today our house 11:47:03republican colleagues, they want a bill, they want an amendment that will put that flag back up. and have -- allow people to salute that same flag across our country and national parks. it is time to finally once and for all take down an ugly flag 11:47:20that is nothing more than a tribute to an ugly past. mr. speaker, let's throw down this flag. let's not throw back to an ugly part of our history. i yield back. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman from minnesota. 11:47:36ELLISON (D-MN):i yield the balance of my time. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:the gentleman yields back. pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess until noon today.