Amendment Text: H.Amdt.416 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)

There is one version of the amendment.

Shown Here:
Amendment as Offered (06/13/2011)

This Amendment appears on page H4059-4060 in the following article from the Congressional Record.



[Pages H4046-H4063]
    MILITARY CONSTRUCTION AND VETERANS AFFAIRS AND RELATED AGENCIES 
                        APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2012

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 288 and rule 
XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of the Whole House 
on the state of the Union for the further consideration of the bill, 
H.R. 2055.

                              {time}  1412


                     In the Committee of the Whole

  Accordingly, the House resolved itself into the Committee of the 
Whole House on the state of the Union for the further consideration of 
the bill (H.R. 2055) making appropriations for military construction, 
the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal 
year ending September 30, 2012, and for other purposes, with Mr. 
McClintock (Acting Chair) in the chair.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The Acting CHAIR. When the Committee of the Whole rose on Thursday, 
June 2, 2011, the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. 
Culberson) had been disposed of and the bill was open for amendment 
from page 2, line 8, through page 60, line 9.


                     Amendment Offered by Mr. Mica

  Mr. MICA. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       Page 6, line 18, insert after the dollar amount the 
     following: ``(increased by $25,000,000)''.
       Page 9, line 21, insert after the dollar amount the 
     following: ``(decreased by $25,000,000)''.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Florida is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. MICA. Mr. Chairman, I come to the floor this afternoon to present 
an amendment that would transfer $25 million from one of the accounts, 
that is the NATO Security Investment Program, to the Military 
Construction Army National Guard Account. I take this action for 
several reasons.
  First, in our State of Florida, we have at least two projects that 
are very important to the operation of the National Guard. Our men and 
women who belong to the National Guard, not only in Florida but across 
the Nation, deserve an upgrade in their facilities. We have several 
projects that have gone on for years and years. One of the projects I 
understand has had difficulty in the contract falling apart. 
Nonetheless, whether it is in Florida, again, in south Florida, central 
Florida, or in any State, we should adequately fund the account that 
protects and provides the accommodations necessary for the facilities 
for our National Guard. So here we want to plus-up by $25 million from 
the NATO Security Investment Program to our National Guard facilities. 
Across the country I hear the same thing--that National Guard 
facilities, many of which are two or three times older than those who 
are serving there, need replacement.
  So this is a general amount, $25 million, but I believe that it can 
help boost up the facilities account that is so important for Florida 
and for the Nation. I am willing to work with the committee in any 
fashion to plus-up this account. I am not trying to pick on NATO, 
although I believe that there is room in their budget to transfer these 
funds without doing any damage. I would ask my colleagues to consider 
this amendment.
  I thank the committee. I usually don't get into other folks' turf, 
particularly military construction. I deal mostly with transportation 
in the House, and I understand the difficulty sometimes when other 
Members come in and try to manage some of the important dollars that 
are made available. I know the difficult choices that the committee has 
in trying to assign appropriate dollars, particularly for defense 
facilities construction.
  Again, I won't just take up the House's time in unnecessary 
conversation, but it is a simple matter. We transfer $25 million from 
the NATO security investment account to fund military construction for 
our National Guard. We have the need across the Nation. It is evident 
in every State where we have National Guard activities. This isn't a 
great amount, but I think it can make a significant difference on a 
number of projects throughout the United States.
  I urge my colleagues to support the amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, this amendment would decrease 
the NATO Security Investment Program by $25 million and increase the 
Army National Guard account by $25 million. We support the Guard and 
our Reserves wholeheartedly, but I want to join Chairman Culberson in 
some concerns that I have about the amendment.
  The MilCon portion of this bill for the most part is flat-funded, and 
the resources provided in this title were distributed, we believe, in a 
very judicious manner. The bill funds the Guard account at the budget 
request level, which makes the needed investments in Guard facilities.
  In addition, I am concerned that the offset that the gentleman has 
chosen could cause shortfalls in the NATO Security Investment Program, 
which in turn could cause further delays in the NATO Security 
Construction Program. The Security Investment Program provides support 
for many of the important operations that we are involved in, including 
our current operations in Afghanistan. I believe that we have to get 
the NATO program back on track because it will ultimately save us money 
in the long run.

                              {time}  1420

  While I agree with the spirit of the amendment, I do have some 
concerns about the gentleman's amendment. I won't oppose it at this 
time, but I hope that we will be able to work through those concerns as 
we work through this process and as the bill goes to the Senate and it 
comes back and we can deal with these concerns in conference.

[[Page H4047]]

  With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. CULBERSON. I certainly agree with the gentleman from Florida, our 
distinguished chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure 
Committee, that we need to do everything we can to support our National 
Guard. I look forward to working with the gentleman in conference.
  We will accept the amendment, again, as an expression of our support 
for making sure that our National Guard and Reserve components have all 
the support they need. But we'll work with the chairman in conference 
to see if we can find the best source of funding for this addition 
plus-up on the National Guard. We, of course, want to make sure that 
they're not only taken care of in the State of Florida but around the 
Nation.
  I know the chairman shares my concern with border security. The 
National Guard plays a vital role in helping our Border Patrol agents 
and in helping all of our law enforcement and Homeland Security folks 
in securing the border. So we want to make sure those elements of the 
National Guard's role in securing our Nation's borders are fully funded 
as well.
  So we will accept the amendment at this time.
  Mr. MICA. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. CULBERSON. I yield to the gentleman from Florida.
  Mr. MICA. Thank you.
  Again, I want to thank Mr. Culberson for his leadership and for his 
willingness to work with us, both sides of the aisle. Again, if it is 
necessary to take funds from another account--and we chose NATO in this 
instance for this amendment--we would welcome any assistance in 
plussing-up our National Guard facilities and construction accounts.
  So, again, thank you so much for your leadership--I know you have 
difficult choices and I know the people that serve in our National 
Guard are grateful for your leadership--and also for accepting the 
amendment at this time.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, again, we accept the amendment and move 
its adoption.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Florida (Mr. Mica).
  The amendment was agreed to.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will read.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       Sec. 414.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used to enter into a contract, memorandum of 
     understanding, or cooperative agreement with, or to make a 
     grant to, any corporation that was convicted of a felony 
     criminal violation under any Federal or State law within the 
     preceding 24 months.
       Sec. 415.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used to enforce Executive Order 13502 (41 U.S.C. 251 
     note), FAR Rule 2009-005, or any agency memorandum, bulletin, 
     or contracting policy that derives its authority from 
     Executive Order 13502 or FAR Rule 2009-005.


                  Amendment Offered by Mr. LaTourette

  Mr. LaTOURETTE. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       Page 60, strike lines 16 through 21.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Ohio is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. LaTOURETTE. This is a simple, straightforward amendment.
  During the committee markup of the Military Construction bill, under 
the able leadership of the subcommittee chairman, an amendment was 
offered by Mr. Flake of Arizona to deny funding to the President's 
Executive order dealing with project labor agreements. The matter was 
accepted by voice vote. It was accepted by voice vote because, quite 
frankly, I couldn't rustle up enough votes in the committee to overturn 
it.
  However, this continues a pattern that we've seen in this Congress. I 
believe we've had on the floor four votes on whether or not Davis-Bacon 
should be the law of the land. In each one of the cases, the proponents 
of Davis-Bacon have been successful, the last one garnering 52 
Republican votes. This would be the third vote by those who would wish 
to do away with project labor agreements that will occur on the House 
floor. In the previous two, again, the proponents of project labor 
agreements have prevailed. In the last instance, 28 Republicans were, 
in fact, supportive of project labor agreements.
  Mr. Chairman, basically, project labor agreements are those 
agreements wherein someone who is doing a construction project 
determines that they want to have an all-encompassing universal 
agreement that covers the construction from start to finish. If union 
labor is involved, it denies unions the ability to strike. It denies 
the contractor the ability to lock out. Wages are set. Terms are set. 
Conditions are set. And, quite frankly, the project labor agreements 
have been resounding successes.
  As a matter of fact, project labor agreements, 90 percent of them are 
used by private industry. Some of the biggest users of project labor 
agreements are the Disney Corporation and, in fact, Walmart. So neither 
of those companies have ever been sort of identified as big labor-
loving organizations.
  Now, this is a backdoor piece of language in line 16 to 21 because it 
doesn't attack project labor agreements. What it does is, if you go 
back and look in February when President Obama enacted this Executive 
order, he said: I don't know which is going to be better and which is 
going to be cheaper, based upon the size of the project, where the 
project is located, what it is we want to get done.
  So funds are appropriated to the agencies. Say it's the Department of 
Veterans Affairs and they're going build a new hospital. You say, 
Department of Veterans Affairs, you study which is going to bring that 
project in at the best quality, the best price, on time, and giving the 
taxpayer the best bang for his or her buck.
  Well, this amendment strikes that funding. And so it doesn't say you 
can't use project labor agreements. What it does say is that the agency 
can't make that comparison. And if you're not making that comparison to 
find out which is better for the taxpayer, which is in fact going to 
cause the project to come in at the lowest cost and with the best 
quality and under time, then it has nothing to do with saving the 
taxpayer money.
  We hear a lot about these are tough times and we have to tighten our 
belts. I agree with that. I voted for that consistently. But that is 
just union bashing. This is just saying we don't want to know whether a 
project labor agreement can develop a project that is cheaper, of 
better quality, and under time.
  Quite frankly, although there are studies on both sides, there is an 
organization called ABC. They have a study that shows that it adds so 
much cost. You have a study by organized labor that says it reduces so 
much cost. I choose not to look at either of those because each of 
those folks and organizations, quite frankly, have some skin in the 
fight and have some incentive, if you will, to look at the data one way 
or another.
  I would go with our nonpartisan, bipartisan Congressional Research 
Service, which last October was asked to study this issue, and they 
indicated, quite frankly, that the jury is out and, if anything, the 
data indicates that they really can't say and they can't find any 
convincing data as to whether or not project labor agreements save 
money or don't save money, which really is the genius of the 
President's Executive order because it says you should study it.
  Quite frankly, the CRS goes on to indicate that in those areas of the 
country where there's a lot of organized labor, the project labor 
agreements tend to bring these projects in on time, under cost, with 
better quality. In those areas of the country which aren't heavily 
unionized, the opposite is, in fact, true.
  So with the jury being out and all of us wanting to achieve the 
greatest savings for the taxpayer and build good, quality projects in 
the military construction account which benefits our men and women in 
uniform, why would we deny the departments the opportunity to study 
which way is cheaper, better, more effective, and with a better 
quality? So there's only one reason. It's to continue this constant 
drumbeat of: We hate unions. And that's not a good reason to have this 
language in the bill.

[[Page H4048]]

  I urge support of the amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. CULBERSON. This is a straightforward vote to the House about 
whether or not we will, on behalf of American taxpayers, vote to impose 
union collective bargaining requirements on any private company doing 
business with the Federal Government. The Executive order that our bill 
does not fund and the amendment attempts to strike, language in our 
bill which does not fund this Executive order, the Executive order says 
that ``in awarding any contract in connection with a large-scale 
construction project, the administration may require the use of a 
project labor agreement.''

                              {time}  1430

  A project labor agreement, under the Executive order's own 
definition, means a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement with one 
or more labor organizations. So the Obama administration through this 
Executive order is attempting to unionize any private company in 
America that wants to do business with the Federal Government. That's 
just an outrage.
  Again, in looking at a Wall Street Journal editorial from April 14 of 
2010, it reiterates data that is widely available and that has been 
repeatedly verified: that only about 15 percent of the Nation's 
construction workers are unionized. So from now on, under this 
Executive order, the other 85 percent of America's construction workers 
will have to give up the opportunity to work on a Federal project, or 
not be unionized.
  This is just a blatant attempt by the Obama administration to impose 
union collective bargaining on any private company in America that 
wants to do business with the Federal Government. If indeed the idea 
were to reduce the costs, that's fine. We are in an era of austerity 
unlike anything this Nation has ever experienced. We confront record 
debt, record deficit, record public debt held by foreign nations. This 
is unlike anything we have ever seen before.
  As I showed when we debated this bill earlier, just before the break, 
every single dollar of Federal revenue that comes in the door is 
already spent on existing social welfare programs. In fact, 104 percent 
of Federal income is obligated to pay for the existing social safety 
net. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans' benefits, and 
interest on the national debt consume 104 percent of our Nation's 
income. Therefore, America is living on borrowed money, and it is our 
obligation as stewards of the Treasury to ensure that we do not waste 
any of these precious dollars and that we cut spending everywhere we 
possibly can so that we do everything within our power to limit the 
atrocious debt burden that we are passing on to our children and 
grandchildren. This is an unacceptable direction the Nation is taking 
because of uncontrolled spending by previous Congresses.
  Why would we voluntarily, knowingly, allow our kids and grandkids to 
pay, as The Wall Street Journal points out and as the Veterans 
Administration discovered, and why would we voluntarily pay 12 to 14 
percent more for construction contracts? In a study they did, the VA 
discovered, when they looked at the construction costs for hospitals in 
three of five markets, the cost of construction would jump by as much 
as 9 percent. The Beacon Hill Institute at Boston Suffolk University in 
2006 said, when you impose these project labor agreements, it will 
increase school construction costs by 12 to 14 percent. Why would we 
voluntarily do that?
  This amendment must be defeated. This amendment is an effort to 
prevent Congress from saving precious tax dollars. If this amendment 
passes, the Obama administration will be able to impose collective 
bargaining on any private company that wants to do business with the 
Federal Government. I strongly urge Members to oppose this amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, as much as I agree with many of 
the objectives expressed by the chairman in his discussion just a few 
moments ago, particularly that we want to make the most efficient use 
of taxpayer dollars, I think the very arguments that he makes support 
why we need to have project labor agreements.
  This has nothing to do with union or nonunion workforce standards. 
The project labor agreements do not mandate or predetermine that a 
workforce has to be union or nonunion. It allows for the project owner, 
such as the government or a private sector entity, to establish 
workforce standards that both union and nonunion workers have to meet 
in order to be hired by contractors and subcontractors under the 
project labor agreements.
  This is a model that increases the efficiency and the quality of 
construction projects. Of course the ultimate objective is that we will 
have a workforce that will ensure construction projects are built 
correctly the first time so that we won't have cost overruns, so that 
they are built on time, so that we won't have to extend the contracts, 
and so that we won't have safety problems because of having unskilled 
workers. Basically, in the awarding of these contracts, these project 
labor agreements will make sure that the government's money is spent 
well. We want to get the most bang for taxpayer bucks. We want to make 
sure we make the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars.
  There has been study after study after study that illustrates how the 
use of these project labor agreements does not extend costs to the 
taxpayers or to other projects--rather, that they often save money. In 
fact, in most cases, they do save money because, as a result of having 
a higher skilled workforce, they don't have to worry about equipment 
being broken; they don't have to worry about the waste of resources and 
materials; they don't have to worry about the contracts not being 
performed on time. It's to the contrary. If you're worried about 
protections, project labor agreements will prohibit strikes or work 
stoppages by any kind of construction workers on the project. They will 
establish a single procedure for handling workforce disputes.
  It is a tool for ensuring that large and complex projects, as many of 
our government projects are, are completed on time. It allows for the 
employment of local citizens. And right now, with the unemployment rate 
as it is and with so many of our skilled workers out of work, it allows 
for flexibility.
  The Executive order, which seems to be the source of the complaint, 
really does not require that they be used. It gives the government the 
option of making a decision that is in the best interest of the 
American taxpayers. Certainly, we want to do everything that we can 
possibly do to make sure that we come in on budget or under budget, 
with the highest quality, with the safest work environment, and that we 
are able to employ the people in our communities to get the job done. 
As much as we need to improve employment, to increase the number of 
people who are working, these project labor agreements just add another 
tool to allow, in the awarding of taxpayer funded contracts, the most 
efficient use of those dollars. So I join the gentleman in support of 
this amendment. I think it is well thought out and that it's a benefit 
to the taxpayers.
  With all due respect to my colleague on the other side who is opposed 
to this amendment, I think, when it is all said and done, the bottom 
line is these project labor agreements in this Executive order, while 
not requiring the use of project labor agreements, will be an added 
tool in our arsenal to get the most bang for taxpayer bucks to enhance 
what we do for our country, for our citizens whom we put to work, and 
to make sure that the conditions and terms of their employment and the 
work that they do is done with appropriate standards.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. HARRIS. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Maryland is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. HARRIS. I thank my colleague from Ohio for introducing this 
amendment and, once again, for this dialogue on an important issue.

[[Page H4049]]

  I will remind my colleague that, although he brings up the fact that 
this has been decided in the Chamber twice already in other similar 
circumstances, it's not really the same because, last Friday, of 
course, we found out that our unemployment rate is rising in the 
country. It's now 9.1 percent again. We only created 54,000 jobs, not 
the 200,000 jobs we'd hoped we would create and certainly much fewer 
than the 150,000 jobs we need to create in order to get back to full 
employment. That's how many we need to create every month.
  What this amendment means, very simply, is that we are going to have 
to spend 10 to 20 percent more on every single project that ends up in 
a project labor agreement--and more projects will. If more projects 
wouldn't, then the advocates wouldn't care about whether we put this 
provision in. It clearly will result in project labor agreements, so 
let's review what a project labor agreement does.
  First and foremost, it increases the cost 10 to 20 percent on every 
project. Now, Mr. Chairman, if you or I or people in my congressional 
district were going to contract to build something around their homes, 
they wouldn't put a provision in normally that says that we're only 
going to hire union contractors.

                              {time}  1440

  They will go out. They will get the bids. They will go out. They will 
seek to find out what the reputations of the bidders are, and then they 
will make the decision based purely on price and quality and value 
whether or not to make that deal, not whether someone is a member of a 
union or hires union laborers; but that's what a project labor 
agreement does.
  So let's talk about jobs a little bit. What is our important role 
here in Congress? Our role in Congress is to try to get our 
unemployment rate up. Well, if we save 10 to 20 percent on every job, 
we certainly can do more construction jobs. I just met over lunch with 
one of the people in my district who is an electrical contractor and 
he's not unionized, and he asked me to come down here and he said, 
please, go to the floor today and ask so that those 80 percent, or 7 
percent, of us who are contractors who are not unionized can get a 
piece of that pie so that we don't have to fire our employees.
  Mr. Chairman, it's simple. If we can save 10 to 20 percent on every 
project, we can hire 10 to 20 percent more people to do more projects. 
And again, the sad fact is our unemployment rate is 9.1 percent. It's 
going up, not down. The number of new jobs created last month, 54,000, 
going down, not up. We've got to reverse that, and we've got to do it 
by being efficient and being smart with our dollars, and one way is to 
not require project labor agreements.
  Finally, let me address the issue of local citizens. I want these 
contracts to go into the First Congressional District of Maryland; but, 
Mr. Chairman, I don't have a lot of union contractors in my district. 
There are a lot of districts that don't have a lot of union 
contractors. So if we want local contractors to be employed, if we want 
local citizens to get jobs, our local unemployment rates to go down, 
Mr. Chairman, I would suggest we defeat this amendment, which will 
frequently require that in order to qualify for a contract you have to 
hire out of district. You may have to go to another State. That's not 
good for anyone, certainly not good for the folks in the First 
Congressional District of Maryland.
  Mr. Chairman, again, I want to thank my colleague from Ohio for 
bringing this issue up, but we do need to revisit this issue because we 
don't live in the same world we lived in one week ago. We live in a 
world where the talk of the double-dip recession is sincere and it's 
serious and our unemployment rate going up, not down; the number of 
jobs going down, not up. The last thing we should do is to take those 
hard-earned taxpayer dollars and to use them, and I will say to waste 
them, in some circumstances, on project labor agreements.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. DICKS. I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Washington is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. DICKS. The gentleman's amendment would strike the provision in 
the bill prohibiting the use of project labor agreements on any project 
funded in this bill. PLAs are a benefit to both employers and unions. 
They provide uniform wages, benefits, overtime. A PLA sets the terms 
and conditions of employment for all workers on site, including work 
conditions and rules. In addition, a PLA prohibits strikes and work 
stoppages. A PLA provides a single collective bargaining unit which 
allows for easier management of a project.
  Executive order 13502 only encourages executive agencies to consider 
the use of project labor agreements. There is no requirement to use a 
PLA. It should be up to the agency and project manager if the use of a 
PLA is appropriate for their particular project. And I was pleased that 
the chairman, Mr. Culberson, read the language and it says ``may,'' not 
``shall.''
  Two weeks ago during the consideration of the FY 2012 Homeland 
Security appropriations bill, an amendment was offered to prohibit the 
Department from allowing project labor agreements, and it was defeated. 
We should support the option on the use of PLAs.
  I urge the adoption of the LaTourette amendment.
  Mr. LaTOURETTE. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. DICKS. I yield to the gentleman from Ohio.
  Mr. LaTOURETTE. I thank the distinguished ranking member very much; 
and, you know, Mr. Harris from Maryland is a wonderful new Member, and 
I enjoyed his remarks very much and his passion, and it would be a 
compelling argument if his facts were correct.
  The difficulty is no one on this floor would support project labor 
agreements if the evidence was that project labor agreements increased 
the cost of a construction project by 10 to 20 percent. The study cited 
by Mr. Culberson, the chairman of the Subcommittee, by the U.S. 
Department of Veterans Affairs, concluded that the effect of PLAs on 
construction costs was strongly influenced by the degree of 
unionization in an area. In highly unionized cities, the costs of a PLA 
are less and the project comes in under cost, under time, better 
quality. And those that don't have, as apparently the First District of 
Maryland doesn't have as many unions, the evidence does, in fact, come 
in; in some of those cases costs can increase by 5 to 9 percent, not 10 
to 20.
  But the problem with this language is, it doesn't condemn project 
labor agreements. This is an appropriations bill. What this amendment 
does is deprive the agency of the funds to study in your area--my area 
happens to be heavily unionized, so Cleveland, Ohio--prevents the VA 
from studying whether or not use of the PLA would save the government 
money or cost the government money.
  And I've got to tell you, if the conclusion is that it's going to 
cost the government money, it's like ``I Love Lucy'' and Ricky Ricardo. 
I mean, I'm sure that somebody is going to ask the head of that agency, 
you know, you've got a lot of explaining to do why you went with a 
program that's going to cost the government more money.
  That isn't what this is about. This is union bashing. This isn't 
costing or saving money. It's just we don't like unions, and I thank 
the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. DICKS. I thank the gentleman for offering the amendment, and I 
completely agree with him. I don't think there's any evidence that 
except for some of the people like the Wall Street Journal who say 
this, I don't see any evidence of it; and as the gentleman says, if 
there was evidence, Congress would not approve of project labor 
agreements.
  So I, again, rise in strong support of the LaTourette amendment and 
urge that it be adopted.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. GRAVES of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. GRAVES of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I'm here today in opposition to 
this amendment, and I've heard a lot of the compelling arguments here 
today as to why this amendment should be adopted.
  Well, first, let me remind the Members that the Appropriations 
Committee passed the language that's in this bill right now that 
restricts funding from going to projects that require

[[Page H4050]]

project labor agreements. That's all this does, and I think we should 
all be for it. We should all be for free markets. We should all be for 
capitalism, for the best contractor competing against the best 
contractor and putting up the best price for the project.
  Now, they said that there were reports cited in The Wall Street 
Journal, and I just happen to have what The Wall Street Journal cited, 
and they did cite the independent study that was commissioned by the 
Department of Veterans Affairs that says in the study, the Obama 
project labor agreement would likely raise the VA construction costs 
for hospitals by as much as 9 percent in three of the five markets. So 
it's clear that there is a study by an independent organization there 
that says costs will go up.
  Now, can we not accept that as evidence enough that we do not need 
project labor agreements as a mandate to receive the funding for 
projects throughout this Nation? I mean, we live in a day and a time in 
which the debt and deficit are out of control, and it seems to be what 
we spend our arguments about and our debates about is spending, and 
that's an important topic. But the number one issue facing this Nation 
right now is the economy and the job losses.
  Mr. Harris, he was so eloquent as he was talking about unemployment, 
9.1 percent now. We all know that. We're here on the celebration of the 
1 year since the beginning of the summer of recovery, and yet we don't 
see any recovery.
  These project labor agreement requirements by the executive order 
were placed in effect in 2009; and as Mr. Bishop referenced, you know, 
this was good for jobs, good for creating local jobs. Well, where are 
the jobs? They do not exist. In essence, we've had 2 years of a failed 
experiment, Mr. Chairman; and I think it's time to say, you know what, 
look, the experiment didn't work, let's put it up on the shelf, and 
let's try something new. Let's go back to what we know works and that's 
empowering the private sector, empowering the free markets, allow 
competition to thrive, allow costs to come down and the quality of 
goods to go up.
  I have to tell you, Mr. Chairman, when I go home, it pains me to see 
the new ``For Sale'' signs that are up, the new ``For Rent'' signs that 
go up each and every time, and I'm sure we see it in each and every one 
of our districts as we go home. And oftentimes previously, 4 or 5 years 
ago, you might see a vacancy in a shop because they had moved out, 
because they had expanded their operations and they were moving up. But 
now it's just the opposite. We know that businesses are not moving out 
and expanding as much as they once did. Instead, they're shutting down 
and closing the doors and that ``For Rent'' or ``For Sale'' sign goes 
up.
  It's time to reverse that back, and we know how to do that. It is so 
simple; it is so clear. Why it binds this Congress up, I have no idea, 
when our Nation was founded on such great principles as we have been 
founded on and yet over the years we feel like we can manipulate the 
marketplaces, just like the project labor agreement requirements are 
going to do as well.
  Mr. Chairman, I say we defeat this amendment, and we think about that 
1-year anniversary here of that summer of recovery declaration from 
last year. And I know there was a lot of hope that that summer of 
recovery would occur; but the one thing that is true, Mr. Chairman, is 
you cannot change the facts, and the facts are clear. Americans are 
ready to be empowered with new jobs and employment. The only way we can 
do that, though, is to empower the private sector, and let's get 
government out of the way to do it.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

                              {time}  1450

  Ms. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman from California is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Ms. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the 
LaTourette amendment. But before I get into the details, I would like 
to speak to the comments that were just made.
  I happen to have the privilege of serving currently on the 
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and I would say to any 
Member of Congress who would like to know about the thousands of jobs 
that were, in fact, created and maintained through the American 
Recovery Act, I would be more than happy to give them a copy of that 
document. Let me move into, though, the topic that is at hand, which is 
really the LaTourette amendment, which is not in reference to the 
American Recovery Act.
  I strongly speak in support of this amendment because, one, it 
protects American jobs; two, it completes projects safely; and, three, 
it oftentimes saves the taxpayers money. The LaTourette amendment 
ensures that funds for large-scale construction projects utilize the 
most cost-effective and efficient process for the awarding of Federal 
contracts. Section 415 of H.R. 2055 prohibits agencies from being able 
to use all available methods to ensure that Federal contracts are cost 
efficient, including the utilization of project labor agreements.
  Our ranking member, Mr. Dicks, just recently spoke a few moments ago 
about section 415, and I will only reiterate two points: One, section 
1, subsection (b) says, ``Accordingly, it is the policy of the Federal 
Government to encourage executive agencies to consider requiring the 
use of project labor agreements.'' Section 3, subsection (a) says, ``In 
awarding any contract, executive agencies may, on a project-by-project 
basis.'' And then finally, section 5 says, ``This order does not 
require an executive agency to use a project labor agreement.''
  So, if we're going to speak on the floor of this House, it's 
important, if we're going to talk about facts, let's actually say those 
facts. So this dispels the myth that Executive Order 13502 makes 
requirements in the awarding of Federal contracts.
  Now let's talk a little bit about those project labor agreements.
  There is no substantial evidence that says that PLAs decrease the 
number of bidders on a project or increase the costs of construction 
projects. In fact, project labor agreements promote cost-effectiveness 
and efficiency in those construction projects. Having project labor 
agreements prevents labor disputes; it eliminates project delays and, 
thereby, helps us to get the projects done.
  We can all talk about facts and figures and dates and sections, but I 
would like to talk about what's happening in my district. I know from 
firsthand experience that project labor agreements work. In California, 
we have seen project labor agreements negotiated and implemented with 
incredible success.
  There have been many who have talked about project labor agreements. 
Here are just a few of the many examples of successful project labor 
agreements in California:
  One, the construction of the L.A. Metro's Blue Line; number two, the 
expansion and renovation of the Los Angeles World Airports; the recent 
Middle Harbor Project at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which 
are the largest ports in this country; and then, finally, the $2.2 
billion Alameda Corridor Project. That was a project that was completed 
on time and under budget.
  So, with that, Mr. Chairman, I would ask respectfully that Mr. 
LaTourette's amendment would be found in order and that all of our 
colleagues will join in support of it.
  Finally, I would just like to say, for those who say that PLAs drive 
up the cost of construction, if they would say that, then we would 
simply ask: Why is it that Walmart is increasingly using PLAs and 
Toyota Motor Corporation has built every one of its North American 
manufacturing facilities under a project labor agreement?
  So, when we talk about this, Mr. LaTourette has been a leader on this 
issue. I strongly support his amendment. I stand in lockstep.
  Mr. LaTOURETTE. Will the gentlewoman yield?
  Ms. RICHARDSON. I yield to the gentleman from Ohio.
  Mr. LaTOURETTE. First of all, I want to thank the gentlewoman very 
much. I want the body to know that Ms. Richardson was going to offer 
this amendment and, over the weekend, permitted me to offer it as a 
member of the committee. I appreciate that very much. She is certainly 
a champion of PLAs.
  I want to address the gentleman from Georgia's observations because 
he is

[[Page H4051]]

exactly right, and it doesn't change anything that I said.
  The VA said that you should study both PLAs and non-PLAs based upon 
the area of the country. Now, he is correct. The VA study said that in 
three of the five that they studied, PLAs would have increased labor 
costs. It doesn't say anything about the benefit from having increased 
quality, on time, and all that other business.
  But what happened to the other two? In 40 percent of them, the answer 
is either there was no difference or they reduced costs, which is 
exactly the point. The amendment strikes out the language inserted in 
the bill by the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Flake) that would prevent 
an agency from studying which way gets you the bigger bang for the 
buck. Why would we want to do that?
  I thank the gentlelady.
  Ms. RICHARDSON. All of us in Congress are looking for ways to rein in 
the deficit.
  The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Ms. RICHARDSON. I strongly support the LaTourette amendment.

 Project Labor Agreement Activity in California 1984 Through March 2010

       This is a working list maintained by Kevin Dayton, 
     Government Affairs Director of Associated Builders and 
     Contractors of California. Identification comes from primary 
     documents as well as secondary sources that include web 
     sites, union publications, and newspaper articles. PLAs on 
     private projects are often not publicized, so this list may 
     not include all PLAs imposed on refineries, power plants, 
     industrial facilities, and housing projects.

                          Large Infrastructure


                              Implemented

       Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority--Blue 
     Line--1984.
       San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor--1993.
       Metropolitan Water District of Southern California--
     Eastside (Domenigoni) Reservoir Project--1994.
       Contra Costa Water District--Los Vaqueros Reservoir 
     Project--Three Components--1994-1995.
       Contra Costa Water District--Ralph D. Bollman Water 
     Treatment Plant Upgrade--1995.
       Metropolitan Water District of Southern California--Inland 
     Feeder Project--1996.
       San Francisco International Airport Expansion and 
     Renovation--1996.
       U.S. Department of Energy--Lawrence Livermore National 
     Laboratories--National Ignition Facility--1997.
       Sacramento Regional Transit District--South Corridor 
     Extension--1998.
       Alameda County Transportation Authority--Alameda Corridor 
     Project--1998.
       Los Angeles to Pasadena Metro Construction Authority--Gold 
     Line--1998.
       Los Angeles Department of Public Works--Hyperion Full 
     Secondary Treatment Plant--1998.
       Port of Oakland Maritime and Aviation Expansion and 
     Renovation--1999.
       Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District--
     Seismic Retrofit Phase I--1999.
       San Diego County Water Authority--Emergency Storage 
     Project--1999.
       Los Angeles World Airports Expansion and Renovation--2000.
       Contra Costa Water District--Multi-Purpose Pipeline 
     Project--2000.
       Los Angeles Department of Public Works--East Central 
     Interceptor Sewer and Northeast Interceptor Sewer--2000.
       Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach--Pier 400 Phase II--2002.
       San Jose International Airport Expansion and Renovation--
     2002.
       Metropolitan Water District of Southern California--Capital 
     Program--2003.
       Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District--Affholder, 
     Inc. (a general contractor) signed for Lower Northwest 
     Interceptor Northern and Southern Sacramento River Tunnel 
     Crossings--2004.
       San Diego County Water Authority--Policy to Consider PLAs 
     for Projects Over $100 Million--2005.
       Contra Costa Water District--Brentwood Water Treatment 
     Plant--2005.
       Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach--Berths 90-91 Cruise 
     Terminal Baggage Handling Building--2006.
       Napa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District--
     Three contractors signed for Napa River Flood Protection 
     Project--2006.
       City of San Francisco--Measure A--Water System Improvement 
     Program (Hetch Hetchy)--2007.
       Contra Costa Water District--Alternative Intake Project--
     2007.
       Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach--Berth 408 Liquid Bulk 
     Petroleum Terminal--2008.
       Port of Long Beach--Middle Harbor Project--2010.


                         Negotiations Approved

       East Bay Municipal Utility District--Supplemental Water 
     Supply Project--1999.
       Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach--All Future Projects on Port 
     Property--2008.


                                Proposed

       Temperance Flat Dam--Madera/Fresno Counties--2002.
       Contra Costa Water District--Los Vaqueros Reservoir 
     Expansion--2003.
       Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach--Berth 93C-94 Boardwalk--
     2003.
       San Francisco International Airport--West Field Cargo 
     Redevelopment Project--2003.
       City of Santa Paula--Wastewater Treatment Plant--2008.
       City of Long Beach--Airport Expansion--2009.
       Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority--
     Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension--2009.


                Proposed but Rejected or Not Implemented

       Los Osos Community Services District--Wastewater Project--
     2003.
       San Diego County Water Authority--Twin Oaks Valley Water 
     Treatment Plant--2005.
       Palmdale Water District--All Work--2007.
       Central Marin Sanitation Agency--Wet Weather Improvement 
     Project--2007.
       San Diego County Regional Airport Authority--Terminal 2 
     Expansion--2009.


            Prohibited by Presidential Executive Order 13202

       Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District--
     Seismic Retrofit Phase II--2001.
       East Bay Municipal Utility District--Walnut Creek-San Ramon 
     Valley Improvement Project--2001.
       Sacramento Regional Transit District--Folsom Line 
     Extension--2001.
       Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Agency--Interstate 
     405 Improvements--2006.
       Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach--Highway Improvements to 
     Harry Bridges Boulevard--2010.

                               Municipal


                              Implemented

       City of Los Angeles--Convention Center--1990.
       Contra Costa County--Merrithew Memorial Regional Medical 
     Center--1994.
       City of West Sacramento--Palamidessi Bridge--1995.
       City of Concord--Police Station--1995.
       City of Sacramento--Sump 2 Improvement Project--1998.
       City of Concord--Concord Avenue Parking Garage--1999.
       Contra Costa County--Family Law Center--2001.
       Contra Costa County--All Work Over $1 Million (revised--
     original policy never implemented)--2002/2003.
       Solano County--Government Center and Parking Garage--2002.
       City of San Jose--City Hall/Civic Center--2002.
       Contra Costa County--Two Small Renovation Projects in 
     Richmond and Antioch--2002.
       Contra Costa County--New Discovery House Facility--2003.
       City of San Mateo--New Main Library--2004.
       Santa Clara County--Valley Specialty Center Bid Package 2--
     2004.
       City of Carson--All General Contracts over $125,000, All 
     Specialty Contracts over $25,000--2005.
       City of Santa Cruz--West Coast Santa Cruz Hotel and 
     Conference Center Redevelopment--2005.
       Santa Clara County--Gilroy Valley, Fair Oaks, and Milpitas 
     Health Centers; New Crime Lab--2005.
       Santa Clara County--Required Staff Analysis of PLA Benefits 
     for Projects Over $10 Million--2005.
       Los Angeles Department of Public Works--New Police 
     Headquarters, Metro Detention Center, Harbor Area Police 
     Station and Jail Facility, Fire Station 64, Hollenback Police 
     Station, Main Street Parking/Motor Transport Division and 
     Aiso Street Parking, Automated Traffic Surveillance and 
     Control (ATSAC) Systems--2005-2009.
       Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach--2005-06, 2006-07 Site 
     Improvements--2005.
       City of San Fernando--All General Contracts over $150,000, 
     All Specialty Contracts Over $25,000--2005.
       City of San Mateo--New Police Station--2005.
       El Camino Hospital District--Measure D--Hospital Bldg. 
     Replacement and Central Utility Plant--2005.
       City of Milpitas--New Library, Parking Garage, and Other 
     Midtown Projects--2006.
       Solano County--All Work Over $10 Million (Threshold 
     Increased from $1 Million Estab. in 2004)--2007.
       City of Richmond--Civic Center--2007.
       San Joaquin County--New Administration Building--2007.
       City of Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency--All 
     Work--2008.
       City of Milpitas--Senior Center--2008.
       City of Brentwood--Civic Center--2009.
       Solano County--321 Tuolumne Street/Solano Justice Center 
     and 355 Tuolumne Street Renovation--2009.
       City of Vallejo--Downtown Parking Garage--2009.
       Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District--Future 
     Capital Improvement Projects--2010.
       City of Brentwood--Parking Garage--2010.
       Sacramento Municipal Utility District--Corporation Yard--
     2010


                         Negotiations Approved

       City of Long Beach--All Work--2005, 2007.
       Alameda County Medical Center--Highland Hospital Acute Care 
     Tower Replacement--2008.
       Alameda County--All Work--2008.
       Santa Barbara County--All Work--2010.

[[Page H4052]]

                                Proposed

       City of San Diego--New Central Library--1999.
       City of San Jose--Convention Center Expansion--2002.
       City of Union City--Intermodal Station Mixed Use 
     Development Project--2002.
       City of Alhambra--West Main Street Corridor Redevelopment--
     2005.
       City of South El Monte--All Work--2007.
       City of Los Angeles--All Work--2004, 2008.
       City of San Leandro--All Work--2009.
       Various Projects in Ventura County (Santa Paula, Fillmore, 
     Oxnard, Piru)--2009.
       City of Long Beach--Airport Expansion--2009.


                Proposed but Rejected or Not Implemented

       City of Sacramento--Sewer Maintenance Building--1996.
       City of Pinole--City Hall--1996.
       City of Redding--Civic Center--1998.
       City of Sacramento--All Work--1998.
       City of San Francisco--All Work--1998.
       City of West Hollywood--All Work--1999.
       City of San Diego Convention Center Expansion--1999.
       City of Fresno--All Work--2000.
       Sacramento County--Sacramento International Airport Parking 
     Garage--2000.
       City of Sacramento--Sacramento River Water Treatment Plant 
     Replacement Intake--2000.
       City of Santa Rosa--The Geysers Recharge Project--2000.
       City of Santa Rosa--Downtown Hotel and Convention Center--
     2000.
       City of West Sacramento--City Hall/Civic Center--2001.
       City of San Diego--SeaWorld Hotel and Expansion--2002.
       City of Cupertino--New Library--2003.
       City of Watsonville--Civic Center--2004.
       City of Gardena--Gardena Transit Facility Project--2006.
       City of Fairfield--All Work--2007.
       Washington Township Health Care District--Measure FF--
     Central Plant and Hospital Expansion--2007, 2008.
       Imperial County--Green Retrofit Program--2009.


                               Terminated

       San Francisco Housing Authority--All Work--1994-2003.
       Orange County--All General Contracts over $225,000, All 
     Specialty Contracts over $15,000--2000-2005.
       Solano County--All Work Over $1 Million (Threshold 
     Increased to $10 Million on 5/22/07)--2004-2007.


            Prohibited by Presidential Executive Order 13202

       City of Richmond--Former Ford Motor Assembly Building.
       City of Richmond--Bay Area Rapid Transit Village.
       City of Richmond--Former Port Terminal One.
       City of Vallejo--Downtown Parking Garage (not built during 
     Bush Administration)--2000.
       Orange County--Resurfacing of Santiago Canyon Road.
       Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center Replacement Project--
     2003.
       San Mateo County Youth Services Center--2004.
       City of Pasadena City Hall Restoration--2004.
       Orange County--Glassell Street Bridge Replacement Project--
     2004.
       City of Hayward--Water Pollution Control Facility 
     Improvement Project--Phase 1--2005.
       Union City--Union City Intermodal Transit Village--2006.
       Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District--MetroBase 
     Project--2006.


                               Prohibited

       City of Fresno--All Work (ordinance)--2000.
       City of Antioch--All Work (sense of the council 
     resolution)--2002.
       Orange County--All Work (ordinance)--2009.
       San Diego County--All Work (ordinance)--2010.


            Proposed but Rejected or Abandoned Prohibitions

       Riverside County--All Work (ordinance)--2010.

                         proposed prohibitions

       City of Chula Vista--All Work (June--2010 ballot initiative 
     for proposed ordinance)--2009.
       City of San Diego--All Work (qualification for Nov. 2010 
     ballot initiative for charter amendment)--2009.
       City of Oceanside--All Work (June 2010 ballot initiative 
     for new charter)--2009.
       City of Roseville--All Work (proposed June 2010 ballot 
     initiative for proposed charter amendment)--2009.

                              Educational


                              Implemented

       Los Angeles Unified School District--Proposition BB, 
     Measure K, Measure R, Measure Q--1999-2009.
       West Contra Costa Unified School District--Measure E, 
     Measure M, Measure D--2000-2005.
       Vallejo City Unified School District--Measure A--2001.
       Los Angeles Community College District--Proposition A--
     2001.
       Rialto Unified School District--District High School #3--
     2001.
       San Mateo Community College District--Proposition C--2002.
       San Mateo Union High School District--San Mateo High School 
     Modernization Phases I and II--2002.
       Rancho Santiago Community College District (Orange 
     County)--Measure E--2003.
       East Side Union High School District (San Jose)--Measure G, 
     Measure E--2003,--2008.
       Solano County Community College District--Measure G--
     Certain Larger Projects--2004.
       Oakland Unified School District--Measure A after February 
     2004 (adopted by administrator)--2004.
       Peralta Community College District--Vista Campus (Measure 
     E)--2004.
       Hartnell Community College (Salinas)--Measure H--Five Small 
     Contracts--2004.
       Pittsburg Unified School District--All Work Over $1 
     Million/Measure E--2005.
       City College of San Francisco--Proposition A after February 
     2005--2005.
       Albany Unified School District--Measure A--2005.
       Rio Hondo Community College District (Whittier)--Measure 
     A--2005.
       Compton Unified School District--Remainder of Measure I--
     2005.
       Sacramento City Unified School District--Remainder of 
     Measures E and I--2005.
       San Jose/Evergreen Community College District--2006.
       Mt. Diablo Unified School District--Pilot Project--
     Prototypical Classrooms 2006 Groups 1 and 2--2006.
       Chabot-Las Positas Community College District--Seven 
     Projects Funded by Measure B--2006.
       San Leandro Unified School District--Measure B--2007.
       Mt. Diablo Unified School District--Certain Projects Over 
     $2 Million for One Year--2007.
       Foothill-DeAnza Community College District--Measure C--
     2008.
       College of Marin--Two Large Projects Funded by Measure C--
     2008.
       San Francisco Unified School District--Proposition A 
     (2006)--2008.
       Mt. Diablo Unified School District--Classroom Projects and 
     HVAC Work--2008.
       John Swett Unified School District--Measure A--2009.
       San Mateo Union High School District--Half of Measure M--
     2009.
       San Diego Unified School District--Proposition S (Original 
     and Revised Versions)--2009.
       Alum Rock Union Elementary School District (San Jose)--
     Measure G--2009.
       Fremont Union High School District--All Outdoor Atheletic 
     Facilities--2009.
       Hayward Unified School District--Measure I--2009.
       Peralta Community College District--Berkeley City College 
     Build-Out, Phase 2--2009.
       Sacramento City Unified School District--All Projects More 
     Than $1 Million--Four-Year Renewal--2009.
       Riverside Community College District--Remainder of Measure 
     C--2010.


                         Negotiations Approved

       Alisal Union School District (Salinas)--New High School--
     Not Built.
       Contra Costa Community College District--Measure A (2006)--
     2006.
       Centinela Valley Union High School District (Hawthorne, 
     Lawndale, and Lennox)--Measure CV--2009.
       San Gabriel Unified School District--Future Construction--
     2010.


                                Proposed

       West Valley-Mission Community College District--Measure H--
     2005, 2008.
       San Juan Unified School District--Measure C--2005.
       New Haven Unified School District--Measure A--2005.
       Konocti Unified School District--Measure G--2005.
       Allan Hancock Joint Community College District--Future 
     Construction--2005.
       Natomas Unified School District--Measure D--2006.
       Napa Valley Unified School District--Measure G--2007.
       Jefferson Union High School District--Measure N--2007.
       Sweetwater Union High School District--Proposition O--2007.
       San Diego Community College District--Proposition N--2007.
       Alisal Union School District--Measure A (2006)--2008.
       Southwestern Community College District (Chula Vista)--
     Measure R--2010.
       San Bernardino City Unified School District--Future 
     Construction--2010.
       Pasadena Unified School District--Future Construction 2010.


                Proposed but Rejected or Not Implemented

       San Diego Unified School District--Proposition MM--1999.
       Sacramento City Unified School District--Six Summer 2000 
     School Projects--2000.
       Grant Joint Union High School District (Sacramento)--2001.
       Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District--2001.
       Sonoma County Junior College--Measure A--2002.
       John Swett Unified School District (Crockett)--New 
     Elementary School--2002.
       University of California at Merced--New Campus--2002.
       Ohlone Community College District--Measure A--2002.
       Oakland Unified School District--Measure A through February 
     2004--2002.

[[Page H4053]]

       Contra Costa County Community College--Measure A (2002)--
     2002.
       Ventura County Community College District--Measure S--2003.
       Foothill-DeAnza Community College District--Measure E--2003 
     (?).
       San Jose Unified School District--Measure F--2003.
       Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District--Measure C after 
     February 2004--2004.
       Berryessa Union School District--2004.
       Rialto Unified School District--Measure H--2004.
       San Joaquin-Delta Community College District--Measure L--
     All Work--2004, 2010.
       Hartnell Community College (Salinas)--Measure H--CALL 
     Building--2004.
       City College of San Francisco--Proposition A through 
     February 2005--2002.
       Washington Unified School District--Measure Q--2004.
       Cabrillo Community College District (Aptos)--Measure D--
     2004.
       Chino Valley Unified School District--Measure M--2004.
       Napa Valley College--Measure N--2004.
       Mt. Diablo Unified School District--Summer 2005 School 
     Projects Funded by Measure C--2005.
       Sonoma County Junior College--Measure A after May 2005--
     2005.
       San Francisco Unified School District--Proposition A Work 
     at least through January 2007--2004.
       San Joaquin-Delta Community College District--Measure L--
     One Pilot Project in 2007--2005.
       Montebello Unified School District--Measure M--2006.
       Del Norte Unified School District--New and Modernization 
     Projects--2009.
       Mendocino-Lake Community College District--Measure W--2009.


                               Terminated

       Santa Ana Unified School District--Measure C--2000-2005.


            Prohibited by Presidential Executive Order 13202

       East Side Union High School District--Network Upgrades at 
     Three High Schools--2005.
       Los Angeles Unified School District--Networking Projects at 
     Various Schools--2001-2005.

                         Municipal Power Plants


                              Implemented

       Sacramento Municipal Utility District--Carson Ice-Gen 
     Plant--1993.
       Sacramento Municipal Utility District--Proctor & Gamble 
     Company Generation Plant--1995.
       Sacramento Municipal Utility District--Campbell Soup 
     Cogeneration Plant--1996.
       Los Angeles Department of Water and Power--Valley 
     Generating Station--2001.
       City of Santa Clara--Pico Power Project--2003.
       Sacramento Municipal Utility District--New Cosumnes Power 
     Plant--2003.
       City of Burbank Magnolia Power Project--2003.
       City of Pasadena Glenarm Power Plant--2003.
       City of Vernon/Malburg Generating Station--2003.
       Kings River Conservation District (Fresno) Peaker Plant--
     2004.
       City of Roseville--Roseville Energy Park--2004.
       Imperial Irrigation District--Niland Gas Turbine Plant--
     2007.
       City of Vernon Power Plant--Cancelled.
       City of Palmdale Hybrid Power Plant--2009.
       Sacramento Municipal Utility District--Solano Phase 3 Wind 
     Project--2010.


                                Proposed

       Kings River Conservation District (Fresno)--Community Power 
     Plant--2007.
       Northern California Power Authority--Lodi Power Plant--
     2008.


                Proposed but Rejected or Not Implemented

       Modesto Irrigation District Electric Generation Station--
     Ripon--2004.
       Turlock Irrigation District--Walnut Energy Center--2004.
       City of Riverside Acorn Peaker--2004.
       City of Victorville Solar Hybrid Power Plant--2007.
       City of Riverside Energy Resource Center--Units 3 & 4--
     2008.

                            Private Projects


                              Implemented

       Alameda 1 and 2 Residential and Commercial Developments, 
     Alameda
       Alameda Point Community Partners Housing and Office 
     Development, Alameda
       Alexandria Parking Structure, S.F. Redevelopment Agency 
     (Alexandria Real Estate Equities)
       ARCO Refinery Project, Carson (Cherne Contracting Corp.)
       Ballpark District, East Square Village, San Diego
       Buck Center for Research in Aging, Novato
       Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians Casino (City of 
     Ione, Amador County)--Proposed.
       Carson Terminal Expansion Project (Kinder Morgan Energy 
     Partners)--2004.
       Chevron El Segundo Refinery Project (Cherne Contracting 
     Corp.)
       Chevron Richmond Refinery Upgrade
       CIM Downtown Redevelopment, San Jose--2002.
       Coast Santa Cruz Hotel Renovation--Not Built.
       Community Health Systems Downtown Campus, Fresno
       ConocoPhillips 66 Refinery Project, Rodeo
       ConocoPhillips 66 Conversion to Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel, 
     Rodeo--2004.
       Cypress Walk Development, Pacifica (The Olson Company)--
     Proposed.
       Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant Dry Cask Storage (PG)--
     2006.
       Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant Steam Generator 
     Replacement Project (SGT)--2008.
       Diablo Grande Golf Development, Patterson
       Dixon Downs Racetrack and Development (Magna Entertainment 
     Corp.)--Rejected.
       Downtown Vallejo Redevelopment Project
       East Housing/Fleet Industrial Supply Center, Alameda 
     (Catellus Development Company)--2007.
       Equilon Refinery Project, Wilmington (Cherne Contracting 
     Corp.)
       Estrada de Santa Barbara
       Ethanol Plant, Goshen (Phoenix Bio Industries)--2005.
       Ethanol Plant, Madera (Pacific Ethanol)--2005.
       Ethanol Plant, Pixley (Calgren Renewable Fuels)--2005.
       Ethanol Plant, San Joaquin County/Stockton (Pacific 
     Ethanol)--2006.
       Ethanol Plant, Stanislaus County (Cilion)--2006.
       Exxon Clean Fuels Project, Benicia
       Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria Casino (Sonoma 
     County)--Proposed.
       Genentech Phases I and II, Vacaville
       The Getty Center, Los Angeles
       Kern River Pipeline Expansion (Williams Gas Pipeline/
     MidAmerican Energy Holdings)
       L.A. Live (Anschutz Entertainment Group)--2005.
       Lagoon Valley Development, Vacaville (Triad Communities)--
     Proposed.
       Long Beach Memorial Medical Center Expansion--2005.
       Lytton Band of Pomo Indians Casino (City of San Pablo)--
     Proposed.
       Marina Hotel Renovation, Los Angeles Harbor (San Pedro 
     Ownership, Inc.)--2005.
       Marine World, Vallejo
       Mission Bay Project (Catellus Development Company), San 
     Francisco
       Motorplex at Yuba County--Not Built.
       Myers Development Retail/Commercial, Bay Area
       Pacific Bell Park, San Francisco Giants Baseball Stadium
       Pacific Commons (Catellus Development Company), Fremont
       Pacific L.A. Marine Terminal, Port of Los Angeles/Long 
     Beach, Pier 400--Berth 408--2009.
       Park Station Lofts, South San Francisco (James E. Roberts, 
     Obayashi Corporation)--2006.
       Petco Park, San Diego Padres Baseball Stadium (cost $474 
     million; received $300 million subsidy from City of San 
     Diego)
       Playa Vista Development, Los Angeles
       Poseidon Resources Corporation--Carlsbad and Huntington 
     Beach Desalination Plants--Proposed.
       Providence Holy Cross Medical Center (Mission Hills) 
     Expansion--2010.
       River Islands at Lathrop (Cambay Development Group)--
     Proposed.
       Roman Catholic Diocese of Los Angeles--Cathedral of Our 
     Lady of Los Angeles
       San Diego Ballpark Development Project (JMI Realty and 
     Lennar-San Diego Urban Division)--2005.
       San Mateo Marriott Addition (Tarsadia Hotels)
       Santee Court, Downtown Los Angeles (MJW Investments)--2005.
       Shell Clean Fuels Project, Martinez
       Sheraton Grand Hotel, Sacramento (received subsidy from 
     City of Sacramento)
       Signature Properties Oak to Ninth Street Project, Oakland
       616 East Carson Street Project, Carson (Community 
     Dynamics)--required by city council--2009.
       655 Broadway, San Diego (Lankford & Associates)
       Staples Center, Los Angeles (cost $375 million; City of Los 
     Angeles borrowed $38.5 million for it)
       Station District Family Housing, Union City (Mid-Peninsula 
     Housing Coalition)--2009.
       Sutter Health--Sacramento Medical Center Expansion
       Taco Bell Discovery Science Center, Santa Ana
       Tongva Casino, Compton--Gabrielino-Tongva Tribal Council
       Tosco Refinery Upgrade (Bechtel)
       Trans Bay Cable Project, Pittsburg (Babcock & Brown Power 
     Operating Partners)--2007.
       United Spiral Pipe Manufacturing Plant, Pittsburg--2007.
       Uptown Project, Oakland (Forest City)--2006.
       Valero Improvement Project--Refinery Upgrade, Benicia
       Westfield San Francisco Center (Westfield Corporation and 
     Forest City)--2005.
       Westfield Roseville Galleria Expansion--2006.
       Wild Goose Storage, Inc. Natural Gas Storage Expansion 
     Project and Pipeline, Butte County--2002.
       Yerba Buena Project, San Francisco


                                Proposed

       Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland Cathedral--2000.
       Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino--All Work--2002.
       Sutter Health--San Francisco, San Mateo, Vallejo 
     Facilities--2002.

[[Page H4054]]

       Mitsubishi Liquified Natural Gas Terminal--Los Angeles 
     Harbor--2003.
       HCA Regional Medical Center San Jose--2003.
       San Diego Chargers Football Stadium--2004.
       BHP Billiton Cabrillo Port Liquified Natural Gas Deepwater 
     Port (off Ventura County coast)--2004.
       Wood Street/West Oakland Train Station Development, 
     Oakland--2005.
       Treasure Island, Treasure Island Development Authority, San 
     Francisco--2005.
       Chula Vista Bayfront Redevelopment--Gaylord Entertainment 
     Co.--Abandoned.
       Tesoro Refinery Coker Upgrade, Martinez--2006.
       Anaheim NFL Stadium--2006.
       Orange County Great Park--Lennar Corporation--2006.
       New Sacramento Kings Arena--Maloof Sports & Entertainment--
     2006.
       MacArthur BART Transit Village Project (receiving subsidy 
     from City of Oakland)--2006.
       Grand Avenue Redevelopment Project, Los Angeles--2006.
       Target Store, City of Davis--2006.
       Universal City Vision Plan (NBC Universal)--2006.
       Hunters Point Development, San Francisco (Lennar/BVHP)--
     2007.
       Candlestick Point Development, San Francisco (TopVision)--
     2007.
       La Bahia Hotel, Santa Cruz (1999--King Ventures, 2007--
     Barry Swenson Builder)--1999, 2007.
       Alameda Street Redevelopment between First & Temple 
     Streets, Los Angeles--2007.
       Placer Vineyards Specific Plan, Placer County--2007.
       Lane Field Development, San Diego (Woodfin Hotels)--2007.
       Marriott Convention Hotel at Ballpark Village (JMI 
     Realty)--2007.
       Greenbriar, City of Sacramento (AKT Development and 
     Woodside Homes)--2008.
       CityWalk in Oakland (The Olsen Company)--2008.
       Douglas Park, Long Beach (Boeing Realty Corporation)--2008.
       Santa Ana Renaissance Plan--2008.
       TrePac Terminal Expansion, Berth 136-147, Port of Los 
     Angeles--2008.
       Placer County Developments: Riolo Vineyards, Curry Creek--
     2008.
       City of Roseville Developments: Creekview, Sierra Vista, 
     Placer Ranch, Brookfield--2008.
       Sacramento County Development: Cordova Hills/University of 
     Sacramento (Conwy LLC)--2008.
       Sutter Health--Elk Grove Facility--2008.
       Primafuels, Inc. Biofuel Plant, West Sacramento--2008.
       Drexel University New West Coast Campus and Related 
     Development, Placer County--2008.
       Delta Shores, City of Sacramento (M Realty Partners 
     LLC)--2009.
       San Leandro Crossings/Cannery Court (BRIDGE Housing) 
     (receiving subsidy from San Leandro)--2009.


                Proposed but Rejected or Not Implemented

       Raley Field--Sacramento River Cats AAA Baseball Stadium--
     1999.
       Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento--Cathedral of the 
     Blessed Sacrament Renovations--2002.
       Save Mart Center--Fresno State University--2000.
       Thunder Valley Casino--United Auburn Indian Community 
     (Placer County)
       Casino--Upper Lake Band of Pomo Indians (West Sacramento)--
     Cancelled.
       Bay Street Emeryville, Phase II
       Las Lomas (Los Angeles)--Rejected.
       Flying J/Big West Refinery Upgrade (Bakersfield)--
     Cancelled.
       Sacramento Railyards Project (Thomas Enterprises)--2007.
       Sonoma Mountain Village (Codding Enterprises)--2009.
       Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Upgrade Phase 1--
     2010.

                          Private Power Plants


                              Implemented

       The State Building and Construction Trades Council of 
     California claimed on April 30, 2003 that ``of the 35 power 
     plants that have been licensed for construction, 34 have 
     signed Project Labor Agreements for their construction.'' As 
     of November 1, 2009, the State Building and Construction 
     Trades Council of California claims that since 1999, 
     developers of 57 of the 63 power plants larger than 50 
     megawatts built in California have signed PLAs.

       Blythe, Blythe (Caithness)--Completed.
       Colusa, Colusa County (Reliant Energy)--Not Built.
       Costa Costa, Antioch (Mirant)--On Hold.
       Delta Energy Center, Pittsburg (Calpine/Bechtel)--
     Completed.
       East Altamont Energy Center, Alameda County (Calpine)--On 
     Hold.
       Elk Hills, Kern County (Sempra/Occidental)--Completed.
       Fourmile Hill Geothermal Project, Siskiyou County (Calpine)
       Hanford, Hanford (GWF Power Systems)--Not Built.
       High Desert, Victorville (Constellation Power)--Completed.
       High Winds Energy Center expansion, Collinsville (Florida 
     Power & Light)
       Inland Empire Energy Center, Romoland (Calpine)--On Hold.
       Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (BrightSource 
     Energy/Bechtel)--Proposed.
       La Paloma, Kern County (PG/NEG)--Completed.
       Los Medanos Energy Center, Pittsburg (Calpine)--Completed.
       Metcalf, San Jose (Calpine/Bechtel)--Under Const.
       Midway-Sunset, Kern County (Edison)--On Hold.
       Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo (Duke Energy)--On Hold.
       Moss Landing, Monterey County (Duke Energy)--Completed.
       Mountainview, San Bernardino (Edison)--On Hold.
       Nueva Azalea, South Gate (Sunlaw)--Not Built.
       Orange Grove Energy Peaking Power Plant (J-Power USA 
     Development)--Proposed.
       Otay Mesa, San Diego (Calpine)--On Hold.
       Palomar, Escondido (Sempra Energy)--Under Const.
       Pastoria, Kern County (Calpine)--Under Const.
       Rio Linda, Rio Linda (Florida Power & Light)--Not Built.
       Russell City, Hayward (Calpine/Bechte1) Calpine/General 
     Electric)--On Hold.
       Salton Sea Six Geothermal Plant (CE Obsidian Energy)--
     Approved.
       San Joaquin Valley Energy Center, San Joaquin (Calpine)--On 
     Hold.
       Stirling Energy Systems Solar Two Project, Imperial 
     County--Proposed.
       Sunrise Cogeneration, Kern County (Texaco and Edison 
     Mission)--Completed.
       Sutter Power, Yuba City (Calpine)--Completed.
       Tesla (Florida Power & Light)--On Hold.
       Three Mountain, Burney (Ogden Energy)--On Hold.
       Tracy Peaker Project (GWF Energy)--Completed.
       United Golden Gate, San Mateo County (El Paso Merchant)--
     Not Built.


                                Proposed

       Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area expansion (Florida Power & 
     Light)
       Solar Thermal Power Plant, San Luis Obispo County (Ausra)--
     Cancelled.
       Beacon Solar Energy Project (Florida Power & Light)--
     Proposed.


                Proposed but Rejected or Not Implemented

       Huntington Beach Units 3 and 4 (AES)--Completed.
       Valero Energy Corporation Cogeneration Unit I--Completed.
       Sun Valley Energy Project, Romoland (Edison Mission)--Under 
     Const.

                          Housing Developments


                              Implemented

       Bay Area (Kaufman & Broad)
       Brentwood (Pulte Homes)--496 houses--2002.
       Foster City (Summerhill Construction)--160 houses
       Foster City (Webcor Builders)
       Half Moon Bay (Ailanto Builders)--145 houses
       Hercules (Hercules Victoria and subsequent developers)--
     Victoria by the Bay--plumbers & elect.
       Oakley Magnolia Park Project (Pulte Homes)
       Pacifica (Ryland Homes)--43 houses
       San Francisco (HMS Gateway Office).
       San Francisco (Waterford Associates)--21 houses
       San Francisco (Western Pacific)--74 houses
       San Francisco (Saddle Mountain Estates)--74 houses
       San Francisco (Greystone Homes)--212 units
       San Francisco (Parkside Homes Developers)--156 condos
       San Pedro--Pointe Vista (Bisno Development Co.)--Proposed.
       Vacaville Southtown Project (Western Pacific Housing)--
     2004.


                                Proposed

       Sebastopol (Schellinger Brothers)--157 units--2002.
       San Rafael-St. Vincent School for Boys Development 
     (Shappell Industries)--2002.


               Implemented then Declared Illegal by NLRB

       Anatolia-Sacramento County (Sun Ridge)--2714 houses--2002-
     2004.

                     Public/Private Hybrid Projects

       Contra Costa Community College District--San Ramon Valley 
     Center--2004.
       This project is covered by the Windemere Development 
     private PLA with U.A. Local 159 Plumbers and Steamfitters 
     Union. The college board of trustees did not vote on this 
     PLA.

       Brentwood Union School District (Pulte Homes--Magnolia Park 
     Project)--2004.
       This project is covered by the Pulte Homes private PLA with 
     three unions.

       West Roseville Specific Plan (Westpark Property)-Roseville 
     City School District--2005.
       This development is covered by the Signature Properties 
     private PLA with three unions. The district board of trustees 
     voted to cut language in their documents ratfiying the PLA.

       Rio School District--RiverPark East Elementary School--
     2005.
       This project was covered by a Shea Homes private PLA.


                                Proposed

       City of San Diego Civic Center Complex--2009.
       Leading prospective bidder Gerdling Edlen has indicated 
     intent to sign a PLA.


                Proposed but Rejected or Not Implemented

       Rio School District--RiverPark East Intermediate School--
     2006.

[[Page H4055]]

       This project was initially covered by a Shea Homes private 
     PLA.

       Solar Project at Fresno Yosemite International Airport--
     2007.
       World Water & Solar Technologies Corp. is building this 
     private project to serve the airport and rental car 
     facilities at the airport.

               Union-Only Language in Bid Specifications


                              Implemented

       Capitol Park Safety and Security Improvements--2005.
       State Compensation Insurance Fund (State Fund)--Fresno 
     District Office Automation System--2008.


                                Rejected

       Arvin-Edison Water District--North Canal Spreading Works--
     1999.
       South San Joaquin Irrigation District--South County Water 
     Supply Program Turnout Facilities--2003.
       Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District--MetroBase Project 
     Parking Garage--2005.

  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Ohio (Mr. LaTourette).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Ohio will be 
postponed.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will read.
  The Clerk read as follows:

                       spending reduction account

       Sec. 416.  The amount by which the applicable allocation of 
     new budget authority made by the Committee on Appropriations 
     of the House of Representatives under section 302(b) of the 
     Congressional Budget Act of 1974 exceeds the amount of 
     proposed new budget authority is $0.


                  Amendment No. 1 Offered by Mr. Meeks

  Mr. MEEKS. I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title) insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used to declare as excess to the needs of the Department 
     of Veterans Affairs or otherwise take any action to exchange, 
     trade, auction, transfer, or otherwise dispose of, or reduce 
     the acreage of, Federal land and improvements at the St. 
     Albans campus, consisting of approximately 55 acres of land, 
     with borders near Linden Boulevard on the northwest, 115th 
     Avenue on the west, the Long Island Railroad on the 
     northeast, and Baisley Boulevard on the southeast.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from New York is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. MEEKS. Mr. Chair, I rise in support of the amendment I have 
regarding the St. Albans VA Hospital in New York.
  First of all, this is clearly a bipartisan bill. I have the support 
of my good friends Peter King and Michael Grimm of New York to stop the 
enhanced lease process for the St. Albans VA in my district. There is 
rarely a time that you have an issue where everybody has come together, 
and, clearly, here is an issue where members of the community and the 
veterans have spoken with one voice to say that what is being proposed 
there is against the best wishes of the veterans and the needs of the 
veterans and against the wishes of the community, basically changing 
the whole complexity of the community so that the people that live 
there would have a terrible injustice and disservice.
  Now, I know that the EUL process works in certain areas because part 
of it is supposed to be where the EUL process works with the community 
and veterans and everybody agreeing and working together. That is not 
the case in this scenario.
  In this scenario, we have veterans from all over--in fact, we have 
the Queens County Council of VFWs. We have the Vietnam Vets of America. 
We have the New York Vets Advocacy Group. We have the Department of New 
York District 1 VFW, United Council for Veterans Rights, Nassau County 
VFW, Vets Helping Vets, Inc., all of whom are supportive of this 
amendment saying that this is not in the best interests of veterans.
  The VA has come up with the idea of putting together a facility that 
doesn't even include a full-service hospital and is not based upon the 
number of vets that we have coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq. Now, 
they have put everything on the line for them, and here we have the 
opportunity to make sure that we do the very best that we can for our 
veterans. And here the whole community surrounds us, and we want what 
the veterans want. We want to stand behind them in 100 percent 
lockstep. And it seems as though, to some at the VA, there is a deaf 
ear in regard to that.
  So we will continue to fight. And what this bill says is that we will 
stop the EUL process in New York at the St. Albans facility because it 
is not what is needed. It is not what the vets want. It just seems to 
me that, instead of working with the community, the VA has chosen to go 
out and do a high-density residential area, residential building in 
this facility that is not even just for veterans, which will then have 
a devastating impact on the local community.
  So we're saying no, that shouldn't happen. You can't destroy the very 
fabric of a great community, and you can't produce something that does 
not benefit the very vets that we're supposed to be here to help.
  So, Mr. Chair, I urge support of this amendment regarding the St. 
Albans VA Hospital. I urge that we support our veterans who are 
absolutely united on this matter.
  I yield back the balance of my time.

                              {time}  1500

  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the amendment. We 
will accept Mr. Meeks' amendment because it's vitally important that 
all Federal agencies, the VA included, understand that the Member of 
Congress representing that district, he's their voice.
  I represent Houston, Texas. I'm proud to do so. I have an obligation, 
obviously, to look after the entire Nation. But first and foremost, I 
am the Representative of the people of District Seven in Houston, 
Texas, as Mr. Meeks is the Representative of his constituents in New 
York. And I think it's vitally important that every Federal agency 
understand that they need to work with and earn the support of the 
Representative of that district before they move forward with a major 
project of any kind.
  And as Mr. Meeks has said, the community is opposed to the direction 
the VA is taking. And I would join with my friend, Mr. Bishop. And we 
strongly support the VA looking to the private sector to partner with 
the private sector to find innovative, cost-effective ways of providing 
better services to our veterans by partnering with the private sector.
  And certainly, the committee does not want to discourage in any way 
the VA's expansion of private partnerships to give better service to 
veterans. We encourage it. We want the VA to look for ways to save 
money, to provide better service to our veterans, to use the 
extraordinary expertise of hospitals and medical communities like the 
Texas Medical Center, which I represent. The work that Mr. Bishop is 
doing with Fort Benning and the VA in his district has created a 
marvelous partnership with private physicians to provide better 
services. We want the VA to continue that effort.
  But it is absolutely essential that the VA understand that they have 
to earn the support and approval of the community. That means they have 
to earn the support and approval of the Representative for that 
district. And in this instance, I hope the VA is tuned in and 
listening. The VA needs to earn the support and approval of Congressman 
Meeks before they move forward with this effort.
  So for that reason, we will accept the amendment. And I want to know 
that the VA is not only returning Mr. Meeks' phone calls, but they are 
listening to, responding to, and satisfying the needs of the community, 
the needs of his constituents, the needs of the veterans that he 
represents; and that the VA, once they have earned the support of the 
community, they are going to have the support of Mr. Meeks. And when 
Mr. Meeks comes to the subcommittee and says that the VA has earned his 
support, the community has earned his support, then the committee will 
be prepared to move forward and support the VA work at St. Albans.
  So for those reasons, we will accept the amendment. And I am looking 
forward to the day when Mr. Meeks comes

[[Page H4056]]

and tells us the VA is in his office and earning his support and the 
support of the community.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. ACKERMAN. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from New York is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. ACKERMAN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the Meeks 
amendment, which not only affects his district, but affects at least 11 
congressional districts that surround his district, all in support of 
our veterans and fighting men and women who have returned from wars 
overseas, some of them severely injured and in need of our care, 
concern, and support at this very moment.
  For 7 years now, the Department of Veterans Affairs has pursued a 
perhaps well-intentioned but a stubbornly wrongheaded plan for the St. 
Albans Primary and Extended Care facility which is located in the 
county of Queens. I am very concerned that the VA is proceeding full 
speed ahead with its plans to lease a property for 34 years, property 
currently dedicated exclusively for veterans. And what are the veterans 
supposed to do for the next 75 years without this facility, when there 
is a rising demand among our veterans for medical services?
  The justification--you have to hear this--the justification for the 
VA's decision stems from an absurd outdated report that relied on data 
from 2003, 8 years ago, when we were only at the beginning of the wars 
in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have, unfortunately, seen tremendous 
increases in veterans homelessness, foreclosures, divorce, substance 
abuse, PTSD and, yes, suicides.
  And yet the VA report from all those years ago projected at that 
time, almost a decade ago, that mental health services for our veterans 
was going to decrease over the next 20 years. It's been 8 years since 
that report. And what have we seen during the 8 years alone? And 
there's 12 years more to go. We've seen increases in all of these 
problems among our veterans. And yet they cling stubbornly to the data 
in that report, thinking that these things are going to go down among 
our veterans. And this, everybody knows, is certainly not going to be 
the case.
  All evidence suggests that returning veterans are going to require a 
greater significant increase especially in VA mental health services. A 
Rand Center report alone found that already 18.5 percent of all U.S. 
servicemembers who have returned already from Afghanistan and Iraq 
currently suffer from PTSD or depression, and that 19.5 percent suffer 
from traumatic brain injury.
  Where is the Veterans Administration's common sense? To give away 
this property, which is intended and secured right now for our 
veterans, is a huge mistake, based on a report that is already 
discredited by the facts. This is something that we can't allow to 
continue.
  These are veterans who have sacrificed so much. We have to stand here 
today on the floor. And I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of 
the aisle, colleagues in the majority especially, for seeing through 
the politics of this and understanding that these are our veterans that 
we are fighting for; that we, as Members of Congress, understand our 
constituencies and our needs and their needs.
  I want to personally thank Representatives Grimm and King, who are 
among our delegation, as well as the rest of the Democratic members of 
the delegation in our region, and thank Representative Meeks for his 
dynamic and great leadership in bringing this to our attention so that 
we could stand together as patriotic Americans all, at least on this 
issue, and fight for the needs of our veterans.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from New York (Mr. Meeks).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                  Amendment No. 4 Offered by Mr. Amash

  Mr. AMASH. Mr. Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __. None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used to administer or enforce the wage-rate requirements 
     of subchapter IV of chapter 31 of title 40, United States 
     Code, popularly known as the ``Davis-Bacon Act.''

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Michigan is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. AMASH. Mr. Chairman, the Davis-Bacon Act requires nearly all 
Federal construction contracts to pay a prevailing wage determined by 
the Department of Labor. Under the law, construction contractors and 
subcontractors may not pay their own workers wages lower than the 
department's pay rate, even if the workers bargain for a wage below the 
government-set rate.
  My amendment blocks application of Davis-Bacon to the Military 
Construction and Veterans' Affairs appropriations bill. There are two 
main reasons why the House should block Davis-Bacon.
  First, Davis-Bacon wastes taxpayer dollars on overpriced contracts. A 
recent study showed that, on average, nationwide, the government-set 
rate is 22 percent higher than the true market rate. For example, if 
sheet metal workers in Long Island, New York, are paid $28.79 per hour, 
while the government-set rate for that area is $45.40, factoring in the 
cost of materials and other supplies, studies suggest that the Federal 
Government overpays for construction contracts by between 10 percent 
and 15 percent.
  Second, Davis-Bacon gives an unfair advantage to union employees. 
Small businesses, many of which are nonunion, lower their prices to 
compete against larger union firms. The trade-off for nonunion 
employees is a lower-wage rate but more work. We should not 
disadvantage nonunion employees who are willing to perform more 
construction for less money. By eliminating government-mandated wages, 
we can better allocate resources, increase efficiency, and put 
hardworking Americans back on the job.
  Providing for our national defense and the care of our veterans are 
critical priorities. Construction projects in the appropriations bill 
include VA facilities, family housing, schools and infrastructure for 
our National Guard troops stationed on the border. We owe it to our 
constituents to stretch every taxpayer dollar and spend wisely.
  Blocking Davis-Bacon's application to military construction and VA 
projects will honor our commitment to fiscal responsibility and to our 
veterans. Let's let competition determine wages, not the Federal 
Government. Please support my amendment to block Davis-Bacon.

                              {time}  1510

  I now yield to the gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. CULBERSON. I thank the gentleman from Michigan for bringing this 
important amendment. I strongly support this amendment and urge the 
House to adopt the gentleman's amendment because it will save, again, 
our children and grandchildren a significant amount of money.
  We are in an era of austerity unlike anything America has ever 
experienced. We are living on borrowed money. Every dollar the Federal 
Government brings in goes right out the back door to pay for the 
existing social safety net. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, 
interest on the national debt and veterans' benefits consume 104 
percent of America's revenue. Therefore, all the money we appropriate 
for the entire year for military construction, for the VA, for 
transportation, for homeland security, for the Defense Department, all 
of it, is borrowed. Therefore, we need to do everything we can to cut, 
to save money, to eliminate fraud, waste and abuse and to avoid 
spending more money than we should.
  Here, very straightforward, the gentleman's amendment would save 
American taxpayers a significant amount of money. It depends on what 
study you're looking at, but my very capable staff has looked at this 
and analyzed a whole variety of studies that indicate that there's a 
whole range of savings. The Chamber of Commerce believes that Davis-
Bacon, or paying union prevailing wages in, for example, a free market 
environment like in Texas, we don't pay prevailing wage. We in Texas on 
a highway project pay the competitive free market wage.
  First of all, not only are we going to save money, but why would we 
discourage competition? Why, in this terrible

[[Page H4057]]

economy, would we prevent contractors, businesses, from coming in and 
competing for a job?
  As on the last amendment, the LaTourette amendment, which I hope the 
House defeats, that amendment we need to defeat so that we could 
encourage companies to come in and compete for Federal contracts, this 
amendment needs to be adopted to encourage businesses to come in and 
compete for Federal contracts. This would expand the universe of 
companies that could compete and apply for work. As in Texas, for 
example, on a highway project, we pay the competitive, best price for 
bids, and in the Chamber of Commerce's opinion, if we eliminate the 
Davis-Bacon prevailing wage, it would save about 15 percent on average 
on project construction. The Cato Institute estimates a 10 percent 
savings.
  The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Thank you very much.
  If I could, Mr. Chairman, point out that the Heritage Foundation 
estimates that there will be a 22 percent savings to taxpayers by 
eliminating the Davis-Bacon requirement. The Beacon Hill Institute at 
Suffolk University in Boston estimates a 10 percent savings.
  This whole variety of savings, if you line them up, for example, 
we'll just say, for the sake of argument, that there is about a 10 
percent savings in construction costs, we as a Nation living on 
borrowed money should not voluntarily, willingly pay 10 percent more. 
It makes no sense.
  The gentleman's amendment is extraordinarily important. It will save 
taxpayers a significant amount of money on every construction project. 
On average, you're going to wind up saving, under the gentleman's 
amendment, about 10 percent. Ten percent goes a long way on a lot of 
these massive construction projects. The gentleman's amendment is 
vitally important in this economy. The adoption of the gentleman's 
amendment will increase the number of jobs available for people to work 
on Federal projects. The gentleman's amendment will create jobs and 
save money for taxpayers. In an era of record debt, record deficit, and 
record burden that we simply cannot pass on to our kids, it is vitally 
important that the House approve the gentleman's amendment, and I urge 
its adoption.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this 
amendment.
  The Davis-Bacon Act is a pretty simple concept, and it's a fair 
concept. What it does is to protect the government as well as the 
workers in carrying out the policy of paying decent wages for 
government contracts.
  I noticed that the previous speaker was really concerned about the 
possibility that Davis-Bacon would raise the cost of the performance of 
these contracts, but it only requires that prevailing wages in the area 
where the contract is going to be performed is maintained. For example, 
if in some of the urban areas where labor costs are very, very high and 
the prevailing wages are there, the standard of living and the wage 
payment for that area would be consistent. If it was in a lower wage 
area, then Davis-Bacon wages would be the wages that were paid in that 
market. So basically it just allows the workers to be paid at a rate 
consistent with where the project is being conducted.
  The act requires that every construction contract that the Federal 
Government participates in in excess of $2,000 has to have this 
provision defining the minimum wage. It was taken up by this House just 
a few days ago, and, of course, three times this House has defeated 
attempts to repeal this Davis-Bacon requirement. It would appear to me 
that this House has exercised great wisdom three times in this session 
in preserving the right of workers to earn the wages that are paid in 
the area where the project is being constructed. That just makes sense. 
We want our workers to be paid fairly. We don't want the government to 
overpay. So we won't pay higher wages in an area where prevailing wages 
are lower. We won't pay lower wages in an area where the prevailing 
wages are higher, where the cost of living is higher, where the cost of 
doing business is higher, where the cost of doing the construction 
would be higher. We want the government to get the best bang for the 
buck.
  These amendments are probably very well-intentioned. We want to save 
the taxpayers' dollars, but we cannot and we should not be penny-wise 
and pound-foolish. The repeal of Davis-Bacon, I think, and I think that 
this House has stated on at least three occasions on this floor during 
this session of Congress, would be pound-foolish.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from California is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. SHERMAN. I join the gentleman from Georgia in opposing this 
amendment and associate myself with his remarks.
  The Federal Government is in a different position from a private 
company having construction done, for two reasons: First, one of the 
greatest social problems we face in this country is the eroding wages 
of middle class families. We see that even in times when there are 
sufficient jobs, the average American doesn't make any more on an 
inflation-adjusted basis than a decade or two decades ago. The Federal 
Government should not play a role in pushing down people out of the 
middle class. We have a social responsibility to work to a return to 
what used to be the American norm, and that is that each generation 
does better than the last.
  But the second, even from a crudely proprietary position, the Federal 
Government is in a very different position than a private homeowner, 
private property owner. I know I was tempted the last time we fixed our 
home, maybe I should go with the slipshod, cheapskate company. After 
all, I'm only going to live there a few more years. Even many private 
owners, they're only going to own the building for a few years.
  So many of us in our daily lives use government-constructed projects 
from the 1930s. When the government builds something, it is normally 
going to be owned and operated by the government and used by our 
citizens for many, many decades. Why do we want slipshod construction? 
Why do we want those who are not looking to have skilled craftsmen and 
craftswomen but, rather, are looking to slap it up there in the 
cheapest possible way?

                              {time}  1520

  Our public works need to be built by those with the proper 
construction skills; it's not a matter of just hiring as many hands as 
you can as cheaply as possible.
  And so I support the gentleman from Georgia and his comments, and I 
urge the defeat of this amendment.
  Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of 
words.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Washington is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to this 
amendment. Some in the minority continue to try to repeal Davis-Bacon, 
despite the House being on record supporting the protection of labor 
standards.
  Two weeks ago, the full committee voted to strip the anti-Davis-Bacon 
provision that was added by the chairman of the subcommittee. A similar 
amendment repealing Davis-Bacon was offered during the consideration of 
the FY 2012 Homeland Security appropriations bill. It failed on a vote 
of 183-234.
  I have been a longtime supporter of Davis-Bacon's prevailing wage 
requirements. It helps ensure that local projects provide local jobs 
with affordable middle class wages. The law protects the government 
from contractors trying to win Federal contracts by bidding too low to 
attract competent workers. I strongly oppose this amendment.
  I point out, if there is a problem here, it's because we do not do 
the wage surveys on a continuing and consistent basis. That is a real 
problem. That rests with the Department of Labor, and we need to make 
sure that they're doing their part of the equation.

[[Page H4058]]

  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite 
number of words.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, let me just say that the Davis-
Bacon Act prevents competition for construction contracts from 
artificially depressing local labor standards. The Davis-Bacon Act will 
prevent subverting the prevailing wage laws, which will lead to shoddy 
construction and substantial cost overruns.
  Under the prevailing wage laws, contractors are forced to compete on 
the basis of who can best train, best equip, and best manage a 
construction crew, not on the basis of who can assemble the cheapest, 
most exploitable workforce, either locally or through importing labor 
from outside.
  The Davis-Bacon Act does not require a union wage; it requires 
prevailing wage based upon surveys of wages and benefits that are 
actually paid to various job classifications of construction workers, 
such as iron workers in a community, without regard to whether they 
belong to a union or not.
  According to the Department of Labor, a whopping 72 percent of 
prevailing wage rates issued in 2000 were based upon nonunion wage 
rates. A union wage prevails only if the Department of Labor survey 
determines that the local union wage is paid to more than 50 percent of 
the workers in that job classification.
  Now higher wages and skills result in greater productivity and lower 
cost. It's so much greater among high-wage, high-skill workers that 
projects that use high-skilled workers and high-paid workers often cost 
less than those that use the low-wage, low-skilled workers due to 
repairs, revisions, and lengthy delays.
  The opponents who claim that the government could save billions by 
eliminating the Davis-Bacon protections ignore the productivity, 
quality, safety, community development and other economic benefits 
which contribute to the real cost effectiveness of Davis-Bacon. A study 
of 10 States where nearly half of all of the highway and bridge work is 
done in the United States showed that when high-wage workers were paid 
double the wage of low-wage workers, they built 74.4 more miles of 
roadbed and 32.8 more miles of bridges for $557 million less.
  Driving wages down will not help balance the budget. The Davis-Bacon 
Act will improve our local economies and it will result in increased 
productivity.
  I am convinced that, again, we have people with good intentions that 
want to save us money, but if you pay cheaper wages, you will have to 
employ less skilled workers. If you hire less skilled workers, they 
will, in all likelihood, have to have work redone that will have to be 
repaired. It will extend the cost, it will extend the time, and 
ultimately it will cost our taxpayers more money, and we will not get 
the efficiencies that each and every tax dollar should have because 
they are hard-earned tax dollars, and our taxpayers don't give them up 
lightly. But when we do pay our taxes, everybody in this body and 
across this country wants to make sure that we get the best bang for 
the buck. Davis-Bacon would give us that result. It has proven that. 
The studies show that.
  I would submit that this amendment is ill-advised and should be 
defeated.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Amash).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Michigan 
will be postponed.


                 Amendment No. 2 Offered by Mr. Sherman

  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  Mr. SHERMAN. May the Clerk read the amendment?
  The Acting CHAIR. Without objection, the Clerk will report the 
amendment.
  There was no objection.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill, before the short title, insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used in contravention of the War Powers Resolution (50 
     U.S.C. 1541 et seq.).

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from California is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Chairman, I had the Clerk read the amendment because 
it's a simple one-sentence amendment. It says that none of the money in 
this act can be used deliberately by the President to violate the law, 
in particular, the War Powers resolution, often referred to as the War 
Powers Act, which is found in title 50 of the United States Code.
  This is the same amendment I offered to the Homeland Security 
appropriations bill. Some 208 Members of Congress voted for that 
amendment. The only argument against the amendment at that time was 
that it wasn't exactly appropriate or relevant to the Homeland Security 
bill. After all, I was preventing the funding of violation of the War 
Powers Act with the funds provided to the Department of Homeland 
Security.
  Now that I offer this amendment to the MilCon bill, it is relevant. 
This is a bill that provides tens of billions of dollars for the 
Defense Department. And it is necessary and appropriate, if we are 
going to adopt a policy that says that money is not going to be 
appropriated for deliberate violation of our law, that we apply this 
amendment not only to the Defense Appropriations bill, but to this 
second bill that funds the Pentagon.
  Why is this amendment necessary? Because so many administrations have 
embraced the idea of an imperial Presidency, the idea that a President 
can send our forces into battle for unlimited duration, for any 
purpose, unlimited in scope. This is not what the Constitution and the 
law provides.
  The War Powers Act is the law of the land, and it says the President 
may indeed commit our forces, but the President must seek congressional 
authorization and must withdraw within 60 days if that authorization is 
not provided by the affirmative vote of both Houses of Congress.
  In Libya, we face not an attack on the United States, not an attack 
on our allies. But even in this circumstance, this President, like 
others, claims that he does not have to follow the law.

                              {time}  1530

  The administration has implied that there are substitutes for 
congressional authorization; they have implied that resolutions by the 
United Nations, the Arab League or NATO can be a substitute for 
congressional authorization; and they implied that consulting 
congressional leaders, a lunch with leadership, is a substitute for the 
affirmative vote of both Houses of Congress. It is time for us to stand 
up and say, No, Mr. President, you actually have to follow the law.
  Obviously, this amendment is even more apropos to the Defense 
appropriations bill, but we will be dealing with that weeks from now. 
The President has been violating the War Powers Act for many weeks. It 
is time to act today.
  Moreover, if we put this amendment only on the Defense appropriations 
bill and don't put it on this bill, then we invite the administration 
to try to figure out clever accounting ways to use the billions of 
dollars provided to the Defense Department in this bill to carry out 
operations in Libya. We should not invite a loophole hunt. We should 
put the same restriction on both of the bills that fund the Defense 
Department.
  Now, if we can pass the amendment, the President will, I hope, 
request an authorization from Congress to take action in Libya, and he 
will have to accept an authorization that will, I expect, be limited in 
time and scope. Perhaps it will say that only air forces and not ground 
forces can be committed. Perhaps it will require renewal every 3 or 6 
months. There may be conditions on funding sources. For example, 
perhaps we use some of the $33 billion that Qadhafi was stupid enough 
to leave invested in the United States in ways that we could find and 
that we have frozen rather than use taxpayer dollars.

[[Page H4059]]

  Congress will ask some tough questions. And we may put some 
conditions requiring certain action also by the Benghazi transitional 
government. We would ask why the Benghazi government has refused to 
disassociate itself from the al Qaeda fighters and the Libyan Islamic 
Fighting Group men who are in their midst and why they will not remove 
from that transitional government those that have American blood on 
their hands from Iraq and Afghanistan.
  This is not just the issue of an aggrandizing President. It is also 
the issue of a derelict Congress. Continuing military action in Libya 
should be conducted only consistent with American law. If Congress 
habitually appropriates funds knowing that those funds will be used to 
violate the law of the land, then we are complicit in undermining 
democracy and the rule of law in the United States. The question is not 
democracy and the rule of law in Libya; the question is democracy and 
the rule of law in the United States.
  The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the gentleman's 
amendment, and I will happily accept it, because it is evident that the 
administration is in direct violation of the War Powers Act, which 
requires the President to either certify to the Congress that the 
United States has been attacked or there is a national security 
interest of the United States at stake, and, if not, then we need to be 
notified. I think we are still waiting for the administration to talk 
to us, to justify, to explain the involvement of U.S. forces in Libya. 
Now we read over the weekend that the administration may send U.S. 
forces, our young men and women, into harm's way in Yemen. What are we 
going to do, Syria next?
  The Congress of the United States has an obligation to make sure 
that, in the stewardship of our precious tax dollars and the 
responsibility we have to ensure the protection of our men and women in 
uniform and the people of this Nation, that we are enforcing the War 
Powers Act, that we are directly involved as a partner in the defense 
of the United States.
  The administration has persistently and consistently refused to 
involve the Congress in these decisions to send our men and women into 
Libya and whether or not we are going to go into Yemen. Mr. Sherman's 
amendment is very reasonable and points out that, simply, we are not 
going to spend any money in violation of the law, we are not going to 
spend any money in violation of the War Powers Resolution.
  The distinguished Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House is 
unable to speak, but I have to say that Mr. McClintock's editorial, the 
positions that the gentleman from California has taken, I agree with 
completely.
  The action in Libya, as Mr. McClintock has said, there could not be a 
more clear violation of the War Powers Act than the President's 
involvement of American Armed Forces in Libya. The Congress has never 
been notified. There has been obviously no attack on the United States. 
There is no strategic interest of the United States at stake in Libya 
or in Yemen. Where else is he going to send our troops without 
notifying the Congress and the people of the United States as required 
by the War Powers Act?
  So, Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the gentleman's amendment. I 
want to rise in support of Mr. Tom McClintock of California's eloquent 
defense of the War Powers Act, and I urge the House to adopt Mr. 
Sherman's amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Sherman).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from California 
will be postponed.


                  Amendment No. 5 Offered by Mr. Amash

  Mr. AMASH. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available in this Act may 
     be used for a project or program named for an individual 
     serving as a Senator in the United States Senate or as the 
     President of the United States.

  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I reserve a point of order on the 
gentleman's amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. A point of order is reserved.
  The gentleman from Michigan is recognized for 5 minutes on his 
amendment.
  Mr. AMASH. Mr. Chairman, at the start of this Congress, the House 
made important changes to the way the institution operates. We began by 
ending earmarks. Americans understood that the practice favored 
Representatives' pet projects while the taxpayer was left to foot the 
bill. Earmarks diverted our constituents' hard-earned money to low-
priority projects and, even worse, appeared corrupt. Americans started 
to lose confidence in their government when they saw their 
Representatives using public funds for personal gain.
  In a similar vein, this Congress continued last Congress' prohibition 
on ``monuments to me.'' Like earmarks, when House Members name Federal 
programs and buildings after themselves, Americans can't be sure 
whether the programs are funded because they are worthwhile or because 
they benefit a House Member personally.
  The appropriations bill we are considering today has a prohibition on 
``monuments to me'' that mirrors the House rules and bans naming 
programs and buildings after current House Members. My amendment 
extends that same prohibition to current Senators and the President.
  Ending ``monuments to me'' is an important step to preventing the 
waste of taxpayer dollars and to ensuring that our appropriations are 
in the best interests of the public, not the personal interests of 
elected representatives. I ask you to support my amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I insist on my point of order.
  I certainly agree with the gentleman's sentiment. It is important 
that we as Members of Congress don't spend any money to name anything 
after ourselves. It is inappropriate. It just ought not be done.
  I know that my colleague from Texas (Mr. McCaul) has also been 
working on this to prevent the use of taxpayer funds from being spent 
on monuments built at taxpayer expense to Members of Congress that are 
still living. This rule is in place for the House of Representatives. 
It ought to be in place for the Senate and the President of the United 
States.


                             Point of Order

  Unfortunately, the gentleman's amendment imposes a duty on Federal 
agencies in violation of clause 2 of rule XXI, so I regret reluctantly 
I have to raise a point of order against the gentleman's amendment in 
that it proposes to change existing law, Mr. Chairman, and therefore 
constitutes legislation in an appropriations bill in violation of 
clause 2 of rule XXI, and that the amendment seeks to impose additional 
duties on a Federal agency or entity.
  I ask for a ruling from the Chair.
  The Acting CHAIR. Does any other Member wish to be heard on the point 
of order? If not, the Chair will rule.
  The Chair finds that this amendment includes language requiring a new 
determination by the relevant executive branch official of the current 
membership of a body in the legislative branch. The amendment therefore 
constitutes legislation in violation of clause 2 of rule XXI.
  The point of order is sustained and the amendment is not in order.

                              {time}  1540


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Flores

  Mr. FLORES. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), add the 
     following new section:
       Sec. 4__.  None of the funds made available by this Act 
     shall be available to enforce section 526 of the Energy 
     Independence and

[[Page H4060]]

     Security Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-140; 42 U.S.C. 17142).

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. FLORES. Mr. Chairman, my amendment is quite simple. During the 
110th Congress there was a section added to the Energy Independence and 
Security Act that bans Federal agencies from entering into contracts 
for procurement of alternative fuel sources unless the ``lifecycle 
greenhouse gas emissions'' are less than or equal to such emissions 
from an equivalent conventional fuel produced from conventional 
petroleum sources. This amendment would simply prohibit the government 
from enforcing this ban on Federal agencies funded by the underlying 
bill.
  I was not yet in Congress when the Energy Independence and Security 
Act was considered, but section 526 raises concerns over national 
security, economic security, and it creates bureaucratic uncertainty. 
Section 526 was added to this bill to stifle the Defense Department's 
plans to buy and develop coal-based--or ``coal-to-liquids''--jet fuels. 
Environmentalists allege that this coal-based fuel will ultimately 
produce more greenhouse emissions than would traditional petroleum 
resources. This allegation is uncertain at best and does not account 
for ongoing improvements in carbon-capture technologies in association 
with CTL technology.
  My amendment prohibits funds in the bill from being used to enforce 
section 526. Section 526 makes it more difficult for our Defense 
Department to become energy independent and to rely on more domestic 
and more stable sources of fuel instead of sources located in more 
unstable, volatile parts of the world. This is very problematic for our 
Defense Department by creating uncertainty about what fuels DOD can 
procure, and it discourages development of new sources, particularly 
reliable domestic sources of energy supplies for the Armed Forces. 
Section 526 opens DOD up to court or administrative challenges for 
every fuel purchase it makes. Per a July 9, 2008, letter to Senator 
James Inhofe from the Pentagon, ``Such a decision could cause 
significant harm to the readiness of the Armed Forces because these 
fuels may be widely used and particularly important in certain 
geographical areas.''
  Not only have extreme environmental views, policies, and regulations 
like section 526 burdened American families, hurt job creation, and 
hurt American businesses, but they are now potentially causing 
significant harm to the readiness of the Armed Forces. The Defense 
Department should not be wasting its time studying fuel emissions and 
should not have to be stifled by the arguments over how to interpret a 
small section of an energy law. This is an unacceptable burden to 
continue to place on our Nation's military, and it is an unacceptable 
precedent set in regard to America's energy policy.
  I urge my colleagues to support passage of this commonsense 
amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the 
gentleman's amendment.
  The United States is the Saudi Arabia of coal. We've been blessed by 
the good Lord with extraordinary resources. We have, apparently, the 
world's largest supply of shale gas, shale oil. Yet the administration 
is doing everything in their power to prevent us from even finding or 
locating additional shale oil or gas. The administration is doing 
everything in their power to prevent us from drilling in the Gulf of 
Mexico, which we've done for decades cleanly, safely, economically.
  We could create hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of 
high-paying jobs in the United States if the administration would 
simply get out of the way and let Texans run Texas, and let the gulf 
States and the energy community unleash American ingenuity to do what 
they do best--produce domestic oil and gas cleanly and safely. The jobs 
that are produced in the Gulf of Mexico in the energy industry across 
the United States are safe, high-paying, high-quality jobs that the 
economy and the people of America desperately need.
  Mr. Flores has brought a very important amendment to the floor which 
would expand the use of petroleum derived from coal. The United States 
is blessed with abundant amounts of coal. This Federal law, section 526 
of the Energy Independence and Security Act, discourages the production 
of liquefied gas or fuel from coal--and that's a vital part of our 
energy future. We understand, as constitutional conservatives, as the 
new majority in the House, that the United States needs to continue to 
invest in alternative technologies for the future. We are all in 
support of finding new ways to generate electricity to move the United 
States into the next era of energy beyond petroleum. But in the 
meantime, in the short term, we need to drill here and drill now. We 
need to use every available resource that the good Lord has blessed 
this Nation with in a way that's obviously clean, safe, ecologically 
friendly. We've done it in Texas for years.
  Mr. Flores has extensive experience in the energy industry. I'm proud 
to represent the energy corridor of Texas. Houston is to the energy 
industry what California and Silicon Valley are to the computer 
industry. We've proven time and time again that we can produce oil and 
gas safely, cleanly. We desperately need to open up drilling in the 
gulf. This administration has deliberately and systematically shut down 
drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, which increases our dependence on 
foreign oil, while the administration has used our tax dollars and its 
influence in the International Monetary Fund to attempt to prop up and 
support Brazilian exploration for oil and gas, discouraging American 
development of oil and gas. It's a policy that continues to drive up 
the unemployment rate and drive down the production of American oil and 
gas. Mr. Flores' amendment will allow us to expand the production of 
one vital American resource that we have in abundance--and that's coal.
  So I strongly support the gentleman's amendment and urge its 
adoption.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. DICKS. I move to strike the requisite number of words.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Washington is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. DICKS. I rise today in opposition to the gentleman's amendment. 
Section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 is 
intended to ensure that any alternative fuel that is introduced to 
replace conventional petroleum-based fuels must have greenhouse gas 
emissions that are less than or equal to the fuel it is replacing. That 
is a commonsense approach. The Department of Defense alone is the 
single largest energy consumer in the world. Its leadership in this 
area is critical to any credible approach to dealing with energy 
independence issues. Section 526 provides an opportunity for DOD to 
play a substantial role in spurring the innovation needed to produce 
alternative fuels which will not further exacerbate global climate 
change.
  I would like to congratulate Secretary Mabus, Secretary of the Navy, 
for his energetic approach to trying to find alternative fuels. I think 
he, as Secretary, has done an outstanding job. He has put the Navy on a 
path towards energy independence and reducing the amount of petroleum 
products that we're using today.
  So I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this very shortsighted 
amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. ROE of Tennessee. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. ROE of Tennessee. The amendment I've offered the past week would 
simply reduce the information technology account in the VA by $70 
million and increase the same account by $70 million.

                              {time}  1550

  My intention is to make it clear to the Department of Veterans 
Affairs that we must see progress on efforts to integrate the 
Department of Defense's and the VA's electronic medical records.
  It is unthinkable that as we seek to make the transition from the 
military back to the homeland as seamless as possible we have a system 
as befuddling as the one we have, where a servicemember literally needs 
a paper copy

[[Page H4061]]

of his or her medical records to ensure information isn't lost in 
transitioning between the two systems. When severely injured patients 
are released and transferred from Walter Reed to the VA center at 
Mountain Home in Johnson City, Tennessee, all the information regarding 
their injuries and transfers can be terribly difficult to access. That 
shouldn't be the case.
  This is why I support Chairman Culberson's report language, which 
recommends that the Department of Veterans Affairs set aside $70 
million of the overall $3.25 billion in the Information Technology 
account for the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Medical Record system. I 
would, in fact, like to strengthen this language by putting it in the 
underlying bill to ensure this money gets spent on integration.
  The VA and DOD maintain the two largest health care systems in the 
Nation, providing health care to 6 million veterans and to over 1.5 
million active duty servicemembers respectfully. Within the VA alone, 
there are over 1,500 different facilities that provide care to 
veterans. To provide this care, the DOD and VA both rely on electronic 
health record systems to create, maintain, and manage patient health 
information; but the two agencies for years have operated different 
systems that can't talk to each other.
  Let me give you an example: Ten billion dollars has been spent. A 
soldier leaves the military, and his records can't be transferred 
electronically to the VA. I had someone in my office just before I 
walked over here on the House floor who showed where an electronic 
medical records system would have prevented the delay in treatment of a 
veteran.
  This general lack of cooperation between the two Departments has 
occurred for years at the collective cost of billions of dollars. I 
first became aware of this problem when I arrived in Congress and 
didn't realize it had been worked on for years.
  I applaud the Appropriations Committee for highlighting the need for 
the VLER in its committee report, and I think this language should be 
put in the bill to ensure the VA spends the money for this purpose. A 
lifetime electronic health records system would improve the delivery of 
care to servicemembers who are transitioning from military to civilian 
life.
  As a physician myself, I know the importance of having an organized 
and efficient electronic medical records systems. In fact, I helped put 
an electronic medical records system in my office for over 70 providers 
and tens of thousands of patients. I do understand the difficulties, 
and I know how hard it is to be done, but I know the importance of it. 
I hope the committee will adopt this amendment and work on 
strengthening it in the final bill to ensure we make clear to the VA 
that this integration must be a priority.
  Mr. DICKS. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. ROE of Tennessee. I yield to the gentleman from Washington.
  Mr. DICKS. We are trying to vote on the Flores amendment. Could you 
have waited until we had voted on the amendment to make your 5-minute 
speech? This is totally irrelevant to this debate.
  Mr. ROE of Tennessee. I apologize to the gentleman.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Texas (Mr. Flores).
  The amendment was agreed to.


              Amendment Offered by Mr. Coffman of Colorado

  Mr. COFFMAN of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the 
desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title) insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available in this Act may 
     be used to by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide 
     disability compensation under chapter 11 of title 38, United 
     States Code, to any veteran for post-traumatic stress 
     disorder if the required in-service stressor claimed by the 
     veteran is related to the veteran's fear of hostile military 
     or terrorist activity and the places, types, and 
     circumstances of the veteran's service did not include a 
     combat zone.

  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I reserve a point of order on the 
gentleman's amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. A point of order is reserved.
  The gentleman from Colorado is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. COFFMAN of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, I stand with the American 
people in wanting to make sure that our returning servicemembers from 
Iraq and Afghanistan are taken care of.
  The signature wound in this war has emerged to be post-traumatic 
stress disorder. Since 2008, almost 100,000 claims for disability based 
on post-traumatic stress disorder have been awarded at a tremendous 
cost; but the concern is, again, that these veterans are taken care of. 
In July of last year, new rules were promulgated as to the eligibility 
criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. What they did was to no 
longer require the servicemembers to relate a specific combat 
occurrence or occurrences to their post-traumatic stress disorders.
  It is my belief that these rules are too loosely written and that 
what we ought to have is more definition to say that someone who has 
never served in a combat zone should not be eligible for post-traumatic 
stress disorder disability benefits--not treatment. Certainly, one 
would be eligible for treatment, but I understand that this amendment 
will require the Veterans Administration to create a definition and to 
make decisions on something they currently don't do, which is: service 
in a combat zone.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. COFFMAN of Colorado. I yield to the gentleman.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  I certainly can appreciate the concerns that the gentleman raises 
that have caused him to offer the amendment. Yet I want to remind the 
gentleman of the awful incident that occurred at Fort Hood in Texas. 
There were a lot of our servicemembers who were present who experienced 
that awful, awful situation. Under this amendment, it would prevent the 
veterans and servicemembers, once they're discharged, from being able 
to take advantage of the benefits of the Department of Veterans Affairs 
because they were at Fort Hood as opposed to Afghanistan or Iraq or in 
some other place of hostility.
  Also, I would remind the gentleman that the servicemembers who 
operate our unmanned aerial vehicles, such as the Predator, which has 
great capability for causing destruction in war--it's one of our great 
weapons--actually can see on video, in realtime, the death and the 
destruction and the dismemberment that is caused by the utilization of 
that, although they're in Nevada and the weapon is actually making its 
impact in Afghanistan. Of course, because of that, they would be 
disqualified.
  Under this amendment, I think the gentleman's point is well taken in 
wanting to make sure that only those people who are entitled to 
veterans benefits in fact get them, but I think that perhaps there are 
some problems in the artful drafting of the amendment, which should be 
clarified. Because of that, I am reluctant to support it, and of course 
must oppose this amendment.
  Mr. COFFMAN of Colorado. Reclaiming my time, the chairman has raised 
a similar issue. I certainly agree with him and understand about the 
issue of expanding the definition in this amendment to reflect 
terrorist activity that would be beyond a combat zone. Again, 
certainly, treatment would be available. We're not talking about that. 
We're merely talking about disability compensation. I probably disagree 
with you, as a combat veteran myself, on the ground side of your UAV 
example.
  I realize that the amendment is out of order because of the fact that 
it really impedes on authorizing versus appropriating. Certainly, it is 
my intent--and I'd be happy to work with the gentleman from Georgia as 
well as with the gentleman from Texas--to come up with a definition 
that makes sure that we take care of those veterans who are most in 
need.
  Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to withdraw my amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman 
from Colorado?
  There was no objection.


                  Amendment Offered by Mr. Fitzpatrick

  Mr. FITZPATRICK. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.

[[Page H4062]]

  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title) insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available in this Act may 
     be used to enter into a contract using procedures that do not 
     give to small business concerns owned and controlled by 
     veterans (as that term is defined in section 3(q)(3) of the 
     Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 632(q)(3)) that are included in 
     the database under section 8127(f) of title 38, United States 
     Code, any preference available with respect to such contract, 
     except for a preference given to small business concerns 
     owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans (as that 
     term defined in section 3(q)(2) of the Small Business Act (15 
     U.S.C. 632(q)(2)).

                              {time}  1600

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Pennsylvania is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. FITZPATRICK. Mr. Chairman, I rise today to offer an amendment 
that would level the playing field for our Nation's veterans when it 
comes to contracting with the Federal Government.
  After putting their lives on the line and at times their families and 
careers on hold in the service of our Nation, America's veterans 
deserve every consideration we can give them to adjust to life once 
they return. Veteran-owned small businesses are part of the American 
fabric; and as a government and a people, we must do all we can to 
encourage them.
  Here are a few facts: According to the most recent census, over 2.4 
million of our Nation's veterans are now small business owners. 
Veteran-owned companies now make up 9 percent of all U.S. firms. The 
Small Business Administration now estimates that one in seven veterans 
are self-employed or a small business owner. And, finally, nearly a 
quarter of veterans say they're interested in starting or in buying a 
small business.
  Despite these encouraging numbers, the truth of the matter is 
veterans are unemployed at a higher level than any of us find 
acceptable. For instance, the unemployment rate for young veterans 
returning from Afghanistan and Iraq reached a staggering 22 percent 
last year. Mr. Chairman, this number is simply unacceptable. We must 
work to reduce this number, and it should be the explicit, stated 
policy of all government agencies to assist veteran entrepreneurs.
  As our Nation struggles to achieve an economic recovery, we should be 
looking to utilize the talent, expertise, and leadership skills of our 
Nation's veterans. These men and women volunteered to selflessly serve 
our country and, in order to succeed, must display self-discipline and 
leadership. It is characteristics and character traits like these that 
should be nurtured and fostered to help our economy grow again and put 
people back to work.
  Veterans have served our Nation nobly across the world. Now, their 
innovation and expertise can help lead our American recovery. 
Ultimately, we must all be focused on putting our constituents back to 
work, and I believe, Mr. Chairman, that this amendment will help to do 
that.
  This amendment will give veteran-owned small businesses preferences 
for contracts in this bill equal to any group eligible for preferred 
consideration, except for service-disabled veteran-owned small 
businesses. The practice of the Federal Government providing 
preferences to encourage government to do business with certain groups 
is well established. This amendment does not diminish preferences to 
any other group. It simply extends to veteran-owned small businesses 
the same level of consideration.
  The amendment would apply to all Federal contracts authorized by the 
Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Act and would be attached to 
any portion of State and local projects funded with Federal dollars.
  To preserve the integrity of the program, small businesses are 
considered those defined by the Small Business Administration, and 
eligible businesses must be registered veteran-owned businesses with 
the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA's Center for Veteran 
Enterprise maintains a database of certified registered veteran-owned 
businesses. In many cases, this amendment will simply be codifying 
existing practice and ensure that it will continue to be the policy of 
our Nation.
  Mr. Chairman, veterans have sacrificed much for our Nation. It is 
only fair that, if any group is given preferential contracting status, 
that veterans receive it as a well. I urge my colleagues to support 
this amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. CULBERSON. I rise in support of the gentleman's amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. CULBERSON. I want to express the committee's strong support for 
the gentleman's amendment.
  We are all in agreement that the Nation needs to look first to 
attempt to hire our veterans who have served this Nation, to attempt to 
encourage the businesses that are developed and built by veterans to 
thrive and to prosper; and the gentleman's amendment is a great way to 
encourage veteran-owned businesses to thrive.
  We should, in the work the Federal Government contracts out, do 
everything we can to encourage the development of, and hiring of, small 
businesses owned and operated by veterans; and we strongly support the 
gentleman's amendment and urge its adoption.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. Let me just say that the gentleman's amendment 
is very, very well taken. I fully support it; and it works in tandem 
with some other legislation, some authorizing legislation that I think 
the chairman, Mr. Culberson, and I, along with Mr. Dicks and Mr. Young 
and many, many others, on a bipartisan basis, have often called the 
Hiring Heroes Act, which basically supports our veterans as they come 
back to make sure that they can be gainfully employed and that they are 
duly allowed to participate in the economy, to work and to engage in 
gainful employment.
  I think that this amendment, as far as small businesses go, as far as 
veterans preferences, is very well taken, and I think that we ought to 
do that, as well as everything else we can possibly do, to make sure 
that the transition from full-time active service to the civilian 
population of our country on the part of our veterans is fully 
supported by this Congress and by the people of the United States.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. DICKS. I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Washington is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. DICKS. I rise in support of the gentleman's amendment. Veteran-
owned companies are a great asset that we should be further 
encouraging. These businesses obviously play a positive role in the 
economy by providing not only jobs, goods, and services, but also are 
reducing unemployment amongst veterans who are already struggling with 
the unemployment rate greater than that of the general populace.
  Furthermore, the government has done poorly in reaching its 3 percent 
contracting goal for veterans. For example, agencies' contract awards 
were below 1 percent from 2003 to 2006. The most recent figures for 
2009 show agencies awarded only 1.98 percent to service-disabled 
veterans. We must do more to ensure that our veterans are transitioning 
from soldiers to civilians and we are actively encouraging new 
opportunities for vets.
  I believe this amendment will help the Department of Defense and VA 
to do better. I support this amendment and urge its adoption.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Fitzpatrick).
  The amendment was agreed to.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. I rise to engage in a colloquy with the 
gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. Chairman, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Fattah) brought a 
matter to our attention that is very, very important and significant, 
and I think it's appropriate that we ought to at least examine that in 
the form of a

[[Page H4063]]

colloquy here on the floor as we consider this Military Construction, 
Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
  Mr. Chairman, many veterans have returned home from Iraq and 
Afghanistan with severe disabilities; and when their service results in 
a disability, we have a duty to help them. And one way that veterans 
receive this help is through the use of guide dogs. Now, the way the 
process works, veterans are assessed and they're trained for 
orientation and mobility. If a veteran needs a guide dog, information 
on how to contact guide dog schools is provided. Essentially, the 
veteran is referred to a nonprofit. There's no funding provided 
directly from the VA to these nonprofits; and with the costs associated 
with training these dogs, it takes time to raise the money which, in 
turn, causes a backlog for veterans, as well as for nonveterans.

                              {time}  1610

  We have to look at this issue and see what it is that the Veterans 
Administration can do to help because these dogs mean so much to those 
who need them.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Will the ranking member yield?
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. I yield to the chairman of the subcommittee.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Bishop, the gentleman from Pennsylvania has raised 
a very important matter that we need to look into in the subcommittee 
as we move into conference. And I want to reassure the gentleman from 
Pennsylvania that the subcommittee and I will work diligently with him 
to look further into this issue to find ways that we can help make sure 
that the veterans who need guide dogs and service dogs get them.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. I am sure, Mr. Chairman, that Mr. Fattah and 
other Members will be very, very appreciative of you. We thank you for 
your comments, and we look forward to working with all of our 
colleagues to support our veterans and their families.
  Mr. DICKS. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. I would be delighted to yield to the gentleman 
from Washington.
  Mr. DICKS. I just want to mention a program called Pets for Patriots. 
I happened to have attended an event here just about a week ago where 
there is a national organization being created to get pets for our 
returning veterans and especially for some of those who have very 
serious injuries. So I think there is a real need for this, and I think 
it's been demonstrated. And I commend Mr. Fattah for his diligence and 
for your help in raising this issue.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. Thank you very much for your comments.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee do now rise.
  The motion was agreed to.
  Accordingly, the Committee rose; and the Speaker pro tempore (Mr. 
Fitzpatrick) having assumed the chair, Mr. McClintock, Acting Chair of 
the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union, reported 
that that Committee, having had under consideration the bill (H.R. 
2055) making appropriations for military construction, the Department 
of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending 
September 30, 2012, and for other purposes, had come to no resolution 
thereon.

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