Amendment Text: H.Amdt.78 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)

There is one version of the amendment.

Shown Here:
Amendment as Offered (06/04/2013)

This Amendment appears on page H3058 in the following article from the Congressional Record.



[Pages H3044-H3088]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




   MILITARY CONSTRUCTION AND VETERANS AFFAIRS, AND RELATED AGENCIES 
                        APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2014


                             general leave

  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks 
on the bill under consideration and include extraneous material on the 
consideration of H.R. 2216, and that I may include tabular material on 
the same.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Texas?
  There was no objection.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 243 and rule 
XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of the Whole House 
on the state of the Union for the consideration of the bill, H.R. 2216.
  The Chair appoints the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen) to 
preside over the Committee of the Whole.

                              {time}  1442


                     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 consideration of the bill 
(H.R. 2216) making appropriations for military construction, the 
Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal 
year ending September 30, 2014, and for other purposes, with Ms. Ros-
Lehtinen in the chair.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The CHAIR. Pursuant to the rule, the bill is considered read the 
first time.
  The gentleman from Texas (Mr. Culberson) and the gentleman from 
Georgia (Mr. Bishop) each will control 30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Madam Chair, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  It is my privilege, along with my good friend from Georgia (Mr. 
Bishop), to present to the House for its consideration the 2014 
appropriations bill for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.
  One of the most important obligations this Congress has is to ensure 
that our men and women in uniform have everything they need to do their 
job without worry. We think of ourselves on this subcommittee as the 
peace-of-mind committee for our military so that they can focus on 
their missions, standing on the walls of Rome, protecting our freedom, 
at the far corners of the world.
  I think of all the appropriations bills we consider, we're honored to 
bring this one to the House first because of its importance to our men 
and women in uniform, to their families, and to our veterans who have 
served our Nation. We want to be sure, as I say, that they have no 
worries and that they don't ever have to look over their shoulder and 
be concerned that the United States Congress and the American people 
don't support them 110 percent, as we have done in this legislation, 
which my colleague from Georgia and I have drafted arm-in-arm.
  This is a bipartisan bill that we present to the House today to 
ensure that the military construction needs of the armed services are 
fully met. We have also done our best to ensure that when our men and 
women in uniform retire and move into the Veterans Affairs system, they 
will have the best medical care possible and that this backlog of 
disability claims that's been plaguing us for a number of years will be 
cleared as rapidly as possible.
  We've done this in a way that's also fiscally responsible. We have 
found every dollar we could that was left unspent from previous years 
and returned that to the taxpayers. At the same time, we make sure that 
our veterans and our men and women in uniform have everything that they 
need to do their job.
  Our committee has also been very committed to ensuring that their 
families are taken care of and that the Defense Department schools on 
bases are the best that they can be and in the best condition that they 
can be in. I know all of us as parents are concerned about the quality 
of our kids' education. The last thing that a man or woman who's 
deployed at a United States base overseas--we don't want them to worry 
about the caliber of the school that their children are attending. So 
we've also placed emphasis on the ability of our military base 
commanders to contract with the State in which they're located to set 
up charter schools at their military bases if the base happens to be 
located in an area where the local schools can't provide the quality 
that they need.
  We have in this appropriations bill, as I say, fully funded the 
Department of Veterans Affairs. Some of this money is advance 
appropriated. So while we've got a total funding level in this bill for 
2014 of $73.3 billion, that's

[[Page H3045]]

$1.4 billion more than last year. We provide an additional $2.1 billion 
more than last year for the Department of Veterans Affairs. But of that 
increase, $1.9 billion was provided as an advance appropriation from 
previous years.
  The Congress began several years ago to appropriate funding in 
advance for our Veterans Affairs Department to ensure that because of 
the uncertainty and the unpredictability of the appropriations cycle, 
again, we want our men and women in uniform and our veterans to have 
absolute peace of mind and no worries as they serve our country or as 
they move into retirement in the veterans hospital system, so we 
advance appropriate some of this money.
  Any reductions that we made in this bill, again, were done to make 
sure that we're doing our part to control spending at a time of record 
debt and deficit, which is at the top of our minds. As fiscal 
conservatives, we want to ensure that we have done everything in our 
power to reduce the debt and to reduce the burden that is passed on to 
our children and grandchildren.
  So we have not provided funding in the bill for 10 military 
construction projects that the committee believed it lacked sufficient 
justification for. And we funded only what the Department of Defense 
expects to spend in fiscal year 2014 for six military construction 
projects. We've also reduced the funding available for the Contingency 
Construction account, which has not even been used since fiscal year 
2008. Our marvelous staff did a good job in identifying $659 million in 
unobligated balances from previous years for construction projects that 
have been left unspent, and we're able to return that to taxpayers.
  We have also reduced the Department of Veterans Affairs request for 
funding in a program where they substantially overestimated their 
projections. The scope of this committee's jurisdiction also includes 
military memorials and cemeteries. We've made sure those are fully 
funded and that our memorials and cemeteries here in the United States 
and around the world are going to be well tended and that veterans, no 
matter where they may be in the United States, will be able to get the 
health care and benefits that they have earned by their service to this 
country.

                              {time}  1450

  We did everything we could in this bill to ensure that our men and 
women in uniform are taken care of and that our veterans are taken care 
of, but we are very concerned about the backlog in the disability 
claims that the VA has accumulated. The VA has promised us that they 
would have the backlog cleared up by the year 2015, so the bill 
contains very strong language that holds the VA to account ensuring 
that they will give the committee and the Congress detailed accounts 
and reports to ensure that they stay on target. Mr. Kingston of Georgia 
is going to offer an amendment later, which I intend to accept, to help 
ensure that the VA holds themselves to the standard that they have set 
for themselves to reduce the backlog.
  And then, finally, Madam Chairman, I want to mention something that 
we are particularly exercised about. Our committee chairman, Hal Rogers 
from Kentucky, has told us a story that I have never forgotten of a 
young man who I believe was wounded in Afghanistan--Iraq, who lost one 
eye, lost eyesight in one eye. When he left the service to go into the 
VA system, in order to save his remaining eye, he had to have medical 
records that could be read by the VA doctors. And because of 
bureaucratic inefficiency and pure idiocy, we've got a completely 
separate set of medical records in the DOD and the Veterans 
Administration. And for years, taxpayers have spent upwards of a 
billion dollars or more over the last 10 years to get the Department of 
Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs operating in a single, 
using a single unified medical record so that when a young man like 
this moves out of active service and into the VA, when it's a time-
critical surgery such as this young man needed to have to save his 
eyesight, that the doctors in the VA could read those medical records 
and get him the help that he needs. But, sadly, because of bureaucratic 
inefficiency and refusal to cooperate--and, of course, we're all human 
and we're all flawed, but there's this instinctive human, I think, 
reaction to make sure you protect your own turf. Whatever it is, the VA 
and the DOD have not adopted a unified medical record. As a result, 
this young man lost his eyesight. He could not get the surgery he 
needed in the VA, and he is now permanently blinded as a result of the 
failure of these two departments to do their job.
  Now, the week before last when we were considering this bill in 
committee, the Secretary of Defense, Mr. Hagel, said that the DOD was 
just going to go ahead and adopt their own medical record system 
separate from the VA. This is just unacceptable. I ask all my 
colleagues in Congress to work with Mr. Bishop and me and to work with 
Chairman Rogers, Ranking Member Lowey, with the members of the 
Veterans' Affairs Committee, the members of the Armed Services 
Authorizing Committee and the members of the Defense Appropriations 
Subcommittee so that we develop identical, parallel language that 
compels the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans 
Affairs to come up with a single, integrated, unified medical record so 
that no one will ever suffer the fate that this young man did who is 
now permanently blinded because of bureaucratic inefficiency.
  It's unacceptable. The Congress won't stand for it any longer, and 
we've got strong language in this bill and will continue to work to 
strengthen it to ensure that these men and women, as they move from 
their days of uniformed service to the country into the VA, that it is 
seamless, that it is easy, that they can get their disability claims 
handled in a timely and efficient manner and that they can get their 
medical records read quickly and efficiently by the doctors in the VA 
system who do such a good job.
  We deeply appreciate our extraordinary staff working together with my 
good friend from Georgia (Mr. Bishop) in a truly bipartisan way. I'm 
proud to present to the House, Madam Chairman, the 2014 Military 
Construction and VA appropriations bill for approval by the House, a 
bill that is fiscally conservative and responsible yet fully funds and 
takes care of our men and women in uniform and our veterans in a way 
that they deserve, because our men and women who have fought so 
valiantly for this country deserve nothing less than the very best of 
the United States Congress, and we've done that for them in this bill 
today.
  I reserve the balance of my time.

[[Page H3046]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TH04JN7.001



[[Page H3047]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TH04JN7.002



[[Page H3048]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TH04JN7.003



[[Page H3049]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TH04JN7.004



[[Page H3050]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TH04JN7.005



[[Page H3051]]

  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. Madam Chair, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Madam Chairman, as you know, the allocation provides $73.3 billion 
for the FY14 Military Construction-VA bill, which is $1.4 billion above 
the FY13 and $1 billion below the request. In my opinion, the 
allocation is what we could have expected had the Republican leadership 
addressed sequestration.
  Madam Chairman, I know some folks will say that title 2 of this bill 
is exempt from sequestration and that is why the bill received a decent 
allocation, but I just want to point out that the funding in the bill 
largely mirrors the administration's request which does not reflect 
sequestration, even for the portions of the bill that were not 
exempted. I think that we all agree that we need to address the 
sequester, and I hope that we do it in the near future, because if we 
don't, the long-term effects will be devastating to our economy.
  With that being said, I'm pleased to join Chairman Culberson as the 
House takes up the FY14 appropriations bill for Military Construction, 
Veterans Affairs, and related agencies. The MilCon-VA bill is 
critically important to the strength and the well-being of our 
military, our veterans, and the families who sacrifice so much to 
defend our country. In fact, Mr. Chairman, I find it quite fitting that 
we are debating this bill immediately after observing Memorial Day last 
week.
  Working with Chairman Culberson and the members of our subcommittee, 
we have crafted a bill that will address the funding needs for military 
construction and family housing for our troops and their families, as 
well as other quality-of-life construction projects. In addition, it 
will provide funding for many important VA programs, as well as 
agencies like the Veterans Court of Appeals and the American Battle 
Monuments Commission.
  The bill before us today touches every soldier, sailor, marine, and 
airman. In addition, the bill also will impact military spouses, their 
children, and every veteran that participates in VA programs.
  I want to commend the chairman for his work. Together, we sat through 
numerous hearings, gaining valuable insight to the workings of all the 
agencies under the subcommittee's jurisdiction. Also, we would like to 
thank our subcommittee members and recognize them for their hard work 
on this bill. I believe that the minority was treated fairly during 
this process, and I want to thank the chairman for ensuring this 
bipartisan result.
  Chairman Culberson has already provided the funding highlights in the 
bill, and I will not repeat them all, but I would like to point out a 
few items that I believe are extremely important.
  The bill before us today includes $797 million for the renovation and 
replacement of 17 Department of Defense schools. I believe that 
providing the funds for the DOD schools will help our servicemembers' 
children get a quality education in safe facilities and will give our 
servicemembers peace of mind.
  I'm pleased that the bill includes $151 million for the third 
increment of the Landstuhl Medical Center replacement in Germany. As 
you know, a large portion of the serious casualties from Afghanistan 
are treated there, and I'm pleased to see that we are making this 
important investment.
  The Department of Veterans Affairs is funded at $63.1 billion, and 
overall, the subcommittee recommendation meets the discretionary budget 
request in all areas of administrative expenses, research, information 
technology, and facilities.
  In addition, the bill contains $55.6 billion in advance 
appropriations for medical services, medical support and compliance, 
and medical facilities at the VA, which is $1.1 billion above the 
amount included in FY13. Madam Chairman, I strongly believe that 
advance funding provides timely and predictable resources for the 
veterans' health care system, and I'm so glad that we have been able to 
do it now for this 5th year in a row.
  Now, I know that a lot of Members of this body are deeply concerned 
about the claims backlog and the electronic health records challenge. 
Trust me, the members of our committee, especially Chairman Culberson 
and I, have spoken directly with Secretary Shinseki about these issues 
numerous times, and I believe that our bill provides the resources and 
the accountability needed to address these two problems:
  First, the bill funds the general operating expenses for the VBA, 
which will support 20,851 claims processors, which is 94 more than 
FY2013, and all 94 new claims processors will work disability claims;
  Second, the bill fully funds the Veterans Benefits Management System 
at $155 million and the Veterans Claim Intake Program at $136.4 
million.

                              {time}  1500

  These two efforts should speed up the VA's efforts to take old claims 
that are filed on paper and convert them into digital files that are 
easily searchable by claims processors, thus speeding up the claims 
process.
  Second, we include a monthly reporting requirement every 30 days for 
the VA to provide Congress with several statistics, such as the average 
wait time at each regional office, rating inventory that has been 
pending for 125 days, rating claims advocacy, and month-to-month 
updates in changes in those statistics.
  Third, we require a report on the VA's expedited claims initiative 
that was announced just a few weeks ago. This report should give the 
committee and the Congress insight into whether or not the Secretary's 
new initiatives are having positive results.
  Finally, the bill directs the VA and the Department of Defense toward 
one integrated electronic health record system in bill language, and it 
restricts the availability of funds for the development of a system 
that meets the requirements of being single, joint, common, and 
integrated with open architecture and is the sole system used by both 
the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense. This 
initiative would ensure that veterans get their records to the VA 
electronically, thus reducing the number of claims filed on paper and 
speeding up the claims process.
  Now, the committee's action--and I want to make this point clear--the 
committee's action and this bill do not mandate the adoption of a 
particular system, only that it be a single system that is used by both 
Departments. I don't think that we should get into the business of 
picking the software, but I do believe that by mandating a single 
system between the Department of Defense and the VA, that veteran 
claims in the future will not continue to fall victim to the slow 
inefficiencies that we're dealing with today.
  Madam Chair, I believe that we have a strong, bipartisan bill that 
supports our military, their families, and our veterans. I would hate 
to see the hard work of our committee up-ended by contentious partisan 
riders intended to serve in scoring political points instead of those 
that serve our Nation. I also believe that the most important parts of 
this bill are the resources and accountability provided to assist the 
VA in tackling this outrageous claims backlog.
  So I say to my colleagues that our committee strongly shares the deep 
commitment of this body to fixing the claims backlog issue. We looked 
at numerous approaches and further believe that our bill has found the 
optimal approach in dealing with this pressing concern of our veterans.
  Before I close, Madam Chair, I would like to recognize the staff for 
all of the hard work and time that they've put into this bill. From the 
minority committee staff, I would like to thank Matt Washington, as 
well as Michael Reed and Adam McCombs from my personal staff. From the 
majority committee staff, I would like to thank Donna Shabazz, Sue 
Quantius, Sarah Young, and Tracey Russell.
  I would also like to thank Mrs. Lowey and Mr. Rogers, the chairman 
and the ranking member, who served so valiantly and who are so 
diligently trying to seek the well-being of our servicemen and -women, 
their families, and our veterans.
  At this time, Madam Chair, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Madam Chairman, the House budget that we adopted set a 
total spending limit of $967 billion in the 3 years that the 
Republicans have had the majority in the House and the leadership of 
Chairman Hal Rogers of Kentucky. For the first time since

[[Page H3052]]

World War II, we have reduced annual spending from year to year, each 
year, under Chairman Rogers' leadership.
  It's also, I think, important for the country to know that one of the 
first and most important responsibilities of the chairman of the full 
committee is to take that total spending number that's given to us by 
Chairman Ryan's Budget Committee, that $967 billion--Chairman Rogers, 
one of his first responsibilities is to take that $967 billion and use 
his best judgment to allocate or divide that money among the 
subcommittees of the Appropriations Committee. And it's a real tribute 
to this good man's commitment, a demonstration of his commitment to our 
men and women in uniform, a vivid illustration of the bipartisan nature 
of this bill, that with the help of Ranking Member Lowey, that Chairman 
Rogers gave this subcommittee for military construction and VA 
allocation that enabled us to fully fund the request to the military 
and the Veterans Affairs.
  It is my privilege now, Madam Chairman, to recognize the 
distinguished chairman of the full committee, Hal Rogers of Kentucky, 
who has done so much to save our taxpayers' hard-earned dollars, and do 
everything that can be done to help support our men and women in 
uniform, and yield him as much time as he may consume.
  Mr. ROGERS of Kentucky. Madam Chairman, I thank the chairman for the 
generous introduction.
  I rise in support of this, the first of 12 appropriations bills that 
I hope to bring to the floor under regular order. Although we received 
the President's budget nearly 2 months beyond the deadline, I have 
every intention of drafting and considering all 12 appropriations 
measures in a timely fashion and in the traditional open process that 
allows all Members to have their say in how taxpayer dollars should be 
spent.
  As we kick off the appropriations season on the floor today, we face 
some of the most challenging circumstances in recent memory--a tardy 
Presidential budget, a divided Congress, the ham-handed cuts of 
sequestration, and historically low funding levels.
  Given our tight budget, my committee has and will continue to 
prioritize funding in areas of the highest national need--our security 
and enforcement of law. However, virtually all areas of the government 
will face cuts this year, including critical national security 
programs.
  Clearly, this is an austere budget year, to put it mildly. Our top 
line number is severely low and billions apart from the Senate's 
number. It is my sincere hope that there will soon be a budget 
compromise that will undo the harmful sequestration law and give us a 
single common top line allocation that we can work with the Senate to 
pass all of the funding of the government.
  In spite of all this, I want to reiterate my commitment to regular 
order. This is not a pie-in-the-sky endeavor. It's what our Founding 
Fathers wanted and directed in the Constitution. Under regular order, 
each of my esteemed colleagues in this body will have their chance to 
put their stamp on this bill, to have their voices heard and 
represented on these must-pass bills.
  We have a lot of work to do in a very limited amount of time, so I 
suggest we get down to it. Today, we are considering the Military 
Construction and VA bill, a truly bipartisan effort that this entire 
body can and should support.
  This bill funds critical Department of Defense infrastructure that 
gives our men and women in uniform the quality of life they deserve, 
including hospitals, schools, and family housing. This bill also 
includes $63.1 billion to provide our veterans with the benefits and 
care they've earned for their service.
  Notably, we support medical treatment for 6.5 million veterans, 
including funding for traumatic brain injury treatment, suicide 
prevention, and important mental health care programs.
  This bill also addresses two of the VA's biggest problems, Madam 
Chairman--the disgraceful disability claims backlog and the lack of a 
seamless coordinated Department of Defense-Veterans electronic health 
record system.

                              {time}  1510

  The bill includes funding that will jump-start efforts to clean up 
the backlog and force DOD and VA to get moving on a system that should 
have been in place years ago.
  But this is not the easiest of budget times. While most of the 
funding in this bill is not subject to sequestration, we could not in 
good conscience let a single dollar in this bill go to waste. Every 
nickel and dime appropriated was carefully assessed to ensure these 
funds are used properly, efficiently and responsibly.
  We took the difficult but responsible step to reduce military 
construction funding to offset the increases in VA spending, but we 
made these reductions without affecting military readiness or 
effectiveness. To make sure that our careful work in this bill does not 
go to waste, we've implemented strict oversight protocols, and we have 
included certain benchmarks to help guarantee that disability claims 
are not piling up again and that we aren't throwing away precious 
taxpayer dollars as we try to get this DOD-VA electronic health records 
system up and running.
  Before concluding, Madam Chairman, I would like to spend a half-
minute here thanking the chairman of the MilCon Subcommittee on our 
committee, John Culberson, for his time and attention to this bill and 
for his dedication and perseverance, as well as to thank the work of 
the ranking member, Mr. Bishop. These two gentlemen of the House, 
dedicated appropriators, have spent untold hours working with each 
other to try to come to agreement on the items in this bill. It has 
worked, and it is a good example, perhaps the best I can think of, in 
which we see that bipartisanship in support of our military and our 
veterans takes place. So I want to congratulate Mr. Culberson and Mr. 
Bishop for a job well done, and we thank you for your bipartisanship.
  Madam Chairman, I think this bill is one that Members on both sides 
of the aisle can wholeheartedly support to keep our military in 
fighting form and to give our veterans the benefits that they have so 
sincerely earned, many of them in the loss of limb, some in the loss of 
life. So I urge my colleagues to support this bill.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. At this time, I yield 3 minutes to the ranking 
member of the Appropriations Committee, who, along with the entire 
leadership and Members on this side of the aisle, is committed to this 
bipartisan work product in support of our military construction needs 
and our veterans, the distinguished gentlelady from New York (Mrs. 
Lowey).
  Mrs. LOWEY. I would like to thank distinguished Ranking Member 
Bishop. I would like to thank Chairman Culberson. I would like to thank 
Chairman Rogers. I would like to thank all of the outstanding staffs 
for putting together a really good bipartisan bill. It's an important 
bill, and I know how hard you worked together to produce a really good 
product, and we thank you.
  This bill does represent a reasonable approach and continues a long 
commitment to our veterans and our military facilities. It continues 
the bipartisan tradition of providing funding levels that Members on 
both sides of the aisle could agree are appropriate while avoiding 
contentious legislative riders that complicate passage.
  However, the Republican majority's refusal to go to conference to 
forge a bipartisan agreement on the budget resolution is really 
unacceptable. This imperils this year's appropriations process, making 
it nearly impossible to move all 12 bills. Instead, it is likely that 
we will consider in the full House only a few bills with reasonable 
allocations, including MilCon-VA, while others are left in limbo 
indefinitely until we pass a continuing resolution.
  I am optimistic that this bill has a good chance of enactment as long 
as we don't attach any controversial riders, but other important 
priorities will assuredly suffer. While veterans programs are exempt 
from sequestration, $73.3 billion provided in the bill largely mirrors 
the administration's request and does not reflect sequestration even 
for the portions of the bill that were not exempted. In fact, the 
differences between this bill and the administration's request are 
relatively small: an adjustment of $1.05 billion, due to bid savings 
and other project adjustments, and the misguided decision not to 
provide $185 million for the requested 2014 civilian pay raise.
  If the MilCon-VA bill assumes the sequester cuts have been replaced, 
why

[[Page H3053]]

can't we join with the administration and the Senate and assume it will 
be addressed for the other bills?
  On a positive note, this bill would better support our female 
veterans who are struggling with the trauma of sexual assault and would 
support those in need of prosthetics. It also continues to focus on the 
mental health needs of our Nation's veterans.
  The CHAIR. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. I yield the gentlelady an additional 1 minute.
  Mrs. LOWEY. The bill, which takes several steps related to the 
shameful veterans claims backlog, would hire 94 additional claims 
processors; provide $155 million for the Veterans Benefit Management 
System and $136 million for the Veterans Claims Intake Program in order 
to significantly speed up claims by converting old paper files into 
digital files; restrict funds to force DOD and the VA to use a seamless 
electronic health records system; and require the VA to provide monthly 
reports.
  We cannot accept any further excuses. The VA must make progress. This 
is a good bill. I hope we can avoid adding contentious and unnecessary 
legislative riders today, and I hope that the chairman from Kentucky's 
optimism about sequestration reflected in the allocation for the first 
bill is proven true.
  I commend the chairman and ranking member once again on their good 
work, and I urge your support.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Madam Chairman, at this time, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Nebraska (Mr. Fortenberry).
  Mr. FORTENBERRY. First, let me thank Chairman Culberson for his 
stalwart leadership on this important bipartisan measure. Let me also 
thank Ranking Member Bishop as well for his leadership and support.
  Madam Chair, many people in America want Congress to find 
constructive solutions, seek good answers, overcome problems, and say 
``yes'' to our essential needs. While Congress is stuck on certain 
areas, this bill takes a bipartisan step forward in defense of our 
country and in service to our veterans. This bill says ``yes'' in a 
bipartisan manner to meet our Department of Defense infrastructure 
needs and to properly care for those who have served us so well, our 
veterans.
  The bill spends a little bit less than the President asked for and a 
little bit more than last year. Projects that are not justifiable are 
removed, but others receive increases. The bill also pushes forward, as 
we've heard, a seamless transition of care when our warfighters leave 
active service by integrating their medical records and expeditiously 
dealing with a very serious claims backlog. I am pleased as well that 
my colleagues have continued funding for the headquarters construction 
of the United States Strategic Command. STRATCOM is an important force 
in protecting our Nation from nuclear threats.
  Madam Chair, we need to continue to work hard and smart to reduce 
budgets while also delivering essential policy services that are 
necessary and fundamental at the Federal level. I think that this bill 
accomplishes that goal. I think we also accomplish the goal of doing 
what is just and what is right.

                              {time}  1520

  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. At this time, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Price), the ranking member of the 
Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security and a distinguished 
member of the MilCon-VA Subcommittee.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. I thank my colleague for yielding.
  Madam Chairman, I rise today in qualified support of the fiscal year 
2014 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies 
Appropriations bill.
  I want to thank Chairman Culberson and Ranking Member Bishop for 
their leadership and commend my colleagues on the Appropriations 
Committee for a cordial, timely, and deliberative process.
  I have to caution, however, that this bill's relatively generous 
allocation must be viewed in the context of the overall fiscal year 
2014 appropriations process. To get workable allocations for the two 
appropriations bills we will consider this week, the majority has 
drastically underfunded other critical appropriations bills, from 
educational research, to health care, to repairing and maintaining our 
Nation's crumbling infrastructure.
  Earlier today, I joined with many colleagues to vote against the rule 
providing for consideration of the bill before us, because the 
resolution requires this body to carry out the fiscal year 2014 
appropriations process within the framework of the so-called ``Ryan 
budget,'' which doubles down on sequestration and will have devastating 
consequences as our Nation continues its economic recovery.
  So the overall appropriations process is in deep trouble. But the 
bill before us gives the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs 
adequate resources to address several critical challenges faced by our 
military and veterans community. I'm particularly pleased the bill 
would fully fund the President's request for military construction 
projects at Fort Bragg, which is adjacent to my district.
  The bill also provides critical funding for the Department of 
Veterans Affairs to assure that those who have served our country 
receive the benefits and services that they need and deserve. Our 
subcommittee paid particular heed to the ongoing disabilities claims 
backlog issue at the VA. The bill provides nearly $300 million for the 
continued implementation of electronic management systems and improved 
processing of both new and existing claims.
  I'm also pleased the bill provides robust funding for medical and 
prosthetic research, suicide prevention and mental health treatment, 
addressing unacceptable levels of unemployment among veterans, and 
pressing to end veteran homelessness.
  The CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. I yield the gentleman an additional 30 
seconds.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. These are priorities, and this is a bill 
I hope all of our colleagues will be able to support.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Madam Chairman, at this time I yield 2 minutes to a 
distinguished and valued member of our subcommittee, the gentleman from 
Florida (Mr. Diaz-Balart).
  Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Madam Chairman, I rise today in strong support of 
the fiscal year 2014 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and 
Related Agencies Appropriations bill.
  Let me first of all thank Chairman Culberson and your staff. You've 
done a spectacular job. This has been among the most inclusive 
processes that I've ever been involved with. So thank you.
  Madam Chairwoman, this bill includes almost $10 billion for critical 
military construction projects, as well as imperative funding for the 
NATO Security Investment Fund.
  Our bill fully funds the fiscal year 2014 National Guard and Reserve 
construction programs as requested, by the way, as well as fully 
funding the family housing construction program.
  The bill also includes $55.6 billion in fiscal year 2015 advanced 
appropriations for VA medical care, the level approved in the House 
budget resolution and the same, by the way, as was actually requested.
  This bill provides targeted funding for various information 
technology programs to ensure that the VA can tackle the enormous 
backlog of compensation claims, something that this chair and Chairman 
Rogers have already talked about.
  These funds will provide the resources that the VA indicates it 
requires to meet its goals of ending the disability compensation claims 
backlog by 2015.
  Additionally, it includes stringent reporting requirements for the VA 
so the Members of Congress and the American people can have direct 
oversight on the progress of the claims backlog.
  The committee also included report language to address the issue of 
prescription painkiller abuse.
  This important bill also funds critical programs like the American 
Battle Monuments Commission, the United States Court of Appeals for 
Veteran Claims, as well as cemeterial expenses, including Arlington 
National Cemetery.
  So I thank the chairman and urge my colleagues to join me in 
supporting this very important piece of legislation that has been done 
in a very bipartisan way.

[[Page H3054]]

  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. At this time, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Texas (Mr. Cuellar), a distinguished member of the 
Appropriations Committee.
  Mr. CUELLAR. Madam Chair, I've been concerned also, as my ranking 
member and as the chairman also of the committee, the gentleman from 
Texas, about the claims backlog that exists at the VA.
  Veterans of all generations deserve a benefits system that is easy to 
navigate and responsive to their needs. Currently, the VA is still 
experiencing a huge backlog in processing claims. As of May 2013, the 
VA claims totaled 843,000, with more than two-thirds that have been 
pending over 125 days.
  Currently, in my congressional district, we're working with over 205 
veterans: 60 them are from Laredo, 30 of them from the valley, and 115 
in San Antonio with outstanding claims with the VA that have been 
unresolved for 18 to 24 months, which is unacceptable and shameful.
  I am pleased that the chairman and the ranking member have worked in 
a bipartisan manner to make sure the Veterans Benefits Administration 
is able to support 20,851 claims processors.
  Additionally, the bill includes the necessary funding so that old 
claims filed on paper can be converted to digital files, making them 
more accessible and researchable.
  I also support the inclusion of the monthly reporting requirement of 
the claims backlog, so that way we can put performance measures also to 
make sure that we get rid of this backlog.
  Finally, I know also my good friend will be having another amendment 
that I support with him, which is that if the VA doesn't do its work, I 
think some of those bureaucrats should have their pay cut; because if 
the veterans are not getting their benefits, then I think that should 
affect the bureaucrats also.
  I want to the thank the chairman and the ranking member for all their 
good work on this bipartisan bill, and I appreciate their efforts to 
ensure that veterans receive their benefits.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Madam Chairman, I yield myself just a moment to 
particularly point out and thank my friend from Laredo.
  Mr. Cuellar and I have worked together since 1986 in the Texas 
Legislature. The people of the United States often read in the national 
press that Democrats and Republicans don't get along. That's just 
simply not true. Henry Cuellar and I have been the best of friends 
since 1986. Mr. Bishop and I worked together beautifully on this 
subcommittee. This bill is a great example of bipartisan cooperation, 
and it's a privilege to work on this committee where we really don't 
pay attention to party labels as we try to do what is best for the 
country.
  At this time, Madam Chairman, it's my privilege to yield 2 minutes to 
the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Gingrey) for the purpose of a colloquy.
  Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. First of all, I want to thank the chairman, 
my colleague from Texas, for putting together this critical bill. I 
know that Mr. Culberson has been a longtime advocate for the best care 
possible for our Nation's veterans, and I thank the chairman of the 
subcommittee for his continued leadership and, of course, that of the 
ranking member, my Georgia colleague, Mr. Bishop.
  Madam Chair, I rise today to bring attention to the recent tragic 
events at the Atlanta VA Medical Center. According to an April report 
by the inspector general and continued news stories, mismanagement and 
lack of oversight at the Atlanta facility contributed to at least four 
deaths. Additionally, the Atlanta VA Medical Center has admitted that 
the combination of a large volume of patients and a lack of appropriate 
tracking has led to patients ``slipping through the cracks.''
  The mental health unit at the Atlanta VA Medical Center has been of 
particular concern and is at the center of these recent tragedies. 
Mental health is a critical component of care for our veterans, and as 
our soldiers continue to return home from war, we must ensure that 
they're receiving the attention and care that they deserve.
  I would ask that as this bill moves forward, Madam Chair, to the 
Senate and to conference, that the chairman and the ranking member join 
me and the chairman of the authorizing committee to get answers from 
the Department of Veterans Affairs as to why we have yet to see those 
responsible held accountable and what changes the Atlanta VA Medical 
Center is going to make.
  And I ask that question of the subcommittee chair.

                              {time}  1530

  Mr. CULBERSON. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Madam Chairman, I would say to the gentleman from 
Georgia that both Mr. Bishop and I and the subcommittee are keenly 
aware of these terrible tragedies in Atlanta and the very critical and 
important inspector general's report, and we intend to aggressively 
pursue the recommendations in the inspector general's report and work 
with you and the delegation from Georgia to ensure that this does not 
happen again.
  Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. Madam Chair, I thank the chairman.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. May I inquire how much time remains on our 
side?
  The CHAIR. The gentleman from Georgia has 12\1/2\ minutes remaining. 
The gentleman from Texas has 6 minutes remaining.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. At this time I'm delighted to yield 2 minutes 
to the gentlelady from Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee).
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. I thank the distinguished ranking member and 
distinguished chairman, and I know that they have worked 
collaboratively together on behalf of our veterans, so I rise in 
recognition of the important work that they have done and to compliment 
them for the work that involves fully funding the military construction 
and certainly something that rises every moment that I'm amongst 
veterans. Just recently, as I was in a town hall meeting and had the 
Veterans Affairs Department represented, the question came up about 
benefits. I was glad that the initiative that has been offered, all of 
us embraced it. All of us have been fighting to stop this backlog and 
to move this backlog forward. And now we see the funding of this 
initiative, and it is most important.
  I am also glad that there's a focus on jobs for veterans. I will say 
that we need to do more, because when you talk to our veterans of 
various wars, particularly the Vietnam War, there's always the sense of 
lack of employment, along with those who come in from Iraq and 
Afghanistan.
  But I do want to raise the point of what we have deemed ourselves 
into. We've deemed ourselves into a Ryan budget that causes a great 
deal of suffering: a cap of $967 billion versus the mark of $1.58 
billion that would be more helpful that was produced by the consensus 
during the Budget Control Act. Basically, we are ignoring the suffering 
of the middle class, and we're allowing the sequestration to run 
rampant over those who are in need.
  I can particularly say to you that teachers and schools in Texas are 
losing $67.8 million in education for children with disabilities; $51 
million for 620 teachers. Head Start is going kaput with 4,800 children 
losing their seat. Military readiness is being challenged in Texas with 
52,000 civilian Department of Defense employees furloughed. In law 
enforcement and public safety funds, Texas will lose $1.103 million.
  And then when we look at the United States, we go far and beyond 
that. We're looking at the fires in the West, the devastation of what 
happened in West, Texas, and the tornadoes. And we see, for the Coast 
Guard, there's a 25 percent reduction. This is a crisis.
  The CHAIR. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. I yield the gentlewoman an additional 30 
seconds.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. This is a crisis not only in the making, Madam 
Chair, but it is a crisis that is going forward. Whether we're talking 
about the National Institutes of Health or the Centers for Disease 
Control, my main concern is that the middle class is suffering from the 
sequestration.
  The Ryan budget cannot be deemed the appropriations cap as we go 
through this process of appropriations. There is a desperate need of 
responding to the middle class, allowing for the continuation of job 
creation, making

[[Page H3055]]

sure that we do not lose 125,000 in section 8 vouchers, rural rental 
assistance, or the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.


                    NEGATIVE IMPaCT OF SEQUESTration

  The middle class are suffering and they need help. We need to stop 
the sequestration--now.
  In Texas--
  The state of Texas will greatly be affected by sequestration in the 
following ways:
  Teachers and Schools: Texas will lose approximately $67.8 million for 
primary and secondary education, putting around 930 teacher and aide 
jobs at risk. In addition about 172,000 fewer students would be served 
and approximately 280 fewer schools would receive funding.
  Education for Children With Disabilities: Texas will lose 
approximately $51 million for about 620 teachers, aides, and staff who 
help children with disabilities.
  Head Start: Head Start and Early Head Start services would be 
eliminated for approximately 4,800 children in Texas, reducing access 
to critical early education.
  Military Readiness: In Texas, approximately 52,000 civilian 
Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay 
by around $274.8 million in total.
  Law Enforcement and Public Safety Funds: Texas will lose about 
$1,103,000 in Justice Assistance Grants that support law enforcement, 
prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and 
community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, and crime victim 
and witness initiatives.
  Job Search Assistance: Around 83,750 fewer Texans will get the help 
and skills they need to find employment as Texas will lose about 
$2,263,000 for job search assistance, referral, and placement, meaning.
  Child Care: Up to 2300 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could 
lose access to child care, which is also essential for working parents 
to hold down a job.
  Vaccines for Children: In Texas around 9,730 fewer children will 
receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, 
whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for 
vaccinations.
  Violence Against Women Grants: Texas could lose up to $543,000 to 
provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 
2,100 fewer victims being served.
  Public Health: Texas will lose approximately $2,402,000 to help 
upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including 
infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, 
nuclear, and radiological events. In addition, Texas will lose about 
$6,750,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, 
resulting in around 2,800 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. 
And the Texas State Department of Public Health will lose about 
$1,146,000 resulting in around 28,600 fewer HIV tests.
  In the U.S.A.--
  Across-the-board cuts from sequestration began in March, and the 
detrimental effects are gradually coming into focus. These cuts are 
diminishing the effectiveness of federal initiatives, with a direct 
impact on the lives of virtually every American. Highlights of specific 
cuts to vital services and investments that have been documented to 
date are outlined below.
     Public Safety
  1. Wildland Fire: U.S. Forest Service understaffed and under-equipped 
for fire season with 500 fewer firefighters, 50-70 fewer fire engines, 
and 2 fewer aircraft.
  2. U.S. Coast Guard: 25 percent reduction in training, maintenance 
and drug interdiction patrols.
  3. Extreme Weather: A 3-6 month delay in NOAA's weather satellite 
launch will increase costs and risk of inaccurate forecasts.
  4. U.S. Park Police: Up to 10,640 combined furlough days for officers 
leave national landmarks understaffed and increase response time for 
emergencies.
  5. Food Safety: Fewer FDA inspections, increasing risk of food-borne 
illness, even as Congress demands stricter food safety standards.
     Health
  1. National Institutes of Health:
  $1.5 billion cut from life-saving research projects,
  Estimated loss of more than 20,000 jobs and $3 billion in economic 
activity.
  2. Centers for Disease Control: $285 million cut from research to 
detect and combat disease outbreaks, facilitate immunizations, plan for 
public health emergencies, conduct HIV/AIDS tests, and more.
  3. Environmental Health: More than 3,200 furloughs and layoffs delay 
cleanup from nuclear weapons development in Washington, New Mexico, 
Kentucky and Tennessee.
     Housing
  1. Section 8 Vouchers:
  a. 125,000 fewer vouchers.
  b. 750 Public Housing Authorities terminating tenants within 3 
months.
  2. Rural rental assistance: 15,000 aid recipients affected, usually 
elderly, disabled, or single mothers.
  3. Community Development Financial Institutions Fund: Up to thousands 
fewer units of affordable housing built.
     Education and Science
  1. Head Start and Early Head Start:
  70,000 children will lose access,
  Thousands of layoffs of teachers and aides.
  2. Impact Aid: $68 million cut from schools that educate 950,000 
children of military members, or who are otherwise federally connected, 
resulting in layoffs and larger class sizes.
  3. Research: 1,000 fewer National Science Foundation grants and 
thousands fewer jobs.
     National Security
  1. Defense: $37 billion in FY13, largest drag on broader economic 
growth, includes:
  a. Cancelled deployment of aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman,
  b. Cancelled Army training rotations,
  c. Grounded Air Force squadrons,
  d. 800,000 civilian employees facing furloughs of 11 days, and
  e. Reduced equipment and facilities maintenance.
  2. Defense Health Program (DHP): $2.6 billion reduction will result 
in TRICARE funding being exhausted by August and delayed payments of 
TRICARE contracts.
     The Judiciary and Legal Representation for Low-Income 
         Americans
  1. Public defenders: Up to 15 furlough days per public defender will 
delay trials and force courts to hire private attorneys for defendants 
at $125 per hour.
  2. Judiciary: 20 percent reduction in electronic monitoring & drug 
testing of offenders.
  3. Violence Against Women Grants: $20 million cut from grants for 
prevention and prosecution of violence against women.
     Senior Citizens
  1. Senior nutrition: 4 million fewer meals for low-income seniors.
  2. Social Security Administration:
  3,300 additional staff lost, increasing backlog of disability claims 
by nearly 100,000 and increasing processing time of claims to more than 
one year.
  82,000 fewer continuing disability reviews, which save $9 for every 
$1 spent.
  3. Medicare: Thousands of cancer patients turned away by cancer 
clinics due to cuts in provider payments.
     Commerce and Economic Security
  Small Business: lending guarantees drastically reduced.
  Oil and gas drilling permits: 300-400 fewer oil & gas drilling 
permits processed, 150 fewer leases issued, resulting in $150 million 
loss to taxpayers.
  Customs Border Protection: Wait times at land border ports of entry 
up to 6x longer.
  National Parks and public lands: Reductions in 900 permanent and 
1,000 seasonal positions will reduce public access and result in 
hundreds fewer trained firefighters.
  Unemployment compensation: 10.7 percent cut in weekly benefits.
  Fiscal Malpractice Results in Job Loss and Stunted Economic Growth--
The Federal Reserve announced, ``Fiscal policy is restraining economic 
growth.'' The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and independent 
economists forecast sequestration costing 750,000 jobs and a 0.6 
percent reduction in growth in 2013. While many agree we can find 
additional spending cuts in the long-term, such large cuts now--instead 
of phasing them in responsibly when the economy is stronger--amounts to 
fiscal malpractice.
  Squeaky Wheel ``Fixes'' Exacerbate Long-Term Problems--Congress acted 
to prevent furloughs of food inspectors and air traffic controllers, 
and departments and agencies are using limited transfer and 
reprogramming authority to mitigate other immediate problems caused by 
cuts. These gimmicks merely kick the can down the road, sparing short-
term pain through one-time savings that delay long-term needs like 
construction, maintenance, and training.
  These expenses will have to be repaid in future years even as the 
sequester cuts deeper into the overall budgets for these agencies. 
While industries' bottom lines were protected from flight delays and 
fewer meat inspections, infrastructure at airports will suffer this 
year, increasing needs in the future, and this year's fixes do nothing 
to address the cuts required of these same programs in the coming 
years.
  Responsible Fix is Needed--In just two short months of sequester 
cuts, the impacts are hurting our economy, increasing financial burdens 
on families, and forcing the federal government to make false choices 
between essential services. We simply cannot afford 10 years of job 
loss and stunted economic growth. Congress must replace these mindless 
cuts with a sensible and balanced plan to promote growth and reduce the 
long-term deficit and debt.
  Mr. CULBERSON. I reserve the balance of my time.

[[Page H3056]]

  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Farr), the ranking member of the Appropriations 
Subcommittee on Agriculture and a valuable member of the Subcommittee 
on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.
  Mr. FARR. Madam Chair, I thank Ranking Member Bishop for that kind 
introduction. And, Mr. Chairman, I thank you for your leadership on 
this committee. I have been on this committee since I've been on the 
Committee on Appropriations, and I'm really excited about the ability 
for us to respond to the quality of life for people in uniform and 
their families.
  This is the committee that helps the families with housing, with 
health care, with child care, with the benefit packages that the 
military allows. It's very, very important because we also have the 
responsibility for the Department of Veterans Affairs. It's the only 
one-stop in an entire Congress, because the Senate has no comparable 
committee where both the responsibility of the Active Duty and the 
veterans are in one place. You know, in this country you can't be a 
veteran unless you've first been a member of the Department of Defense, 
so it's a continuum of care.
  If you add up the budgets of both the Defense Department and veterans 
and our military construction, it's the largest of all the budgets that 
the appropriations does, so it is important that we pay a lot of 
attention to detail. We have a lot of issues dealing with not only 
Active Duty military and their living conditions, but also conditions, 
serious conditions with veterans and the backlog that veterans have.
  I think we're on the road to solving that problem. California has the 
worst backlog in the office in Oakland, but the Secretary has been 
paying a lot of attention and putting a lot of technology into it. I 
want to commend the chair and the ranking member of this committee for 
the leadership they've provided in trying to solve it.
  I also want to commend, I think the Department of Defense has the 
best capital outlay program. It's called the FYDP. It stands for fiscal 
year improvement plan or something like that. What it does, all of the 
services, whenever they need anything constructed, they have to go in 
and compete against each other, and so it's on merit. Then the project 
with the most merit moves to the top of the list. We have been able to 
take care of that in a very responsible way.
  Mr. CULBERSON. I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. Madam Chair, I yield 3 minutes to the 
distinguished gentleman from Oregon (Mr. Blumenauer) for the purpose of 
a colloquy.
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Madam Chair, I thank Mr. Bishop for his courtesy. I 
also would really like to thank you, Chairman Culberson, for your 
excellent work on this bill. This is a massive undertaking.
  One aspect here that I want to focus on is the policies. The Pentagon 
has set its sight on good policies. Not only do our troops benefit, but 
so does the American public. Nothing demonstrates this more than the 
recent Defense Department's Unified Facilities Criteria, UFC 2-100-01. 
Behind this strange-sounding title is the Pentagon's installation 
master planning document for over 500 installations around the world, 
four times the amount of space of Walmarts. This document, updated for 
the very first time since 1986, has the potential to positively impact 
every military servicemember and their families by making our military 
bases more welcoming, more connected, and more livable.
  However, the UFC is only guidance for each branch of the military. In 
order for it to have a positive and transformative impact, we will need 
to see strong implementation guidance from each service branch. I 
believe this is a priority for the Department of Defense. Delay and 
deviation would only serve to harm or set back our military families 
who deserve nothing but the best.
  As such, I deeply appreciate the opportunity to work with the 
chairman and ranking member to include language urging the Department 
of Defense to provide an assessment of the progress and barriers to the 
implementation of UFC 2-100-01.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. I am happy to yield to the gentleman.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. The gentleman from Oregon raises a really 
important issue that the subcommittee will look into and will work to 
address in some way as we move through this process.
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Terrific. Thank you very much.

                              {time}  1540

  If I have time remaining, I was curious if the chairman of the 
subcommittee feels comfortable with working with us to make some 
progress on this implementation.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Of course we will do all we can to work together.
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Thank you. I really appreciate the opportunity to 
work with you on this and look forward to making this progress for our 
military families. Thank you very much.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. Madam Chair, we have no further speakers on 
this side.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Madam Chairman, it's a pleasure to bring this bill to 
the House and to recommend it to every Member of the House to support 
this bipartisan bill to make sure that our men and women in uniform--as 
my good friend, Sam Farr, said, this is such a privilege to be on this 
committee, the only one in Congress that can ensure the quality of life 
and peace of mind of our men and women in uniform and our men and women 
who, once they've served our country, move into the VA system. And I 
would urge the adoption of the bill by the Members of the House.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. FRANKEL of Florida. Madam Chair, Jeff Calaicovo is a military 
veteran living with his loving wife in Ft. Lauderdale. He is an 
American hero who received two Purple Hearts for his courage and 
service during the Vietnam War. Jeff fought for, and suffered for this 
country, spending five months in a burn ward as a result of his 
exposure to Agent Orange.
  Today, Jeff suffers from PTSD, loss of hearing and other medical 
complications that should be covered by his veterans' benefits. But our 
claims system failed him.
  Jeff first initiated his claim in May 2011. Until his case was 
brought to my office's attention, he had made little progress towards 
receiving the benefits he deserves.
  My staff worked with Jeff over many months so that he finally will 
begin receiving his benefits after waiting nearly two years.
  Sadly, Jeff's story is not unique. The average wait time for claims 
processing is 292 days with some regional offices averaging 450 days.
  Having just returned from visiting our service men and women in 
Afghanistan, and as the mother of a Marine veteran, I know first-hand 
the sacrifices our troops make for our freedoms. Our veterans have 
fought for this country and it is time we fight for them.
  That is why I have joined my colleagues in enacting a number of 
measures that will help eliminate the veterans' claims backlog once and 
for all, in H.R. 2216, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, 
and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2014.
  These measures include finally requiring the DOD and the VA to move 
towards one integrated electronic system, requiring more frequent 
reporting to Congress on the status of claims processing, and boosting 
VA funding to allow for 94 new claims processors to tackle head on the 
disability claims backlog.
  I am confident these new measure will put us on the road towards 
eliminating an unacceptable problem that has neglected our America 
heroes.
  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Madam Chair, I rise today to express my strong 
support for funding veterans' programs. However, I am very concerned 
that this bill is part of a Republican budget that would shortchange 
other critical priorities--like education, nutrition and housing 
assistance, healthcare and medical research.
  I voted in favor of H.R. 2216, the Military Construction--VA 
Appropriations bill for FY 2014 because I believe it is critical that 
we keep our promises to our veterans. Today's legislation provides 
$157.8 billion for veterans' programs and military construction in FY 
2014, including the over $73 billion in advance appropriations for 
veterans' health care approved in last year's appropriations measure. 
It also contains $55.6 billion in advance FY 2015 funding for VA 
medical programs.
  Among other critical priorities, it provides over $290 million to 
help the VA eliminate the disability claims backlog by 2015, including 
funding for the VA's paperless process claims system. It provides $344 
million for the Pentagon and the VA to implement a joint integrated 
electronic health records system. These funds are critical: the VA has 
nearly

[[Page H3057]]

900,100 Pending disability claims and, of those, 72 percent have been 
pending for over 125 days. That is unacceptable; the backlog is causing 
serious hardships for veterans and families throughout our country, and 
it is imperative that we work with the VA to ensure that the backlog is 
eliminated and all claims are processed in a fair and timely manner.
  While I am proud to support critical funding for those who served our 
nation, I have serious concerns about the implications this bill 
carries for the rest of the appropriations process. The Republican 
Budget sets the lowest cap on discretionary spending in a decade. Non-
defense discretionary spending would be reduced even below the levels 
required under the sequester. Because of those limits, the adequate 
funding of this bill will result in inadequate funding of other 
spending bills down the line. Those other bills fund national 
priorities including education, nutrition and housing assistance, and 
programs to spur job growth. We cannot afford to abandon those 
important initiatives.
  The White House warned, in its veto threat for this legislation, that 
enacting this bill ``while adhering to the overall spending limits in 
the House Budget's top line discretionary level for fiscal year (FY) 
2014, would hurt our economy and require draconian cuts to middle-class 
priorities.'' I couldn't agree more. We need to set a realistic 
spending ceiling so that all of our national priorities receive 
adequate funding.
  The CHAIR. All time for general debate has expired.
  Pursuant to the rule, the bill shall be considered for amendment 
under the 5-minute rule.
  During consideration of the bill for amendment, the Chair may accord 
priority in recognition to a Member offering an amendment who has 
caused it to be printed in the designated place in the Congressional 
Record. Those amendments will be considered read.
  The Clerk will read.
  The Clerk read as follows:

                               H.R. 2216

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the 
     following sums are appropriated, out of any money in the 
     Treasury not otherwise appropriated, for military 
     construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related 
     agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, and 
     for other purposes, namely:

                                TITLE I

                         DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

                      Military Construction, Army

       For acquisition, construction, installation, and equipment 
     of temporary or permanent public works, military 
     installations, facilities, and real property for the Army as 
     currently authorized by law, including personnel in the Army 
     Corps of Engineers and other personal services necessary for 
     the purposes of this appropriation, and for construction and 
     operation of facilities in support of the functions of the 
     Commander in Chief, $1,099,875,000, to remain available until 
     September 30, 2018: Provided, That of this amount, not to 
     exceed $64,575,000 shall be available for study, planning, 
     design, architect and engineer services, and host nation 
     support, as authorized by law, unless the Secretary of Army 
     determines that additional obligations are necessary for such 
     purposes and notifies the Committees on Appropriations of 
     both Houses of Congress of the determination and the reasons 
     therefor.

              Military Construction, Navy and Marine Corps

       For acquisition, construction, installation, and equipment 
     of temporary or permanent public works, naval installations, 
     facilities, and real property for the Navy and Marine Corps 
     as currently authorized by law, including personnel in the 
     Naval Facilities Engineering Command and other personal 
     services necessary for the purposes of this appropriation, 
     $1,616,281,000, to remain available until September 30, 2018: 
     Provided, That of this amount, not to exceed $89,830,000 
     shall be available for study, planning, design, and architect 
     and engineer services, as authorized by law, unless the 
     Secretary of Navy determines that additional obligations are 
     necessary for such purposes and notifies the Committees on 
     Appropriations of both Houses of Congress of the 
     determination and the reasons therefor.

                    Military Construction, Air Force

       For acquisition, construction, installation, and equipment 
     of temporary or permanent public works, military 
     installations, facilities, and real property for the Air 
     Force as currently authorized by law, $1,127,273,000, to 
     remain available until September 30, 2018: Provided, That of 
     this amount, not to exceed $11,314,000 shall be available for 
     study, planning, design, and architect and engineer services, 
     as authorized by law, unless the Secretary of Air Force 
     determines that additional obligations are necessary for such 
     purposes and notifies the Committees on Appropriations of 
     both Houses of Congress of the determination and the reasons 
     therefor.

                  Military Construction, Defense-Wide

                     (including transfer of funds)

       For acquisition, construction, installation, and equipment 
     of temporary or permanent public works, installations, 
     facilities, and real property for activities and agencies of 
     the Department of Defense (other than the military 
     departments), as currently authorized by law, $3,707,923,000, 
     to remain available until September 30, 2018: Provided, That 
     such amounts of this appropriation as may be determined by 
     the Secretary of Defense may be transferred to such 
     appropriations of the Department of Defense available for 
     military construction or family housing as the Secretary may 
     designate, to be merged with and to be available for the same 
     purposes, and for the same time period, as the appropriation 
     or fund to which transferred: Provided further, That of the 
     amount appropriated, not to exceed $237,838,000 shall be 
     available for study, planning, design, and architect and 
     engineer services, as authorized by law, unless the Secretary 
     of Defense determines that additional obligations are 
     necessary for such purposes and notifies the Committees on 
     Appropriations of both Houses of Congress of the 
     determination and the reasons therefor: Provided further, 
     That of the amount appropriated, notwithstanding any other 
     provision of law, $38,513,000 shall be available for payments 
     to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for the planning, 
     design, and construction of a new North Atlantic Treaty 
     Organization headquarters.


               Amendment Offered by Mr. Broun of Georgia

  Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       Page 4, line 14, after the dollar amount, insert ``(reduced 
     by $38,513,000)''
       Page 5, line 6, after the dollar amount, insert ``(reduced 
     by $38,513,000)''.
       Page 63, line 6, after the dollar amount, insert 
     ``(increased by $38,513,000)''.

  The CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Madam Chairman, my amendment would zero out our 
contribution to the brand-new NATO headquarters in Brussels and 
transfer that amount, more than $38 million, to the spending reduction 
account to help us deal with our debt.
  This line item within the bill is the very definition of ridiculous. 
The U.S. is furloughing civilian military personnel and sacrificing our 
own military readiness here at home, policies with which I disagree. 
And yet, here we are, sending millions of dollars overseas to build a 
lavish new headquarters for the international bureaucrats in NATO.
  Madam Chairman, the planned NATO headquarters is an unfortunate 
example of excess and waste. While every NATO member-nation is cutting 
back on overall spending, the new headquarters remains on track as a 
monument to bureaucracy. In total, the building will cost well over $1 
billion to build, and it's taken 13 years just to finalize the plans.
  If we are serious about confronting our spending problem, we must 
fundamentally re-evaluate our priorities. We don't need to help NATO 
build a new headquarters. We need to ask what are we doing in NATO in 
the first place. The Cold War is over. It's time to stop policing 
Europe and start worrying about our deficit.
  I encourage all Members to support this commonsense amendment to help 
us reduce our spending and to pay off our unsustainable debt.
  Madam Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. CULBERSON. I rise in opposition to the amendment.
  The CHAIR. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. CULBERSON. I share my colleague from Georgia's passion and 
commitment to reduce the deficit to avoid passing on this debt to our 
children. This bill has bipartisan support. It has been put together 
very carefully to ensure that we're supporting our men and women in 
uniform, and I'm looking forward to finding ways to save money in other 
parts of the appropriations bill and in the parts of the budget that 
are actually, truly crushing our kids with debt and deficit.
  It's the social safety net that has grown so tremendously that is 
causing the greatest burden on our kids, the Social Security and 
Medicare and Medicaid. The growth of these programs has been so 
astronomical it's swallowing up almost all of our national income on an 
annual basis. And that's where we need to focus our attention is saving 
those programs from bankruptcy. In fact, that's where we will really 
save the big money for our children in the future.
  Medicare is in such dire straits that if you're 54 years of age or 
younger, the Medicare hospital fund can only pay about 50 cents on the 
dollar of the benefits that have been promised. So the

[[Page H3058]]

Medicare program, for all intents and purposes, for people that are 54 
years of age or younger, is bankrupt.
  And the Social Security program, if you're 47 years of age or 
younger, that program is bankrupt because it can only pay about 60 
cents on the dollar.
  So we've got to, as a Congress, in order to save our Nation from 
bankruptcy, to save our kids from crushing levels of taxation, to 
prevent this mountain of debt from being passed on to our children, 
save Medicare and Social Security from bankruptcy. And that's what 
Congressman Ryan, chairman of the Budget Committee is working on. 
Congressman Sam Johnson from the Ways and Means Committee is working on 
legislation to save Social Security, and that's where we're going to 
save the big money.
  On things like NATO, we have over 600,000 troops in Europe. We have 
127 military installations. I am no fan of the United Nations, but NATO 
has served a vital role since the end of World War II in preserving the 
peace in Europe. We've expanded NATO membership now to the former 
countries of Eastern Europe that were behind the Iron Curtain.
  It was NATO and the leadership of President Ronald Reagan and the 
resolute courage of our men and women in uniform that led to the fall 
of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the Iron Curtain. But for NATO, 
but for that strategic alliance, we may still be facing Communist 
Russia. Today the Soviet Union is gone, the Iron Curtain is gone, and 
many of those nations that were once in the Soviet Bloc are members of 
NATO.
  So with great respect for my colleague from Georgia and his 
conservative commitment to balance the budget, let us focus on saving 
Social Security and Medicare from bankruptcy, first and foremost, as 
the most effective, long-term way to save the Nation from bankruptcy 
and to get us back on track to a balanced budget.
  Look for other opportunities to save money in our multiple 
appropriations bills that are coming up, but not at the expense of a 
great strategic alliance that has served this Nation well since the end 
of World War II.
  I'd urge my colleagues to vote against this amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. I move to strike the last word.
  The CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. I'd like to join my distinguished chair in 
opposition to this amendment.
  I certainly appreciate and understand the gentleman from Georgia's 
commitment to reducing the deficit. The deficit is something that is 
undermining the economic foundation of this Nation. It is like a cancer 
that is eating away at us, and we have to do all that we can to reduce 
that deficit and get us on track to a balanced budget.
  However, I suspect that this amendment, while well intentioned, may 
be penny-wise and pound-foolish because NATO, this account from which 
these funds will be taken, supports a strategic alliance that has 
helped to protect the American people.
  Just over the last decade, NATO has been our strategic partner in the 
war against terrorism in Iraq and in Afghanistan and in our efforts to 
protect the American people and to protect us abroad.

                              {time}  1550

  We simply cannot afford to turn our backs on our allies who have 
stuck with us and who have supported us in our efforts to protect this 
world from the bad actors in the war against terrorism. And as a result 
of that, I reluctantly oppose the gentleman's amendment, while 
understanding and commending him for his commitment toward deficit 
reduction.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman 
from Georgia (Mr. Broun).
  The question was taken; and the Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Madam Chair, I demand a recorded vote.
  The CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further proceedings on 
the amendment offered by the gentleman from Georgia will be postponed.
  The Clerk will read.
  The Clerk read as follows:

               Military Construction, Army National Guard

       For construction, acquisition, expansion, rehabilitation, 
     and conversion of facilities for the training and 
     administration of the Army National Guard, and contributions 
     therefor, as authorized by law, $315,815,000, to remain 
     available until September 30, 2018: Provided, That of the 
     amount appropriated, not to exceed $24,005,000 shall be 
     available for study, planning, design, and architect and 
     engineer services, as authorized by law, unless the Director 
     of the Army National Guard determines that additional 
     obligations are necessary for such purposes and notifies the 
     Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress of 
     the determination and the reasons therefor.

               Military Construction, Air National Guard

       For construction, acquisition, expansion, rehabilitation, 
     and conversion of facilities for the training and 
     administration of the Air National Guard, and contributions 
     therefor, as authorized by law, $107,800,000, to remain 
     available until September 30, 2018: Provided, That of the 
     amount appropriated, not to exceed $13,400,000 shall be 
     available for study, planning, design, and architect and 
     engineer services, as authorized by law, unless the Director 
     of the Air National Guard determines that additional 
     obligations are necessary for such purposes and notifies the 
     Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress of 
     the determination and the reasons therefor.

                  Military Construction, Army Reserve

       For construction, acquisition, expansion, rehabilitation, 
     and conversion of facilities for the training and 
     administration of the Army Reserve as authorized by law, 
     $174,060,000, to remain available until September 30, 2018: 
     Provided, That of the amount appropriated, not to exceed 
     $14,212,000 shall be available for study, planning, design, 
     and architect and engineer services, as authorized by law, 
     unless the Chief of the Army Reserve determines that 
     additional obligations are necessary for such purposes and 
     notifies the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of 
     Congress of the determination and the reasons therefor.

                  Military Construction, Navy Reserve

       For construction, acquisition, expansion, rehabilitation, 
     and conversion of facilities for the training and 
     administration of the reserve components of the Navy and 
     Marine Corps as authorized by law, $32,976,000, to remain 
     available until September 30, 2018: Provided, That of the 
     amount appropriated, not to exceed $2,540,000 shall be 
     available for study, planning, design, and architect and 
     engineer services, as authorized by law, unless the Secretary 
     of Navy determines that additional obligations are necessary 
     for such purposes and notifies the Committees on 
     Appropriations of both Houses of Congress of the 
     determination and the reasons therefor.

                Military Construction, Air Force Reserve

       For construction, acquisition, expansion, rehabilitation, 
     and conversion of facilities for the training and 
     administration of the Air Force Reserve as authorized by law, 
     $45,659,000, to remain available until September 30, 2018: 
     Provided, That of the amount appropriated, not to exceed 
     $2,229,000 shall be available for study, planning, design, 
     and architect and engineer services, as authorized by law, 
     unless the Chief of the Air Force Reserve determines that 
     additional obligations are necessary for such purposes and 
     notifies the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of 
     Congress of the determination and the reasons therefor.

                   North Atlantic Treaty Organization

                      Security Investment Program

       For the United States share of the cost of the North 
     Atlantic Treaty Organization Security Investment Program for 
     the acquisition and construction of military facilities and 
     installations (including international military headquarters) 
     and for related expenses for the collective defense of the 
     North Atlantic Treaty Area as authorized by section 2806 of 
     title 10, United States Code, and Military Construction 
     Authorization Acts, $199,700,000, to remain available until 
     expended.


               Amendment Offered by Mr. Broun of Georgia

  Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Madam Chairman, I have an amendment at the 
desk.
  The CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       Page 8, line 12, after the dollar amount, insert ``(reduced 
     to $0)''.
       Page 63, line 6, after the dollar amount, insert 
     ``(increased by $199,700,000)''.

  The CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. BROUN of Georgia. My amendment would totally zero out the North 
Atlantic Treaty Organization Security Investment Program and transfer 
its nearly $200 million into the spending reduction account.
  The world has changed dramatically since the creation of NATO. Its 
mission, as stated by the first Secretary General, Lord Ismay, is ``to 
keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.'' I have 
a hard time seeing how this is relevant to our post-Soviet world and a 
post-Cold War world.

[[Page H3059]]

  In this modern age and in this time of domestic fiscal emergency, it 
makes no sense for the United States to manage the defense of Europe 
through NATO. And it certainly makes no sense for us to pay such a 
large share of it. It's time for us to wind down our involvement with 
NATO instead of making up new justifications for this defense warfare.
  Madam Chair, our Nation is broke. We have an unsustainable debt. 
We're spending money that's going to crush our children's future and 
make their future much dimmer than it is today. We have to reallocate 
our resources and put them towards what's going to deal with this 
unsustainable debt. We've got to stop this out-of-control spending. 
Both parties are guilty of doing so.
  Though some would say nearly $200 million is just a paltry amount, 
when our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines are not getting the 
finances that they need and when Americans are struggling just to make 
ends meet and we have an economy that is really hurting and jobs are 
not being created and students are not having jobs when they graduate 
from college, we have to deal with this debt that's unsustainable. This 
$200 million would be transferred into the spending reduction account 
and help us to start--just a small start--to stop this out-of-control 
spending. It's absolutely critical that we do so.
  I urge my colleagues to support this amendment, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Madam Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment 
and move to strike the last word.
  The CHAIR. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Madam Chairman, I oppose this amendment because I 
share the gentleman's concern about the debt and the deficit. As I 
mentioned a moment ago, the way we're going to save the country from 
bankruptcy and protect our kids from this crushing debt burden that 
they're about to inherit to is rescue Social Security and Medicare from 
their certain bankruptcy, which is just around the corner. The 
Republican constitutional conservative majority of this House is 
working hard to develop legislation to save those two programs from 
bankruptcy. But this amendment would zero out the funding that the 
Congress has invested in the acquisition and construction of military 
facilities and installations for NATO.
  NATO has been a vital part of our Nation's security since the end of 
World War II. We have over 600,000 men and women in uniform in Europe 
who depend on the resources that this Congress provides to them, in 
part, through the work of NATO. We have 127 military installations in 
Europe that depend, in part, on the work that is done through our 
contribution to NATO.
  If the gentleman offers an amendment later on, for example, on the 
foreign operations part of the bill to cut funding for the United 
Nations, I look forward to supporting that because I have no particular 
love for the United Nations. They vote against us at every chance they 
get. We contribute the majority of money that the United Nations 
receives and they happily vote against us at every opportunity.
  But when it comes to NATO, that's of strategic importance to the 
security of the United States. And while I share the gentleman's 
passion to cut the deficit and the debt, let's save it for cutting the 
United Nations and foreign aid, other than for Israel. I'm wearing 
proudly my pin of the two lone star States, the State of Texas and the 
State of Israel. Except for our funding for the great State of Israel, 
which we need to preserve and protect, I look forward to helping the 
gentleman cut foreign aid and cut funding for the United Nations, but 
not for NATO.
  I urge the House to reject this amendment.
  Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. CULBERSON. I will happily yield to my friend from Georgia.
  Mr. BROUN of Georgia. I appreciate the comments from my dear friend 
from Texas. He and I have been involved in trying to cut spending in 
many ways for a long period of time. In fact, I have a freestanding 
bill to zero out spending for the United Nations. I want to get the 
U.N. out of the U.S. and the U.S. out of the U.N. And so that's to 
come, I promise you. That will be coming. I'll give you that 
opportunity.
  And you're exactly right, Social Security and Medicare need to be 
fixed so that our senior citizens and poor people have the proper help 
that they need. And I'm all for that, too. But we've got to cut where 
we can. I'm a marine. I was deployed to Afghanistan last year as a Navy 
reservist. And I believe in a strong military. I believe in peace 
through strength. And we've got to have the strongest military in the 
world. I don't believe our military should ever be in a fair fight. We 
need to be in a fight that's overwhelming.
  But NATO is a relic of the Cold War. It's a relic that we need to 
look at. And when we have such a huge debt--almost $17 trillion--we 
need to cut wherever we can, whenever we can. I think it's extremely 
important for us to reorder our priorities, particularly across the 
world, and getting rid of this money for NATO is a way of doing that.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Madam Chairman, reclaiming my time, the gentleman is 
correct that $200 million is a lot of money, but we have to preserve 
our investment in NATO. I would point out that the former Soviet Union 
is sending submarines into the Gulf of Mexico. The former Soviet Union, 
now Russia, is aggressively sending their strategic nuclear bombers 
pushing up against the outer limits of our airspace around Guam and 
around Alaska.

                              {time}  1600

  So the Russians are no longer overtly and openly Communist, but they 
are not necessarily our friends. They and the Communist Chinese are 
aggressively attacking the United States in the cyberworld. If a state 
of war could be declared in the cyberworld, a state of war already 
exists. The Communist Chinese have already attacked us and are at war 
with the United States over the Internet and over in Russia, as well. 
They are not our friends. And we, of course, are going to look for 
every opportunity to work together with them, but NATO is a vital part 
of America's strategic security.
  I urge defeat of the gentleman's amendment and yield back the balance 
of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. I move to strike the last word.
  The CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. Again, I certainly understand and commend the 
gentleman for his commitment and his passionate support for reduction 
of the debt and the deficit, and I think that we on this side of the 
aisle join him in that quest. However, again, I submit that this 
amendment is probably one that is penny-wise and pound-foolish. We have 
an alliance with the countries in NATO. Those countries have been our 
staunch supporters in Operation Iraqi Freedom, our efforts in 
Afghanistan; and, of course, each of those NATO countries has a 
developing presence of al Qaeda just as we in the United States. So 
it's very, very important that we maintain that strategic alliance.
  This amendment would cut our share of the responsibility for NATO 
which we share with the other member countries. And I think that since 
we are deriving a mutual benefit that we should have a mutual 
responsibility to support, this joint support, and I think that it 
would not be wise for us to withdraw our aspect of that support. We 
should assume our responsibility with our allies for the mutual support 
and the mutual benefits.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman 
from Georgia (Mr. Broun).
  The amendment was rejected.
  The CHAIR. The Clerk will read.
  The Clerk read as follows:

                   Family Housing Construction, Army

       For expenses of family housing for the Army for 
     construction, including acquisition, replacement, addition, 
     expansion, extension, and alteration, as authorized by law, 
     $44,008,000, to remain available until September 30, 2018.

             Family Housing Operation and Maintenance, Army

       For expenses of family housing for the Army for operation 
     and maintenance, including debt payment, leasing, minor 
     construction, principal and interest charges, and insurance 
     premiums, as authorized by law, $512,871,000.

[[Page H3060]]

           Family Housing Construction, Navy and Marine Corps

       For expenses of family housing for the Navy and Marine 
     Corps for construction, including acquisition, replacement, 
     addition, expansion, extension, and alteration, as authorized 
     by law, $73,407,000, to remain available until September 30, 
     2018.

    Family Housing Operation and Maintenance, Navy and Marine Corps

       For expenses of family housing for the Navy and Marine 
     Corps for operation and maintenance, including debt payment, 
     leasing, minor construction, principal and interest charges, 
     and insurance premiums, as authorized by law, $389,844,000.

                 Family Housing Construction, Air Force

       For expenses of family housing for the Air Force for 
     construction, including acquisition, replacement, addition, 
     expansion, extension, and alteration, as authorized by law, 
     $76,360,000, to remain available until September 30, 2018.

          Family Housing Operation and Maintenance, Air Force

       For expenses of family housing for the Air Force for 
     operation and maintenance, including debt payment, leasing, 
     minor construction, principal and interest charges, and 
     insurance premiums, as authorized by law, $388,598,000.

         Family Housing Operation and Maintenance, Defense-Wide

       For expenses of family housing for the activities and 
     agencies of the Department of Defense (other than the 
     military departments) for operation and maintenance, leasing, 
     and minor construction, as authorized by law, $55,845,000.

         Department of Defense Family Housing Improvement Fund

       For the Department of Defense Family Housing Improvement 
     Fund, $1,780,000, to remain available until expended, for 
     family housing initiatives undertaken pursuant to section 
     2883 of title 10, United States Code, providing alternative 
     means of acquiring and improving military family housing and 
     supporting facilities.

          Chemical Demilitarization Construction, Defense-Wide

       For expenses of construction, not otherwise provided for, 
     necessary for the destruction of the United States stockpile 
     of lethal chemical agents and munitions in accordance with 
     section 1412 of the Department of Defense Authorization Act, 
     1986 (50 U.S.C. 1521), and for the destruction of other 
     chemical warfare materials that are not in the chemical 
     weapon stockpile, as currently authorized by law, 
     $122,536,000, to remain available until September 30, 2018, 
     which shall be only for the Assembled Chemical Weapons 
     Alternatives program.

               Department of Defense Base Closure Account

       For deposit into the Department of Defense Base Closure 
     Account, established by section 2906(a) of the Defense Base 
     Closure and Realignment Act of 1990 (10 U.S.C. 2687 note), as 
     amended by section 2711 of the National Defense Authorization 
     Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (Public Law 112-239), $451,357,000, 
     to remain available until expended.

                       Administrative Provisions

       Sec. 101.  None of the funds made available in this title 
     shall be expended for payments under a cost-plus-a-fixed-fee 
     contract for construction, where cost estimates exceed 
     $25,000, to be performed within the United States, except 
     Alaska, without the specific approval in writing of the 
     Secretary of Defense setting forth the reasons therefor.
       Sec. 102.  Funds made available in this title for 
     construction shall be available for hire of passenger motor 
     vehicles.
       Sec. 103.  Funds made available in this title for 
     construction may be used for advances to the Federal Highway 
     Administration, Department of Transportation, for the 
     construction of access roads as authorized by section 210 of 
     title 23, United States Code, when projects authorized 
     therein are certified as important to the national defense by 
     the Secretary of Defense.
       Sec. 104.  None of the funds made available in this title 
     may be used to begin construction of new bases in the United 
     States for which specific appropriations have not been made.
       Sec. 105.  None of the funds made available in this title 
     shall be used for purchase of land or land easements in 
     excess of 100 percent of the value as determined by the Army 
     Corps of Engineers or the Naval Facilities Engineering 
     Command, except: (1) where there is a determination of value 
     by a Federal court; (2) purchases negotiated by the Attorney 
     General or the designee of the Attorney General; (3) where 
     the estimated value is less than $25,000; or (4) as otherwise 
     determined by the Secretary of Defense to be in the public 
     interest.
       Sec. 106.  None of the funds made available in this title 
     shall be used to: (1) acquire land; (2) provide for site 
     preparation; or (3) install utilities for any family housing, 
     except housing for which funds have been made available in 
     annual Acts making appropriations for military construction.
       Sec. 107.  None of the funds made available in this title 
     for minor construction may be used to transfer or relocate 
     any activity from one base or installation to another, 
     without prior notification to the Committees on 
     Appropriations of both Houses of Congress.
       Sec. 108.  None of the funds made available in this title 
     may be used for the procurement of steel for any construction 
     project or activity for which American steel producers, 
     fabricators, and manufacturers have been denied the 
     opportunity to compete for such steel procurement.
       Sec. 109.  None of the funds available to the Department of 
     Defense for military construction or family housing during 
     the current fiscal year may be used to pay real property 
     taxes in any foreign nation.
       Sec. 110.  None of the funds made available in this title 
     may be used to initiate a new installation overseas without 
     prior notification to the Committees on Appropriations of 
     both Houses of Congress.
       Sec. 111.  None of the funds made available in this title 
     may be obligated for architect and engineer contracts 
     estimated by the Government to exceed $500,000 for projects 
     to be accomplished in Japan, in any North Atlantic Treaty 
     Organization member country, or in countries bordering the 
     Arabian Sea, unless such contracts are awarded to United 
     States firms or United States firms in joint venture with 
     host nation firms.
       Sec. 112.  None of the funds made available in this title 
     for military construction in the United States territories 
     and possessions in the Pacific and on Kwajalein Atoll, or in 
     countries within the United States Central Command Area of 
     Responsibility, may be used to award any contract estimated 
     by the Government to exceed $1,000,000 to a foreign 
     contractor: Provided, That this section shall not be 
     applicable to contract awards for which the lowest responsive 
     and responsible bid of a United States contractor exceeds the 
     lowest responsive and responsible bid of a foreign contractor 
     by greater than 20 percent: Provided further, That this 
     section shall not apply to contract awards for military 
     construction on Kwajalein Atoll for which the lowest 
     responsive and responsible bid is submitted by a Marshallese 
     contractor.
       Sec. 113.  The Secretary of Defense shall inform the 
     appropriate committees of both Houses of Congress, including 
     the Committees on Appropriations, of plans and scope of any 
     proposed military exercise involving United States personnel 
     30 days prior to its occurring, if amounts expended for 
     construction, either temporary or permanent, are anticipated 
     to exceed $100,000.
       Sec. 114.  Funds appropriated to the Department of Defense 
     for construction in prior years shall be available for 
     construction authorized for each such military department by 
     the authorizations enacted into law during the current 
     session of Congress.
       Sec. 115.  For military construction or family housing 
     projects that are being completed with funds otherwise 
     expired or lapsed for obligation, expired or lapsed funds may 
     be used to pay the cost of associated supervision, 
     inspection, overhead, engineering and design on those 
     projects and on subsequent claims, if any.
       Sec. 116.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any 
     funds made available to a military department or defense 
     agency for the construction of military projects may be 
     obligated for a military construction project or contract, or 
     for any portion of such a project or contract, at any time 
     before the end of the fourth fiscal year after the fiscal 
     year for which funds for such project were made available, if 
     the funds obligated for such project: (1) are obligated from 
     funds available for military construction projects; and (2) 
     do not exceed the amount appropriated for such project, plus 
     any amount by which the cost of such project is increased 
     pursuant to law.

                     (including transfer of funds)

       Sec. 117.  In addition to any other transfer authority 
     available to the Department of Defense, proceeds deposited to 
     the Department of Defense Base Closure Account established by 
     section 207(a)(1) of the Defense Authorization Amendments and 
     Base Closure and Realignment Act (10 U.S.C. 2687 note) 
     pursuant to section 207(a)(2)(C) of such Act, may be 
     transferred to the account established by section 2906(a)(1) 
     of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990 (10 
     U.S.C. 2687 note), to be merged with, and to be available for 
     the same purposes and the same time period as that account.

                     (including transfer of funds)

       Sec. 118.  Subject to 30 days prior notification, or 14 
     days for a notification provided in an electronic medium 
     pursuant to sections 480 and 2883 of title 10, United States 
     Code, to the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of 
     Congress, such additional amounts as may be determined by the 
     Secretary of Defense may be transferred to: (1) the 
     Department of Defense Family Housing Improvement Fund from 
     amounts appropriated for construction in ``Family Housing'' 
     accounts, to be merged with and to be available for the same 
     purposes and for the same period of time as amounts 
     appropriated directly to the Fund; or (2) the Department of 
     Defense Military Unaccompanied Housing Improvement Fund from 
     amounts appropriated for construction of military 
     unaccompanied housing in ``Military Construction'' accounts, 
     to be merged with and to be available for the same purposes 
     and for the same period of time as amounts appropriated 
     directly to the Fund: Provided, That appropriations made 
     available to the Funds shall be available to cover the costs, 
     as defined in section 502(5) of the Congressional Budget Act 
     of 1974, of direct loans or loan guarantees issued by the 
     Department of Defense pursuant to the provisions of 
     subchapter IV of chapter 169 of title 10, United States Code,

[[Page H3061]]

     pertaining to alternative means of acquiring and improving 
     military family housing, military unaccompanied housing, and 
     supporting facilities.

                     (including transfer of funds)

       Sec. 119.  In addition to any other transfer authority 
     available to the Department of Defense, amounts may be 
     transferred from the accounts established by sections 
     2906(a)(1) and 2906A(a)(1) of the Defense Base Closure and 
     Realignment Act of 1990 (10 U.S.C. 2687 note), to the fund 
     established by section 1013(d) of the Demonstration Cities 
     and Metropolitan Development Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 3374) to 
     pay for expenses associated with the Homeowners Assistance 
     Program incurred under 42 U.S.C. 3374(a)(1)(A). Any amounts 
     transferred shall be merged with and be available for the 
     same purposes and for the same time period as the fund to 
     which transferred.
       Sec. 120.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, 
     funds made available in this title for operation and 
     maintenance of family housing shall be the exclusive source 
     of funds for repair and maintenance of all family housing 
     units, including general or flag officer quarters: Provided, 
     That not more than $35,000 per unit may be spent annually for 
     the maintenance and repair of any general or flag officer 
     quarters without 30 days prior notification, or 14 days for a 
     notification provided in an electronic medium pursuant to 
     sections 480 and 2883 of title 10, United States Code, to the 
     Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress, 
     except that an after-the-fact notification shall be submitted 
     if the limitation is exceeded solely due to costs associated 
     with environmental remediation that could not be reasonably 
     anticipated at the time of the budget submission: Provided 
     further, That the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) is 
     to report annually to the Committees on Appropriations of 
     both Houses of Congress all operation and maintenance 
     expenditures for each individual general or flag officer 
     quarters for the prior fiscal year.


          Amendment No. 1 Offered by Mr. Griffith of Virginia

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

       Page 18, line 8, strike ``$35,000 per unit'' and insert 
     ``$15,000 per unit''.

  The CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. GRIFFITH of Virginia. Madam Chair, this is a simple little 
amendment. Currently, any expenditures for flag officers' general 
housing on base has to be reported if there is an expenditure in excess 
of $35,000. This lowers this number down to $15,000. It doesn't mean 
they can't do the work. It just means that if they're going to spend 
more than $15,000, they have to file a report with Congress before they 
do so.
  In this day and age where we're trying to make sure that we're 
spending the taxpayers' money wisely, this seems to be appropriate. My 
wife and I put a roof on our house a couple of years ago for about 
$15,000. If they need more than that, that's fine, but make a report to 
Congress. If there's something terribly wrong with the flooring and it 
costs more than $15,000, they can report it. But most repairs to a home 
can be done under $15,000.
  This is just simply saying, hey, tell us what you're doing so that we 
can have a more transparent expenditure and a more transparent 
government.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. CULBERSON. I rise in support of the gentleman's amendment.
  The CHAIR. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. CULBERSON. We'd be happy to accept it. I think it's more than 
reasonable to report that you're going to expend more than $15,000. 
Certainly, we want to help make sure that our officers have everything 
that they need, but it would be nice to have them report it. And I 
would be willing to accept the gentleman's amendment if my colleague 
from Georgia is in agreement.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman 
from Virginia (Mr. Griffith).
  The amendment was agreed to.
  Mr. FATTAH. Madam Chair, I move to strike the last word.
  The CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. FATTAH. I just wanted to come to the floor. I have had the 
opportunity to serve on this subcommittee under the leadership of my 
great friend from Texas and our ranking member, Congressman Bishop from 
Georgia.

                              {time}  1610

  The focus of the work is in a bipartisan process to come up with the 
best possible set of proposals to move our country forward to respond 
to our needs in terms of military construction.
  I rise today, in particular, to thank the two leaders of the 
subcommittee, and in particular, the chairman for his great leadership 
on veterans benefits. I had breakfast with General Shinseki, and the 
staff of the VA I think has been clearly moved by the ranking member 
and the chairman's insistence that we deal with the challenges around 
the backlog.
  I want to particularly note the great work in this bill on 
neuroscience and brain disorders. The chairman and I began some work 
together in the CJS appropriations process a year and a half ago, which 
has moved our country, I think, forward in terms of dealing with some 
600 different brain diseases and disorders in a much more aggressive 
fashion, and we compliment the President on the brain initiative. Right 
here in this VA bill there are actual concrete steps being taken to 
deal with posttraumatic stress, to deal with traumatic brain injury. 
And I had a Nobel Prize laureate, who has done work on TV, really come 
just to say that the focus we put on this has been so important because 
some 40 percent of our injured veterans have some type of traumatic 
brain injury or posttraumatic stress challenges that they face. I 
visited the Intrepid Center.
  So I didn't want this moment to pass without thanking the two leaders 
of the subcommittee for their work. I could go on and on about the 
Epilepsy Centers of Excellence, but I know I only have a few minutes, 
so I'll cease here. I want to thank them, because it won't necessarily 
be recorded. But in the lives of tens of thousands of our veterans and 
servicemen, differences in their life circumstances will be made for 
the positive because of what's in this bill. So thank you, and I yield 
back the balance of my time.
  The CHAIR. The Clerk will read.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       Sec. 121.  Amounts contained in the Ford Island Improvement 
     Account established by subsection (h) of section 2814 of 
     title 10, United States Code, are appropriated and shall be 
     available until expended for the purposes specified in 
     subsection (i)(1) of such section or until transferred 
     pursuant to subsection (i)(3) of such section.
       Sec. 122.  None of the funds made available in this title, 
     or in any Act making appropriations for military construction 
     which remain available for obligation, may be obligated or 
     expended to carry out a military construction, land 
     acquisition, or family housing project at or for a military 
     installation approved for closure, or at a military 
     installation for the purposes of supporting a function that 
     has been approved for realignment to another installation, in 
     2005 under the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 
     1990 (part A of title XXIX of Public Law 101-510; 10 U.S.C. 
     2687 note), unless such a project at a military installation 
     approved for realignment will support a continuing mission or 
     function at that installation or a new mission or function 
     that is planned for that installation, or unless the 
     Secretary of Defense certifies that the cost to the United 
     States of carrying out such project would be less than the 
     cost to the United States of cancelling such project, or if 
     the project is at an active component base that shall be 
     established as an enclave or in the case of projects having 
     multi-agency use, that another Government agency has 
     indicated it will assume ownership of the completed project. 
     The Secretary of Defense may not transfer funds made 
     available as a result of this limitation from any military 
     construction project, land acquisition, or family housing 
     project to another account or use such funds for another 
     purpose or project without the prior approval of the 
     Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress. This 
     section shall not apply to military construction projects, 
     land acquisition, or family housing projects for which the 
     project is vital to the national security or the protection 
     of health, safety, or environmental quality: Provided, That 
     the Secretary of Defense shall notify the congressional 
     defense committees within seven days of a decision to carry 
     out such a military construction project.

                     (including transfer of funds)

       Sec. 123.  During the 5-year period after appropriations 
     available in this Act to the Department of Defense for 
     military construction and family housing operation and 
     maintenance and construction have expired for obligation, 
     upon a determination that such appropriations will not be 
     necessary for the liquidation of obligations or for making 
     authorized adjustments to such appropriations for obligations 
     incurred during the period of availability of such 
     appropriations, unobligated balances of such appropriations 
     may be transferred into the appropriation ``Foreign Currency 
     Fluctuations, Construction, Defense'', to be merged with and 
     to be available for the same time period and for the same 
     purposes as the appropriation to which transferred.

[[Page H3062]]

       Sec. 124.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used for any action that relates to or promotes the 
     expansion of the boundaries or size of the Pinon Canyon 
     Maneuver Site, Colorado.
       Sec. 125. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), none of 
     the funds made available in this Act may be used by the 
     Secretary of the Army to relocate a unit in the Army that--
       (1) performs a testing mission or function that is not 
     performed by any other unit in the Army and is specifically 
     stipulated in title 10, United States Code; and
       (2) is located at a military installation at which the 
     total number of civilian employees of the Department of the 
     Army and Army contractor personnel employed exceeds 10 
     percent of the total number of members of the regular and 
     reserve components of the Army assigned to the installation.
       (b) Exception.--Subsection (a) shall not apply if the 
     Secretary of the Army certifies to the congressional defense 
     committees that in proposing the relocation of the unit of 
     the Army, the Secretary complied with Army Regulation 5-10 
     relating to the policy, procedures, and responsibilities for 
     Army stationing actions.

                    (including rescission of funds)

       Sec. 126.  Of the unobligated balances available for 
     ``Military Construction, Army'', from prior appropriations 
     Acts (other than appropriations designated by law as being 
     for contingency operations directly related to the global war 
     on terrorism or as an emergency requirement), $89,000,000 are 
     hereby rescinded.

                    (including rescission of funds)

       Sec. 127.  Of the unobligated balances available for 
     ``Military Construction, Navy and Marine Corps'', from prior 
     appropriations Acts (other than appropriations designated by 
     law as being for contingency operations directly related to 
     the global war on terrorism or as an emergency requirement), 
     $49,920,000 are hereby rescinded.

                    (including rescission of funds)

       Sec. 128.  Of the unobligated balances available for 
     ``Military Construction, Defense-Wide'', from prior 
     appropriations Acts (other than appropriations designated by 
     law as being for contingency operations directly related to 
     the global war on terrorism or as an emergency requirement), 
     $358,400,000 are hereby rescinded.

                    (including rescission of funds)

       Sec. 129.  Of the unobligated balances available for 
     ``Military Construction, Army'', from prior appropriations 
     Acts (other than appropriations designated by law as being 
     for contingency operations directly related to the global war 
     on terrorism or as an emergency requirement), $50,000,000 are 
     hereby rescinded.

                    (including rescission of funds)

       Sec. 130.  Of the unobligated balances available for 
     ``Military Construction, Defense-Wide'', from prior 
     appropriations Acts (other than appropriations designated by 
     law as being for contingency operations directly related to 
     the global war on terrorism or as an emergency requirement), 
     $16,470,000 are hereby rescinded.

                    (including rescission of funds)

       Sec. 131.  Of the unobligated balances available for 
     ``Military Construction, Air National Guard'', from prior 
     appropriations Acts (other than appropriations designated by 
     law as being for contingency operations directly related to 
     the global war on terrorism or as an emergency requirement), 
     $45,623,000 are hereby rescinded.

                    (including rescission of funds)

       Sec. 132.  Of the unobligated balances made available in 
     prior appropriation Acts for the fund established in section 
     1013(d) of the Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan 
     Development Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 3374) (other than 
     appropriations designated by law as being for contingency 
     operations directly related to the global war on terrorism or 
     as an emergency requirement), $50,000,000 are hereby 
     rescinded.
       Sec. 133.  Discretionary appropriations in this title are 
     hereby reduced by $4,668,000.
       Sec. 134.  Notwithstanding section 116, the Secretary of 
     Army may obligate from any available military construction 
     funds such additional funds that the Secretary determines are 
     necessary to complete the Explosive Research and Development 
     Loading Facility, Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey.
       Sec. 135.  For an additional amount for ``Military 
     Construction, Navy and Marine Corps'', $75,000,000, to remain 
     available until September 30, 2018: Provided, That 
     notwithstanding any other provision of law, such funds may be 
     obligated and expended to carry out planning and design and 
     construction of projects that (1) are of critical importance 
     to the Armed Forces, (2) will be conducted within the 50 
     States, and (3) were contained in the fiscal year 2014 
     portion of the future-years defense program submitted to 
     Congress under section 221 of title 10, United States Code, 
     for fiscal years 2013 through 2017 and are also contained in 
     the fiscal year 2015 portion of the future-years defense 
     program submitted under such section for fiscal years 2014 
     through 2018: Provided further, That not later than 30 days 
     after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of 
     Defense shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations of 
     both Houses of Congress an expenditure plan for funds 
     provided under this heading.

                                TITLE II

                     DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

                    Veterans Benefits Administration

                       compensation and pensions

                     (including transfer of funds)

       For the payment of compensation benefits to or on behalf of 
     veterans and a pilot program for disability examinations as 
     authorized by section 107 and chapters 11, 13, 18, 51, 53, 
     55, and 61 of title 38, United States Code; pension benefits 
     to or on behalf of veterans as authorized by chapters 15, 51, 
     53, 55, and 61 of title 38, United States Code; and burial 
     benefits, the Reinstated Entitlement Program for Survivors, 
     emergency and other officers' retirement pay, adjusted-
     service credits and certificates, payment of premiums due on 
     commercial life insurance policies guaranteed under the 
     provisions of title IV of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act 
     (50 U.S.C. App. 541 et seq.) and for other benefits as 
     authorized by sections 107, 1312, 1977, and 2106, and 
     chapters 23, 51, 53, 55, and 61 of title 38, United States 
     Code, $71,248,171,000, to remain available until expended: 
     Provided, That not to exceed $9,232,000 of the amount 
     appropriated under this heading shall be reimbursed to 
     ``General Operating Expenses, Veterans Benefits 
     Administration'' and ``Information Technology Systems'' for 
     necessary expenses in implementing the provisions of chapters 
     51, 53, and 55 of title 38, United States Code, the funding 
     source for which is specifically provided as the 
     ``Compensation and Pensions'' appropriation: Provided 
     further, That such sums as may be earned on an actual 
     qualifying patient basis, shall be reimbursed to ``Medical 
     Care Collections Fund'' to augment the funding of individual 
     medical facilities for nursing home care provided to 
     pensioners as authorized.

                         readjustment benefits

       For the payment of readjustment and rehabilitation benefits 
     to or on behalf of veterans as authorized by chapters 21, 30, 
     31, 33, 34, 35, 36, 39, 41, 51, 53, 55, and 61 of title 38, 
     United States Code, and for the payment of benefits under the 
     Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, $13,135,898,000, to 
     remain available until expended: Provided, That expenses for 
     rehabilitation program services and assistance which the 
     Secretary is authorized to provide under subsection (a) of 
     section 3104 of title 38, United States Code, other than 
     under paragraphs (1), (2), (5), and (11) of that subsection, 
     shall be charged to this account.

                   veterans insurance and indemnities

       For military and naval insurance, national service life 
     insurance, servicemen's indemnities, service-disabled 
     veterans insurance, and veterans mortgage life insurance as 
     authorized by chapters 19 and 21, title 38, United States 
     Code, $77,567,000, to remain available until expended.

                 veterans housing benefit program fund

       For the cost of direct and guaranteed loans, such sums as 
     may be necessary to carry out the program, as authorized by 
     subchapters I through III of chapter 37 of title 38, United 
     States Code: Provided, That such costs, including the cost of 
     modifying such loans, shall be as defined in section 502 of 
     the Congressional Budget Act of 1974: Provided further, That 
     during fiscal year 2014, within the resources available, not 
     to exceed $500,000 in gross obligations for direct loans are 
     authorized for specially adapted housing loans.
       In addition, for administrative expenses to carry out the 
     direct and guaranteed loan programs, $158,430,000.

            vocational rehabilitation loans program account

       For the cost of direct loans, $5,000, as authorized by 
     chapter 31 of title 38, United States Code: Provided, That 
     such costs, including the cost of modifying such loans, shall 
     be as defined in section 502 of the Congressional Budget Act 
     of 1974: Provided further, That funds made available under 
     this heading are available to subsidize gross obligations for 
     the principal amount of direct loans not to exceed 
     $2,500,000.
       In addition, for administrative expenses necessary to carry 
     out the direct loan program, $354,000, which may be paid to 
     the appropriation for ``General Operating Expenses, Veterans 
     Benefits Administration''.

          native american veteran housing loan program account

       For administrative expenses to carry out the direct loan 
     program authorized by subchapter V of chapter 37 of title 38, 
     United States Code, $1,109,000.

  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Madam Chair, I move to strike the last word.
  The CHAIR. The gentleman from Oregon is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Thank you, Madam Chair.
  As our veterans return home from Iraq and Afghanistan after 10 years 
of conflict, it's critical that they're able to get the care they need 
and deserve. Part of that care must be greater access to complementary 
and alternative medicine. Unfortunately, based on conversations I've 
had with veterans back in my district and with practitioners of 
alternative medicine, and letters I've received, it's too often 
difficult for the veterans to utilize complementary and alternative 
medicine through the VA system, even though research is showing that a 
holistic approach to treatment, including complementary and alternative 
medicine, can make a significant impact. A recent survey conducted by 
the Samueli Institute, which

[[Page H3063]]

shared its findings at a Senate Veterans' Affairs hearing 2 weeks ago, 
demonstrated how the effectiveness of drugless self-care and 
integrative practices for treatment of these conditions had immediate 
and long-lasting impacts.
  Many VA practitioners have taken note and are doing their best to 
integrate these practices. Many veterans are seeking out these 
services. Both, sadly, are encountering institutional barriers and 
limited availability.
  Given the steadfast commitment of this committee to do all it can to 
increase the quality of care for our veterans, I would sincerely 
request the chairman and ranking member to address this issue as the 
bill proceeds through the process.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. I would be happy to yield.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. The gentleman from Oregon, again, raises a 
very important issue that the subcommittee will look into, and we will 
do our best to address in some way as we move forward through this 
process.
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Thank you.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. I would be happy to yield to the gentleman.
  Mr. CULBERSON. I agree with my colleague from Georgia, and we look 
forward to working closely with you to be sure that we continue to 
address these vital issues.
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. I appreciate the hard work of the committee and the 
willingness to work with us, to be able to make sure our veterans have 
access to these services, and look forward to working with you to make 
it happen.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The CHAIR. The Clerk will read.
  The Clerk read as follows:

                     Veterans Health Administration

                            medical services

       For necessary expenses for furnishing, as authorized by 
     law, inpatient and outpatient care and treatment to 
     beneficiaries of the Department of Veterans Affairs and 
     veterans described in section 1705(a) of title 38, United 
     States Code, including care and treatment in facilities not 
     under the jurisdiction of the Department, and including 
     medical supplies and equipment, bioengineering services, food 
     services, and salaries and expenses of health care employees 
     hired under title 38, United States Code, aid to State homes 
     as authorized by section 1741 of title 38, United States 
     Code, assistance and support services for caregivers as 
     authorized by section 1720G of title 38, United States Code, 
     loan repayments authorized by section 604 of the Caregivers 
     and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 (Public Law 
     111-163; 124 Stat. 1174; 38 U.S.C. 7681 note), and hospital 
     care and medical services authorized by section 1787 of title 
     38, United States Code, $45,015,527,000, plus reimbursements, 
     shall become available on October 1, 2014, and shall remain 
     available until September 30, 2015: Provided, That 
     notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of 
     Veterans Affairs shall establish a priority for the provision 
     of medical treatment for veterans who have service-connected 
     disabilities, lower income, or have special needs: Provided 
     further, That notwithstanding any other provision of law, the 
     Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall give priority funding for 
     the provision of basic medical benefits to veterans in 
     enrollment priority groups 1 through 6: Provided further, 
     That notwithstanding any other provision of law, the 
     Secretary of Veterans Affairs may authorize the dispensing of 
     prescription drugs from Veterans Health Administration 
     facilities to enrolled veterans with privately written 
     prescriptions based on requirements established by the 
     Secretary: Provided further, That the implementation of the 
     program described in the previous proviso shall incur no 
     additional cost to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

                     medical support and compliance

       For necessary expenses in the administration of the 
     medical, hospital, nursing home, domiciliary, construction, 
     supply, and research activities, as authorized by law; 
     administrative expenses in support of capital policy 
     activities; and administrative and legal expenses of the 
     Department for collecting and recovering amounts owed the 
     Department as authorized under chapter 17 of title 38, United 
     States Code, and the Federal Medical Care Recovery Act (42 
     U.S.C. 2651 et seq.), $5,879,700,000, plus reimbursements, 
     shall become available on October 1, 2014, and shall remain 
     available until September 30, 2015.

                           medical facilities

       For necessary expenses for the maintenance and operation of 
     hospitals, nursing homes, domiciliary facilities, and other 
     necessary facilities of the Veterans Health Administration; 
     for administrative expenses in support of planning, design, 
     project management, real property acquisition and 
     disposition, construction, and renovation of any facility 
     under the jurisdiction or for the use of the Department; for 
     oversight, engineering, and architectural activities not 
     charged to project costs; for repairing, altering, improving, 
     or providing facilities in the several hospitals and homes 
     under the jurisdiction of the Department, not otherwise 
     provided for, either by contract or by the hire of temporary 
     employees and purchase of materials; for leases of 
     facilities; and for laundry services, $4,739,000,000, plus 
     reimbursements, shall become available on October 1, 2014, 
     and shall remain available until September 30, 2015.

                    medical and prosthetic research

       For necessary expenses in carrying out programs of medical 
     and prosthetic research and development as authorized by 
     chapter 73 of title 38, United States Code, $585,664,000, 
     plus reimbursements, shall remain available until September 
     30, 2015.


                  Amendment Offered by Mr. Blumenauer

  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       Page 31, line 18, after the dollar amount insert the 
     following: ``(reduced by $35,000,000) (increased by 
     $35,000,000)''.

  The CHAIR. The gentleman from Oregon is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Thank you, Madam Chair. And I do appreciate the 
courtesy that the chair and ranking member have evidenced. I appreciate 
the fact that the gentleman from Texas--we've worked not only on these 
issues, but he's played a critical role on another issue near and dear 
to my heart dealing with international water, and it's a pleasure to 
work again.
  Those efforts have saved countless lives abroad, and today, with this 
amendment, it's my hope that we can partner to improve and hopefully 
save lives right here at home.
  I helped organize, found and chair the Congressional Neuroscience 
Caucus. It's clear from our work that we find America standing on the 
precipice of discovery in neuroscience research that will lead to a 
higher quality of life for the 50 million Americans affected by 
neurological illnesses every year.

                              {time}  1620

  Conditions in neuroscience have already dwarfed other areas of health 
care expenditures, and that's before the waves of baby boomers turning 
65 at a rate of 10,000 per day for another 14 years are going to drive 
it even further. There are more people with brain disorders than all 
cancers and heart problems combined; and as society ages, this number 
will increase exponentially as will the cost to the health care system 
and the economy.
  But the importance of neuroscience isn't just about the numbers. It's 
about improving the quality of life for those affected by neurological 
trauma, and no one is more deserving of these breakthroughs than the 
returning servicemembers affected by traumatic brain injuries or 
posttraumatic stress disorder.
  As stated by General Peter Chiarelli, now the CEO of One Mind for 
Research and the 32nd chief of staff of the Army, TBI and PTSD have 
accounted for 36 percent of the disabling injuries suffered by soldiers 
in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is convinced, as I think most of us in 
Congress are, that we must do all we can to help our veterans because 
these invisible wounds have devastating and long-lasting impacts.
  The amendment before the committee is identical to the one that I and 
Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers, who is my cochair of the Neuroscience 
Caucus, offered and had adopted in last year's MilCon-VA appropriations 
bill.
  The amendment aims to ensure that the Veterans Administration 
continues to have the resources it needs to find innovative new 
medicines and enhanced diagnostics for what can truly be termed an 
``epidemic.'' The amendment does not increase or decrease any accounts 
in the appropriations bill. It simply requires that no less than $35 
million of the Medical and Prosthetic Research account goes towards 
posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury so that we can 
expedite the cure for Active Duty personnel and veterans suffering from 
the effects of brain and psychological trauma incurred during their 
service.
  The amendment, I hope, symbolizes a commitment from this Congress 
that, even in the midst of sequestration and tight budgets, we will not 
yield on this critical issue and area of funding.
  In meeting with neuroscientists, I am always amazed to hear how this 
one

[[Page H3064]]

area of research often leads to positive, but unexpected, 
breakthroughs. For example, in researching depression, scientists found 
out that Prozac can help stroke victims recover motor skills more 
quickly.
  The account, the Military and Prosthetic Research, funds many 
critical areas of research with direct and indirect links to PTSD, and 
this complementary amendment ensures that these links are made and that 
research is shared to everyone's benefit. It's a commitment to using 
resources in a way that allows one scientific inquiry to seek out other 
areas of impact that will lead to breakthroughs in TBI and PTSD. These 
items demand our special attention because their effects can so easily 
harm a soldier's family and loved ones if not properly diagnosed. Early 
detection and prevention prevents chaos, hardship and, indeed, in some 
cases, a further loss of life.
  We must remember our duty to the wounded warriors who face a long 
journey to recovery. These harms may not be as visible as a missing 
limb, but can be even more damaging to a veteran's future. I urge my 
colleagues to support this amendment--a commitment from Congress to our 
servicemembers. We will continue to do all we can in developing new 
medicines and technology to improve the lives for those in need. I 
appreciate the extraordinary courtesy of the subcommittee, and 
respectfully urge adoption of the amendment.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. I yield to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Culberson).
  Mr. CULBERSON. Madam Chairman, I have no objection to the amendment.
  I want to acknowledge and thank the gentleman from Oregon for his 
long labors and support of this important work to identify and cure 
these invisible injuries that many of our soldiers have suffered as a 
result of concussion, as a result of the circumstances of battle in 
which they find themselves.
  We appreciate your good work, sir, and I will continue to work with 
you. I thank you for the amendment. I have no objection.
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. I move to strike the last word.
  The CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. The gentleman's amendment would require that 
no less than $35 million goes towards traumatic brain injury and 
posttraumatic stress disorder research from the Medical and Prosthetic 
Research account. I want to bring to the attention of this House that 
$32 million was already included for this purpose.
  I do have some concerns regarding the amendment. I understand what 
the gentleman is trying to do, and I agree that PTSD and traumatic 
brain injury are the two major problems that the VA needs to focus on. 
Tens of thousands of veterans have suffered traumatic brain injury. 
Most are mild concussions that get better within a few months, but 
serious ones and multiple concussions can raise the risk of dementia 
and other problems. The gentleman points that out rightly.
  With the tight budgets that we are facing, I am concerned, however, 
where the reduction would come from. For example, this account also 
provides for the research for prosthetics, for women's health, and for 
gulf war veterans illness. So I just want to make sure that the 
gentleman is aware that his amendment could cause shortfalls in other 
areas of research that are vital to the health care needs of our 
veterans.
  I do assure the gentleman that the subcommittee and the committee 
will work hard to try to make sure that traumatic brain injury and PTSD 
are adequately addressed with our resources available for funding 
research there.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman 
from Oregon (Mr. Blumenauer).
  The amendment was agreed to.
  The CHAIR. The Clerk will read.
  The Clerk read as follows:

                    National Cemetery Administration

       For necessary expenses of the National Cemetery 
     Administration for operations and maintenance, not otherwise 
     provided for, including uniforms or allowances therefor; 
     cemeterial expenses as authorized by law; purchase of one 
     passenger motor vehicle for use in cemeterial operations; 
     hire of passenger motor vehicles; and repair, alteration or 
     improvement of facilities under the jurisdiction of the 
     National Cemetery Administration, $250,000,000, of which not 
     to exceed $25,000,000 shall remain available until September 
     30, 2015.

                      Departmental Administration

                         general administration

                     (including transfer of funds)

       For necessary operating expenses of the Department of 
     Veterans Affairs, not otherwise provided for, including 
     administrative expenses in support of Department-Wide capital 
     planning, management and policy activities, uniforms, or 
     allowances therefor; not to exceed $25,000 for official 
     reception and representation expenses; hire of passenger 
     motor vehicles; and reimbursement of the General Services 
     Administration for security guard services, $403,023,000, of 
     which not to exceed $20,151,000 shall remain available until 
     September 30, 2015: Provided, That funds provided under this 
     heading may be transferred to ``General Operating Expenses, 
     Veterans Benefits Administration''.

      general operating expenses, veterans benefits administration

       For necessary operating expenses of the Veterans Benefits 
     Administration, not otherwise provided for, including hire of 
     passenger motor vehicles, reimbursement of the General 
     Services Administration for security guard services, and 
     reimbursement of the Department of Defense for the cost of 
     overseas employee mail, $2,455,490,000: Provided, That 
     expenses for services and assistance authorized under 
     paragraphs (1), (2), (5), and (11) of section 3104(a) of 
     title 38, United States Code, that the Secretary of Veterans 
     Affairs determines are necessary to enable entitled veterans: 
     (1) to the maximum extent feasible, to become employable and 
     to obtain and maintain suitable employment; or (2) to achieve 
     maximum independence in daily living, shall be charged to 
     this account: Provided further, That of the funds made 
     available under this heading, not to exceed $123,000,000 
     shall remain available until September 30, 2015.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Gallego

  Mr. GALLEGO. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       Page 33, line 5, after the dollar amount, insert ``(reduced 
     by $5,000,000) (increased by $5,000,000)''.

  The CHAIR. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. GALLEGO. Madam Chair, I would like to thank my long-time friend, 
even from the Texas Legislature, Representative Culberson, the chairman 
of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and 
Veterans Affairs, as well as Representative Bishop, the ranking 
Democrat on the subcommittee, for their work on these important issues.
  I rise today to offer an amendment to H.R. 2216, the appropriations 
bill for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The amendment is for the 
brave men and women who have served our country--our veterans.
  It's simple. It's common sense. It highlights job training for 
veterans, helping them to find employment. Within the general operating 
expenses for the Veterans Benefits Administration account, this would 
support funding for veterans to become employable and maintain their 
jobs to meet the workforce needs of the 21st century.
  Over the next 4 years, 1 million veterans are expected to transition 
into the workforce from the armed services. This makes this specific 
account vital to the lifeblood of decreasing our unemployment rate for 
veterans once they return home. 1.6 million veterans call Texas home, 
and 64,000 of these men and women reside in the 23rd Congressional 
District. These men and women have obtained tremendous skill sets while 
serving our country, and yet many have difficulty finding employment 
after they've completed their service. Nearly 700,000 veterans are 
unemployed. The jobless rate among our veterans is at 6.2 percent. 
Among veterans who served after 9/11, that rate increases to 7.5 
percent.
  These men and women have served this country, and they have put their 
lives on the line. It is our turn to serve them. Let's make certain 
that Congress focuses on training our veterans to meet the workforce 
needs of the 21st century. We should make the transition from military 
service to the workforce as seamless as possible. Lastly, this 
amendment doesn't present any budgetary issues, and the Congressional 
Budget Office confirms that the amendment doesn't score. Additionally, 
it doesn't have a net change in funding levels.

[[Page H3065]]

  I encourage my colleagues to stand up for veterans' employment and to 
support my commonsense amendment. I look forward to working with all of 
you to get veterans back to work.

                              {time}  1630

  Mr. CULBERSON. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. GALLEGO. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I have no objection to the amendment. 
The gentleman is absolutely right. We're all committed to making sure 
that when our veterans return home, they are fully employed and well 
taken care of.
  I thank my friend from the Texas Legislature, Mr. Gallego, for 
offering his amendment, and we have no objection.
  Mr. GALLEGO. Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR (Mr. Poe of Texas). The gentleman is recognized for 
5 minutes.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. I rise in support of the gentleman's 
amendment.
  Mr. Chairman, after returning home from the war, veterans are now 
fighting for jobs back home. According to the Bureau of Labor 
Statistics, last year's unemployment rate for veterans was 12.1 
percent, a significantly higher figure than the 8.7 percent 
unemployment rate for nonveterans. Even more staggering is that 19.1 
percent of young veterans between the ages of 20 and 24 are unemployed.
  All veterans, because of their service, have basic skills, and the 
only thing that they're missing is formal job training to match their 
abilities with the specific needs of an employer. This is another issue 
on Secretary Shinseki's plate. I believe that anything that we can do 
to help veterans gain employment we should do.
  I thank the gentleman for raising this issue, and I support the 
amendment and yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Texas (Mr. Gallego).
  The amendment was agreed to.
  Mr. SWALWELL of California. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last 
word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. SWALWELL of California. Mr. Chairman, the sacrifices of the few, 
our military veterans, provide the freedom for the many.
  We know that it is our military veterans, who only make up just 1 
percent of our population, that provide 100 percent of our freedom. But 
far too many of our veterans seeking the disability assistance that 
they rightly earned are running into a severe backlog at the Department 
of Veterans Affairs.
  Nationwide, there are close to 800,000 pending disability claims at 
the VA, and almost 550,000 of these claims have been pending for over 
125 days. At the Oakland VA in Oakland, California, which serves the 
15th Congressional District, which I represent, the constituents in my 
district have been waiting, on average, a staggering 552 days. Over 81 
percent of the constituents have been waiting over 125 days. This is 
the longest average wait time across the United States. These numbers 
are a national disgrace, and I'm ashamed that the veterans who have 
served our country and have fought so hard have to wait so long.
  Our military spends $1.8 billion a year recruiting young Americans to 
join our military. We spend it on NASCAR, Super Bowl ads, and we send 
our recruiters out to our schools to have our young men and women join 
in the honorable profession of defending our country, but we are 
neglecting the needs of the veterans. We're failing to keep the 
promises we make after they serve.
  This weekend I had the opportunity to go to a Salute to New Recruits 
who are going into the military. I looked at those young, bright faces 
of young men and women who are going to go off to serve their country, 
and I told them, You are doing something that is very brave and very 
noble, but I hope that your families and you stand up for the benefits 
that you are rightfully earning.
  Right now what we're seeing at the VA is shameful, Mr. Chairman. It's 
shameful that we would treat our veterans like this and not give them 
the benefits that they've earned. We're failing to live up to that 
solemn pledge that we've made to our Nation's wounded warriors. That's 
why this bill is so important. It reaffirms our commitment to caring 
for the men and women who made sacrifices to serve in uniform.
  It contains commonsense solutions to eliminate the disability claims 
backlog by mandating that the VA modernize the disability claims 
process, and it also ensures greater efficiency and accountability on 
the part of the VA.
  It would fully fund the President's requested budget to allow for an 
increase of the staff levels at the Veterans Benefits Administration. 
These funds would support an additional 94 claims processors, all of 
whom will work solely on disability claims, helping to address the 
heart of the backlog.
  Increasing staff levels, as we know, however, is not a silver bullet. 
Creating a more efficient and responsive VA is also necessary if the 
disability claims process is going to be fixed. Today, the VA spends, 
on average, 175 days waiting for the Department of Defense to send them 
a veteran's record, mostly because these records are still kept in the 
form of paper files. It's time we bring this process into the 21st 
century.
  In addition to moving away from paper files, it's clear that it would 
be far better for servicemembers and veterans, as well as taxpayers, 
for the DOD and the VA to maintain one integrated system for electronic 
health records. This bill seeks to move the DOD away from paper and 
towards an integrated system that can be used both for DOD and the VA. 
It also fully funds the Veterans Claims Intake Program, which is 
working to convert all those paper records the VA receives into digital 
files.
  Mr. Chairman, the constituents of the 15th Congressional District who 
served so honorably should not have to wait 552 days for their 
disability compensation cases to be processed.
  Those parts of the bill that I outlined will help to improve 
veterans' access to the benefits that they have earned and enable us to 
better live up to President Lincoln's promise in his second inaugural 
address:

       To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his 
     widow and his orphan.

  President Lincoln's words happen to be at the core of the VA's 
mission statement. Words, however, are not enough. Congress must act 
swiftly to fix the VA backlog with practical solutions and fulfill our 
pledge to veterans. We must leave no veteran behind when they come 
back. We must make sure that when we say ``thank you for your service'' 
to a veteran, that we mean it and we follow up with a meaningful and 
responsive claims process. The funding in this bill helps move us in 
that direction.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.


                      Amendment Offered by Amodei

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

       Page 33, line 5, after the dollar amount insert the 
     following: ``(reduced by $44,000,000)(increased by 
     $44,000,000)''.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Nevada is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. AMODEI. Mr. Chairman, first of all, I would like to thank 
Chairman Culberson and Ranking Member Bishop for their effort on 
bringing forth a good bill that addresses the needs of our veterans and 
maintains our commitment to providing them with the benefits that they 
earned and deserve.
  I rise with this amendment for the first time since I've been in this 
body because of the existing claims backlog, which is over 600,000 
claims nationwide.
  As a member of the primary committee of jurisdiction and the primary 
subcommittee of jurisdiction on the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, 
I can tell you that, in dealing with this number of claims, we are not 
making mission in the Department of Veterans Affairs. I can also tell 
you that the proposal to spend $44 million, according to the Veterans 
Affairs testimony in front of our committees, to clear 50,000 of

[[Page H3066]]

those claims in the backlog is, quite simply, more of the same. That's 
about $900 a claim and will leave you with 550,000 claims when it's 
done this year.
  I appreciate the opportunity of coming technology, but I can tell you 
this: if you represent a district that's in California, New York, 
Arizona, Indiana, Virginia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, 
Maryland, another Texas hit, Boston or Mississippi, which is the 
majority of Members in this House, then guess what; you've got a 
majority of those claims in your district offices.
  I say it's time for this House to take action and say this: don't cut 
a single regional office's budget. This amendment does not attempt to 
do that. This amendment says take that $44 million and allocate it for 
personnel in those 15 offices that all have over a year of processing 
time.
  By the way, while we're mentioning that, I want to give you a quote 
that is from Under Secretary Hickey that basically says:

       Quite frankly, we have a resource allocation model that 
     doesn't make any sense.

  That's before the Veterans' Affairs Committee.
  Let's try something new. Let's put the staffing where those offices 
are that are in need of it most. Two of them are in California and two 
of them are in the Lone Star State. Chicago also needs help. You name 
it. Let's try that instead of just doing what we have been doing. It 
adds no money to the bill, and it also does not take any money away 
from existing offices.

                              {time}  1640

  In closing, Mr. Chairman, I would like to say this. Even though 
staffing at the VA's 58 regional offices has increased by almost 300 
people since September 2010, because of turnover and loss of more than 
2,000 workers temporarily paid through stimulus funds, the VA regional 
offices are severely understaffed. Overtime will not be the answer. At 
a majority of the regional offices, including those in New York, 
Chicago, Los Angeles, Waco, and Oakland, the VA presently employs fewer 
people than it did 2 years ago, according to their own internal 
documents.
  Let's take the leadership on this issue and do something that's a 
little different than, quite frankly, a resource allocation model which 
the determined Under Secretary says makes no sense.
  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 have no opposition to the gentleman's 
amendment and share his frustration and concern, as Mr. Bishop and I 
and the subcommittee have done in this bill repeatedly throughout the 
series of our hearings to literally pound on the VA to get them to move 
more rapidly on this backlog.
  We have included, Mr. Bishop and I, in this bill, very powerful and 
strong reporting language that we're going to get detailed information 
on a level that we've never seen before from the VA. In fact, later 
today we're going to have an amendment from Mr. Kingston of Georgia 
that I will support that will hold the VA to the same standard as the 
private sector in that either they meet their performance levels that 
they have set for themselves or they will not be paid, as they are in 
the private sector. You miss your goal, you don't get your full 
compensation.
  We are addressing this in a number of different ways. I think the 
gentleman's amendment is helpful and constructive in driving home the 
point to the VA that it's absolutely vital that we get this backlog 
disposed of and that we expect the VA to live up to the time line that 
they've promised us, and that's to eliminate the backlog within the 
next 24 months by the year of 2015.
  And so we have no opposition to the gentleman's amendment, and we 
appreciate his concern for ensuring that our men and women in uniform 
receive the disability benefits that they have so rightly earned.
  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, I think this is a subject on 
which we need to tread very, very, very carefully. As we all know, the 
VA announced that it's mandating the use of overtime for claims 
processors at the 56 regional offices as part of a ``surge'' aimed at 
eliminating the disabilities claims backlog.
  This effort is the latest in a series of measures that the VA has 
adopted in recent months in response to sharp criticism and to the 
cajoling by Members of this Congress and the public over the number of 
claims pending from veterans seeking disability compensation. That 
number, which was over 900,000 earlier this year, had fallen to 843,000 
as May 13, with more than two-thirds of those having been pending for 
over 125 days. I believe that Secretary Shinseki should and I believe 
that Secretary Shinseki is using every option available to him to make 
progress in eliminating this backlog.
  Furthermore, the overtime measure is on top of the VA's recent 
announcement that it's giving priority to claims that have been pending 
for longer than a year. I believe that the increased overtime 
initiative coupled with the expedited claims initiative will provide 
more veterans with more expedited decisions on their claims and will 
help us to achieve our goal of eliminating the claims backlog. I 
believe that this overtime initiative correctly shows that the 
Secretary's commitment is there to end the problem of the backlog. And 
so I think we should tread very carefully in this regard.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Nevada (Mr. Amodei).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. AMODEI. 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 Nevada will 
be postponed.
  Ms. BROWNLEY of California. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last 
word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Ms. BROWNLEY of California. Mr. Chairman, this bill is one of the 
most important that the House will consider all year. It provides 
critical funds for military training facilities, improves living 
conditions for our troops and their families, and addresses the needs 
of our Nation's veterans.
  As ranking member of the House Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on 
Health, however, I wanted to bring your attention to a serious issue.
  As you know, the advance appropriations process ensures that the VA 
health care funding is not delayed by Congress' failure to pass the 
appropriations bills on time. For the past 3 years, the GAO has been 
required to review the accuracy of the administration's projections for 
advance funding for veterans' health care programs. The report helps 
Congress evaluate VA projections for advance appropriations and ensures 
the VA receives the funding needed for veterans' health care.
  Unfortunately, this GAO reporting requirement is scheduled to sunset 
on September 30. I believe this requirement should be extended, and a 
number of veterans service organizations have expressed concerns about 
this issue as well.
  As the bill moves forward, I ask the committee to review this issue 
and continue the reporting requirement.
  On another note, one of our most important obligations is to ensure 
adequate training and support of our troops. That is why one of my 
first stops as a Member of Congress was to Naval Base Ventura County. 
For fiscal year 2014, the Navy has requested funding for several 
important projects at Point Mugu and Port Hueneme, including military 
housing, training, and maintenance facilities. This bill provides 
funding for base infrastructure improvements, but it is a decrease from 
last year and also below the DOD request.
  On behalf of my constituents serving at Naval Base Ventura County, I 
would like to express my hope that these reductions do not come at the 
expense of the much-needed infrastructure improvements at Point Mugu 
and Port Hueneme.
  As a VA committee member, I am also pleased that H.R. 2216 funds 
veterans' benefits and programs. It provides $43.6 billion for VA 
medical services to serve about 6.5 million veterans.

[[Page H3067]]

It supports mental health care services, suicide prevention activities, 
traumatic brain injury treatment, homeless veterans' programs, and 
rural health initiatives. It continues work on an integrated DOD-VA 
electronic health record system, the paperless claims process system, 
digital scanning of health records, and transparent reporting on our 
progress with the claims backlog for VA benefits.
  Finally, it funds construction and renovation of hundreds of VA 
health clinics, medical residences, and nursing homes. Support of our 
servicemembers, veterans, and their families is of the highest 
importance. However, we must be mindful of the entire budget picture.
  Like many of my colleagues, I am concerned that we are operating 
under inadequate discretionary budget caps that will not allow us to 
provide sufficient funding later in the appropriations process for 
programs that are important to middle class families and seniors, such 
as education and health care programs.
  While this bill is not perfect, it does provide critical funding for 
our Nation's military construction projects and for our Nation's 
veterans, and I intend to support the final passage of this bill.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will read.
  The Clerk read as follows:

                     information technology systems

                     (including transfer of funds)

       For necessary expenses for information technology systems 
     and telecommunications support, including developmental 
     information systems and operational information systems; for 
     pay and associated costs; and for the capital asset 
     acquisition of information technology systems, including 
     management and related contractual costs of said 
     acquisitions, including contractual costs associated with 
     operations authorized by section 3109 of title 5, United 
     States Code, $3,683,344,000, plus reimbursements: Provided, 
     That $1,026,400,000 shall be for pay and associated costs, of 
     which not to exceed $30,792,000 shall remain available until 
     September 30, 2015: Provided further, That $2,161,653,000 
     shall be for operations and maintenance, of which not to 
     exceed $151,316,000 shall remain available until September 
     30, 2015: Provided further, That $495,291,000 shall be for 
     information technology systems development, modernization, 
     and enhancement, and shall remain available until September 
     30, 2015: Provided further, That amounts made available for 
     information technology systems development, modernization, 
     and enhancement may not be obligated or expended until the 
     Secretary of Veterans Affairs or the Chief Information 
     Officer of the Department of Veterans Affairs submits to the 
     Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress a 
     certification of the amounts, in parts or in full, to be 
     obligated and expended for each development project: Provided 
     further, That amounts made available for salaries and 
     expenses, operations and maintenance, and information 
     technology systems development, modernization, and 
     enhancement may be transferred among the three sub-accounts 
     after the Secretary of Veterans Affairs requests from the 
     Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress the 
     authority to make the transfer and an approval is issued: 
     Provided further, That amounts made available for the 
     ``Information Technology Systems'' account for development, 
     modernization, and enhancement may be transferred among 
     projects or to newly defined projects: Provided further, That 
     no project may be increased or decreased by more than 
     $1,000,000 of cost prior to submitting a request to the 
     Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress to 
     make the transfer and an approval is issued, or absent a 
     response, a period of 30 days has elapsed: Provided further, 
     That none of the funds made available under this Act may be 
     obligated or expended for the development or procurement of 
     an electronic health record unless the health record will be 
     a single, joint, common, integrated health record with an 
     open architecture that will be used by both the Department of 
     Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense: Provided 
     further, That funds made available for such an integrated 
     electronic health record may not be obligated or expended 
     until the Secretaries of the Departments of Defense and 
     Veterans Affairs jointly certify in writing to the Committees 
     on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress that the 
     proposed integrated electronic health record will be the sole 
     electronic health record system used by each Department and 
     that it meets the requirements established in the previous 
     proviso: Provided further, That not more than 25 percent of 
     the funds made available for the integrated electronic health 
     record may be obligated or expended until: (1) the Government 
     Accountability Office confirms to the Committees, after 
     reviewing the Secretaries' certification, that the proposed 
     integrated electronic health record system does in fact meet 
     the requirements established in this paragraph; and (2) the 
     Secretaries of the Departments of Defense and Veterans 
     Affairs submit to the Committees, and such Committees 
     approve, a plan for expenditure that: (A) defines the budget 
     and cost baseline for development and procurement of the 
     integrated electronic health record; (B) identifies the 
     deployment timeline for the system for both Departments and 
     the performance benchmarks for deployment; and (C) identifies 
     annual and total spending on such efforts for each 
     Department: Provided further, That the funds made available 
     under this heading for information technology systems 
     development, modernization, and enhancement, shall be for the 
     projects, and in the amounts, specified under this heading in 
     the report accompanying this Act.   


                   Amendment Offered by Mr. Culberson

  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that the 
amendment be considered as read.
  The Acting CHAIR. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman 
from Texas?
  There was no objection.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 35, line 11, strike ``Act''and insert ``heading''.
       Page 35, line 13, strike ``unless'' and all that follows 
     through ``Department:'' on page 36, line 16, and insert the 
     following: ``except for a health record as set forth in the 
     Joint Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2013-2015 of the 
     Department of Veteran Affairs and Department of Defense, 
     Joint Executive Council:''.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 
minutes.

                              {time}  1650

  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I rise today with an amendment to 
clarify the House Appropriations Subcommittee's intent with regard to 
the integrated electronic health records system that we want the 
Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs to adopt.
  This issue necessarily involves two appropriation subcommittees and 
two authorizing committees, Armed Services and Veterans' Affairs. We 
have talked with our friends on the authorizing committees and agree 
that the best way forward is for language to be included in each one of 
these bills that conveys a unified position.
  I am confident that all parties in Congress and in the Department of 
Defense and Veterans Affairs share the same goal of having an 
integrated, unified health record.
  My amendment removes some of the specificity of the original House 
language, but retains the reference point of an integrated record. This 
allows all sides to continue to spend more time to develop mutually 
acceptable language that we can carry in the National Defense 
Authorization Act and other legislation as we move forward with this 
bill as well, which clearly defines the intent of Congress that we will 
have an integrated record with its capability of helping our men and 
women in uniform when they move out of active service into the VA.
  We are unshakeable in our commitment, as a Congress, to make certain 
that we solve this problem as quickly as humanly possible. I can tell 
you that the subcommittee, the committees of jurisdiction, the entire 
Congress is tired of the delays. We're tired of postponement. We're 
tired of disputes. This has to be solved immediately.
  And I'm going to continue to work aggressively with our colleagues on 
the authorizing committee and with our good friends on the Defense 
Appropriation Subcommittee, all of us together, arm-in-arm, regardless 
of party, from all parts of the country, to make sure that we get one 
single, unified, integrated electronic medical record as fast as 
humanly possible.
  So that's the reason I offer this amendment today, and I urge its 
support.
  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 believe that this amendment 
reflects the apparent obstruction of the Department of Defense on the 
electronic health record issue; and let me explain to you how we got 
here.
  The 2008 National Defense Authorization Act directed the two 
Departments to develop a single electronic health

[[Page H3068]]

record system that will follow a servicemember from the time he or she 
enlisted in the military to the time they exited the VA care, by 2009.
  However, after a number of management, oversight, and planning snags 
and snafus, and the cost estimates that grew from $4 billion to now 
nearly $12 billion, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and VA 
Secretary Eric Shinseki decided to alter their plans to focus on making 
that current electronic health record system more interoperable.
  Just recently, Secretary Hagel, the Department of Defense, made the 
decision to modernize the Defense Department's electronic health record 
through purchase of commercial software. A recent memo released by the 
Department of Defense makes no reference to the integrated electronic 
health records; and it seems more of the same go-it-alone, stovepipe 
approach that has been favored by the Pentagon in the past.
  In addition to the Department of Defense's memo, it also made no 
mention of the congressionally mandated role of the Interagency Program 
Office set up to run the integrated electronic health records project 
and staffed by more than 300 personnel from both Departments.
  Finally, by going the commercial route, I believe the Department of 
Defense has opened up its latest electronic health records scheme to 
protest and subsequent delays.
  With all these issues I laid out, some still want to think that the 
Department of Defense should be free to do whatever it pleases.
  Mr. Chairman, paper is a problem, and we cannot keep letting 
servicemembers leave the Department of Defense with paper records. 
Please know that this situation will be addressed further as we move 
through the process.
  And we support the gentleman's amendment. I think it is timely. I 
think it is necessary.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Texas (Mr. Culberson).
  The amendment was agreed to.
  Mr. MORAN. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Virginia is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. MORAN. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk that would 
strike section 413 of this bill.
  First of all, I have great respect, even affection, for the chairman 
of the subcommittee and the ranking member, and their exemplary staff, 
Mr. Washington. But section 413 of this bill, Mr. Chairman, would 
prohibit funds to construct, renovate, or expand any facility in the 
U.S. for the purposes of housing Guantanamo detainees.
  According to a recent GAO report, there are prisons in the U.S. that 
could hold the Guantanamo detainees as safely and securely as the 
security conditions at the Guantanamo facility. The Department of 
Defense and the Department of Justice both operate detention facilities 
comparable to Guantanamo Bay and currently hold convicted terrorists 
and other felons connected to terrorism.
  The GAO report, however, noted that existing facilities would need to 
be slightly modified, and current inmates would need to be relocated 
perhaps. But this would prohibit that.
  I can't imagine that there are Members of this Chamber that believe 
that indefinitely detaining individuals at Guantanamo Bay for the rest 
of their lives, without access to a fair trial, comports with American 
standards of justice.
  Now, first of all, a few words about Gitmo itself. Eighty-six percent 
of the Guantanamo detainees were captured in exchange for a bounty. A 
majority of these young men never actually committed an act of violence 
against the United States or its allies. Five percent were perhaps 
members of al Qaeda. So let's assume that 5 percent were, because there 
seems to be some indication that they were; but 95 percent were not.
  From a national security standpoint, Gitmo has been too easily used 
as a rallying cry and a recruitment tool for our enemies. For that 
reason, its continued existence really is a direct threat to our 
national security.
  Language such as is in this bill has constrained the President's 
options for closing this detention facility. President Obama still 
retains the authority to significantly decrease the prison's 
population, though, should he choose to do so. He could waive the 
certification requirements if receiving countries take actions to 
substantially mitigate the risk that a detainee were to re-engage in 
terrorism. That would clear the release of at least 86 detainees, about 
half of the entire prison's population.
  Since Guantanamo was opened, the statistics indicate that about 13 
percent may have become recidivists. But less than 5 percent of 
President Obama's transfers have.
  Military strategy often dictates that by releasing lower-threat 
detainees, you mitigate the risk of radicalizing more. We released many 
foot soldiers in Afghanistan who are far worse than the Guantanamo 
detainees.
  But what is most relevant to this bill's language is that 46 
detainees have been designated for indefinite detention, either because 
they are too dangerous to release, or they can't be charged in a court 
due to evidentiary standards.
  The President did establish a Periodic Review Board, but the panel 
has never been formed. Frankly, the President should do that.
  But those detainees that cannot be transferred, I think, should be 
tried in courts here in the United States. The problem is, given the 
limitation that Congress has wrongly placed on such transfers, that 
can't be done today, notwithstanding the fact that our Federal courts 
have tried more than 1,000 terrorists.
  The United States already holds 373 individuals convicted of 
terrorism in 98 facilities across the country. There are six Department 
of Defense facilities where Guantanamo detainees could be held in the 
United States that are currently at a combined 48 percent capacity. In 
other words, less than half the capacity is being used.
  Believing that they will never leave Cuba, more than 100 are 
protesting their indefinite detention the only way that they can, with 
a hunger strike. Thirty-seven detainees are currently being tube-fed. 
It's a procedure that requires a lubricated plastic tube to be inserted 
down a detainee's nose and into their stomach while they're being 
restrained. They are then held in a chair for about 2 hours to force 
them to digest the liquid.
  The fact is that the President can't do what he needs to do as long 
as section 413 remains in this bill, and that's why my amendment would 
remove this restriction.
  I yield back the balance of my time.

                              {time}  1700

  Mr. VARGAS. I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from California is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. VARGAS. Today, I rise in support of the efforts to address the 
increasing backlog of veterans disability claims in the FY 2014 
Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill. We must 
do everything in our power to ensure that the men and women who have 
served honorably in the armed services receive the full benefits they 
have earned protecting our Nation and our freedoms abroad. It is a 
shame that our veterans have to wait an average of 321 days to receive 
a response from the Department of Veterans Affairs after filing a 
claim.
  In my district, I have the privilege of representing the southern 
portion of San Diego County and all of Imperial County in California. 
San Diego is the home to the third-largest veteran resident population 
in the Nation. Current processing times have tripled in the area since 
2009, with over 28,500 pending disability claims being processed and an 
average wait time of 334 days.
  As we continue to wind down our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, 
more and more men and women will be seeking the benefits they are owed. 
We must continue to find workable solutions for these heroes and their 
families. This bill presented today provides more than $290 million to 
help the VA meet its goal of ending its disability claim backlog by 
2015. In order to meet this deadline, funds will be provided for the 
digital scanning of health and benefit files and for the development of 
a

[[Page H3069]]

paperless process claim system. Additionally, $344 million will be 
appropriated to the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to 
implement a single, integrated health record system used by both 
Departments. Both of these measures are needed to speed up the 
processing and to modernize our record-keeping system.
  We must also hold the VA accountable for its results, and I am glad 
to see that the monthly reporting requirements on the process of the 
expedited claims initiative for veterans is included in this bill.
  During the final throes of the Civil War, President Lincoln affirmed 
the government's obligation to care for those injured during the war 
and to provide for the families of those who perished on the 
battlefield. With the commitment ``to care for him, who shall have 
borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan,'' President Lincoln 
laid the foundation for our moral responsibility to our Nation's 
veterans. Let's continue to work in this tradition by reducing the 
backlog and the wait times of disability claims for the veterans and 
their families across our Nation.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that the 
remainder of the bill through page 59, line 18, be considered as read, 
printed in the Record, and open to amendment at any point.
  The Acting CHAIR. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman 
from Texas?
  There was no objection.
  The text of that portion of the bill is as follows:

                      office of inspector general

       For necessary expenses of the Office of Inspector General, 
     to include information technology, in carrying out the 
     provisions of the Inspector General Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. 
     App.), $116,411,000, of which $6,000,000 shall remain 
     available until September 30, 2015.

                      construction, major projects

       For constructing, altering, extending, and improving any of 
     the facilities, including parking projects, under the 
     jurisdiction or for the use of the Department of Veterans 
     Affairs, or for any of the purposes set forth in sections 
     316, 2404, 2406, and chapter 81 of title 38, United States 
     Code, not otherwise provided for, including planning, 
     architectural and engineering services, construction 
     management services, maintenance or guarantee period services 
     costs associated with equipment guarantees provided under the 
     project, services of claims analysts, offsite utility and 
     storm drainage system construction costs, and site 
     acquisition, where the estimated cost of a project is more 
     than the amount set forth in section 8104(a)(3)(A) of title 
     38, United States Code, or where funds for a project were 
     made available in a previous major project appropriation, 
     $342,130,000, of which $322,130,000 shall remain available 
     until September 30, 2018, and of which $20,000,000 shall 
     remain available until expended: Provided further, That 
     except for advance planning activities, including needs 
     assessments which may or may not lead to capital investments, 
     and other capital asset management related activities, 
     including portfolio development and management activities, 
     and investment strategy studies funded through the advance 
     planning fund and the planning and design activities funded 
     through the design fund, including needs assessments which 
     may or may not lead to capital investments, and salaries and 
     associated costs of the resident engineers who oversee those 
     capital investments funded through this account, and funds 
     provided for the purchase of land for the National Cemetery 
     Administration through the land acquisition line item, none 
     of the funds made available under this heading shall be used 
     for any project which has not been approved by the Congress 
     in the budgetary process: Provided further, That funds made 
     available under this heading for fiscal year 2014, for each 
     approved project shall be obligated: (1) by the awarding of a 
     construction documents contract by September 30, 2014; and 
     (2) by the awarding of a construction contract by September 
     30, 2015: Provided further, That the Secretary of Veterans 
     Affairs shall promptly submit to the Committees on 
     Appropriations of both Houses of Congress a written report on 
     any approved major construction project for which obligations 
     are not incurred within the time limitations established 
     above.

                      construction, minor projects

       For constructing, altering, extending, and improving any of 
     the facilities, including parking projects, under the 
     jurisdiction or for the use of the Department of Veterans 
     Affairs, including planning and assessments of needs which 
     may lead to capital investments, architectural and 
     engineering services, maintenance or guarantee period 
     services costs associated with equipment guarantees provided 
     under the project, services of claims analysts, offsite 
     utility and storm drainage system construction costs, and 
     site acquisition, or for any of the purposes set forth in 
     sections 316, 2404, 2406, and chapter 81 of title 38, United 
     States Code, not otherwise provided for, where the estimated 
     cost of a project is equal to or less than the amount set 
     forth in section 8104(a)(3)(A) of title 38, United States 
     Code, $714,870,000, to remain available until September 30, 
     2018, along with unobligated balances of previous 
     ``Construction, Minor Projects'' appropriations which are 
     hereby made available for any project where the estimated 
     cost is equal to or less than the amount set forth in such 
     section: Provided, That funds made available under this 
     heading shall be for: (1) repairs to any of the nonmedical 
     facilities under the jurisdiction or for the use of the 
     Department which are necessary because of loss or damage 
     caused by any natural disaster or catastrophe; and (2) 
     temporary measures necessary to prevent or to minimize 
     further loss by such causes.

       grants for construction of state extended care facilities

       For grants to assist States to acquire or construct State 
     nursing home and domiciliary facilities and to remodel, 
     modify, or alter existing hospital, nursing home, and 
     domiciliary facilities in State homes, for furnishing care to 
     veterans as authorized by sections 8131 through 8137 of title 
     38, United States Code, $82,650,000, to remain available 
     until expended.

             grants for construction of veterans cemeteries

       For grants to assist States and tribal organizations in 
     establishing, expanding, or improving veterans cemeteries as 
     authorized by section 2408 of title 38, United States Code, 
     $44,650,000, to remain available until expended.

                       Administrative Provisions

                     (including transfer of funds)

       Sec. 201.  Any appropriation for fiscal year 2014 for 
     ``Compensation and Pensions'', ``Readjustment Benefits'', and 
     ``Veterans Insurance and Indemnities'' may be transferred as 
     necessary to any other of the mentioned appropriations: 
     Provided, That before a transfer may take place, the 
     Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall request from the 
     Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress the 
     authority to make the transfer and such Committees issue an 
     approval, or absent a response, a period of 30 days has 
     elapsed.

                     (including transfer of funds)

       Sec. 202.  Amounts made available for the Department of 
     Veterans Affairs for fiscal year 2014, in this Act or any 
     other Act, under the ``Medical Services'', ``Medical Support 
     and Compliance'', and ``Medical Facilities'' accounts may be 
     transferred among the accounts: Provided, That any transfers 
     between the ``Medical Services'' and ``Medical Support and 
     Compliance'' accounts of 1 percent or less of the total 
     amount appropriated to the account in this or any other Act 
     may take place subject to notification from the Secretary of 
     Veterans Affairs to the Committees on Appropriations of both 
     Houses of Congress of the amount and purpose of the transfer: 
     Provided further, That any transfers between the ``Medical 
     Services'' and ``Medical Support and Compliance'' accounts in 
     excess of 1 percent, or exceeding the cumulative 1 percent 
     for the fiscal year, may take place only after the Secretary 
     requests from the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses 
     of Congress the authority to make the transfer and an 
     approval is issued: Provided further, That any transfers to 
     or from the ``Medical Facilities'' account may take place 
     only after the Secretary requests from the Committees on 
     Appropriations of both Houses of Congress the authority to 
     make the transfer and an approval is issued.
       Sec. 203.  Appropriations available in this title for 
     salaries and expenses shall be available for services 
     authorized by section 3109 of title 5, United States Code; 
     hire of passenger motor vehicles; lease of a facility or land 
     or both; and uniforms or allowances therefore, as authorized 
     by sections 5901 through 5902 of title 5, United States Code.
       Sec. 204.  No appropriations in this title (except the 
     appropriations for ``Construction, Major Projects'' and 
     ``Construction, Minor Projects'') shall be available for the 
     purchase of any site for or toward the construction of any 
     new hospital or home.
       Sec. 205.  No appropriations in this title shall be 
     available for hospitalization or examination of any persons 
     (except beneficiaries entitled to such hospitalization or 
     examination under the laws providing such benefits to 
     veterans, and persons receiving such treatment under sections 
     7901 through 7904 of title 5, United States Code, or the 
     Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance 
     Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.)), unless reimbursement of the 
     cost of such hospitalization or examination is made to the 
     ``Medical Services'' account at such rates as may be fixed by 
     the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
       Sec. 206.  Appropriations available in this title for 
     ``Compensation and Pensions'', ``Readjustment Benefits'', and 
     ``Veterans Insurance and Indemnities'' shall be available for 
     payment of prior year accrued obligations required to be 
     recorded by law against the corresponding prior year accounts 
     within the last quarter of fiscal year 2013.
       Sec. 207.  Appropriations available in this title shall be 
     available to pay prior year obligations of corresponding 
     prior year appropriations accounts resulting from sections 
     3328(a), 3334, and 3712(a) of title 31, United States Code, 
     except that if such obligations are from trust fund accounts 
     they shall be payable only from ``Compensation and 
     Pensions''.

[[Page H3070]]

                     (including transfer of funds)

       Sec. 208.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, 
     during fiscal year 2014, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
     shall, from the National Service Life Insurance Fund under 
     section 1920 of title 38, United States Code, the Veterans' 
     Special Life Insurance Fund under section 1923 of title 38, 
     United States Code, and the United States Government Life 
     Insurance Fund under section 1955 of title 38, United States 
     Code, reimburse the ``General Operating Expenses, Veterans 
     Benefits Administration'' and ``Information Technology 
     Systems'' accounts for the cost of administration of the 
     insurance programs financed through those accounts: Provided, 
     That reimbursement shall be made only from the surplus 
     earnings accumulated in such an insurance program during 
     fiscal year 2014 that are available for dividends in that 
     program after claims have been paid and actuarially 
     determined reserves have been set aside: Provided further, 
     That if the cost of administration of such an insurance 
     program exceeds the amount of surplus earnings accumulated in 
     that program, reimbursement shall be made only to the extent 
     of such surplus earnings: Provided further, That the 
     Secretary shall determine the cost of administration for 
     fiscal year 2014 which is properly allocable to the provision 
     of each such insurance program and to the provision of any 
     total disability income insurance included in that insurance 
     program.
       Sec. 209.  Amounts deducted from enhanced-use lease 
     proceeds to reimburse an account for expenses incurred by 
     that account during a prior fiscal year for providing 
     enhanced-use lease services, may be obligated during the 
     fiscal year in which the proceeds are received.

                     (including transfer of funds)

       Sec. 210.  Funds available in this title or funds for 
     salaries and other administrative expenses shall also be 
     available to reimburse the Office of Resolution Management of 
     the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Office of 
     Employment Discrimination Complaint Adjudication under 
     section 319 of title 38, United States Code, for all services 
     provided at rates which will recover actual costs but not 
     exceed $42,904,000 for the Office of Resolution Management 
     and $3,360,000 for the Office of Employment and 
     Discrimination Complaint Adjudication: Provided, That 
     payments may be made in advance for services to be furnished 
     based on estimated costs: Provided further, That amounts 
     received shall be credited to the ``General Administration'' 
     and ``Information Technology Systems'' accounts for use by 
     the office that provided the service.
       Sec. 211.  No appropriations in this title shall be 
     available to enter into any new lease of real property if the 
     estimated annual rental cost is more than $1,000,000, unless 
     the Secretary submits a report which the Committees on 
     Appropriations of both Houses of Congress approve within 30 
     days following the date on which the report is received.
       Sec. 212.  No funds of the Department of Veterans Affairs 
     shall be available for hospital care, nursing home care, or 
     medical services provided to any person under chapter 17 of 
     title 38, United States Code, for a non-service-connected 
     disability described in section 1729(a)(2) of such title, 
     unless that person has disclosed to the Secretary of Veterans 
     Affairs, in such form as the Secretary may require, current, 
     accurate third-party reimbursement information for purposes 
     of section 1729 of such title: Provided, That the Secretary 
     may recover, in the same manner as any other debt due the 
     United States, the reasonable charges for such care or 
     services from any person who does not make such disclosure as 
     required: Provided further, That any amounts so recovered for 
     care or services provided in a prior fiscal year may be 
     obligated by the Secretary during the fiscal year in which 
     amounts are received.

                     (including transfer of funds)

       Sec. 213.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, 
     proceeds or revenues derived from enhanced-use leasing 
     activities (including disposal) may be deposited into the 
     ``Construction, Major Projects'' and ``Construction, Minor 
     Projects'' accounts and be used for construction (including 
     site acquisition and disposition), alterations, and 
     improvements of any medical facility under the jurisdiction 
     or for the use of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Such 
     sums as realized are in addition to the amount provided for 
     in ``Construction, Major Projects'' and ``Construction, Minor 
     Projects''.
       Sec. 214.  Amounts made available under ``Medical 
     Services'' are available--
       (1) for furnishing recreational facilities, supplies, and 
     equipment; and
       (2) for funeral expenses, burial expenses, and other 
     expenses incidental to funerals and burials for beneficiaries 
     receiving care in the Department.

                     (including transfer of funds)

       Sec. 215.  Such sums as may be deposited to the Medical 
     Care Collections Fund pursuant to section 1729A of title 38, 
     United States Code, may be transferred to ``Medical 
     Services'', to remain available until expended for the 
     purposes of that account.
       Sec. 216.  The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may enter into 
     agreements with Indian tribes and tribal organizations which 
     are party to the Alaska Native Health Compact with the Indian 
     Health Service, and Indian tribes and tribal organizations 
     serving rural Alaska which have entered into contracts with 
     the Indian Health Service under the Indian Self Determination 
     and Educational Assistance Act, to provide healthcare, 
     including behavioral health and dental care. The Secretary 
     shall require participating veterans and facilities to comply 
     with all appropriate rules and regulations, as established by 
     the Secretary. The term ``rural Alaska'' shall mean those 
     lands sited within the external boundaries of the Alaska 
     Native regions specified in sections 7(a)(1)-(4) and (7)-(12) 
     of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, as amended (43 
     U.S.C. 1606), and those lands within the Alaska Native 
     regions specified in sections 7(a)(5) and 7(a)(6) of the 
     Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, as amended (43 U.S.C. 
     1606), which are not within the boundaries of the 
     Municipality of Anchorage, the Fairbanks North Star Borough, 
     the Kenai Peninsula Borough or the Matanuska Susitna Borough.

                     (including transfer of funds)

       Sec. 217.  Such sums as may be deposited to the Department 
     of Veterans Affairs Capital Asset Fund pursuant to section 
     8118 of title 38, United States Code, may be transferred to 
     the ``Construction, Major Projects'' and ``Construction, 
     Minor Projects'' accounts, to remain available until expended 
     for the purposes of these accounts.
       Sec. 218.  None of the funds made available in this title 
     may be used to implement any policy prohibiting the Directors 
     of the Veterans Integrated Services Networks from conducting 
     outreach or marketing to enroll new veterans within their 
     respective Networks.
       Sec. 219.  The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit 
     to the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of 
     Congress a quarterly report on the financial status of the 
     Veterans Health Administration.

                     (including transfer of funds)

       Sec. 220.  Amounts made available under the ``Medical 
     Services'', ``Medical Support and Compliance'', ``Medical 
     Facilities'', ``General Operating Expenses, Veterans Benefits 
     Administration'', ``General Administration'', and ``National 
     Cemetery Administration'' accounts for fiscal year 2014 may 
     be transferred to or from the ``Information Technology 
     Systems'' account: Provided, That before a transfer may take 
     place, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall request from 
     the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress 
     the authority to make the transfer and an approval is issued.
       Sec. 221.  Of the amounts made available to the Department 
     of Veterans Affairs for fiscal year 2014, in this Act or any 
     other Act, under the ``Medical Facilities'' account for 
     nonrecurring maintenance, not more than 20 percent of the 
     funds made available shall be obligated during the last 2 
     months of that fiscal year: Provided, That the Secretary may 
     waive this requirement after providing written notice to the 
     Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress.

                     (including transfer of funds)

       Sec. 222.  Of the amounts appropriated to the Department of 
     Veterans Affairs for fiscal year 2014 for ``Medical 
     Services'', ``Medical Support and Compliance'', ``Medical 
     Facilities'', ``Construction, Minor Projects'', and 
     ``Information Technology Systems'', up to $254,257,000, plus 
     reimbursements, may be transferred to the Joint Department of 
     Defense-Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Facility 
     Demonstration Fund, established by section 1704 of the 
     National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 
     (Public Law 111-84; 123 Stat. 3571) and may be used for 
     operation of the facilities designated as combined Federal 
     medical facilities as described by section 706 of the Duncan 
     Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 
     2009 (Public Law 110-417; 122 Stat. 4500): Provided, That 
     additional funds may be transferred from accounts designated 
     in this section to the Joint Department of Defense-Department 
     of Veterans Affairs Medical Facility Demonstration Fund upon 
     written notification by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to 
     the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress.

                     (including transfer of funds)

       Sec. 223.  Such sums as may be deposited to the Medical 
     Care Collections Fund pursuant to section 1729A of title 38, 
     United States Code, for health care provided at facilities 
     designated as combined Federal medical facilities as 
     described by section 706 of the Duncan Hunter National 
     Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (Public Law 
     110-417; 122 Stat. 4500) shall also be available: (1) for 
     transfer to the Joint Department of Defense-Department of 
     Veterans Affairs Medical Facility Demonstration Fund, 
     established by section 1704 of the National Defense 
     Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (Public Law 111-84; 
     123 Stat. 3571); and (2) for operations of the facilities 
     designated as combined Federal medical facilities as 
     described by section 706 of the Duncan Hunter National 
     Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (Public Law 
     110-417; 122 Stat. 4500).

                     (including transfer of funds)

       Sec. 224.  Of the amounts available in this title for 
     ``Medical Services'', ``Medical Support and Compliance'', and 
     ``Medical Facilities'', a minimum of $15,000,000, shall be 
     transferred to the DOD-VA Health Care Sharing Incentive Fund, 
     as authorized by section 8111(d) of title 38, United States 
     Code, to remain available until expended, for any purpose 
     authorized by section 8111 of title 38, United States Code.

                    (including rescissions of funds)

       Sec. 225. (a) Of the discretionary funds made available to 
     the Department of Veterans Affairs for fiscal year 2014, the 
     following amounts which became available on

[[Page H3071]]

     October 1, 2013, are hereby rescinded from the following 
     accounts in the amounts specified:
       (1) ``Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Services'', 
     $1,400,000,000.
       (2) ``Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Support and 
     Compliance'', $100,000,000.
       (3) ``Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Facilities'', 
     $250,000,000.
       (b) In addition to amounts provided elsewhere in this Act, 
     an additional amount is appropriated to the following 
     accounts in the amounts specified to remain available until 
     September 30, 2015:
       (1) ``Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Services'', 
     $1,400,000,000.
       (2) ``Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Support and 
     Compliance'', $100,000,000.
       (3) ``Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Facilities'', 
     $250,000,000.
       Sec. 226.  The Secretary of the Department of Veterans 
     Affairs shall notify the Committees on Appropriations of both 
     Houses of Congress of all bid savings in major construction 
     projects that total at least $5,000,000, or 5 percent of the 
     programmed amount of the project, whichever is less: 
     Provided, That such notification shall occur within 14 days 
     of a contract identifying the programmed amount: Provided 
     further, That the Secretary shall notify the Committees on 
     Appropriations of both Houses of Congress 14 days prior to 
     the obligation of such bid savings and shall describe the 
     anticipated use of such savings.
       Sec. 227.  The scope of work for a project included in 
     ``Construction, Major Projects'' may not be increased above 
     the scope specified for that project in the original 
     justification data provided to the Congress as part of the 
     request for appropriations.
       Sec. 228.  The Secretary of the Department of Veterans 
     Affairs shall provide on a quarterly basis to the Committees 
     on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress notification of 
     any single national outreach and awareness marketing campaign 
     in which obligations exceed $2,000,000.
       Sec. 229.  The Secretary shall submit to the Committees on 
     Appropriations of both Houses of Congress a reprogramming 
     request if at any point during fiscal year 2014, the funding 
     allocated for a medical care initiative identified in the 
     fiscal year 2014 expenditure plan is adjusted by more than 
     $25,000,000 from the allocation shown in the corresponding 
     congressional budget justification. Such a reprogramming 
     request may go forward only if the Committees on 
     Appropriations of both Houses of Congress approve the request 
     or if a period of 14 days has elapsed.

                    (including rescission of funds)

       Sec. 230.  Discretionary fiscal year 2014 appropriations in 
     this title are hereby reduced by $24,000,000: Provided, That 
     the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall allocate this 
     reduction within the accounts to which the reduction is 
     applied: Provided further, That $156,000,000 are hereby 
     rescinded from the fiscal year 2014 funds appropriated in 
     title II of division E of Public Law 113-6 for ``Department 
     of Veterans Affairs, Medical Services'', ``Department of 
     Veterans Affairs, Medical Support and Compliance'', and 
     ``Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Facilities'': 
     Provided further, That the Secretary shall allocate this 
     rescission among the three accounts.

                               TITLE III

                            RELATED AGENCIES

                  American Battle Monuments Commission

                         salaries and expenses

       For necessary expenses, not otherwise provided for, of the 
     American Battle Monuments Commission, including the 
     acquisition of land or interest in land in foreign countries; 
     purchases and repair of uniforms for caretakers of national 
     cemeteries and monuments outside of the United States and its 
     territories and possessions; rent of office and garage space 
     in foreign countries; purchase (one-for-one replacement basis 
     only) and hire of passenger motor vehicles; not to exceed 
     $7,500 for official reception and representation expenses; 
     and insurance of official motor vehicles in foreign 
     countries, when required by law of such countries, 
     $57,980,000, to remain available until expended.

                 foreign currency fluctuations account

       For necessary expenses, not otherwise provided for, of the 
     American Battle Monuments Commission, such sums as may be 
     necessary, to remain available until expended, for purposes 
     authorized by section 2109 of title 36, United States Code.

           United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

                         salaries and expenses

       For necessary expenses for the operation of the United 
     States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims as authorized by 
     sections 7251 through 7298 of title 38, United States Code, 
     $35,272,000: Provided, That $2,500,000 shall be available for 
     the purpose of providing financial assistance as described, 
     and in accordance with the process and reporting procedures 
     set forth, under this heading in Public Law 102-229.

                      Department of Defense--Civil

                       Cemeterial Expenses, Army

                         salaries and expenses

       For necessary expenses, as authorized by law, for 
     maintenance, operation, and improvement of Arlington National 
     Cemetery and Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery, 
     including the purchase or lease of passenger motor vehicles 
     for replacement on a one-for-one basis only, and not to 
     exceed $1,000 for official reception and representation 
     expenses, $70,685,000. In addition, such sums as may be 
     necessary for parking maintenance, repairs and replacement, 
     to be derived from the ``Lease of Department of Defense Real 
     Property for Defense Agencies'' account.

                      Armed Forces Retirement Home

                               trust fund

       For expenses necessary for the Armed Forces Retirement Home 
     to operate and maintain the Armed Forces Retirement Home--
     Washington, District of Columbia, and the Armed Forces 
     Retirement Home--Gulfport, Mississippi, to be paid from funds 
     available in the Armed Forces Retirement Home Trust Fund, 
     $67,400,000, of which $1,000,000 shall remain available until 
     expended for construction and renovation of the physical 
     plants at the Armed Forces Retirement Home--Washington, 
     District of Columbia, and the Armed Forces Retirement Home--
     Gulfport, Mississippi.

                        Administrative Provision

       Sec. 301.  Funds appropriated in this Act under the heading 
     ``Department of Defense--Civil, Cemeterial Expenses, Army'', 
     may be provided to Arlington County, Virginia, for the 
     relocation of the federally owned water main at Arlington 
     National Cemetery, making additional land available for 
     ground burials.

                                TITLE IV

                           GENERAL PROVISIONS

       Sec. 401.  No part of any appropriation contained in this 
     Act shall remain available for obligation beyond the current 
     fiscal year unless expressly so provided herein.
       Sec. 402.  None of the funds made available in this Act may 
     be used for any program, project, or activity, when it is 
     made known to the Federal entity or official to which the 
     funds are made available that the program, project, or 
     activity is not in compliance with any Federal law relating 
     to risk assessment, the protection of private property 
     rights, or unfunded mandates.
       Sec. 403.  No part of any funds appropriated in this Act 
     shall be used by an agency of the executive branch, other 
     than for normal and recognized executive-legislative 
     relationships, for publicity or propaganda purposes, and for 
     the preparation, distribution, or use of any kit, pamphlet, 
     booklet, publication, radio, television, or film presentation 
     designed to support or defeat legislation pending before 
     Congress, except in presentation to Congress itself.
       Sec. 404.  All departments and agencies funded under this 
     Act are encouraged, within the limits of the existing 
     statutory authorities and funding, to expand their use of 
     ``E-Commerce'' technologies and procedures in the conduct of 
     their business practices and public service activities.
       Sec. 405.  Unless stated otherwise, all reports and 
     notifications required by this Act shall be submitted to the 
     Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, 
     and Related Agencies of the Committee on Appropriations of 
     the House of Representatives and the Subcommittee on Military 
     Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies of 
     the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate.
       Sec. 406.  None of the funds made available in this Act may 
     be transferred to any department, agency, or instrumentality 
     of the United States Government except pursuant to a transfer 
     made by, or transfer authority provided in, this or any other 
     appropriations Act.
       Sec. 407.  None of the funds made available in this Act may 
     be used for a project or program named for an individual 
     serving as a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner of 
     the United States House of Representatives.
       Sec. 408. (a) Any agency receiving funds made available in 
     this Act, shall, subject to subsections (b) and (c), post on 
     the public website of that agency any report required to be 
     submitted by the Congress in this or any other Act, upon the 
     determination by the head of the agency that it shall serve 
     the national interest.
       (b) Subsection (a) shall not apply to a report if--
       (1) the public posting of the report compromises national 
     security; or
       (2) the report contains confidential or proprietary 
     information.
       (c) The head of the agency posting such report shall do so 
     only after such report has been made available to the 
     requesting Committee or Committees of Congress for no less 
     than 45 days.

  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will read.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       Sec. 409. (a) None of the funds made available in this Act 
     may be used to maintain or establish a computer network 
     unless such network blocks the viewing, downloading, and 
     exchanging of pornography.
       (b) Nothing in subsection (a) shall limit the use of funds 
     necessary for any Federal, State, tribal, or local law 
     enforcement agency or any other entity carrying out criminal 
     investigations, prosecution, or adjudication activities.
       Sec. 410.  None of the funds made available in this Act may 
     be distributed to the Association of Community Organizations 
     for Reform Now (ACORN) or its subsidiaries or successors.
       Sec. 411.  None of the funds made available in this Act may 
     be used by an agency of the

[[Page H3072]]

     executive branch to exercise the power of eminent domain (to 
     take the private property for public use) without the payment 
     of just compensation.
       Sec. 412.  None of the funds made available in this Act may 
     be used by an agency of the executive branch to pay for 
     first-class travel by an employee of the agency in 
     contravention of sections 301-10.122 through 301-10.124 of 
     title 41, Code of Federal Regulations.
       Sec. 413. (a) In General.--None of the funds appropriated 
     or otherwise made available to the Department of Defense in 
     this Act may be used to construct, renovate, or expand any 
     facility in the United States, its territories, or 
     possessions to house any individual detained at United States 
     Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for the purposes of 
     detention or imprisonment in the custody or under the control 
     of the Department of Defense.
       (b) The prohibition in subsection (a) shall not apply to 
     any modification of facilities at United States Naval 
     Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
       (c) An individual described in this subsection is any 
     individual who, as of June 24, 2009, is located at United 
     States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and who--
       (1) is not a citizen of the United States or a member of 
     the Armed Forces of the United States; and
       (2) is--
       (A) in the custody or under the effective control of the 
     Department of Defense; or
       (B) otherwise under detention at United States Naval 
     Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.


                     Amendment Offered by Mr. Moran

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

       Strike section 413.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Virginia is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. MORAN. Mr. Chairman, section 413 prohibits any funds, no matter 
how small they might be, to renovate or expand any facility in the U.S. 
for the purposes of housing Guantanamo detainees. The fact is that the 
Department of Defense does have six facilities where Guantanamo Bay 
detainees could be held in the United States. Those facilities are 
currently operating at only 48 percent capacity.
  Mr. Chairman, if we were to look deeply into this issue of detention 
at Guantanamo Bay, we would conclude: number one, that this detention 
facility doesn't meet the standards of justice that our American 
jurisprudence system demands; number two, the vast majority of people 
at Guantanamo Bay should have been released. Even the Bush 
Administration recognized by their actions, that the vast majority of 
the 779 people that were put there should never have been detained, 
because they released most of them; number three, the best place for 
them to be detained and then tried is in the United States; and number 
four, the continuance of the Guantanamo Bay facility represents an 
immediate security threat to the United States because it is a rallying 
cry and a recruitment tool for our enemies.
  Right now, there are more than a hundred detainees that are 
protesting what appears to be an indefinite detention the only way they 
can--through hunger strikes. Thirty-seven of them are being tube-fed 
through their noses into their stomach. They're held for about 2 hours 
to make sure that this liquid stuff is digested.
  Guantanamo has become an immediate humanitarian crisis. It needs to 
be addressed urgently because the rest of the world can't understand 
why we don't do the right thing by those detainees who still are at 
Guantanamo Bay, whom we have cleared. In fact, the Bush administration 
cleared them for release because they had no evidence on them. 
President Obama has asked the Congress to lift restrictions on detainee 
transfers. He's asked DOD to identify a site in the United States for 
military commissions.

                              {time}  1710

  They will appoint a senior envoy charged with transferring detainees 
to third countries and he's got to lift the restriction on transfers to 
Yemen. He's going to staff the periodic review board for those that 
cannot be transferred. I think he should use the certification and 
waiver provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act to transfer 
detainees from Guantanamo beginning with the reported 86 detainees 
already cleared for transfer.
  But he can't do what he needs to do for our national security as long 
as the language of section 413 is in this bill. That's why my amendment 
would remove this restriction. What we're doing does not comport with 
America's system of justice or with fairness. And as I say, I believe 
it's a direct threat to our national security.
  So, Mr. Chairman, I would urge that we remove this language by voting 
for my amendment. We have Department of Defense facilities, they're 
being underused in the United States, and that's the way that we could 
clear up a situation that we never should have created in the first 
place.
  At this point--well, can I reserve time in order to respond to Mr. 
Culberson?
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman may not reserve time. Does the 
gentleman yield back?
  Mr. MORAN. I suspected not. So at this point I will yield back, and 
I'm anxious to hear from the chairman of the subcommittee.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to the 
gentleman's amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, this language is in the bill because it 
has strong, bipartisan support. The American people do not want these 
terrorists, these criminals, captured either on battlefields overseas 
or who have sworn to kill innocent American men, women and children 
housed in American prisons.
  In the Second World War, Nazi soldiers--saboteurs--landed on Long 
Island and on the beaches of Florida carrying explosives with the 
intent of killing innocent Americans. Franklin Roosevelt, as President, 
when they were captured, they were held and tried in the military, and 
within 90 days they were executed. The prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, 
quite frankly, are being treated much more leniently than I think they 
should be, than most Americans think they should be.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise in strenuous opposition to the gentleman's 
amendment. I'd like to, if I could, yield the remainder of my initial 
time in opposition to my good friend, the chairman of the Commerce, 
Justice, Science Subcommittee, the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Wolf).
  Mr. WOLF. I rise in opposition to my good friend's--and we are good 
friends--amendment. Let me tell you why. One, at the outset, in the 
President's first term, an executive order declared the intention to 
close Guantanamo Bay and bring the detainees to the United States. That 
proposal was rejected by the Congress overwhelmingly on a bipartisan 
basis.
  Similar language is carried in a Commerce, State, Justice bill on the 
subcommittee on which I serve. These provisions reflect a consensus of 
this and previous Congresses.
  But let me tell you some of the real reasons why this is a bad and 
even, I would say, a dangerous amendment.
  Several of these men who have been released from Guantanamo have gone 
back into the battlefield and have killed Americans. Secondly, Director 
Mueller, and I don't have the letter here, but I will give it to my 
friend, said this could have an impact on local jails, the locality of 
the jails. Do you remember the Blind Sheikh Rahman when Officer Pepe 
was stabbed in the eye with regard to an escape? To bring people like 
this into the United States could have an impact not only on the jail 
but also on the community.
  To bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to the United States would cost 
roughly, if you recall, $250 million a year. Moussaoui, who was tried 
in the gentleman's district in Alexandria, it literally upset 
Alexandria, and if you take the same timeframe that Moussaoui was tried 
in, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's trial would go on for 4 years, would cost 
$1 billion--$250 million a year.
  Do you remember when this idea first came out, Mayor Bloomberg said 
nothing, and Chuck Schumer said nothing, and then all of a sudden 
everything broke loose and Mayor Bloomberg came out against it and 
Senator Schumer came out against it.
  Lastly, the Bureau of Prisons, we had to give Holder the ability to 
reprogram money because they were going to furlough prison guards. They 
were going to furlough prison guards. So to bring people like this in 
to put this stress on the Bureau of Prisons would be absolutely crazy.
  Let me just debunk another thing. For people who say, and I heard the

[[Page H3073]]

President say it, that Guantanamo causes terrorism, Guantanamo Bay 
Prison was not there when 9/11 took place. The Blind Sheikh who was 
involved in trying to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993, there was 
no Guantanamo. It's a hoax to say that. What you say is not true. It's 
false. To say that Bin Laden and people like that, we're going to say, 
oh, well, the Congress and the administration they're going to close 
down Guantanamo, we're going to close down al Qaeda, we're going to 
close down all the terrorism, it just doesn't make any sense.
  This is a bad amendment. The gentleman is a good friend, but it's a 
bad amendment, and it's a very dangerous amendment and it would cost a 
lot of money and, quite frankly, I think would endanger the locality.
  If you vote for this amendment, you'd better be prepared. What 
locality wants to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to their local 
neighborhood. What locality wants to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to 
their county, to their State? I say none. I urge a ``no'' vote on the 
amendment.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I would just also say that bringing 
these terrorists in to the United States we would be giving them 
American constitutional rights, a very precious, very special privilege 
that is reserved for the people of the United States. These people 
should be tried in military court and treated as prisoners of war and 
the criminals and the cowards that they are. And I urge a ``no'' vote 
against the 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. I stand today also concerned about the policy 
on Guantanamo Bay detention facility. And as I listened to my colleague 
and as I consider the speech from the President last week, it is very, 
very clear that there needs to be additional debate on this subject. 
Also I understand that the House Armed Services Committee will be 
holding discussions on this very important issue in the coming days as 
they begin marking up the National Defense Authorization Act.
  And so I say to my colleagues that this issue deserves a more 
vigorous debate but that this is not the proper venue to hold that 
debate. As I stated in my opening remarks today, this bill was crafted 
and brought to the floor as a result of bipartisan work and compromise 
due to the committee's commitment to our servicemembers, their families 
and to all of our veterans.
  This is a deeply, deeply controversial issue that I believe requires 
much more in-depth discussion than we can have here today. And I 
respectfully submit that this appropriations bill is not the 
appropriate venue for discussion and action on this very, very 
controversial policy. Today is not the time, and this bill, I submit, 
is not the place.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Moran).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. MORAN. 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 Virginia 
will be postponed.
  The Clerk will read.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       Sec. 414.  None of the funds made available in this Act may 
     be used to execute a contract for goods or services, 
     including construction services, where the contractor has not 
     complied with Executive Order No. 12989.
       Sec. 415.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used to enter into a contract, memorandum of 
     understanding, or cooperative agreement with, make a grant 
     to, or provide a loan or loan guarantee to, any corporation 
     that was convicted of a felony criminal violation under any 
     Federal law within the preceding 24 months, where the 
     awarding agency is aware of the conviction, unless the agency 
     has considered suspension or debarment of the corporation and 
     has made a determination that this further action is not 
     necessary to protect the interests of the Government.
       Sec. 416.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used to enter into a contract, memorandum of 
     understanding, or cooperative agreement with, make a grant 
     to, or provide a loan or loan guarantee to, any corporation 
     that has any unpaid Federal tax liability that has been 
     assessed, for which all judicial and administrative remedies 
     have been exhausted or have lapsed, and that is not being 
     paid in a timely manner pursuant to an agreement with the 
     authority responsible for collecting the tax liability, where 
     the awarding agency is aware of the unpaid tax liability, 
     unless the agency has considered suspension or debarment of 
     the corporation and has made a determination that this 
     further action is not necessary to protect the interests of 
     the Government.
       Sec. 417.  None of the funds made available in this Act may 
     be used to wind down or otherwise alter the implementation of 
     a program, project, or activity in anticipation of any change 
     (including any elimination or reduction of funding) proposed 
     in a budget request, until such proposed change is 
     subsequently enacted in an appropriation Act.

                       spending reduction account

       Sec. 418.  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. 2 Offered by Mr. Farr

  Mr. FARR. 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 implement Veterans Health Administration directive 
     2011-004 regarding ``Access to clinical programs for veterans 
     participating in State-approved marijuana programs''.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from California is recognized for 5 
minutes.

                              {time}  1720

  Mr. FARR. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I have a very simple 
amendment. As most Members know, 19 States and the District of Colombia 
have enacted laws that provide for the legal access to medical 
marijuana. Two of those States provide access to marijuana for more 
than medicinal purposes.
  In checking out the rules within the VA on the matter of medical 
marijuana, it turns out that there is a policy in force, which is 
called Directive 2011-004, that specifically ``prohibits VA providers 
from completing forms seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a 
veteran's participation in a State marijuana program.''
  My amendment denies the VA any funds to implement that prohibition, 
thus freeing up the VA doctors to assist VA patients in accessing 
medical marijuana outside of the VA system. All this amendment does is 
make it possible for the VA doctors to provide medical advice to the VA 
patients on the relative pros and cons of medical marijuana if they 
want to have that discussion. For those doctors who wish to offer 
recommendations to VA patients on accessing medical marijuana, they are 
no longer prohibited from doing so.
  Essentially, the VA order is a censorship in those 19 States and the 
District of Columbia saying that doctors can't even have this 
discussion, yet the civilians going to a civilian doctor can have that 
discussion. So what we're doing is removing the ability for the VA to 
enforce that provision thinking that that's fair.
  This is a very controversial, I know, issue of medical marijuana, but 
in those States that have made it the law of that State, then veterans 
ought to be treated equally with civilian patients in being able to 
have access to the total array of applicable medical devices, including 
the use of medical marijuana.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Oregon is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
  I appreciate my colleague, Mr. Farr, bringing this forward. I agree 
with what he said, except for one item. And that is that somehow 
medical marijuana is intensely controversial. What we're finding is 
that with the American public it's no longer really that controversial. 
As he said, 20 jurisdictions, 19 States and the District of Columbia, 
have approved medical marijuana to be available to their citizens. Over 
1 million Americans are people who are legally entitled to have the 
qualities of medical marijuana.

[[Page H3074]]

  It has long been recognized that it has therapeutic values. They use 
it to deal with chronic paralyzing pain, the nausea associated with 
chemotherapy, symptoms of multiple sclerosis. There are many 
applications that are going to make a difference to our veterans 
dealing with traumatic brain injury or PTSD.
  Now, it is ironic that when we are trying to have a veterans health 
system that deals with the total patient--and the committee just 
supported an amendment that I had earlier to help give them alternative 
therapies--that we would prohibit a VA doctor from even discussing a 
therapy that is perfectly legal in 20 jurisdictions.
  What is the rationale here to prohibit the doctor from being able to 
have that conversation, forcing our veterans to go outside the system 
and incur additional costs? I think it is a misguided policy in the 
extreme.
  We are in the process now where the majority of Americans think that 
marijuana should be legalized; and if you ask the question, ``Should we 
respect the decisions of States?'' that majority gets even bigger. Over 
60 percent say the Federal Government ought not to interfere.
  But here, the Veterans Administration is prohibited from giving 
candid advice to people in our system, people who could benefit, like 
the over 1 million legal medical marijuana patients. I think that's 
inappropriate. I think it's unfortunate. I think we should do 
everything we can to try and relieve the pain and suffering that our 
veterans are incurring; and if it means having a conversation with a VA 
doctor about something perfectly legal in their community, I think 
that's the least we could do.
  I commend the gentleman for bringing the amendment forward, and I 
hope that the day will come when we provide this service to veterans 
who would like information about it.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. Is there further debate on the amendment?
  Mr. FARR. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to withdraw the 
amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. Without objection, the amendment is withdrawn.
  There was no objection.


                   Amendment Offered by Mr. Kingston

  Mr. KINGSTON. 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. __. (a) None of the funds made available in this Act 
     may be used to pay more than 75 percent of the salary of any 
     senior Department of Veterans Affairs official during the 
     period beginning on July 1, 2014, and ending on September 30, 
     2014, unless as of July 1, 2014, the percentage of disability 
     compensation claims that are more than 125 days old is less 
     than or equal to 40 percent.
       (b) In this section, the term ``senior Department of 
     Veterans Affairs official'' means the Secretary of Veterans 
     Affairs, the Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and any 
     Under Secretary or Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Georgia is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. KINGSTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This bill provides $43.6 
billion for medical treatment for the 6.5 million veterans today who 
use the VA. It increases funding for processes, such as the electronic 
health record system and the disability claims process, the paperless 
environment, and yet that's what we did last year and the year before.
  Nonetheless, today, as we sit here, the VA has 865,265 claims in 
their backlog; 66\1/2\ percent of these claims have been pending for 
more than 125 days. The current claim to be processed, the current 
amount of time is 292 days, and some offices report some claims that 
have been pending for 450 days.
  This is not acceptable. But every year we provide more money for the 
VA to process claims, and every year the backlog gets more.
  So what this amendment does is it takes a different approach. It 
takes an approach that's used in the private sector on a regular basis 
for compensation. It says to the senior members of the VA that if they 
don't have the claims backlog reduced by 40 percent by next July, the 
senior leadership will have a pay cut of 25 percent. Mr. Chairman, this 
follows their own goal. All it says is that if you don't make your own 
goal, there will be a 25 percent pay reduction for the senior 
management of the VA.
  I think everyone in Congress has a VA office with problems in their 
own district. In Decatur, Georgia, a VA hospital that serves 86,000 
patients in the State of Georgia has a backlog of over 4,000--or 4,000 
patients have fallen through the cracks. Three deaths occurred over the 
past 2 years when the VA lost track of mental health patients and 
referred it to a contractor while not keeping a close eye on them while 
they were supposed to be monitored.

                              {time}  1730

  One may have committed suicide because he could not see a doctor and 
had an overdose of his treatment. There are other atrocities that have 
happened in that one VA clinic. Again, Mr. Chairman, this is not 
adequate. This is not acceptable. For our veterans, we need to treat 
them better.
  I am a member of the Armed Services Committee and often say that the 
American soldier needs to have the best equipment and the best training 
that's out there because we want them to fight and win wars; but we 
also want them to come home and live normal lives, so we need to make 
sure that our treatment of the American military does not end in a 
theater of war but continues throughout the rest of their lives. As the 
claims or as the injuries that they incurred while rendering service to 
the Nation haunt them for the rest of their lives, we need to be there 
for them for their medical treatment.
  This amendment sends a very strong signal to the VA that we are 
serious that this backlog will be cleaned up and that, if not, there 
will be a price to pay.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the gentleman's 
amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. CULBERSON. I believe Mr. Kingston has correctly identified the 
problem in the private sector. If you don't meet a performance goal, 
you're going to suffer a cut in pay. You can be discharged from your 
job. Mr. Kingston correctly points out that the VA set their own 
standard. They have set this goal of eliminating the backlog by the 
year 2015. Mr. Kingston's amendment simply says that, if they don't 
meet their own standard--their own yardstick, a measurement of success 
in reducing the backlog--that there will be a pay cut of 25 percent to 
the senior leadership that is responsible for setting this goal, that's 
responsible for leading the VA and executing this goal.
  Congress is, frankly, tired of the delays, tired of the excuses, and 
we want our veterans to receive what they have earned. We want to be 
sure that they are given compensation for the injuries they suffered in 
the course of service to the United States of America, so I urge the 
adoption of Mr. Kingston's 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. I could not agree more with the gentleman from 
Georgia that the claims backlog is absolutely unacceptable.
  I think the chairman of the full Appropriations Committee, the 
ranking member of the full Appropriations Committee, the chairman of 
our subcommittee, and yours truly as the ranking member of the 
subcommittee have met with and have criticized and have done everything 
that we could possibly do to try to bring to the attention of the 
Veterans Administration and the Secretary of the need to have this 
backlog addressed, and I do think we address that in this bill; but I 
must rise in opposition to this amendment.
  When I talk to veterans, the number one issue that they always have 
is the claims and claims backlog. The number one issue being worked on 
by my staff in southwest Georgia is VA claims and the claims backlog. I 
believe that what we have done in this bill will finally do something 
about the backlog.
  Now let me just put a pin right there for a moment. The backlog, 
while inexcusable, does have some basis.

[[Page H3075]]

  Just a couple of years ago, this Congress, in an effort to support 
our Vietnam era veterans, made it possible for the Agent Orange claims 
to be covered by the VA even though that had been an ongoing issue for 
the two decades that I've been a Member of Congress. As a result of 
that, there was a great surge of VA claims by Vietnam veterans, which 
added to the backlog. Add to that the returning veterans from Iraq and 
now from Afghanistan, which has added even more to that backlog, 
resulting in the now almost 850,000 claims when, 2 years ago, before 
the Agent Orange claims, we had just about eliminated that backlog.
  I think that, even though there is some justification, the backlog is 
inexcusable, but in this bill that we are debating right now, we've 
done something about the backlog:
  First, the bill fully funds the general operating expenses by the 
VBA, which will support 20,851 claims processors, which is 94 more than 
in last year's bill, and all 94 of these new claims processors will 
work disability claims. The bill fully funds the Veterans Benefits 
Management System at $155 million and the Veterans Claims Intake 
Program at $136.4 million. These two efforts should speed up the VA's 
efforts to take old claims that are filed on paper and convert them 
into digital files that are easily searchable by the claims processors, 
thus speeding up the claims process;
  Second, we include a monthly reporting requirement for the VA to 
provide Congress with several statistics, such as the average wait time 
at each regional office, the rating inventory that has been pending for 
125 days, rating claims accuracy, and month-to-month updates of any 
changes in those statistics;
  Third, we require a report on the VA's expedited claims initiative 
that was announced just a few weeks ago. This report should give the 
committee insight into whether or not the Secretary's new initiative is 
having a positive result.
  I believe that we should let the measures in this bill take effect 
before we turn to these more drastic measures. I understand the 
frustration that the gentleman feels and that is felt by most of the 
Members of this Congress, and I understand the frustration that is felt 
by our veterans and even by the Secretary, who is quite frustrated. I 
am open to all reasonable methods to solve the problem, but I believe 
that we should avoid measures like this as it is unnecessarily 
punitive, and I believe that the measures that we have put forth in 
this bill will adequately get results, accountability, and ultimately 
meet our objective of eliminating the claims backlog by 2015.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. CULBERSON. I ask unanimous consent to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman 
from Texas?
  There was no objection.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. CULBERSON. I yield to my good friend, the gentleman from Georgia 
(Mr. Kingston).
  Mr. KINGSTON. I thank the gentleman from Texas for the time.
  To my friend from Georgia, who I know is just as fervent as we are in 
terms of cleaning up the backlog, I would say the only part with which 
we are in disagreement is this approach, again emphasizing that this 
committee has provided the adequate funding to reduce the backlog. We 
did it last year, and we did it the year before, and we did it the year 
before that.
  What we are doing with this amendment is what the private sector does 
every single day--it bases compensation on performance. We are saying, 
if you don't perform to your own guidelines, there will be a 
compensation penalty for it.
  Congress has reduced its expenses, depending on the committee, 
anywhere from 8 to 14 percent. We have not had a COLA in several years 
now. In fact, the only way the United States Senate passed a budget 
this year was because of an amendment that was offered, called ``no 
budget, no pay,'' and the House passed a budget, too, under that 
threat. One way you do get people's attention is to say, You have got 
to perform in your job or there will be a salary cut. That's all we're 
doing.
  For the men and women who put their lives on the line for our country 
that we could have this debate today and that we can go about our lives 
tomorrow and the next day and raise families in a free and independent 
country, we owe it to them. A backlog of 800,000 claims is not 
acceptable, and we are tired of talking about it. This amendment takes 
the final step. We are going to make a change. We are going to get that 
backlog cleaned up.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, it's common sense that your performance 
should be tied to your pay, so I urge the adoption of the gentleman 
from Georgia's amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Kingston).
  The amendment was agreed to.

                              {time}  1740


                    Amendment Offered by Ms. Kuster

  Ms. KUSTER. I have an amendment at the desk and offer that amendment 
at this time.
  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 by this Act may 
     be used for any conference (as described in the Office of 
     Management and Budget memorandum M-12-12, ``Promoting 
     Efficient Spending to Support Agency Operations'', dated May 
     11, 2012) for which the cost to the agency exceeds $500,000.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman from New Hampshire is recognized 
for 5 minutes.
  Ms. KUSTER. Mr. Chairman, my amendment is straightforward. It would 
prohibit the Federal Government from spending more than $500,000 of the 
funds appropriated by this bill on any single conference. This 
amendment would simply enforce the Obama administration's May 11, 2012, 
Office of Management and Budget memorandum promoting efficient 
spending.
  I understand the need for the VA and other agencies to invest in 
workforce development, and I recognize the role that conferences can 
play in improving services for our constituents. But from the GSA to 
the IRS, time and again we have seen Federal agencies misuse public 
funds at conferences and make expenditures of questionable value. In 
recent years, this problem has extended to the VA.
  In 2011, the VA spent over $6 million on just two conferences. This 
prompted an investigation by the Department's Inspector General, who 
documented numerous examples of excessive cost and unnecessary and 
unsupported expenditures, including over $49,000 for a parody video, 
over $97,000 for unnecessary promotional items, and over $43,000 in 
awards paid to the staff managing these conferences.
  We can all agree that the VA should focus its limited resources on 
its core mission: serving those brave men and women who have worn the 
uniform and served our country.
  There are so many worthwhile uses for VA funding, from eliminating 
the egregious claims backlog, to improving support for survivors of 
military sexual trauma, to expanding access to health care services in 
rural communities such as in my district in the northern town of 
Colebrook, New Hampshire, on the Canadian border.
  I commend my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their support 
for America's veterans.
  Out of respect for our constituents during these times of enhanced 
fiscal responsibility and in service to our veterans, I urge my 
colleagues to support this commonsense amendment.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentlewoman from New Hampshire (Ms. Kuster).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                 Amendment No. 3 Offered by Mr. Rothfus

  Mr. ROTHFUS. I have an amendment at the desk printed as No. 3 in the 
Congressional Record.
  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 by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to pay a 
     performance award under section 5384 of title 5, United 
     States Code.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Pennsylvania is recognized for 5 
minutes.

[[Page H3076]]

  Mr. ROTHFUS. Mr. Chairman, I rise today to stand with our Nation's 
veterans and their families.
  We owe our veterans a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. As 
public servants, we have a solemn obligation to make sure that our 
veterans receive the respect, support, and care that they have earned 
and rightly expect.
  That responsibility extends to employees and executives of the 
Department of Veterans Affairs. Unfortunately, the VA has failed 
veterans in western Pennsylvania and around the Nation.
  This failure has resulted in the outrageous disability claims backlog 
and the unconscionable death of five veterans at the VA Pittsburgh 
Health Care System. In light of these unresolved problems, no one in 
the senior leadership of the VA should be paid a performance bonus.
  Today, over 865,000 veterans around the Nation are waiting to receive 
disability benefits from the VA. Of those veterans, almost 576,000 are 
considered part of the VA backlog, meaning their claims have been 
pending for more than 125 days.
  On average, our Nation's veterans must wait between 316 and 327 days 
for their first-time disability claims to be processed. Wait times in 
major population centers and in my district are often longer. For 
example, veterans must wait 642 days in New York, 619 days in Los 
Angeles, 542 days in Chicago, 517 days in Philadelphia, and 625 days in 
Pittsburgh.
  The number of veterans who have been forced to wait more than a year 
to receive their benefits has grown by more than 2,000 percent over the 
last 4 years, despite significant increases in the VA's budget during 
the same time period.
  In addition, a study conducted by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review found 
that veterans who disagree with the VA's initial decision must wait 
even longer. That study found that it takes an average of 1,040 days 
for the agency to make decisions in appeals cases. That's almost 3 
years.
  In fact, some veterans wait so long that they die before their claims 
are processed. The Trib-Review study found almost 3,000 cases between 
2009 and 2013 in which veterans or their surviving spouses died before 
getting decisions on their disputed claims.
  Western Pennsylvania veterans have recently seen even more egregious 
failures of the VA firsthand in the death of five veterans due to an 
outbreak of Legionnaires' disease. The VA Inspector General found that 
the systemic failure of the Pittsburgh VA to follow its own safety 
protocols and a breakdown in communication resulted in these 
unconscionable deaths.
  Four days after the Inspector General's report was released, the 
regional director of the Pittsburgh VA was awarded an almost $63,000 
bonus and presented with the Presidential Distinguished Rank award.
  In total, the VA gave its senior executives bonuses totaling $2.8 
million in 2011 and $2.3 million in 2012. Paying bonuses to executives 
of an organization with this kind of abysmal performance record is 
ridiculous. In the private sector, this level of performance 
achievement is rewarded with a pink slip, not a bonus check.
  Rather, this hard-earned taxpayer money should be properly directed 
towards fixing the problems at the VA and ensuring that our veterans 
receive the first-rate service and care they rightfully deserve. VA 
executives need to take responsibility, fix these problems, and do 
their jobs.
  I urge my colleagues to stand with our veterans and their families 
and support the Rothfus-Roby-Tipton-Kelly-Huelskamp amendment.
  Mrs. ROBY. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. ROTHFUS. I yield to the gentlewoman from Alabama.
  Mrs. ROBY. Mr. Chairman, I would like to rise in support of the 
gentleman's amendment and I just want to add--and you've heard the 
statistics--that the number of backlogged cases--each case represents a 
veteran who may have earned a benefit but is currently being denied 
because of bureaucratic delay.
  In the last 4 years, the number of VA claims pending for longer than 
a year has grown by 2,000 percent.
  An award of a bonus should be a special recognition of success and 
accomplishment, not a right or a routine payment.
  Mr. Chairman, I don't consider a backlog of over 1.2 million cases to 
be cause for celebration or reward. I consider it a catastrophe that 
must be fixed. Restricting the ability to award bonuses until that 
backlog is cleared is a commonsense good-government policy. I'm pleased 
to support my colleague's amendment. It is a strong step in that 
direction.
  Mr. ROTHFUS. Reclaiming my time, I urge my colleagues to stand with 
our veterans and their families by supporting this amendment and yield 
back the balance of my time.
  Mr. SCHNEIDER. I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting Chair. The gentleman from Illinois is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. SCHNEIDER. Mr. Chairman, I rise to lend my support for the 
underlying bill we are debating today that addresses critical health 
care, housing, education, and unemployment needs for our soldiers who 
are deploying and our veterans who are returning from the battlefield.
  The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies 
Appropriations measure is one of the most important pieces of 
legislation Congress considers annually. It provides the necessary 
funding to house, train, and equip our brave men and women in uniform, 
support our military families, and maintain our military base 
infrastructure. Put simply, no one should stand ahead of our men and 
women in uniform or our Nation's veterans when it comes to making 
Federal funding decisions.
  Critical to this discussion is the priority placed on investments in 
medical care for our Active Duty servicemembers and veterans.
  I appreciate that the committee continues the precedence set in past 
years of providing advanced appropriations for the VA.

                              {time}  1750

  Allowing for advanced appropriations provides a platform for long-
term planning and investment in critical programs that meet the 
emerging needs of our servicemembers and military families.
  I want to personally thank the committee for providing these 
resources that will allow our VA hospitals, including those in my 
district, to prepare adequately for the number of veterans returning 
home from deployment. This approach will provide flexibility to 
capitalize on emerging technology and treatments that will ensure our 
warriors here at home are receiving the very best health care possible.
  As well, I would like to thank the committee for its important work 
to ensure that we are maintaining investment in our military 
installations. I applaud the inclusion of $35.8 million for the 
construction of housing units at Naval Station Great Lakes, located in 
my district. This funding will allow more servicemembers to receive the 
training they need, while not overburdening them with complicated, 
temporary housing conditions.
  This forward-looking investment is one that illustrates how we can 
further utilize existing military infrastructure to achieve 
efficiencies in training and services. I want to again thank the 
committee for its work on this important bipartisan bill.
  Mr. Chairman, 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, we are all outraged in regards 
to the claims backlog and the incidences of poor quality health 
services and safety. The current claims backlog is, as we have said 
over and over today, unacceptable. There is no question that the VA has 
failed to successfully deliver one of its key missions--to provide 
timely ratings of disability.
  Given this failure, it is hard to imagine how VA leaders responsible 
for disability claims rating and the claims processing transformation 
could warrant high performance ratings and substantial bonuses. It is 
also clear that some VA health facilities have had serious issues that 
put the health, safety, and well-being of veterans at risk. This, too, 
is unacceptable. Where these failures have occurred, it is hard to

[[Page H3077]]

imagine how the VA leaders of these facilities could have received high 
performance ratings and substantial bonuses.
  However, this amendment will not provide any solution in the short 
term, and in the long term it may have adverse consequences and 
compound the very problem that it attempts to address.
  Many VA workers are compassionate and hard workers. The previous 
amendment that was adopted, which was adopted by this body by voice 
vote, referenced models from the private sector by cutting pay, 
reducing the pay by 25 percent until the backlog is reduced. However, 
if you follow that same model from the private sector, bonuses are the 
converse of that so that when those backlogs are reduced, and if there 
is exceptional work that goes in to reducing that backlog by those 
responsible at the VA, then appropriate bonuses could be granted.
  This amendment, I submit, would make the VA a less attractive option 
than other agencies when it comes to recruiting and retaining quality 
executive leaders, and it will not have the very talent it needs to 
solve the problems that it faces today, like the claims backlog and the 
health care deficiencies.
  Furthermore, the SES pay and bonuses are governed by title 5 of the 
United States Code and administered by the Office of Personnel 
Management. Any change to title 5 to address VA would then also apply 
to all other Federal agencies. Attempting an across-the-board, one-
size-fits-all fix will penalize those dedicated VA executives who are 
working hard, and well, to find solutions to the VA's problems.
  So I urge our colleagues to vote ``no'' on this amendment, that's the 
Rothfus amendment, not because we don't have the challenges and the 
obligation to eliminate this backlog and to do it forthwith, but 
because I think we are going a little bit too far in attempting to 
create a disincentive for people, not solving this backlog.
  I think that recruitment and retention of people in the VA, talented 
people, talented executives who can effectively solve the challenges 
that we face, like eliminating the backlog, will be undermined if this 
amendment should become law.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. HUELSKAMP. I move to strike the last word, Mr. Chairman.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Kansas is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. HUELSKAMP. Mr. Chairman, I won't take quite that long, but I 
appreciate the opportunity to visit about this amendment. I have always 
thought bonuses and performance awards to employees should only be 
given out to those who go above and beyond the expectations laid out in 
their job description. An end-of-the-year bonus should never be an 
assumed addition to an employee's paycheck, but the Department of 
Veterans Affairs apparently takes a very different approach to 
performance awards for many of their employees, particularly top-level 
administrators and supervisors.
  As a member of the VA Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, 
we've held multiple hearings on the mismanagement and negligence of 
Federal employees at the VA. What's worse, many of these individuals 
have been rewarded for their behavior.
  We're all aware of the situation at the VA Pittsburgh health care 
system and the outbreak of Legionnaires' disease, but how many of us 
know that the individual in charge received a bonus for the very year 
that we potentially had five deaths from that outbreak that could have 
been prevented?
  At another hearing conducted by our Oversight Investigations 
Committee, I recently asked a VA bureaucrat who had missed deadlines 
and overspent on VA construction projects of over a billion dollars to 
explain why he deserved $55,000 in bonuses. In our exchange, he had no 
idea--claimed to have no idea why he received this bonus; and, 
actually, neither did I, Mr. Chairman.
  Earlier this afternoon, much more troubling, we had another VA 
Oversight hearing where it was revealed that potentially up to 20 
million veterans' records have been hacked and perhaps accessed by 
foreign state actors, and the individual in charge of the security 
during these last 4 years when this apparently occurred has received 
over $87,000 in bonuses. This has become a trend within the VA 
departments, and I believe taxpayer dollars would be better directed 
towards protecting the sensitive records of our veterans and their 
dependents and improving veterans' health care options.
  I support this amendment. I am glad my colleague from Pennsylvania 
has offered it.
  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 want to express my support for this 
amendment. I share the gentleman's intense frustration with the VA for 
their failure to meet their own guidelines and their own deadlines for 
eliminating the backlog, and I urge adoption of the amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Rothfus).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Grayson

  Mr. GRAYSON. 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.___. None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used to enter into a contract with any offeror or any of 
     its principals if the offeror certifies, as required by 
     Federal Acquisition Regulation, that the offeror or any of 
     its principals:
       (A) within a three-year period preceding this offer has 
     been convicted of or had a civil judgment rendered against it 
     for: commission of fraud or a criminal offense in connection 
     with obtaining, attempting to obtain, or performing a public 
     (Federal, State, or local) contract or subcontract; violation 
     of Federal or State antitrust statutes relating to the 
     submission of offers; or commission of embezzlement, theft, 
     forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, 
     making false statements, tax evasion, violating Federal 
     criminal tax laws, or receiving stolen property; or
       (B) are presently indicated for, or otherwise criminally or 
     civilly charged by a governmental entity with, commission of 
     any of the offenses enumerated above in subsection (A); or
       (C) within a three-year period preceding this officer, has 
     been notified of any delinquent Federal taxes in an amount 
     that exceeds $3,000 for which the liability remains 
     unsatisfied.

  Mr. GRAYSON (during the reading). Mr. Chair, I ask unanimous consent 
to waive the reading.
  The Acting CHAIR. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman 
from Florida?
  There was no objection.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. GRAYSON. Mr. Chairman, this amendment strengthens existing 
provisions in the bill by preventing the award of contracts of money 
allocated under this bill to offerers or principals of offerers who, 
within the 3-year period preceding the offer, have been convicted or 
had a civil judgment rendered against them for such action as fraud, 
theft, bribery, making false statements, tax evasion, and so on.

                              {time}  1800

  It would be unconscionable, Mr. Chairman, if we allowed taxpayer 
money to be given to contractors who have been convicted of such things 
as bribery; and, therefore, I offer this amendment to prevent that.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Florida (Mr. Grayson).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Runyan

  Mr. RUNYAN. 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. 419.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used to propose, plan for, or execute a new or additional 
     Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from New Jersey is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. RUNYAN. Mr. Chairman, my amendment states that none of the funds 
made available by this act may

[[Page H3078]]

be used to propose, plan, or execute a new or an additional round of 
base realignment and closure, otherwise known as BRAC.
  We all recognize the budget pressures we face. A round of BRAC 
closures now will entail a large up-front cost. We should direct these 
limited dollars to addressing the current mission and readiness needs 
supporting our warfighters.
  For that reason, I urge my colleagues to support this amendment, 
which helps ensure these funds address current needs. I know that many 
Members of this Chamber want Congress to continue to have oversight of 
our base and force structure, and my amendment ensures that we do so.
  I thank the chairman and members of the subcommittee for working with 
me on this important 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 just want to express my support for 
the gentleman's amendment and urge its adoption by the House.
  I yield back the balance of my time
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Runyan).
  The amendment was agreed to.


               Amendment Offered by Mr. Murphy of Florida

  Mr. MURPHY of Florida. 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 by this Act may 
     be used to award any contract in an amount greater than 
     $1,000,000 for which the Department of Defense did not 
     receive at least two offers.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. MURPHY of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I rise today to offer an 
amendment to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs 
appropriations bill that would boost competitive bidding across defense 
construction projects.
  The Department of Defense manages hundreds of billions of dollars in 
contracts each year, 43 percent of which are noncompetitively awarded. 
The Government Accountability Office has reported that the Department 
of Defense does not keep accurate records of which contracts received 
multiple bids or why sole-sourced contracts are awarded. This is not 
good government.
  Competition works because it drives down cost while giving consumers 
greater choice. It is the cornerstone of our free-market economy and 
needs to be integrated throughout the government.
  I recently introduced the SAVE Act with my colleague, Representative 
David Joyce from Ohio, to root out wasteful and duplicative government 
spending. The bipartisan legislation would implement several 
commonsense solutions outlined by the GAO to reduce up to $200 billion 
in spending over the next 10 years.
  One of the 11 measures in my bill encourages the robust use of 
competitive bidding to reduce contract costs across all agencies.
  Today's amendment is an extension of the SAVE Act. It would prevent 
the Department of Defense from spending the taxpayers' money on 
contracts over $1 million that have not received at least two 
competitive bids.
  With the national deficit currently at almost $17 trillion, and the 
current deficit over $600 billion annually, it is clear that we must 
rein in government spending, but we must do it in a strategic way, 
cutting programs that are wasteful, duplicative, or ineffective; and 
this amendment would do just that.
  Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to 
support this commonsense and cost-saving amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Florida (Mr. Murphy).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                     Amendment Offered by Mr. Terry

  Mr. TERRY. 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. 419.  None of the funds made available by this Act, 
     including the funds made available for ``Construction, Major 
     Projects'', may be used to increase the funding for any major 
     medical facility project (as defined in subsection (a)(3)(A) 
     of section 8104 of title 38, United States Code), which is 
     under construction as of the date of the enactment of this 
     Act, above the amount specified in the prospectus described 
     in subsection (b) of such section 8104 and the detailed 
     estimate of cost described in paragraph (1) of such 
     subsection.

  Mr. TERRY (during the reading). Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent 
to waive the reading.
  The Acting CHAIR. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman 
from Nebraska?
  There was no objection.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Nebraska is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. TERRY. Mr. Chairman, the Terry amendment requests that none of 
the funds made available by this act, including the funds made 
available for the Construction and Major Projects account, be used to 
increase funding for any major medical facility project that is under 
construction as of the date of enactment of this act.
  A major medical facility project, as defined by section 8104 of Title 
38 in the U.S. Code, is a project that involves a total expenditure of 
more than $10 million. This includes the cost overruns of new VA 
hospitals.
  Take the new VA Hospital in New Orleans that was originally supposed 
to cost $625 million, but a new GAO report shows that the cost overruns 
at this particular facility is $370 million, pushing that to a near-
billion-dollar hospital.
  The Navy Times recently reported about a GAO report that clearly 
illustrates this problem and should greatly disturb everyone. The 
Government Accountability Office found that the VA Hospital 
construction projects in Denver, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Orlando 
are, on average, experiencing delays of 35 months and cost overruns of 
around $366 million. This comes out to about, with the expected costs 
and the overruns, almost a billion dollars per hospital.
  My amendment is designed to stop these cost overruns. In the Omaha 
metropolitan area, eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, there's about 
112,000 underserved veterans in Omaha that are all too familiar with 
the cost overruns and delays associated with the building of VA 
hospitals.
  We have an almost 70-year-old facility in Omaha that is in dire need 
of replacement. The infrastructure's decrepit; it's rusting away. The 
HVAC system is so poor that we can't use many of the rooms. And then on 
top of that, our seven operating rooms have been shut down recently.
  Unfortunately, there's no telling when the VA is going to get to it. 
The veterans in Omaha are being told that there's no money left.
  This isn't just Omaha; this is occurring in California, Texas, and 
all over the world. This is unfair to the seniors to have this level of 
cost overruns and mismanagement.
  So that's the purpose and reason behind this amendment, to start 
making them focus on the bidding process, do it right, and not simply 
just have a bid and then make all the additions and changes afterwards 
that drive up the costs. And so I urge support for this 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 would rise in support of the 
gentleman's amendment. I share his concerns; and that's why, in section 
227 of our bill, we included language that's very similar. And I look 
forward to supporting the gentleman's amendment and working with him in 
conference to make sure there's no duplication.
  The committee is also concerned about increases in costs beyond that 
originally specified on the project, and that's why we included the 
section and why I welcome the gentleman's 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 Nebraska (Mr. Terry).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                     Amendment Offered by Mr. Engel

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

[[Page H3079]]

  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 by this Act may 
     be used by the Department of Defense or the Department of 
     Veterans Affairs to lease or purchase new light duty vehicles 
     for any executive fleet, or for an agency's fleet inventory, 
     except in accordance with Presidential Memorandum--Federal 
     Fleet Performance, dated May 24, 2011.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from New York is recognized for 5 
minutes.

                              {time}  1810

  Mr. ENGEL. On May 24, 2011, President Obama issued a Memorandum on 
Federal Fleet Performance that requires all new light-duty vehicles in 
the Federal fleet to be alternate fuel vehicles, such as hybrid, 
electric, natural gas, or biofuel, by December 31, 2015. My amendment 
echoes the Presidential Memorandum by prohibiting funds in the Military 
Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations 
Act from being used to lease or purchase new light-duty vehicles, 
except in accord with the President's Memorandum.
  Our transportation sector is by far the biggest reason we send $600 
billion per year to hostile nations to pay for oil at ever-increasing 
costs. But America does not need to be dependent on foreign sources of 
oil for transportation fuel. Alternative technologies exist today that, 
when implemented broadly, will allow any alternative fuel to be used in 
America's automotive fleet. The Federal Government operates the largest 
fleet of light-duty vehicles in America. According to GSA, there are 
over 660,000 vehicles in the Federal fleet, with over 14,000 being used 
by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  By supporting a diverse array of vehicle technologies in our Federal 
fleet, we will encourage development of domestic energy resources, 
including biomass, natural gas, agricultural waste, hydrogen, renewable 
electricity, methanol, and ethanol. Expanding the role these energy 
sources play in our transportation economy will help break the leverage 
over Americans held by foreign government-controlled oil companies and 
will increase our Nation's domestic security and protect consumers from 
price spikes and shortages in the world oil markets.
  Let me say that the gentlewoman from Florida, Congresswoman Ros-
Lehtinen, and I have a bill that would mandate that by a certain date 
all vehicles made in America would be flex-fuel vehicles. It would cost 
$100 or even less to make each vehicle flex-fuel. Other countries have 
it. America should not be behind other countries. We will be 
introducing this legislation shortly.
  So I ask that my colleagues support the Engel amendment, and 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. Engel).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Tipton

  Mr. TIPTON. 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. __.  The amounts otherwise provided by this Act are 
     revised by reducing the amount made available for 
     ``Department of Veterans Affairs--Departmental 
     Administration--General Administration'', and increasing the 
     amount made available for ``Department of Veterans Affairs--
     Departmental Administration--Information Technology 
     Systems'', by $10,000,000.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Colorado is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. TIPTON. Mr. Chairman, I rise today with an amendment to reduce 
wasteful spending by the Department of Veterans Affairs on conferences 
and use the money to be able to assist the VA backlog of processing 
disability claims for veterans. Two-thirds of all veterans who file 
disability claims with the VA must wait longer than 125 days to be able 
to receive their benefits. I have seen this firsthand from constituents 
in my district. People have contacted my office in sheer exasperation 
by the lack of response and endless delays by the VA in processing 
their claims.
  This isn't a statistic we're talking about. This is literally 
peoples' lives. Many of the veterans on the backlog are in desperate 
need of care, care that has been delayed by needless lag of 
bureaucratic backlogs in the Department of Veterans Affairs. This is 
deplorable, Mr. Chairman. The VA backlog has grown by over 2,000 
percent over the last 4 years, despite an increase in the budget of 
more than the 20 percent. As of March 28 of this year, the VA reported 
that there are over 606,007 backlogged claims and 865,989 total claims. 
Nearly 900,000 veterans who have sacrificed for our country are not 
getting their benefits. They're not getting the care that they need. 
Our veterans deserve better.
  Despite the inability of the VA to be able to process claims in a 
timely manner, the agency continues to waste money on unnecessary 
conferences. In September of 2012, the VA Office of the Inspector 
General released a report highlighting abuses by the VA at conferences. 
That report included numerous troubling findings. According to the 
report, the VA spent more than $6.1 million on two human resource 
conferences in Orlando, and nearly $100,000 on unnecessary promotional 
items like bags, pins, and water bottles. In addition to these, the 
report included information on many more instances of waste, fraud, and 
abuse at the VA.
  Following the release of the OIG report, Congressman Jeff Miller, 
chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, stated ``it can 
be reasonably concluded that 10 to 15 percent of VA's conference 
spending is wasteful, amounting to $10 to $15 million a year, at the 
least.'' I wholeheartedly agree with Chairman Miller. That is why today 
I'm proposing this amendment to target $10 million in wasteful spending 
on conferences from the Secretary's $403 million budget and 
reprioritize these funds to be able to assist with addressing the VA 
backlog.
  It's time that the VA focus their efforts on serving our veterans and 
processing their claims in a reasonable amount of time--not in 125 days 
or more. The VA must reduce the backlog, and it won't get it done by 
wasting time and taxpayer dollars at conferences. It's time that the 
benefits work for our veterans rather than our veterans having to be 
able to work for their benefits.
  I urge my colleagues to be able to support this commonsense 
amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Tipton).
  The amendment was agreed to.


               Amendment Offered by Mr. Murphy of Florida

  Mr. MURPHY of Florida. Mr. Chair, 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. 419.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used to maintain or improve Department of Defense real 
     property with a zero percent utilization rate according to 
     the Department's real property inventory database, except in 
     the case of maintenance of an historic property as required 
     by the National Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470 et 
     seq.) or maintenance to prevent a negative environmental 
     impact as required by the National Environmental Policy Act 
     of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. MURPHY of Florida. I rise today to offer an amendment to the 
Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill that 
would eliminate wasteful spending on unused facilities, which could 
save tens of millions of dollars in fiscal year 2014 alone.
  The Department of Defense has hundreds, possibly thousands of 
buildings and structures that it has rated at zero percent utilization. 
This is an incredible number of useless facilities the Department of 
Defense is paying to maintain. Federal agencies, as a whole, must do a 
better job at managing their facilities. Taxpayers cannot continue 
paying for unused and underused buildings while the Nation is at record 
debt levels. That is not good government and that is not smart 
spending.
  That is why I joined with Representative David Joyce of Ohio to 
introduce the SAVE Act to root out the up to $200 billion in wasteful 
and duplicative government spending over the next

[[Page H3080]]

years. This amendment is an extension of one of the 11 commonsense 
solutions included in the bipartisan SAVE Act, preventing the 
Department of Defense from spending money on facilities that the 
Department itself has rated at zero percent utilization.
  Mr. Chairman, we all agree that we must rein in government spending. 
The best place to start is by rooting out waste. My amendment is a 
commonsense solution to do just that, and I urge my colleagues on both 
sides of the aisle to support this amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Florida (Mr. Murphy).
  The amendment was agreed to.

                              {time}  1820

  Mr. GARCIA. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word and enter 
into a colloquy with the gentleman from Georgia, the ranking member of 
the committee.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Florida is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. GARCIA. The President's budget request included $3.6 million for 
the Special Operations Boat Docks in Key West, Florida. These 
improvements will help ensure that the Special Forces Underwater 
Operations School, which trains more than 300 servicemembers and 
conducts support training for troops preparing for deployments, can 
continue to meet its critical role in our Nation's defense.
  The Appropriations Committee recommended no funds for the project. As 
I understand it, the subcommittee made that recommendation with no 
prejudice against the boat dock project. Having determined that the 
Army had sufficient military construction funds available to complete 
the project without additional appropriations, the committee 
recommended no additional funds to undertake the project.
  I yield to my friend from Georgia to ask if it is a fair 
characterization of the committee's recommendation.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. I would agree with the gentleman from Florida. 
The Army does have sufficient funds in bid savings and in unobligated 
balances from prior military construction appropriations to undertake a 
$3.6 million project. I would be happy to work with the gentleman to 
see if the Army would use those existing funds on this project.
  Mr. GARCIA. I thank the gentleman, and I look forward to working with 
him.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.


                 Amendment Offered by Mr. King of Iowa

  Mr. KING of Iowa. I have an amendment at the desk, Mr. Chairman.
  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. 419.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used to implement, administer, or enforce the prevailing 
     wage requirements in subchapter IV of chapter 31 of title 40, 
     United States Code (commonly referred to as the Davis-Bacon 
     Act).

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Iowa is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. KING of Iowa. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate being recognized. I 
bring this amendment to the floor out of a sense of fiscal 
responsibility and a sense of duty to the people that go out and work 
hard every day and return a value for every dollar, for every hour they 
invest, a value returned on production.
  I have spent my life in the construction industry. We have paid 
Davis-Bacon wage scales, I believe, in each year that I have been in 
business, and we were a merit shop operation. So I have both sides of 
experience to this. I have worked underneath Davis-Bacon wage scales, 
and I have worked in competition with them.
  Davis-Bacon is rooted back in the early 1930s. There was a decision 
made by a couple of people from New York, both Republicans I might add. 
They let me down then before I was born. They wanted to provide 
protectionism for their people in New York and lock out minorities that 
would be coming from the South to build Federal buildings during that 
era of the Great Depression in New York. It remains the last vestige of 
Jim Crow laws that's designed to protect and lock out minorities from 
the construction industry as far as labor is concerned.
  My records on this is it costs a lot of money to have Davis-Bacon 
wage scales imposed. And our King Construction records show over the 
years that there is somewhere between 8 and 38 percent increase in the 
costs that we have to bid a project when we make the adjustment for 
Davis-Bacon. According to Beacon Hill, there's a 9 to 37 percent 
increase. I just simply use a 20 percent increase as a rule of thumb to 
discuss the amount of cost that is extra.
  So it's this: if we're going to have federally mandated union scale 
that turns out to be the increase in price for every Federal 
construction project that has $2,000 or more in it, the result of that 
is then that if we're going to build only 4 miles of road instead of 5; 
only four bridges instead of five; only four military facilities 
instead of five; only four sets of barracks instead of five; only four 
training facilities instead of five, we can get 20 percent more 
production out of the dollars that we have and maintain the quality and 
maintain that sense of responsibility and have a trained workforce, and 
we can bring more trainees into the process and we'll employ, according 
to the study I have in front of me here, an average of about 25,000 
more minorities each year within the construction business that's 
there.
  What we have instead is we have some people that are in the industry 
that sit down once a year and they take a look at the records and they 
decide, well, let's see, let's pay a little bit more to the people here 
in labor because we don't want to compete outside of our particular 
industry. We'll raise these wages and we'll transfer that to the 
taxpayers. It is not a prevailing wage; it is a mandated union scale. 
That is the effect of it, Mr. Chairman.
  I have lived under this for at least 28 years that I operated King 
Construction. We're now in about our 38th or 39th year of business. We 
have deep experience with it; and the quality of the work does not 
suffer, neither does the finishing, neither does the completion, 
neither does the bonding. All of this construction industry works 
better when you have real competition instead of some kind of mandated 
wage scale. Plus, eliminating the enforcement of Davis-Bacon wage scale 
brings efficiency in and it brings competition in. It's an impossible 
and onerous Federal regulation to seek to try to regulate. No one can 
sit in government and determine what a prevailing wage is.
  It upsets the relationship between management and workers. And I've 
been on both sides of that, on all four sides of it, as a matter of 
fact. It reduces the efficiency of the crews that are there because it 
reduces your ability to be flexible with the assignment of workforce 
and their flexibility to self-assign.
  For every possible financial reason, you cannot be fiscally 
responsible or a fiscal conservative and oppose this amendment, Mr. 
Chairman. It must be supported by a country that's going deeply in 
debt. We're borrowing over 40 cents out of every dollar that we spend. 
Meanwhile, we can save 20 cents out of every dollar in this MilCon 
appropriation bill simply by eliminating the enforcement of the Davis-
Bacon wage scale on it.
  So I urge in the strongest terms possible the adoption of this 
amendment which would eliminate the effect of the last vestige of Jim 
Crow law with regard to where military construction is concerned, save 
20 percent, someplace between 9 and 37 according to Beacon Hill. And we 
can build five facilities instead of four. This is the right way to go 
to support my amendment.
  I urge its adoption, and I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Georgia is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. I rise in opposition to the amendment.
  I respect my good friend, but I am totally baffled by the comparison 
of Davis-Bacon to Jim Crow laws. I think it's totally inapplicable. 
Davis-Bacon is a pretty simple concept, and it's a fair one. What the 
Davis-Bacon Act does is protect the government as well as the workers 
in carrying out the policy of paying decent wages on government 
contracts.

[[Page H3081]]

  The act requires that workers on federally funded construction 
projects be paid no less than the wages paid in the community for some 
of the work. It requires that every contract for construction to which 
the Federal Government is a party in excess of $2,000 contain a 
provision defining the minimum wages paid to various classes of 
laborers and mechanics.
  Mr. Chairman, the House has taken numerous votes on this issue, and 
on every vote this body has voted to maintain Davis-Bacon requirements. 
Last year, we avoided including divisive language like this, and it's 
my hope that we stop attacking the working class and defeat the 
amendment before us today and move on to more important matters.
  Davis-Bacon wages actually save construction costs. A study of more 
than 4,000 new schools, some built with prevailing wage and others not, 
found that there were no significant differences in construction costs 
associated with prevailing wage requirements. A repeal in Davis-Bacon 
wages has consistently been shown to increase costs because of the poor 
construction resulting in repairs, revisions, and project delays and 
consequently substantial cost overruns all as a result of the increase 
in employing unskilled, unqualified workers on projects.
  For example, when President Bush suspended Davis-Bacon wages during 
the Hurricane Katrina building efforts, construction costs went up due 
to the dramatic increase in the employment of unqualified workers.
  Opponents of the prevailing wage claim that the government can save 
billions by eliminating them. But they ignore how the Davis-Bacon Act 
has proven to increase workforce productivity and result in cost-
effective projects. For example, a study of 10 States when nearly half 
of all highway and bridgework in America is done 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.
  Repealing Davis-Bacon wages dramatically decreases the economic 
benefits to the local community. For example, studies have shown that 
Davis-Bacon wages generate more than two times the amount spent on the 
construction project itself in the local community since the workers 
spend part of their income in local businesses and pay local taxes, all 
of which recirculates throughout the economy.
  Driving wages down will not help to balance the Federal budget. A 
Florida analysis such as the Bluegrass Institute study fails to take 
into account the spin-off economic benefits of maintaining prevailing 
wages. Davis-Bacon improves the skill level and the training of all of 
the workers. Opponents of prevailing wage regulations assume that 
repealing the law and lowering wages will not erode training nor lead 
to an exodus of skilled workers.

                              {time}  1830

  They are wrong, because it has that exact effect. Davis-Bacon 
increases training opportunities for all workers, both union and 
nonunion.
  Finally, a Davis-Bacon wage is usually not a union wage. The Davis-
Bacon prevailing wage is based on surveys of wages and benefits paid to 
various job classifications of construction workers in the community 
without regard to union membership. According to the Department of 
Labor, a whopping 72 percent of the 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 the job classifications.
  Let me just say that we have in the past avoided including divisive 
language in our bill, and it is my hope that we can stop attacking the 
working class and we can defeat this amendment.
  I urge all of the Members in this House to vote ``no.'' Davis-Bacon 
is good law, it produces good results, and it is cost effective for the 
taxpayers of the United States.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mrs. LOWEY. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman from New York is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mrs. LOWEY. Mr. Chairman, the MilCon-VA bill should be one of the 
least controversial measures this committee considers. I am deeply 
disappointed that instead of seeking to pass the most bipartisan bill 
possible, some would prefer to weigh down the bill that funds veterans 
and military construction with divisive riders.
  Not only is this procedurally problematic, but it's completely wrong 
on substance. Repealing Davis-Bacon has consistently, as my colleague 
has shown, been shown to increase costs. Poor construction results in 
repairs, revisions, project delays, and cost overruns. Let's not add an 
unnecessary policy rider that will not be included in the final 
version.
  Again, this is probably one of the most bipartisan bills that we have 
considered. I have applauded the chair and the ranking member for 
working so closely together to produce a really important bill that 
helps our veterans. Why weigh this down with this divisive rider? Let's 
vote against this amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I rise in support of 
my colleague, Mr. King's amendment, to H.R. 2216, the Military 
Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act. This amendment 
would ensure that no funds made available by H.R. 2216 could be used to 
implement, administer, or enforce the Davis-Bacon Act requirements for 
government contracts.
  Mr. Chairman, the Davis-Bacon Act is an anachronistic law that was 
enacted during the Great Depression to prevent wayfaring contractors 
from lowballing local construction bids. In defense of my colleague, 
Mr. King's characterization, the sponsors of the Davis-Bacon Act 
originally intended for it to actually discriminate against 
nonunionized Black workers in favor of White workers belonging to 
White-only unions. Mr. King is correct--and that's in all deference to 
everyone in this debate--but this is indeed a vestigial remnant of the 
Jim Crow era and has no place in our military construction contracts 
and should be abandoned.
  Furthermore, the Davis-Bacon Act results in billions of wasted 
taxpayer dollars every year. This act requires Federal construction 
contractors to pay their workers ``prevailing wages,'' which could be 
as much as 1\1/2\ times greater than their basic pay rate. This results 
in artificially high costs of construction, which are ultimately 
shouldered by American taxpayers.
  Contractors wishing to offer a lower bid would still be required by 
law to pay their employees the prevailing wage and file a weekly report 
of the wages paid to each worker. This has a particularly negative 
effect on small businesses, as they are often unable to compete due to 
Davis-Bacon wage and benefit requirements, which reduces competition 
and further inflates contract rates.
  Moreover, Mr. Chairman, Davis-Bacon was enacted before the Fair Labor 
Standards Act and the National Labor Relations Act. According to the 
GAO, these acts have rendered Davis-Bacon obsolete and unnecessary. 
There are a number of laws passed by this body that protect 
construction workers without the discriminatory intent and effect of 
Davis-Bacon.
  During this time of fiscal austerity and responsibility, Congress 
must do all it can to lower Federal contract costs and decrease the 
burden on American taxpayers. This amendment is intended to stop the 
hemorrhage of wasteful spending and rein in our debt.

  I would urge my colleagues to support this amendment by Mr. King that 
would, again, ensure no funds made available by H.R. 2216 could be used 
to implement, administer, or enforce the wasteful Davis-Bacon Act, and 
I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. LYNCH. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Massachusetts is recognized for 
5 minutes.
  Mr. LYNCH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
  First of all, I would like to associate myself with the remarks of 
the gentleman from Georgia and the gentlelady from New York who spoke 
previously on this, and I rise in strong opposition to the gentleman 
from Iowa's

[[Page H3082]]

amendment that would prevent Davis-Bacon from being enforced on 
projects under this act.
  It is a shame, I believe, that this funding bill--which provides 
needed facilities for our servicemembers and benefits to our veterans--
is being exploited to undermine hardworking Americans, but here we have 
it.
  Ironically, however, in contravention with some of the things that 
have been said here on the floor under this amendment, Davis-Bacon 
requires that workers of every color and every gender be paid based on 
their work, not on the color of their skin, not on their gender. That 
flies in the face of some of the accusations that have been put out for 
the original purpose of this.
  I do agree with the gentleman from Iowa that there were two 
Republicans who did originally sponsor this back in 1931, but I 
disagree that the danger, that the evil that it was trying to fight 
against back then, has gone away. As a matter of fact, it is just a 
race to the bottom that would ensue if we got rid of Davis-Bacon.
  Like the gentleman from Iowa, I have worked on Davis-Bacon jobs. I 
was an ironworker for 18 years--very proud to work with the men and 
women of the building trades--and I've worked on jobs where some of the 
workers were union and some of the workers were nonunion; but the 
important thing was that we were not exploited by trying to pit us 
against each other in a race to the bottom based on the wages that we 
earned.
  Since 1931, the Davis-Bacon Act has required Federal contractors to 
provide workers the local ``prevailing local wage.'' What happens is 
that's not the union wage, and in many cases, as the gentleman from 
Georgia has pointed out, it's the nonunion wage, but it is determined 
by a survey of the Department of Labor of the wages in that area.
  The danger that it's meant to deal with is that, in some areas of the 
country where there's no work and folks are dealing with the recession 
or depression-like conditions in the construction industry, 
unscrupulous contractors can go down there where workers don't have any 
shot of going to work and they can take them at very low wages and 
transport them to another area of the country that has work and then 
depress the wage base in that area. That's what Davis-Bacon is meant to 
deal with, and that's still the situation that we have today and the 
danger that we guard against.
  On these federally funded construction projects, Davis-Bacon protects 
these workers by preventing wage exploitation while still ensuring that 
the value for the taxpayer dollar and work quality are not compromised. 
This amount would bar funding to administer these wage requirements. 
Without Davis-Bacon protection, unscrupulous contractors will be free 
to exploit those tradesmen and -women who, despite a slight recovery in 
their jobs numbers, still today face high levels of unemployment.

                              {time}  1840

  Mr. Chairman, I want to speak for a moment about my time as an 
ironworker and about my involvement with the men and women of the 
building trades. These people are incredibly hardworking, they are 
immensely skilled, and they work in a dangerous industry. They truly 
care about the craftsmanship, and they are dedicated to getting the job 
done and doing it right, and working side by side with them was a true 
honor for me.
  Generations of trades workers, by the sweat of their brows and the 
toil of their hands, built our great Nation. They deserve our respect, 
as does the work that they do. Protecting Davis-Bacon does just that.
  The amendment offered by the gentleman from Iowa will not create 
jobs, it will not house our military, and it certainly will not result 
in better care and services for our veterans. All it will do is take 
away critical wage protections and open our workers to exploitation in 
a race to the bottom.
  I urge my colleagues to stand behind our American workers and to 
stand behind our veterans and oppose this amendment. I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. CULBERSON. I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR (Ms. Foxx). The gentleman from Texas is recognized 
for 5 minutes.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Madam Chairman, I rise in strong support of the 
gentleman's amendment.
  It is just common sense that the free market and competitive open 
bidding process is going to result in a savings to taxpayers. Davis-
Bacon artificially drives up the cost to taxpayers at a time when we 
simply cannot afford it. With record debt, record deficit and at a time 
when all of us as stewards of the Treasury need to do everything we can 
to protect our constituents' hard-earned tax dollars, I strongly 
support the gentleman from Iowa's amendment, which is to make sure that 
we have a competitive bidding process in which the lowest price and, 
obviously, free market wages in this environment in the 21st century 
are going to be fair wages with good compensation and good benefits. We 
truly don't need to pay higher wages in an era of record debt and 
deficit.
  I would, Madam Chairman, like to yield to the gentleman from Iowa.
  Mr. KING of Iowa. I appreciate the gentleman from Texas for yielding.
  First, in response to some of the remarks that were made that Davis-
Bacon wages are based on surveys, well, technically they are based on 
surveys, but merit shop employers often do not answer those surveys 
because union organizers show up to organize their employees very 
shortly after that. It's not always a wise decision to turn your wage 
records in to the Department of Labor, because in many environments 
that just about guarantees union organizers coming in to try to drive 
the wages up more.
  The statement about the cost of Davis-Bacon wages actually saving 
money in Katrina reconstruction, that's a new one for me. My 
recollection is that George Bush initially after Katrina suspended 
Davis-Bacon wages so that the money could be best applied to get the 
cleanup and then the reconstruction done down in New Orleans, in that 
area, under Katrina. He shortly thereafter lifted that order, so I 
don't know how a study could show how much money was actually saved. If 
my memory is correct, it never really was implemented for any length of 
time that would be appreciable. I don't know of a study that shows that 
imposed union scale Davis-Bacon wages actually saves the taxpayers 
money unless that study might be funded by the unions themselves.
  There is no argument that this is the last remaining Jim Crow law, 
the law that was designed to lock Black Americans out of the union 
trades in New York, particularly in New York City. The vestiges of that 
remain today, and I think it's worthy to go back and look at a study 
and see what representation of the ethnic population is represented 
within these construction trades in places like New York City. It would 
be very constructive, I think, to look at that.

  Also, labor is a commodity. The value of it needs to be determined by 
supply and demand in the marketplace, Madam Chair. And just like gold 
or oil or corn or beans, where I come from, you're not going to get the 
real wages out of that unless you let competition determine that.
  And I, as an employer for all of these years, want to pay the best 
wages I can, I want to provide the best benefits that I can, I want to 
hire the best people that I can, and in doing so, your people are your 
company, and when you hire good people and you pay them a good wage, 
you get to keep them. What I set up a business model on was hiring 
people in a seasonal business to work 12 months out of the year, not 
seasonally, not going into the union hall and pulling somebody out and 
putting him to work for a few days and putting him back again, but 
saying to him, You can have a career here, and I'll give you 12-months' 
work for 12-months' pay, and I'll give you a benefits package.
  I want to compete with that, but when the Federal Government comes in 
and tells you that somebody on a shovel has to be paid this and that 
somebody on a backhoe has to be paid this and that somebody on a motor 
grader has to be paid this, you will see them machine hopping during 
the day because they'll always be maneuvering to get on the machine 
that pays the highest wages, not the one that does the best for 
efficiency to get the job done.

[[Page H3083]]

  I've had to go in and police that, and I've had to go in and build a 
spreadsheet that calculates the movement of everybody on our jobs going 
on in order to determine that I can comply with the Federal 
Government's requirement that I pay the wages that they demand and 
insist, instead of the simplicity of saying, Here is what I'll offer 
you for pay and benefits.
  They've sometimes come to me and have said, What's my job?
  I'll define your job for you. Help me make money, and I'll pay you 
for that, and I want to reward you by trying to give you enough money 
in benefits to keep you.
  That's how free markets work. We cannot be out here setting up a 
union scale imposed by some people who are sitting in a backroom, which 
is what happens, by the way. We can't be supporting the last vestige of 
Jim Crow laws. We can't be letting the Federal Government decide what 
job categories are going to be paid what wages when we just want to put 
people to work and let them develop a skill and develop their trades.
  So the machine hopping is something that gives me a lot of heartburn. 
Even if we have an actual representation of prevailing wage, it's still 
not representative of supply and demand because many States have passed 
their many Davis-Bacon laws, and the market has been so distorted that 
we don't today have a concept of what that cost is, Madam Chair. So I 
urge the adoption of my amendment.
  Mr. CULBERSON. I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. KILDEE. I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Michigan is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. KILDEE. I come from Flint, Michigan, a working class community. I 
represent Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, and it's a community that's proud of 
the fact that in this area--and it's true across the country--the 
notion has been that, if you work hard, if you train yourself, if you 
focus on a trade or go to school, you'll be paid a wage or a salary 
commensurate with the contribution that you make to the work that 
you're doing.
  We live in a time when we're seeing decreasing compensation for the 
value that the worker brings to the working place. Between 1945 and 
1975, we saw worker productivity rise in this country by 97 percent, 
and we saw household income rise in that same 30-year period by 95 
percent. There was some parity in the contribution that workers made 
and the compensation that they received. You fast-forward to the last 
30-year period, and we've seen a period of economic growth and 
expansion, increased productivity--80 percent over the last 30 years--
but in real wages, a 10 percent increase in productivity.
  One of the reasons that we've seen such a drop is that we are not 
compensating the average workers for the quality and the work that they 
do and that they contribute to the highly productive society that we 
live in. This is yet another attempt to continue the race to the 
bottom, where we continue to see real wages go down and productivity 
continue to rise.
  I have done a tremendous amount of work in local development. As a 
public and private citizen, I have been involved in lots and lots of 
construction projects involving hundreds of millions of dollars, and I 
will tell you one thing: there is absolutely nothing sacrificed by 
making sure that the people who do this important work are paid wages 
that are fair and that fit the marketplace. It is not only good for 
those families that benefit from a decent and fair wage, but it 
supports those local employers and those small businesses that we all 
talk about every day that we're trying to support.
  Where does the money come from into communities that support those 
folks?
  It comes from the fact that the workers have a decent living wage 
that allows them to pay their bills, set a little money aside for their 
families and contribute to a local economy. Davis-Bacon wages 
contribute to the ability for workers to be trained as well.
  This is the wrong direction for this country. This is certainly the 
wrong direction in this particular budget connected to the work that 
our Nation does when what we fought for in this country was a society 
that rewards people for the quality and the quantity of their hard work 
and their training that they put to work in doing these tough 
construction jobs particularly. When we're already seeing private 
sector wages go down, we ought not as a Nation participate in this race 
to the bottom.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Iowa (Mr. King).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. Madam Chair, 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 Iowa will be 
postponed.

                              {time}  1850


                    Announcement by the Acting Chair

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, proceedings 
will now resume on those amendments on which further proceedings were 
postponed, in the following order:
  An amendment by Mr. Broun of Georgia.
  An amendment by Mr. Amodei of Nevada.
  An amendment by Mr. Moran of Virginia.
  An amendment by Mr. King of Iowa.
  The Chair will reduce to 2 minutes the time for any electronic vote 
after the first vote in the series.


               Amendment Offered by Mr. Broun of Georgia

  The Acting CHAIR. The unfinished business is the demand for a 
recorded vote on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Georgia 
(Mr. Broun) on which further proceedings were postponed and on which 
the noes prevailed by voice vote.
  The Clerk will redesignate the amendment.
  The Clerk redesignated the amendment.


                             Recorded Vote

  The Acting CHAIR. A recorded vote has been demanded.
  A recorded vote was ordered.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 151, 
noes 269, not voting 13, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 188]

                               AYES--151

     Amash
     Bachmann
     Bachus
     Barr
     Barrow (GA)
     Barton
     Benishek
     Bentivolio
     Bishop (UT)
     Black
     Blackburn
     Bonner
     Brady (TX)
     Brooks (AL)
     Broun (GA)
     Buchanan
     Bucshon
     Burgess
     Camp
     Cassidy
     Chabot
     Chaffetz
     Coble
     Coffman
     Collins (GA)
     Collins (NY)
     Cotton
     Daines
     Davis, Rodney
     DeSantis
     DesJarlais
     Diaz-Balart
     Duffy
     Duncan (SC)
     Duncan (TN)
     Ellmers
     Farenthold
     Fincher
     Fleischmann
     Fleming
     Flores
     Franks (AZ)
     Gardner
     Garrett
     Gibbs
     Gibson
     Gingrey (GA)
     Gohmert
     Goodlatte
     Gowdy
     Graves (GA)
     Graves (MO)
     Green, Gene
     Griffith (VA)
     Guthrie
     Hall
     Harris
     Hensarling
     Holding
     Hudson
     Huelskamp
     Huizenga (MI)
     Hultgren
     Hunter
     Hurt
     Jenkins
     Johnson (OH)
     Johnson, Sam
     Jones
     Jordan
     Kilmer
     King (IA)
     Kingston
     LaMalfa
     Lance
     Latta
     LoBiondo
     Long
     Luetkemeyer
     Lummis
     Maffei
     Marchant
     Massie
     Matheson
     McCaul
     McClintock
     Meehan
     Messer
     Mica
     Michaud
     Miller (MI)
     Miller, George
     Mullin
     Mulvaney
     Murphy (PA)
     Neugebauer
     Nolan
     Olson
     Paulsen
     Pearce
     Perry
     Peters (CA)
     Peters (MI)
     Petri
     Pittenger
     Pitts
     Poe (TX)
     Polis
     Pompeo
     Posey
     Price (GA)
     Radel
     Renacci
     Ribble
     Rice (SC)
     Roe (TN)
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (MI)
     Rohrabacher
     Rokita
     Ross
     Royce
     Ruiz
     Ryan (WI)
     Salmon
     Sanford
     Scalise
     Schweikert
     Scott, Austin
     Sensenbrenner
     Shuster
     Smith (NE)
     Smith (TX)
     Southerland
     Stockman
     Stutzman
     Tiberi
     Tipton
     Upton
     Wagner
     Walberg
     Walden
     Weber (TX)
     Webster (FL)
     Westmoreland
     Whitfield
     Williams
     Wilson (SC)
     Woodall
     Yoder
     Yoho

                               NOES--269

     Aderholt
     Alexander
     Amodei
     Andrews
     Barber
     Barletta
     Bass
     Beatty
     Bera (CA)
     Bilirakis
     Bishop (GA)
     Bishop (NY)
     Blumenauer
     Bonamici
     Boustany
     Brady (PA)
     Braley (IA)
     Bridenstine
     Brooks (IN)
     Brown (FL)
     Brownley (CA)
     Bustos
     Butterfield
     Calvert
     Cantor
     Capito
     Capps
     Capuano
     Cardenas
     Carney
     Carson (IN)
     Carter
     Cartwright
     Castor (FL)
     Castro (TX)
     Chu
     Cicilline
     Clarke
     Clay
     Cleaver
     Clyburn
     Cohen
     Cole
     Conaway
     Connolly
     Conyers
     Cook
     Cooper
     Costa
     Courtney
     Crawford

[[Page H3084]]


     Crenshaw
     Crowley
     Cuellar
     Culberson
     Cummings
     Davis (CA)
     Davis, Danny
     DeFazio
     DeGette
     Delaney
     DeLauro
     DelBene
     Denham
     Dent
     Deutch
     Dingell
     Doggett
     Doyle
     Duckworth
     Edwards
     Ellison
     Engel
     Enyart
     Eshoo
     Esty
     Farr
     Fattah
     Fitzpatrick
     Forbes
     Fortenberry
     Foster
     Foxx
     Frankel (FL)
     Frelinghuysen
     Fudge
     Gabbard
     Gallego
     Garamendi
     Garcia
     Gerlach
     Gosar
     Grayson
     Green, Al
     Griffin (AR)
     Grijalva
     Grimm
     Gutierrez
     Hahn
     Hanabusa
     Hanna
     Harper
     Hartzler
     Hastings (WA)
     Heck (NV)
     Heck (WA)
     Herrera Beutler
     Higgins
     Himes
     Hinojosa
     Holt
     Honda
     Horsford
     Hoyer
     Huffman
     Israel
     Issa
     Johnson, E. B.
     Joyce
     Kaptur
     Kelly (IL)
     Kelly (PA)
     Kennedy
     Kildee
     Kind
     King (NY)
     Kinzinger (IL)
     Kirkpatrick
     Kline
     Kuster
     Labrador
     Lamborn
     Langevin
     Lankford
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Latham
     Lee (CA)
     Levin
     Lewis
     Lipinski
     Loebsack
     Lofgren
     Lowenthal
     Lowey
     Lucas
     Lujan Grisham (NM)
     Lujan, Ben Ray (NM)
     Lynch
     Maloney, Carolyn
     Maloney, Sean
     Marino
     Matsui
     McCarthy (CA)
     McCollum
     McDermott
     McGovern
     McHenry
     McIntyre
     McKeon
     McKinley
     McMorris Rodgers
     McNerney
     Meadows
     Meeks
     Meng
     Miller (FL)
     Miller, Gary
     Moore
     Moran
     Murphy (FL)
     Nadler
     Napolitano
     Neal
     Negrete McLeod
     Noem
     Nugent
     Nunes
     Nunnelee
     O'Rourke
     Owens
     Pallone
     Pascrell
     Pastor (AZ)
     Payne
     Pelosi
     Perlmutter
     Peterson
     Pingree (ME)
     Pocan
     Price (NC)
     Quigley
     Rahall
     Rangel
     Reed
     Reichert
     Richmond
     Rigell
     Roby
     Rogers (KY)
     Rooney
     Ros-Lehtinen
     Roskam
     Rothfus
     Roybal-Allard
     Runyan
     Ruppersberger
     Rush
     Ryan (OH)
     Sanchez, Linda T.
     Sanchez, Loretta
     Sarbanes
     Schakowsky
     Schiff
     Schneider
     Schock
     Schrader
     Schwartz
     Scott (VA)
     Scott, David
     Serrano
     Sessions
     Sewell (AL)
     Shea-Porter
     Sherman
     Shimkus
     Simpson
     Sinema
     Sires
     Slaughter
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (WA)
     Speier
     Stewart
     Stivers
     Swalwell (CA)
     Takano
     Terry
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (MS)
     Thompson (PA)
     Thornberry
     Tierney
     Titus
     Tonko
     Tsongas
     Turner
     Valadao
     Van Hollen
     Vargas
     Veasey
     Vela
     Velazquez
     Visclosky
     Walorski
     Walz
     Wasserman Schultz
     Waters
     Waxman
     Welch
     Wenstrup
     Wilson (FL)
     Wittman
     Wolf
     Womack
     Yarmuth
     Young (AK)
     Young (FL)
     Young (IN)

                             NOT VOTING--13

     Becerra
     Campbell
     Cramer
     Granger
     Hastings (FL)
     Jackson Lee
     Jeffries
     Johnson (GA)
     Keating
     Markey
     McCarthy (NY)
     Palazzo
     Watt

                              {time}  1917

  Messrs. RIGELL, KELLY of Pennsylvania, ALEXANDER, GOSAR, GARY G. 
MILLER of California, BOUSTANY, HINOJOSA, RUSH and Ms. GABBARD changed 
their vote from ``aye'' to ``no.''
  Messrs. POE of Texas, GUTHRIE, JOHNSON of Ohio, HUNTER, McCAUL, OLSON 
and MEEHAN changed their vote from ``no'' to ``aye.''
  So the amendment was rejected.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Amodei

  The Acting CHAIR. The unfinished business is the demand for a 
recorded vote on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Nevada 
(Mr. Amodei) on which further proceedings were postponed and on which 
the noes prevailed by voice vote.
  The Clerk will redesignate the amendment.
  The Clerk redesignated the amendment.


                             Recorded Vote

  The Acting CHAIR. A recorded vote has been demanded.
  A recorded vote was ordered.
  The Acting CHAIR. This will be a 2-minute vote.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 248, 
noes 172, not voting 13, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 189]

                               AYES--248

     Aderholt
     Alexander
     Amodei
     Bachus
     Barber
     Barletta
     Barr
     Barton
     Bass
     Bera (CA)
     Bishop (NY)
     Bishop (UT)
     Black
     Blackburn
     Bonner
     Boustany
     Brady (TX)
     Bridenstine
     Brooks (AL)
     Brooks (IN)
     Brownley (CA)
     Buchanan
     Bucshon
     Burgess
     Bustos
     Calvert
     Cantor
     Capito
     Capps
     Capuano
     Castor (FL)
     Castro (TX)
     Chabot
     Chaffetz
     Coble
     Coffman
     Cole
     Collins (GA)
     Collins (NY)
     Connolly
     Conyers
     Cook
     Cotton
     Cramer
     Crawford
     Crenshaw
     Crowley
     Cuellar
     Culberson
     Daines
     Davis, Rodney
     DeFazio
     Denham
     Dent
     DesJarlais
     Diaz-Balart
     Doggett
     Doyle
     Duckworth
     Duffy
     Duncan (SC)
     Duncan (TN)
     Engel
     Enyart
     Farr
     Fincher
     Fleischmann
     Fleming
     Forbes
     Foster
     Foxx
     Franks (AZ)
     Frelinghuysen
     Gallego
     Garamendi
     Gardner
     Garrett
     Gerlach
     Gibbs
     Gibson
     Gingrey (GA)
     Gohmert
     Goodlatte
     Gosar
     Gowdy
     Graves (GA)
     Graves (MO)
     Green, Gene
     Griffin (AR)
     Griffith (VA)
     Hahn
     Hall
     Hanna
     Harper
     Harris
     Hastings (WA)
     Heck (NV)
     Hensarling
     Herrera Beutler
     Hinojosa
     Honda
     Horsford
     Huelskamp
     Huffman
     Hultgren
     Hurt
     Israel
     Jenkins
     Johnson (OH)
     Johnson, Sam
     Jones
     Jordan
     Joyce
     Keating
     Kelly (PA)
     Kennedy
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kingston
     Kinzinger (IL)
     Kirkpatrick
     Kline
     Labrador
     LaMalfa
     Latham
     Latta
     Lee (CA)
     Lipinski
     LoBiondo
     Lofgren
     Long
     Lowenthal
     Lucas
     Luetkemeyer
     Lummis
     Lynch
     Maloney, Sean
     Marchant
     Marino
     Matheson
     McCarthy (CA)
     McCaul
     McClintock
     McGovern
     McHenry
     McIntyre
     McKeon
     McKinley
     McMorris Rodgers
     Meadows
     Meehan
     Meng
     Messer
     Mica
     Miller, Gary
     Miller, George
     Mullin
     Mulvaney
     Murphy (PA)
     Nadler
     Napolitano
     Neal
     Neugebauer
     Nugent
     Nunes
     Nunnelee
     Olson
     Pastor (AZ)
     Pearce
     Perry
     Petri
     Pittenger
     Pitts
     Poe (TX)
     Pompeo
     Price (GA)
     Radel
     Rahall
     Reed
     Reichert
     Renacci
     Ribble
     Rigell
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rohrabacher
     Rokita
     Rooney
     Ros-Lehtinen
     Roskam
     Ross
     Rothfus
     Roybal-Allard
     Royce
     Ruiz
     Ryan (WI)
     Salmon
     Sanford
     Scalise
     Schneider
     Schock
     Schweikert
     Scott, Austin
     Sensenbrenner
     Sessions
     Sherman
     Shimkus
     Shuster
     Simpson
     Sinema
     Smith (NE)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Speier
     Stewart
     Stivers
     Stutzman
     Swalwell (CA)
     Takano
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (PA)
     Tiberi
     Tierney
     Tipton
     Titus
     Tonko
     Tsongas
     Turner
     Valadao
     Vela
     Velazquez
     Walden
     Walorski
     Waters
     Waxman
     Wenstrup
     Westmoreland
     Whitfield
     Williams
     Wilson (SC)
     Wittman
     Wolf
     Womack
     Woodall
     Yoder
     Young (AK)
     Young (FL)
     Young (IN)

                               NOES--172

     Amash
     Andrews
     Bachmann
     Barrow (GA)
     Beatty
     Benishek
     Bentivolio
     Bilirakis
     Bishop (GA)
     Blumenauer
     Bonamici
     Brady (PA)
     Braley (IA)
     Broun (GA)
     Brown (FL)
     Butterfield
     Camp
     Cardenas
     Carney
     Carson (IN)
     Carter
     Cartwright
     Chu
     Cicilline
     Clarke
     Clay
     Cleaver
     Clyburn
     Cohen
     Conaway
     Cooper
     Costa
     Courtney
     Cummings
     Davis (CA)
     Davis, Danny
     DeGette
     Delaney
     DeLauro
     DelBene
     DeSantis
     Deutch
     Dingell
     Edwards
     Ellison
     Ellmers
     Eshoo
     Esty
     Farenthold
     Fattah
     Fitzpatrick
     Flores
     Fortenberry
     Frankel (FL)
     Fudge
     Gabbard
     Garcia
     Grayson
     Green, Al
     Grijalva
     Grimm
     Guthrie
     Hanabusa
     Hartzler
     Heck (WA)
     Higgins
     Himes
     Holding
     Holt
     Hoyer
     Hudson
     Huizenga (MI)
     Hunter
     Issa
     Johnson, E. B.
     Kaptur
     Kelly (IL)
     Kildee
     Kilmer
     Kind
     Kuster
     Lamborn
     Lance
     Langevin
     Lankford
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Levin
     Lewis
     Loebsack
     Lowey
     Lujan Grisham (NM)
     Lujan, Ben Ray (NM)
     Maffei
     Maloney, Carolyn
     Massie
     Matsui
     McCollum
     McDermott
     McNerney
     Meeks
     Michaud
     Miller (FL)
     Miller (MI)
     Moore
     Moran
     Murphy (FL)
     Negrete McLeod
     Noem
     Nolan
     O'Rourke
     Owens
     Pallone
     Pascrell
     Paulsen
     Payne
     Pelosi
     Perlmutter
     Peters (CA)
     Peters (MI)
     Peterson
     Pingree (ME)
     Pocan
     Polis
     Posey
     Price (NC)
     Quigley
     Rangel
     Rice (SC)
     Richmond
     Roby
     Roe (TN)
     Rogers (MI)
     Runyan
     Ruppersberger
     Rush
     Ryan (OH)
     Sanchez, Linda T.
     Sanchez, Loretta
     Sarbanes
     Schakowsky
     Schiff
     Schrader
     Schwartz
     Scott (VA)
     Scott, David
     Serrano
     Sewell (AL)
     Shea-Porter
     Sires
     Slaughter
     Smith (WA)
     Southerland
     Stockman
     Terry
     Thompson (MS)
     Thornberry
     Upton
     Van Hollen
     Vargas
     Veasey
     Visclosky
     Wagner
     Walberg
     Walz
     Wasserman Schultz
     Weber (TX)
     Webster (FL)
     Welch
     Wilson (FL)
     Yarmuth
     Yoho

                             NOT VOTING--13

     Becerra
     Campbell
     Cassidy
     Granger
     Gutierrez
     Hastings (FL)
     Jackson Lee
     Jeffries
     Johnson (GA)
     Markey
     McCarthy (NY)
     Palazzo
     Watt

                              {time}  1923

  Mr. NOLAN changed his vote from ``aye'' to ``no.''
  Ms. WATERS and Messrs. LYNCH, McINTYRE, GARRETT, and BONNER changed 
their vote from ``no'' to ``aye.''
  So the amendment was agreed to.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.


                     Amendment Offered by Mr. Moran

  The Acting CHAIR. The unfinished business is the demand for a 
recorded vote on the amendment offered by the

[[Page H3085]]

gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Moran) on which further proceedings were 
postponed and on which the noes prevailed by voice vote.
  The Clerk will redesignate the amendment.
  The Clerk redesignated the amendment.


                             Recorded Vote

  The Acting CHAIR. A recorded vote has been demanded.
  A recorded vote was ordered.
  The Acting CHAIR. This will be a 2-minute vote.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 170, 
noes 254, not voting 9, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 190]

                               AYES--170

     Amash
     Andrews
     Bass
     Beatty
     Becerra
     Bera (CA)
     Bishop (NY)
     Blumenauer
     Bonamici
     Brady (PA)
     Braley (IA)
     Brown (FL)
     Bustos
     Butterfield
     Capps
     Capuano
     Cardenas
     Carney
     Carson (IN)
     Cartwright
     Castor (FL)
     Castro (TX)
     Chu
     Cicilline
     Clarke
     Clay
     Clyburn
     Cohen
     Connolly
     Conyers
     Cooper
     Costa
     Courtney
     Crowley
     Cummings
     Davis (CA)
     Davis, Danny
     DeFazio
     DeGette
     Delaney
     DeLauro
     DelBene
     Deutch
     Dingell
     Doggett
     Doyle
     Duckworth
     Edwards
     Ellison
     Engel
     Enyart
     Eshoo
     Esty
     Farr
     Fattah
     Foster
     Frankel (FL)
     Fudge
     Gabbard
     Garamendi
     Grayson
     Green, Al
     Green, Gene
     Grijalva
     Gutierrez
     Hahn
     Hanabusa
     Heck (WA)
     Himes
     Hinojosa
     Holt
     Honda
     Horsford
     Hoyer
     Huffman
     Israel
     Johnson (GA)
     Johnson, E. B.
     Kaptur
     Keating
     Kelly (IL)
     Kennedy
     Kildee
     Kilmer
     Kind
     Kuster
     Langevin
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Lee (CA)
     Levin
     Lewis
     Loebsack
     Lofgren
     Lowenthal
     Lowey
     Lujan Grisham (NM)
     Lujan, Ben Ray (NM)
     Lynch
     Maffei
     Maloney, Carolyn
     Matsui
     McCollum
     McDermott
     McGovern
     Meeks
     Meng
     Michaud
     Miller, George
     Moore
     Moran
     Nadler
     Napolitano
     Neal
     Negrete McLeod
     Nolan
     O'Rourke
     Pallone
     Pascrell
     Pastor (AZ)
     Payne
     Pelosi
     Perlmutter
     Peters (CA)
     Peterson
     Pingree (ME)
     Pocan
     Polis
     Price (NC)
     Quigley
     Rangel
     Richmond
     Roybal-Allard
     Rush
     Ryan (OH)
     Sanchez, Linda T.
     Sarbanes
     Schakowsky
     Schiff
     Schneider
     Schrader
     Schwartz
     Scott (VA)
     Scott, David
     Serrano
     Sewell (AL)
     Sherman
     Slaughter
     Smith (WA)
     Speier
     Swalwell (CA)
     Takano
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (MS)
     Tierney
     Titus
     Tonko
     Tsongas
     Van Hollen
     Vargas
     Veasey
     Velazquez
     Visclosky
     Walz
     Wasserman Schultz
     Waters
     Waxman
     Welch
     Wilson (FL)
     Yarmuth

                               NOES--254

     Aderholt
     Alexander
     Amodei
     Bachmann
     Bachus
     Barber
     Barletta
     Barr
     Barrow (GA)
     Barton
     Benishek
     Bentivolio
     Bilirakis
     Bishop (GA)
     Bishop (UT)
     Black
     Blackburn
     Bonner
     Boustany
     Brady (TX)
     Bridenstine
     Brooks (AL)
     Brooks (IN)
     Broun (GA)
     Brownley (CA)
     Buchanan
     Bucshon
     Burgess
     Calvert
     Camp
     Cantor
     Capito
     Carter
     Cassidy
     Chabot
     Chaffetz
     Cleaver
     Coble
     Coffman
     Cole
     Collins (GA)
     Collins (NY)
     Conaway
     Cook
     Cotton
     Cramer
     Crawford
     Crenshaw
     Cuellar
     Culberson
     Daines
     Davis, Rodney
     Denham
     Dent
     DeSantis
     DesJarlais
     Diaz-Balart
     Duffy
     Duncan (SC)
     Duncan (TN)
     Ellmers
     Farenthold
     Fincher
     Fitzpatrick
     Fleischmann
     Fleming
     Flores
     Forbes
     Fortenberry
     Foxx
     Franks (AZ)
     Frelinghuysen
     Gallego
     Garcia
     Gardner
     Garrett
     Gerlach
     Gibbs
     Gibson
     Gingrey (GA)
     Gohmert
     Goodlatte
     Gosar
     Gowdy
     Graves (GA)
     Graves (MO)
     Griffin (AR)
     Griffith (VA)
     Grimm
     Guthrie
     Hall
     Hanna
     Harper
     Harris
     Hartzler
     Hastings (WA)
     Heck (NV)
     Hensarling
     Herrera Beutler
     Holding
     Hudson
     Huelskamp
     Huizenga (MI)
     Hultgren
     Hunter
     Hurt
     Issa
     Jenkins
     Johnson (OH)
     Johnson, Sam
     Jones
     Jordan
     Joyce
     Kelly (PA)
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kingston
     Kinzinger (IL)
     Kirkpatrick
     Kline
     Labrador
     LaMalfa
     Lamborn
     Lance
     Lankford
     Latham
     Latta
     Lipinski
     LoBiondo
     Long
     Lucas
     Luetkemeyer
     Lummis
     Maloney, Sean
     Marchant
     Marino
     Massie
     Matheson
     McCarthy (CA)
     McCaul
     McClintock
     McHenry
     McIntyre
     McKeon
     McKinley
     McMorris Rodgers
     McNerney
     Meadows
     Meehan
     Messer
     Mica
     Miller (FL)
     Miller (MI)
     Miller, Gary
     Mullin
     Mulvaney
     Murphy (FL)
     Murphy (PA)
     Neugebauer
     Noem
     Nugent
     Nunes
     Nunnelee
     Olson
     Owens
     Palazzo
     Paulsen
     Pearce
     Perry
     Peters (MI)
     Petri
     Pittenger
     Pitts
     Poe (TX)
     Pompeo
     Posey
     Price (GA)
     Radel
     Rahall
     Reed
     Reichert
     Renacci
     Ribble
     Rice (SC)
     Rigell
     Roby
     Roe (TN)
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rogers (MI)
     Rohrabacher
     Rokita
     Rooney
     Ros-Lehtinen
     Roskam
     Ross
     Rothfus
     Royce
     Ruiz
     Runyan
     Ruppersberger
     Ryan (WI)
     Salmon
     Sanchez, Loretta
     Sanford
     Scalise
     Schock
     Schweikert
     Scott, Austin
     Sensenbrenner
     Sessions
     Shea-Porter
     Shimkus
     Shuster
     Simpson
     Sinema
     Sires
     Smith (NE)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Southerland
     Stewart
     Stivers
     Stockman
     Stutzman
     Terry
     Thompson (PA)
     Thornberry
     Tiberi
     Tipton
     Turner
     Upton
     Valadao
     Vela
     Wagner
     Walberg
     Walden
     Walorski
     Weber (TX)
     Webster (FL)
     Wenstrup
     Westmoreland
     Whitfield
     Williams
     Wilson (SC)
     Wittman
     Wolf
     Womack
     Woodall
     Yoder
     Yoho
     Young (AK)
     Young (FL)
     Young (IN)

                             NOT VOTING--9

     Campbell
     Granger
     Hastings (FL)
     Higgins
     Jackson Lee
     Jeffries
     Markey
     McCarthy (NY)
     Watt

                              {time}  1928

  Ms. GABBARD changed her vote from ``no'' to ``aye.''
  So the amendment was rejected.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.


                 Amendment Offered by Mr. King of Iowa

  The Acting CHAIR. The unfinished business is the demand for a 
recorded vote on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. 
King) on which further proceedings were postponed and on which the ayes 
prevailed by voice vote.
  The Clerk will redesignate the amendment.
  The Clerk redesignated the amendment.


                             Recorded Vote

  The Acting CHAIR. A recorded vote has been demanded.
  A recorded vote was ordered.
  The Acting CHAIR. This will be a 2-minute vote.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 192, 
noes 231, not voting 10, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 191]

                               AYES--192

     Aderholt
     Alexander
     Amash
     Amodei
     Bachmann
     Bachus
     Barr
     Barton
     Benishek
     Bentivolio
     Bilirakis
     Bishop (UT)
     Black
     Blackburn
     Bonner
     Boustany
     Brady (TX)
     Bridenstine
     Brooks (AL)
     Brooks (IN)
     Broun (GA)
     Buchanan
     Bucshon
     Burgess
     Calvert
     Camp
     Cantor
     Carter
     Cassidy
     Chabot
     Chaffetz
     Coble
     Coffman
     Cole
     Collins (GA)
     Collins (NY)
     Conaway
     Cotton
     Cramer
     Crawford
     Crenshaw
     Culberson
     Daines
     Denham
     Dent
     DeSantis
     DesJarlais
     Duncan (SC)
     Duncan (TN)
     Ellmers
     Farenthold
     Fincher
     Fleischmann
     Fleming
     Flores
     Forbes
     Fortenberry
     Foxx
     Franks (AZ)
     Frelinghuysen
     Gardner
     Garrett
     Gibbs
     Gingrey (GA)
     Gohmert
     Goodlatte
     Gosar
     Gowdy
     Graves (GA)
     Graves (MO)
     Griffin (AR)
     Griffith (VA)
     Guthrie
     Hall
     Harper
     Harris
     Hartzler
     Hastings (WA)
     Hensarling
     Herrera Beutler
     Holding
     Hudson
     Huelskamp
     Huizenga (MI)
     Hunter
     Hurt
     Issa
     Jenkins
     Johnson (OH)
     Johnson, Sam
     Jones
     Jordan
     Kelly (PA)
     King (IA)
     Kingston
     Kline
     Labrador
     LaMalfa
     Lamborn
     Lankford
     Latham
     Latta
     Long
     Lucas
     Luetkemeyer
     Lummis
     Marchant
     Marino
     Massie
     McCarthy (CA)
     McCaul
     McClintock
     McHenry
     McKeon
     McMorris Rodgers
     Meadows
     Messer
     Mica
     Miller (FL)
     Miller (MI)
     Miller, Gary
     Mullin
     Mulvaney
     Neugebauer
     Noem
     Nugent
     Nunes
     Nunnelee
     Olson
     Palazzo
     Paulsen
     Pearce
     Perry
     Pittenger
     Pitts
     Poe (TX)
     Pompeo
     Posey
     Price (GA)
     Radel
     Reed
     Renacci
     Ribble
     Rice (SC)
     Rigell
     Roby
     Roe (TN)
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rogers (MI)
     Rohrabacher
     Rokita
     Rooney
     Ross
     Rothfus
     Royce
     Salmon
     Sanford
     Scalise
     Schweikert
     Scott, Austin
     Sensenbrenner
     Sessions
     Simpson
     Smith (NE)
     Smith (TX)
     Southerland
     Stewart
     Stockman
     Stutzman
     Thompson (PA)
     Thornberry
     Tipton
     Valadao
     Wagner
     Walberg
     Walorski
     Weber (TX)
     Webster (FL)
     Wenstrup
     Westmoreland
     Whitfield
     Williams
     Wilson (SC)
     Wittman
     Wolf
     Womack
     Woodall
     Yoder
     Yoho
     Young (FL)
     Young (IN)

                               NOES--231

     Andrews
     Barber
     Barletta
     Barrow (GA)
     Bass
     Beatty
     Becerra
     Bera (CA)
     Bishop (GA)
     Bishop (NY)
     Blumenauer
     Bonamici
     Brady (PA)
     Braley (IA)
     Brown (FL)
     Brownley (CA)
     Bustos
     Butterfield
     Capito
     Capps
     Capuano
     Cardenas
     Carney
     Carson (IN)
     Cartwright
     Castor (FL)
     Castro (TX)
     Chu
     Cicilline
     Clarke
     Clay
     Cleaver
     Clyburn
     Cohen
     Connolly
     Conyers
     Cook
     Cooper
     Costa
     Courtney
     Crowley
     Cuellar

[[Page H3086]]


     Cummings
     Davis (CA)
     Davis, Danny
     Davis, Rodney
     DeFazio
     DeGette
     Delaney
     DeLauro
     DelBene
     Deutch
     Dingell
     Doggett
     Doyle
     Duckworth
     Duffy
     Edwards
     Ellison
     Engel
     Enyart
     Eshoo
     Esty
     Farr
     Fattah
     Fitzpatrick
     Foster
     Frankel (FL)
     Fudge
     Gabbard
     Gallego
     Garamendi
     Garcia
     Gerlach
     Gibson
     Grayson
     Green, Al
     Green, Gene
     Grijalva
     Grimm
     Gutierrez
     Hahn
     Hanabusa
     Hanna
     Heck (NV)
     Heck (WA)
     Higgins
     Himes
     Hinojosa
     Holt
     Honda
     Horsford
     Hoyer
     Huffman
     Hultgren
     Israel
     Johnson (GA)
     Johnson, E. B.
     Joyce
     Kaptur
     Keating
     Kelly (IL)
     Kennedy
     Kildee
     Kilmer
     Kind
     King (NY)
     Kinzinger (IL)
     Kirkpatrick
     Kuster
     Lance
     Langevin
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Lee (CA)
     Levin
     Lewis
     Lipinski
     LoBiondo
     Loebsack
     Lofgren
     Lowenthal
     Lowey
     Lujan Grisham (NM)
     Lujan, Ben Ray (NM)
     Lynch
     Maffei
     Maloney, Carolyn
     Maloney, Sean
     Matheson
     Matsui
     McCollum
     McDermott
     McGovern
     McIntyre
     McKinley
     McNerney
     Meehan
     Meeks
     Meng
     Michaud
     Miller, George
     Moore
     Moran
     Murphy (FL)
     Murphy (PA)
     Nadler
     Napolitano
     Neal
     Negrete McLeod
     Nolan
     O'Rourke
     Owens
     Pallone
     Pascrell
     Pastor (AZ)
     Payne
     Pelosi
     Perlmutter
     Peters (CA)
     Peters (MI)
     Peterson
     Petri
     Pingree (ME)
     Pocan
     Polis
     Price (NC)
     Quigley
     Rahall
     Rangel
     Reichert
     Richmond
     Roskam
     Roybal-Allard
     Ruiz
     Runyan
     Ruppersberger
     Rush
     Ryan (OH)
     Ryan (WI)
     Sanchez, Linda T.
     Sanchez, Loretta
     Sarbanes
     Schakowsky
     Schiff
     Schneider
     Schock
     Schrader
     Schwartz
     Scott (VA)
     Scott, David
     Serrano
     Sewell (AL)
     Shea-Porter
     Sherman
     Shimkus
     Shuster
     Sinema
     Sires
     Slaughter
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (WA)
     Speier
     Stivers
     Swalwell (CA)
     Takano
     Terry
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (MS)
     Tiberi
     Tierney
     Titus
     Tonko
     Tsongas
     Turner
     Upton
     Van Hollen
     Vargas
     Veasey
     Vela
     Velazquez
     Visclosky
     Walden
     Walz
     Wasserman Schultz
     Waters
     Waxman
     Welch
     Wilson (FL)
     Yarmuth
     Young (AK)

                             NOT VOTING--10

     Campbell
     Diaz-Balart
     Granger
     Hastings (FL)
     Jackson Lee
     Jeffries
     Markey
     McCarthy (NY)
     Ros-Lehtinen
     Watt

                              {time}  1933

  So the amendment was rejected.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will read.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       This Act may be cited as the ``Military Construction and 
     Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 
     2014''.

  Mr. CULBERSON. Madam Chairman, I move that the Committee do now rise 
and report the bill back to the House with sundry amendments and with 
the recommendation that the amendments be agreed to, and that the bill, 
as amended, do pass.
  The motion was agreed to.
  Accordingly, the Committee rose; and the Speaker pro tempore (Mr. 
Hultgren) having assumed the chair, Ms. Foxx, 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. 2216) 
making appropriations for military construction, the Department of 
Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending 
September 30, 2014, and for other purposes, and, pursuant to House 
Resolution 243, she reported the bill back to the House with sundry 
amendments adopted in the Committee of the Whole, with a recommendation 
that the amendments be adopted and that the bill, as amended, do pass.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the rule, the previous question is 
ordered.
  Is a separate vote demanded on any amendment reported from the 
Committee of the Whole? If not, the Chair will put them en gros.
  The amendments were agreed to.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the engrossment and third 
reading of the bill.
  The bill was ordered to be engrossed and read a third time, and was 
read the third time.


                           Motion to Recommit

  Mr. ENYART. Mr. Speaker, I have a motion to recommit at the desk.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is the gentleman opposed to the bill?
  Mr. ENYART. I am opposed in its present form.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Clerk will report the motion to 
recommit.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       Mr. ENYART moves to recommit the bill H.R. 2216 to the 
     Committee on Appropriations with instructions to report the 
     same back to the House forthwith with the following 
     amendment:
       Page 22, line 10, after the dollar amount, insert 
     ``(increased by $9,200,000)''.
       Page 33, line 5, after the dollar amount, insert 
     ``(increased by $9,200,000)''.

  Mr. ENYART. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of this amendment to 
H.R. 2216 to increase funding for veterans claims processors so that we 
can reduce the disgraceful backlog of claims waiting to be processed.
  This is the final amendment to the bill, which will not kill the bill 
nor send it back to committee. If adopted, the bill will immediately 
proceed to final passage, as amended.
  We have been fighting two wars for over 10 years, which has resulted 
in a large number of veterans returning home with both physical and 
mental injuries.

                              {time}  1940

  In addition, veterans who served in Vietnam and the gulf war are 
getting older, and many are discovering health issues that are related 
to their service. The result is that currently there are over 900,000 
veterans' disability claims waiting to be processed. The average wait 
for that backlog is now 9 months.
  We are talking about American heroes like Michael Boren of Energy, 
Illinois. Michael is a veteran in my district who was in danger of 
losing his home because the VA took 19 months to track down his 
paperwork and process his claim. Veterans like Michael are in your 
district, and you've heard their stories, just as I have. Too many 
veterans are threatened with home foreclosure, having their cars 
repossessed, having their credit cards cut off, all because of the VA 
backlog. It's shameful.
  We must act to speed up the process so that disabled, honorably 
discharged American veterans are not waiting without income for months 
and years. This motion to recommit adds $9.2 million to hire 94 
additional VA claims processors. This doubles the number of claims 
processors in the base bill. The amendment is fully offset from 
unobligated and unused funds and funds from military construction.
  This vote serves as a lifeline to countless veterans who can no 
longer wait for this problem to be solved.
  When I look out at this House, I look down the center aisle. I look 
at the right side and see my colleagues, my friends in the party of 
Dwight David Eisenhower; I see the party of Teddy Roosevelt; I see the 
party of Abraham Lincoln.
  When I look at the left side, I see my friends who represent the 
party of Harry S. Truman; the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt; the 
party of Woodrow Wilson--great wartime leaders, all.
  Those great Presidents knew the meaning of commitment to the troops 
that we sent to defend and protect our Nation. Today, we stand in their 
shadows. We in Congress committed to send these brave men and women in 
harm's way for our country. Folks in the Active Duty service, in the 
Guard, and in the Reserve, they have served us honorably; they have 
served their commitment proudly. Now we must complete our commitment to 
veterans in our time.
  To paraphrase President Lincoln, many of the votes we cast here in 
Congress will be little noted, nor long remembered. But the veterans, 
veterans up there in that gallery, veterans back in your district, 
veterans all across this Nation will remember this vote; their families 
will remember this vote. Today, we vote to fulfill the promise of a 
great Nation to those who have served that great Nation. This is a vote 
to serve them.
  Vote ``yes'' on this final amendment to help veterans get the 
benefits they have earned and they deserve. Vote ``yes'' on this motion 
to recommit.
  When I step down from this podium, I will walk up that center aisle, 
not to the right, nor to the left, but up that center aisle, and cast 
my vote ``yes'' for this amendment, because it is for the veterans and 
for our great Nation.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair reminds Members to refrain from 
referring to occupants in the gallery.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Speaker, I am opposed to the motion to recommit.

[[Page H3087]]

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Our third-highest priority in the Constitution is to 
provide for the common defense. This bill, more than any other, has 
been done in a bipartisan way; this bill more than any other is vitally 
important to the peace of mind, to the quality of life of our men and 
women in uniform when they're on Active Duty standing on the walls of 
Rome defending our freedom and protecting us and putting themselves in 
harm's way, and the peace of mind and comfort of their families back in 
the United States and around the world where they're deployed, and when 
they become veterans and move into the veterans system.
  We in this subcommittee, more than any other in the House, have been 
bipartisan, arm-in-arm, doing everything in our power to help ensure 
that no man or woman wearing the uniform of the United States should 
ever worry for one moment about the quality of their life, about the 
quality of their health care. We think of ourselves as the peace-of-
mind committee for the men and women in uniform defending the United 
States. There's been no more bipartisan bill than this one, there's 
been no more open bill than this one, there's been no more open process 
for amendment than the appropriations process.
  It is possible, in fact, for you to walk down here on the floor and 
with a yellow notepad and a pen write an amendment and walk down and 
hand it to the Clerk at any point during the debate on this bill and 
have it considered by the House. Yet we got this amendment 3 minutes 
and 45 seconds before the debate began. It reflects so poorly on the 
House of Representatives for the minority to present an amendment that 
we would have happily worked with you on to have accomplished in a bill 
in an amendment form had you just brought it down to the floor.
  In fact, we have given the Veterans Affairs Secretary everything that 
he's asked for. The Veterans Administration has been given massive 
increases in funding to handle the claims backlog. In fact, Congressman 
Kingston of Georgia just offered an amendment, which the House has 
approved, which will cut the salary of the senior leadership of the VA 
by 25 percent if they don't meet their own deadlines on reducing the 
backlog.
  The United States Congress has literally done everything. We've given 
them every dollar, everything they have possibly asked for. We've 
offered you every opportunity to just walk down here and amend the 
bill, yet you give it to us 3 minutes and 45 seconds before the debate 
begins. This ought to be exhibit A of why we need a rule in the House 
that all amendments ought to be published at least 24 hours in advance 
on the Internet, especially a motion to recommit as embarrassing, 
frankly, as this one.
  I am happy to yield my time to the chairman of the Veterans 
Committee, Mr. Miller.
  Mr. MILLER of Florida. I thank the chairman very much for yielding 
his time. And I do think it's important that the Members know that the 
committee under both Democrat and Republican chairmen have given every 
dollar, every person, every piece of equipment, every software that the 
Department of Veterans Affairs has asked for. And to do this at the 
12th hour is not the way to make a difference in what we are trying to 
do.
  Our committee, the authorizing committee, has made it their number 
one focus; and Members here know this. Mike Michaud and I together have 
worked with our committee members and other Members across the floor 
trying to make sure that the backlog is taken care of. This is purely a 
political stunt and not one that we should vote for.
  Mr. CULBERSON. I urge Members to defeat this motion to recommit and 
vote ``no.''
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Without objection, the previous question is 
ordered on the motion to recommit.
  There was no objection.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion to recommit.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the noes appeared to have it.


                             Recorded Vote

  Mr. ENYART. Mr. Speaker, I demand a recorded vote.
  A recorded vote was ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 9 of rule XX, this 5-
minute vote on the motion to recommit will be followed by a 5-minute 
vote on the passage of the bill.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 198, 
noes 227, not voting 8, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 192]

                               AYES--198

     Andrews
     Barber
     Barrow (GA)
     Bass
     Beatty
     Becerra
     Bera (CA)
     Bishop (GA)
     Bishop (NY)
     Blumenauer
     Bonamici
     Brady (PA)
     Braley (IA)
     Brown (FL)
     Brownley (CA)
     Bustos
     Butterfield
     Capps
     Capuano
     Cardenas
     Carney
     Carson (IN)
     Cartwright
     Castor (FL)
     Castro (TX)
     Chu
     Cicilline
     Clarke
     Clay
     Cleaver
     Clyburn
     Cohen
     Connolly
     Conyers
     Cooper
     Costa
     Courtney
     Crowley
     Cuellar
     Cummings
     Davis (CA)
     Davis, Danny
     DeFazio
     DeGette
     Delaney
     DeLauro
     DelBene
     Deutch
     Dingell
     Doggett
     Doyle
     Duckworth
     Edwards
     Ellison
     Engel
     Enyart
     Eshoo
     Esty
     Farr
     Fattah
     Foster
     Frankel (FL)
     Fudge
     Gabbard
     Gallego
     Garamendi
     Garcia
     Grayson
     Green, Al
     Green, Gene
     Grijalva
     Gutierrez
     Hahn
     Hanabusa
     Hastings (FL)
     Heck (WA)
     Higgins
     Himes
     Hinojosa
     Holt
     Honda
     Horsford
     Hoyer
     Huffman
     Israel
     Johnson (GA)
     Johnson, E. B.
     Jones
     Kaptur
     Keating
     Kelly (IL)
     Kennedy
     Kildee
     Kilmer
     Kind
     Kirkpatrick
     Kuster
     Langevin
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Lee (CA)
     Levin
     Lewis
     Lipinski
     Loebsack
     Lofgren
     Lowenthal
     Lowey
     Lujan Grisham (NM)
     Lujan, Ben Ray (NM)
     Lynch
     Maffei
     Maloney, Carolyn
     Maloney, Sean
     Matheson
     Matsui
     McCollum
     McDermott
     McGovern
     McIntyre
     McNerney
     Meeks
     Meng
     Michaud
     Miller, George
     Moore
     Moran
     Murphy (FL)
     Nadler
     Napolitano
     Neal
     Negrete McLeod
     Nolan
     O'Rourke
     Owens
     Pallone
     Pascrell
     Pastor (AZ)
     Payne
     Pelosi
     Perlmutter
     Peters (CA)
     Peters (MI)
     Peterson
     Pingree (ME)
     Pocan
     Polis
     Posey
     Price (NC)
     Quigley
     Rahall
     Rangel
     Richmond
     Roybal-Allard
     Ruiz
     Ruppersberger
     Rush
     Ryan (OH)
     Sanchez, Linda T.
     Sanchez, Loretta
     Sarbanes
     Schakowsky
     Schiff
     Schneider
     Schrader
     Schwartz
     Scott (VA)
     Scott, David
     Serrano
     Sewell (AL)
     Shea-Porter
     Sherman
     Sinema
     Sires
     Slaughter
     Smith (WA)
     Speier
     Swalwell (CA)
     Takano
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (MS)
     Tierney
     Titus
     Tonko
     Tsongas
     Van Hollen
     Vargas
     Veasey
     Vela
     Velazquez
     Visclosky
     Walz
     Wasserman Schultz
     Waters
     Waxman
     Welch
     Wilson (FL)
     Yarmuth

                               NOES--227

     Aderholt
     Alexander
     Amash
     Amodei
     Bachmann
     Bachus
     Barletta
     Barr
     Barton
     Benishek
     Bentivolio
     Bilirakis
     Bishop (UT)
     Black
     Blackburn
     Bonner
     Boustany
     Brady (TX)
     Bridenstine
     Brooks (AL)
     Brooks (IN)
     Broun (GA)
     Buchanan
     Bucshon
     Burgess
     Calvert
     Camp
     Cantor
     Capito
     Carter
     Cassidy
     Chabot
     Chaffetz
     Coble
     Coffman
     Cole
     Collins (GA)
     Collins (NY)
     Conaway
     Cook
     Cotton
     Cramer
     Crawford
     Crenshaw
     Culberson
     Daines
     Davis, Rodney
     Denham
     Dent
     DeSantis
     DesJarlais
     Diaz-Balart
     Duffy
     Duncan (SC)
     Duncan (TN)
     Ellmers
     Farenthold
     Fincher
     Fitzpatrick
     Fleischmann
     Fleming
     Flores
     Forbes
     Fortenberry
     Foxx
     Franks (AZ)
     Frelinghuysen
     Gardner
     Garrett
     Gerlach
     Gibbs
     Gibson
     Gingrey (GA)
     Gohmert
     Goodlatte
     Gosar
     Gowdy
     Graves (GA)
     Graves (MO)
     Griffin (AR)
     Griffith (VA)
     Grimm
     Guthrie
     Hall
     Hanna
     Harper
     Harris
     Hartzler
     Hastings (WA)
     Heck (NV)
     Hensarling
     Herrera Beutler
     Holding
     Hudson
     Huelskamp
     Huizenga (MI)
     Hultgren
     Hunter
     Hurt
     Issa
     Jenkins
     Johnson (OH)
     Johnson, Sam
     Jordan
     Joyce
     Kelly (PA)
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kingston
     Kinzinger (IL)
     Kline
     Labrador
     LaMalfa
     Lamborn
     Lance
     Lankford
     Latham
     Latta
     LoBiondo
     Long
     Lucas
     Luetkemeyer
     Lummis
     Marchant
     Marino
     Massie
     McCarthy (CA)
     McCaul
     McClintock
     McHenry
     McKeon
     McKinley
     McMorris Rodgers
     Meadows
     Meehan
     Messer
     Mica
     Miller (FL)
     Miller (MI)
     Miller, Gary
     Mullin
     Mulvaney
     Murphy (PA)
     Neugebauer
     Noem
     Nugent
     Nunes
     Nunnelee
     Olson
     Palazzo
     Paulsen
     Pearce
     Perry
     Petri
     Pittenger
     Pitts
     Poe (TX)
     Pompeo
     Price (GA)
     Radel
     Reed
     Reichert
     Renacci
     Ribble
     Rice (SC)
     Rigell
     Roby
     Roe (TN)
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rogers (MI)
     Rohrabacher
     Rokita
     Rooney
     Ros-Lehtinen
     Roskam
     Ross
     Rothfus
     Royce

[[Page H3088]]


     Runyan
     Ryan (WI)
     Salmon
     Sanford
     Scalise
     Schock
     Schweikert
     Scott, Austin
     Sensenbrenner
     Sessions
     Shimkus
     Shuster
     Simpson
     Smith (NE)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Southerland
     Stewart
     Stivers
     Stockman
     Stutzman
     Terry
     Thompson (PA)
     Thornberry
     Tiberi
     Tipton
     Turner
     Upton
     Valadao
     Wagner
     Walberg
     Walden
     Walorski
     Weber (TX)
     Webster (FL)
     Wenstrup
     Westmoreland
     Whitfield
     Williams
     Wilson (SC)
     Wittman
     Womack
     Woodall
     Yoder
     Yoho
     Young (AK)
     Young (FL)
     Young (IN)

                             NOT VOTING--8

     Campbell
     Granger
     Jackson Lee
     Jeffries
     Markey
     McCarthy (NY)
     Watt
     Wolf

                              {time}  1955

  So the motion to recommit was rejected.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the passage of the bill.
  Under clause 10 of rule XX, the yeas and nays are ordered.
  This will be a 5-minute vote.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 421, 
nays 4, not voting 8, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 193]

                               YEAS--421

     Aderholt
     Alexander
     Amash
     Amodei
     Andrews
     Bachmann
     Bachus
     Barber
     Barletta
     Barr
     Barrow (GA)
     Barton
     Beatty
     Becerra
     Benishek
     Bentivolio
     Bera (CA)
     Bilirakis
     Bishop (GA)
     Bishop (NY)
     Bishop (UT)
     Black
     Blackburn
     Blumenauer
     Bonamici
     Bonner
     Boustany
     Brady (PA)
     Brady (TX)
     Braley (IA)
     Bridenstine
     Brooks (AL)
     Brooks (IN)
     Broun (GA)
     Brown (FL)
     Brownley (CA)
     Buchanan
     Bucshon
     Burgess
     Bustos
     Butterfield
     Calvert
     Camp
     Cantor
     Capito
     Capps
     Capuano
     Cardenas
     Carney
     Carson (IN)
     Carter
     Cartwright
     Cassidy
     Castor (FL)
     Castro (TX)
     Chabot
     Chaffetz
     Chu
     Cicilline
     Clarke
     Clay
     Cleaver
     Clyburn
     Coble
     Coffman
     Cohen
     Cole
     Collins (GA)
     Collins (NY)
     Conaway
     Connolly
     Cook
     Cooper
     Costa
     Cotton
     Courtney
     Cramer
     Crawford
     Crenshaw
     Crowley
     Cuellar
     Culberson
     Cummings
     Daines
     Davis (CA)
     Davis, Danny
     Davis, Rodney
     DeFazio
     DeGette
     Delaney
     DeLauro
     DelBene
     Denham
     Dent
     DeSantis
     DesJarlais
     Deutch
     Diaz-Balart
     Dingell
     Doggett
     Doyle
     Duckworth
     Duffy
     Duncan (SC)
     Duncan (TN)
     Edwards
     Ellison
     Ellmers
     Engel
     Enyart
     Eshoo
     Esty
     Farenthold
     Farr
     Fattah
     Fincher
     Fitzpatrick
     Fleischmann
     Fleming
     Flores
     Forbes
     Fortenberry
     Foster
     Foxx
     Frankel (FL)
     Franks (AZ)
     Frelinghuysen
     Fudge
     Gabbard
     Gallego
     Garamendi
     Garcia
     Gardner
     Garrett
     Gerlach
     Gibbs
     Gibson
     Gingrey (GA)
     Gohmert
     Goodlatte
     Gosar
     Gowdy
     Graves (GA)
     Graves (MO)
     Grayson
     Green, Al
     Green, Gene
     Griffin (AR)
     Griffith (VA)
     Grijalva
     Grimm
     Guthrie
     Gutierrez
     Hahn
     Hall
     Hanabusa
     Hanna
     Harper
     Harris
     Hartzler
     Hastings (FL)
     Hastings (WA)
     Heck (NV)
     Heck (WA)
     Hensarling
     Herrera Beutler
     Higgins
     Himes
     Hinojosa
     Holding
     Holt
     Honda
     Horsford
     Hoyer
     Hudson
     Huelskamp
     Huffman
     Huizenga (MI)
     Hultgren
     Hunter
     Hurt
     Israel
     Issa
     Jenkins
     Johnson (GA)
     Johnson (OH)
     Johnson, E. B.
     Johnson, Sam
     Jones
     Jordan
     Joyce
     Kaptur
     Keating
     Kelly (IL)
     Kelly (PA)
     Kennedy
     Kildee
     Kilmer
     Kind
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kingston
     Kinzinger (IL)
     Kirkpatrick
     Kline
     Kuster
     Labrador
     LaMalfa
     Lamborn
     Lance
     Langevin
     Lankford
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Latham
     Latta
     Lee (CA)
     Levin
     Lewis
     Lipinski
     LoBiondo
     Loebsack
     Lofgren
     Long
     Lowenthal
     Lowey
     Lucas
     Luetkemeyer
     Lujan Grisham (NM)
     Lujan, Ben Ray (NM)
     Lummis
     Lynch
     Maffei
     Maloney, Carolyn
     Maloney, Sean
     Marchant
     Marino
     Massie
     Matheson
     Matsui
     McCarthy (CA)
     McCaul
     McClintock
     McCollum
     McDermott
     McGovern
     McHenry
     McIntyre
     McKeon
     McKinley
     McMorris Rodgers
     McNerney
     Meadows
     Meehan
     Meeks
     Meng
     Messer
     Mica
     Michaud
     Miller (FL)
     Miller (MI)
     Miller, Gary
     Moore
     Moran
     Mullin
     Mulvaney
     Murphy (FL)
     Murphy (PA)
     Nadler
     Napolitano
     Neal
     Negrete McLeod
     Neugebauer
     Noem
     Nugent
     Nunes
     Nunnelee
     O'Rourke
     Olson
     Owens
     Palazzo
     Pallone
     Pascrell
     Pastor (AZ)
     Paulsen
     Payne
     Pearce
     Pelosi
     Perlmutter
     Perry
     Peters (CA)
     Peters (MI)
     Peterson
     Petri
     Pingree (ME)
     Pittenger
     Pitts
     Pocan
     Poe (TX)
     Polis
     Pompeo
     Posey
     Price (GA)
     Price (NC)
     Quigley
     Radel
     Rahall
     Rangel
     Reed
     Reichert
     Renacci
     Ribble
     Rice (SC)
     Richmond
     Rigell
     Roby
     Roe (TN)
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rogers (MI)
     Rohrabacher
     Rokita
     Rooney
     Ros-Lehtinen
     Roskam
     Ross
     Rothfus
     Roybal-Allard
     Royce
     Ruiz
     Runyan
     Ruppersberger
     Rush
     Ryan (OH)
     Ryan (WI)
     Salmon
     Sanchez, Linda T.
     Sanchez, Loretta
     Sanford
     Sarbanes
     Scalise
     Schakowsky
     Schiff
     Schneider
     Schock
     Schrader
     Schwartz
     Schweikert
     Scott (VA)
     Scott, Austin
     Scott, David
     Sensenbrenner
     Serrano
     Sessions
     Sewell (AL)
     Shea-Porter
     Sherman
     Shimkus
     Shuster
     Simpson
     Sinema
     Sires
     Slaughter
     Smith (NE)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Smith (WA)
     Southerland
     Speier
     Stewart
     Stivers
     Stockman
     Stutzman
     Swalwell (CA)
     Takano
     Terry
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (MS)
     Thompson (PA)
     Thornberry
     Tiberi
     Tierney
     Tipton
     Titus
     Tonko
     Tsongas
     Turner
     Upton
     Valadao
     Van Hollen
     Vargas
     Veasey
     Vela
     Velazquez
     Visclosky
     Wagner
     Walberg
     Walden
     Walorski
     Walz
     Wasserman Schultz
     Waters
     Waxman
     Weber (TX)
     Webster (FL)
     Welch
     Wenstrup
     Westmoreland
     Whitfield
     Williams
     Wilson (FL)
     Wilson (SC)
     Wittman
     Womack
     Woodall
     Yarmuth
     Yoder
     Yoho
     Young (AK)
     Young (FL)
     Young (IN)

                                NAYS--4

     Bass
     Conyers
     Miller, George
     Nolan

                             NOT VOTING--8

     Campbell
     Granger
     Jackson Lee
     Jeffries
     Markey
     McCarthy (NY)
     Watt
     Wolf

                              {time}  2004

  So the bill was passed.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.


                         Personal Explanation,

  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday afternoon, June 4, 2013, I 
was required to return to my congressional district in Houston, Texas, 
in order to attend a memorial service for four members of the Houston 
Fire Department who lost their lives in the line of duty on Friday, May 
31, 2013. This tragedy was the deadliest incident in terms of the 
numbers of firefighters lost in the history of the Houston Fire 
Department. As the senior Member of the Houston congressional 
delegation and a senior Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, 
attending the memorial service was directly related to my 
representational, legislative, and committee responsibilities.
  Because of this excused absence I was not present for rollcall votes 
188 through 193.
  Had I been present I would have voted as follows:
  1. On rollcall No. 188, I would have voted ``no.''
  Broun Amendment, which eliminates funding for an on-going NATO 
headquarters project (a cut of $38,513,000) and applies the savings to 
the spending reduction account.
  2. On rollcall No. 189, I would have voted ``no.''
  Amodei Amendment, which takes overtime funding from 41 VA regional 
offices and concentrates it in the 15 offices with the worst backlog.
  3. On rollcall No. 190, I would have voted ``aye.''
  Moran Amendment, which language prohibiting the use of funds to 
construct, renovate or expand any facility in the United States to 
house any individual detained at United States Naval Station, 
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for the purposes of detention or imprisonment.
  4. On rollcall No. 191, I would have voted ``no.''
  King (IA) Amendment, which prohibits the use of funds to implement, 
administer, or enforce the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires federal 
contractors to pay locally prevailing wages
  5. On rollcall No. 192, I would have voted ``aye.''
  Democratic Motion to Recommit H.R. 2216.
  6. On rollcall No. 193, I would have voted ``aye.''
  Final Passage of H.R. 2216, Military Construction and Veterans 
Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2014.

                          ____________________