STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS; Congressional Record Vol. 141, No. 29
(Senate - February 14, 1995)

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[Pages S2648-S2662]
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          STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS

      By Mr. DASCHLE (for himself, Mr. Conrad, and Mr. Harkin):
  S. 399. A bill to amend the Food Security Act of 1985 to provide more 
flexibility to producers, and more effective mitigation, in connection 
with the conversion of cropped wetland, and for other purposes; to the 
Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.


                      wetlands reform legislation

  Mr. DASCHLE. Mr. President, in 1985, as part of the farm bill, 
Congress enacted landmark legislation to protect America's wetlands. 
The swampbuster provision, as it is called, significantly reduced 
artificial incentives to drain agricultural wetlands.
  In 1990, Congress reauthorized the farm bill. In the process, it 
evaluated problems that emerged from the implementation of the 
swampbuster provision and modified the law to meet those concerns.
  It is now time for Congress to pass a new multiyear farm bill. Once 
again, this exercise provides an opportunity to address legitimate 
problems in wetlands policy.
  Let me be clear. America's agricultural producers understand the need 
for wetlands conservation. Farmers accept that agricultural wetlands 
provide critical habitat for birds, animals and plants, and supply a 
mix of other benefits such as water storage, water purification and 
aesthetics that often decline when wetlands are altered.
  But farmers are also rightfully concerned about the arbitrary way in 
which certain wetlands regulations are enforced by the USDA. And so am 
I.
  I've spoken with farmers all across South Dakota who are deeply 
frustrated by the inflexibility of certain USDA wetlands regulations. 
I've heard horror stories about farmers who have been slapped with huge 
fines--ruinous fines--for unintentional and accidental violations of 
the law.
  I've looked into many of these claims and found the complaints to be 
legitimate. Farmers have been penalized unfairly because of the 
inflexibility of agricultural wetlands policy. And some of the problems 
are a result of a lack of agreement between various Federal agencies 
regarding the intent of the swampbuster legislation.
  The vast majority of farmers are doing everything they know how to 
preserve wetlands. They understand it is in their interest to do so. 
But no one can comply with regulations if they cannot understand them, 
or if the agencies responsible for enforcing them can't agree on 
policy.
  The bill we are introducing today establishes a simpler, more 
flexible agricultural wetlands policy. It provides a reasonable, 
commonsense approach to real problems that farmers face while at the 
same time protecting our Nation's precious wetlands.
  Our legislation addresses three major problems. First, it simplifies 
the rules under which farmers may mitigate wetlands.
  Second, it reforms the penalty system to distinguish between 
inadvertent or accidental damage and willful destruction of wetlands.
  And third, it provides farmers who voluntarily agree to conserve 
wetlands with a fair return from their land.
  Under the current law, farmers are allowed to move and replace an 
existing wetland, but only if they agree to restore a wetland that had 
been drained prior to December 31, 1985. This process is called 
mitigation.
  The new law extends this option to agricultural wetlands that are 
frequently farmed but were not drained before 1985. It will add 
flexibility for producers by giving them another option to choose from 
while still protecting valuable wetlands.
  That's the first section of this bill.
  The bill also makes a distinction between accidental and willful harm 
to wetlands. As many of you know, the penalties for wetlands 
violations--even minor violations--sometimes are so harsh that they can 
literally force farmers out of business. I spoke with one South Dakota 
farmer, for instance, who was going to be fined $97,000 because someone 
else had driven a tractor through a wetlands area on his farm without 
his knowledge or consent. The tractor had caused deep ruts and altered 
the condition of the wetland.
  Fortunately, the USDA agreed to reduce the fine if the farmer 
restored the property to its original condition. However, he still had 
to pay a fine of $2,000 for a violation he did not commit.
  This bill reduces the penalty for first-time violations if--and only 
if--the producer acted in good faith. Instead of being subjected to 
huge fines, the farmer would be required to restore the wetland to its 
former condition. The proposal would still deal firmly with repeat 
violators by subjecting them to graduated fines up to $10,000. And 
those who willfully destroy wetlands would face repayment of program 
benefits and expulsion from future farm programs.
  Finally, this legislation gives farmers who voluntarily retire some 
of their acreage a fair return for their land by permitting them to 
enroll wetlands in the Federal Conservation Reserve Program. Farming is 
risky business that often operates on narrow profit margins. Farmers 
cannot afford to retire productive acreage without receiving some 
compensation.
  Mr. President, our proposal is based on the original intent of the 
Swampbuster legislation, which was to encourage producers to do the 
right thing, not to drive them out of business. We can protect 
America's fragile wetlands without ruining producers financially or 
punishing them unjustly. The key is sensible, flexible regulations that 
motivate, rather than discourage, compliance. This legislation meets 
that test, and I hope that the appropriate congressional committees 
will give it timely and serious consideration.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be 
printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the bill was ordered to be printed in the 
Record, as follows:

                                 S. 399

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. CONVERSION OF CROPPED WETLAND.

       (a) Exemptions.--Section 1222 of the Food Security Act of 
     1985 (16 U.S.C. 3822) is amended--
       (1) in subsection (f)(2), by inserting after ``1985,'' the 
     following: ``through the enhancement of cropped wetland 
     described in section 1231(b)(4)(F), or through the creation 
     of a wetland,''; and
       (2) in subsection (h)--
       (A) in paragraph (1), by striking ``may be reduced under 
     paragraph (2)'' and inserting ``shall be waived'';
       (B) by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the following:
       ``(2) Graduated sanctions.--In lieu of making a person 
     ineligible under section 1221, the Secretary shall reduce by 
     not less that $750 nor more than $10,000, depending on the 
     degree to which wetland functions and values have been 
     impaired by the violation 
      [[Page S2649]] of section 1221, program benefits described 
     in section 1221 that the person would otherwise be eligible 
     to receive in a crop year if the Secretary determines that--
       ``(A) the person--
       ``(i) is actively restoring the wetland under an agreement 
     entered into with the Secretary to fully restore the 
     characteristics of the converted wetland to its prior wetland 
     state; or
       ``(ii) has previously restored the characteristics of the 
     converted wetland to its prior wetland state, as determined 
     by the Secretary; and
       ``(B) the Secretary determines that--
       ``(i) the penalty for violation of section 1221 has been 
     waived under paragraph (1) for the person only once in the 
     previous 10-year period on a farm of the person; and
       ``(ii) the person converted a wetland, or produced an 
     agricultural commodity on a converted wetland, in good faith 
     and without the intent to violate section 1221.''; and
       (C) by adding at the end the following;
       ``(4) Affiliated persons--If a person is subject to a 
     reduction in benefits under section 1221 or this section and 
     the affected person is affiliated with other persons for the 
     purpose of receipt of the benefits, the reduction in benefits 
     of the affiliated persons under section 1221 or this section 
     shall be in proportion to the interest held by the affected 
     person.''.
       (b) Conservation Reserve.--Section 1231(b)(4) of the Act 
     (16 U.S.C. 3831(b)(4)) is amended--
       (1) in subparagraph (C), by striking ``or'' at the end;
       (2) in subparagraph (D), by striking the period at the end 
     and inserting ``; or''; and
       (3) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(F) if the crop land is a wetland on which the owner or 
     operator of a farm or ranch uses normal cropping or ranching 
     practices to produce an agricultural commodity in a manner 
     that is consistent for the area where the production is 
     possible as a result of a natural condition, such as drought, 
     and is without action by the producer that destroys a natural 
     wetland characteristic.''.
                                 ______

      By Mrs. HUTCHISON (for herself and Mr. Gramm):
  S. 400. A bill to provide for appropriate remedies for prison 
conditions, and for other purposes; to the Committee on the Judiciary.


                   the stop turning out prisoners act

  Mrs. HUTCHISON.
   Mr. President, I have introduced a bill today called the STOP Act. 
The purpose of the STOP Act is to keep our Federal courts from taking 
over State prisons. Many States today are operating at over 100 percent 
capacity. In my State of Texas, however, the Federal courts have ruled 
in the Ruiz case that on any given day 6,100 beds, 14 percent of total 
space available in Texas, are vacant. This Ruiz settlement has forced 
many of our State prisons to maintain a permanent vacancy rate of 11 
percent.

  What has happened, Mr. President, is that there has been release of 
violent criminals early. They are serving an average of 2 months for 
every year of their sentence in my State to comply with a ruling that 
is patently unreasonable.
  This is actually a compromise. This bill will curb the ability of 
Federal courts to take over the policy decisions of State prisons, 
particularly when they do not have any responsibility to pay for these 
added costs. A massive construction program in Texas that will be 
completed within the next year will give the State of Texas an official 
prison capacity of 146,000. But if we could eliminate the effect of 
this case, we could add 6,000 more people who would serve their 
sentences and would not be going out on the streets of Texas murdering, 
raping, and injuring the people of my State.
  In fact, Mr. President, I have to say that one of my friends from 
college, a wonderful person, was murdered by one of these early-release 
prisoners. It was a stunning thing to happen. Unfortunately, that was 
not the only time it has happened in my State.
  Our present system today is operating and constructing prisons with a 
budget of $3.75 billion and is expected to grow to $4.4 billion for the 
next 2-year period beginning September 1 of this year. What we are 
going to try to do with this bill is pare back the ability of Federal 
judges to substitute their judgment for that of State governments who 
are required to keep the people safe and also, of course, to keep the 
prisoners in prison. It is their job to pay for it; it is their job to 
implement criminal law in their States.
  The bill will set out the right for prisoners to live as comfortably 
as possible. But that will not be more important than the right of the 
victims, the right of the people to live safely in their neighborhoods. 
It is a matter of prioritizing what the rights are.
  I think it is very important that we speak to this issue, and I am 
very proud that the House of Representatives has already done so. 
Congressman Bill Archer sponsored this bill in the House and has put it 
on as an amendment to a bill that will be coming to the Senate shortly. 
I think it is important that I have introduced the bill today, because 
what has happened in my State is so stark and we are spending billions 
on prisons because of this onerous decision which was not appealed. I 
had urged that it be appealed but it was not. So we are building these 
extra prisons because of a ruling that I think could have been appealed 
and would have been overturned at the appellate level. It will give 
standing to local officials and State government officials to step in 
on a case when they think that the Federal courts have gotten out of 
line.
  We need relief and many other States in this country need relief. 
After all, the Federal prisons are operating at approximately 160 
percent of capacity. Yet, in my State, it is lower than 90 percent 
capacity. We certainly need those extra beds. What has happened is, of 
course, our counties are burgeoning with prisoners that they cannot 
send up to the State prison system because there is no space under this 
onerous ruling. So I have introduced this bill today. I hope we can get 
swift enactment and, most especially, I hope if the bill comes over 
from the House, that we will be able to make sure that is also in the 
Senate bill.
                                 ______

      By Mr. LEAHY (for himself and Mr. Jeffords):
  S. 401. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to clarify 
the excise tax treatment of hard apple cider; to the Committee on 
Finance.


               hard apple cider tax treatment legislation

  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, today, I am introducing tax legislation 
designed to stimulate the apply industry in the United States. I am 
pleased that my friend from Vermont, Senator Jeffords, is joining me as 
an original cosponsor of this bill.
  In recent years, hard apple cider or apple cider with an alcohol 
level at or below 7 percent has emerged as a popular alternative to 
beer. Current tax law, however, unfairly taxes hard apple cider at a 
much higher rate than beer despite the two beverages similar alcohol 
levels. The bill I am introducing today will correct this inequity.
  Present law taxes hard apple cider regardless of its alcohol level as 
a wine, subject to a tax of $1.07 per wine gallon. My legislation would 
clarify that hard apple cider containing not more than a 7-percent 
alcohol level be taxed as beer, subject to a tax of approximately 22.6 
cents per gallon. The legislation would continue taxing small domestic 
producers of hard apple cider at a reduced rate.
  I believe this small tax change would allow hard apple cider 
producers to compete fairly with beermakers. As hard apple cider grows 
in popularity, applegrowers and processors across the country should 
prosper because hard apple cider is made from culled apples, the least 
marketable apples. I have received letters from the Vermont Department 
of Agriculture, the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, the Maine 
Department of Agriculture, and the New York Apple Association in 
support of this legislation.
  Mr. President, I ask for unanimous consent that the text of the bill 
be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the bill was ordered to be printed in the 
Record, as follows:

                                 S. 401

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. CLARIFICATION OF TAX TREATMENT OF HARD APPLE 
                   CIDER.

       (a) Hard Apple Cider Containing Not More Than 7 Percent 
     Alcohol Taxed as Beer.--Subsection (a) of section 5052 of the 
     Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to definitions) is 
     amended to read as follows:
       ``(a) Beer.--For purposes of this chapter (except when used 
     with reference to distilling or distilling material)--
       ``(1) In general.--The term `beer' means beer, ale, porter, 
     stout, and other similar fermented beverages (including sake 
     or similar products) of any name or description containing 
     one-half of 1 percent or more of alcohol by volume brewed or 
     produced from malt, wholly or in part, or from any substitute 
     therefor.
       [[Page S2650]] ``(2) Hard apple cider.--The term `beer' 
     includes a beverage--
       ``(A) derived wholly (except for sugar, water, or added 
     alcohol) from apples containing at least one-half of 1 
     percent and not more than 7 percent of alcohol by volume, and
       ``(B) produced by a person who produces more than 100,000 
     wine gallons of such beverage during the calendar year.''.
       (b) Conforming Amendment.--Subsection (a) of section 5041 
     of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to imposition 
     and rate of tax) is amended by striking ``wine)'' and 
     inserting ``wine, but not including hard apple cider 
     described in section 5052(a)(2))''.
       (c) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section 
     shall apply on and after the date of the enactment of this 
     Act.
                                 ______

      By Mr. KOHL:
  S. 402. A bill to provide for the appointment of one additional 
Federal district judge for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, and for 
other purposes; to the Committee on the Judiciary.


              the wisconsin federal judgeship act of 1995

 Mr. KOHL. Mr. President, I introduce the Wisconsin Federal 
Judgeship Act of 1995, which would create an additional Federal 
judgeship for the Eastern District of Wisconsin and situate it in Green 
Bay, where a district court is crucially needed. Let me explain how the 
current system hurts--and how this additional judgeship will help--
businesses, law enforcement agents, witnesses, victims, and individual 
litigants in northeastern Wisconsin.
  The four full-time district court judges for the Eastern District of 
Wisconsin currently preside in Milwaukee. Yet for most litigants and 
witnesses in northeastern Wisconsin, Milwaukee is well over 100 miles 
away. Thus, litigants and witnesses must incur substantial costs in 
traveling from northern Wisconsin to Milwaukee--costs in terms of time, 
money, resources, and effort. Indeed, driving from Green Bay to 
Milwaukee takes nearly 2 hours each way. Add inclement weather or a 
departure point north of Green Bay--such as Oconto or Marinette--and 
the driving time alone often results in witnesses traveling for a far 
longer period of time than they actually spend testifying.
  Moreover, Mr. President, as is the case all across America, Federal 
crimes are on the rise in northeastern Wisconsin. These crimes range 
from bank robbery and kidnapping to Medicare and Medicaid fraud. The 
trials for these crimes are held in Milwaukee, requiring victims and 
witnesses to travel a substantial amount of time, and passing on to the 
taxpayers the expenses for transportation, board, and housing.
  Mr. President, many manufacturing and retail companies are located in 
northeastern Wisconsin. These companies often require a Federal court 
to litigate complex price-fixing, contract, and liability disputes with 
out-of-State businesses. But the sad truth is that many of these cases 
are never filed--precisely because the northern part of the State lacks 
a Federal court.
  Prosecuting cases on the Menominee Indian Reservation causes specific 
problems that alone justify a Federal judge in Green Bay. Under current 
law, the Federal Government is required to prosecute all felonies 
committed by Indians that occur on the Menominee Reservation. The 
reservation's distance from the Federal prosecutors and courts--more 
than 150 miles--makes these prosecutions problematic. And because the 
Justice Department compensates attorneys, investigators, and sometimes 
witnesses for travel expenses, the existing system costs all of us.
  Mr. President, the creation of an additional judgeship in the Eastern 
District of Wisconsin is clearly justified on the basis of caseload. In 
1994 the Judicial Conference, the administrative and statistical arm of 
the Federal judiciary, recommended the creation of additional Federal 
judgeships in 16 different judicial districts. In determining where to 
place these judges, the Conference looked primarily at ``weighted 
filings,'' that is, the total number of cases filed per judge modified 
by the average level of case complexity. In 1994, new positions were 
justified where a district's workload exceeded 430 weighted filings per 
judge. On this basis, the Eastern District of Wisconsin clearly merits 
an additional judgeship: it tallied more than 435 weighted filings in 
1993 and averaged 434 weighted filings per judge between 1991-93. In 
fact, though our bill would not add an additional judge in the Western 
District of Wisconsin, we could make a strong case for doing so because 
the average weighted filings per judge in the Western District was 
almost as high as in the Eastern District.
  Mr. President, this legislation is simple, effective, and 
straightforward. It creates an additional judgeship for the Eastern 
District, requires that one judge hold court in Green Bay, and gives 
the Chief Judge of the Eastern District the flexibility to designate 
which judge holds court there. And this legislation would increase the 
number of Federal district judges in Wisconsin for the first time since 
1978. During that period, more than 252 new Federal district judgeships 
have been created nationwide, but not a single one in Wisconsin.
  And don't take my word for it, Mr. President, ask the people who 
would be most affected: each and every sheriff and District Attorney in 
northeastern Wisconsin urged me to create a Federal district court in 
Green Bay. I ask unanimous consent that a letter from these law 
enforcement officials be included in the Record at the conclusion of my 
remarks. I also ask unanimous consent that a letter from the U.S. 
Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Tom Schneider, also be 
included. This letter expresses the support of the entire Federal law 
enforcement community in Wisconsin--including the FBI, the DEA, and the 
BATF--for the legislation I am introducing. Perhaps most importantly, 
the people of Green Bay also agree on the need for an additional 
Federal judge, as the endorsement of my proposal by the Green Bay 
Chamber of Commerce demonstrates.
  In conclusion, Mr. President, having a Federal judge in Green Bay 
will reduce costs and inconvenience while increasing judicial 
efficiency. But most importantly, it will help ensure that justice is 
more available and more affordable to the people of northeastern 
Wisconsin. As the courts are currently arranged, the northern portion 
of the Eastern District is more remote from a Federal court than any 
other major population center, commercial or industrial, in the United 
States. For these sensible reasons, I urge my colleagues to support 
this legislation and its House companion, H.R. 362, introduced by my 
good friend Representative Toby Roth.
  We hope to enact this measure, either separately or as part of an 
omnibus judgeship bill the Judiciary Committee may consider later this 
Congress.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill and 
additional material be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                 S. 402

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. ADDITIONAL FEDERAL DISTRICT JUDGE FOR THE EASTERN 
                   DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN.

       (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Wisconsin 
     Federal Judgeship Act of 1995''.
       (b) In General.--The President shall appoint, by and with 
     the advice and consent of the Senate, 1 additional district 
     judge for the eastern district of Wisconsin.
       (c) Tables.--In order that the table contained in section 
     133 of title 28, United States Code, shall reflect the change 
     in the total number of permanent district judgeships 
     authorized under subsection (a), such table is amended by 
     amending the item relating to Wisconsin to read as follows:

``Wisconsin:
    ``Eastern.........................................................5
    ...................................................................
    ``Western......................................................2''.

       (d) Holding of Court.--The chief judge of the eastern 
     district of Wisconsin shall designate 1 judge who shall hold 
     court for such district in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
                                                                    ____

                                                   August 8, 1994.
     Senator Herb Kohl,
     Hart Senate Office Building,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Kohl: We are writing to urge your support for 
     the creation of a Federal District Court in Green Bay. The 
     Eastern District of Wisconsin includes the 28 eastern-most 
     counties from Forest and Florence Counties in the north to 
     Kenosha and Walworth Counties in the south.
       Green Bay is central to the northern part of the district 
     which includes approximately one third of the district's 
     population. Currently, all Federal District Judges hold court 
     in Milwaukee.
       [[Page S2651]] A federal court in Green Bay would make 
     federal proceedings much more accessible to the people of 
     northern Wisconsin and would alleviate many problems for 
     citizens and law enforcement. Travel time of 3 or 4 hours 
     each way makes it difficult and expensive for witnesses and 
     officers to go to court in Milwaukee. Citizen witnesses are 
     often reluctant to travel back and forth to Milwaukee. It 
     often takes a whole day of travel to come to court and 
     testify for a few minutes. Any lengthy testimony requires an 
     inconvenient and costly overnight stay in Milwaukee. Sending 
     officers is costly and takes substantial amounts of travel 
     time, thereby reducing the number of officers available on 
     the street. Many cases are simply never referred to federal 
     court because of this cost and inconvenience.
       In some cases there is no alternative. For example, the 
     Federal government has the obligation to prosecute all felony 
     offenses committed by Indians on the Menominee Reservation. 
     Yet the Reservation's distance from the Federal Courts and 
     prosecutors in Milwaukee poses serious problems. Imagine the 
     District Attorney of Milwaukee being located in Keshena or 
     Green Bay or Marinette and trying to coordinate witness 
     interviews, case preparation, and testimony.
       As local law enforcement officials, we try to work closely 
     with other local, state and federal agencies, and we believe 
     establishing a Federal District Court in Green Bay will 
     measurably enhance these efforts. Most important, a Federal 
     Court in Green Bay will make these courts substantially more 
     accessible to the citizens who live here.
       We urge you to introduce and support legislation to create 
     and fund an additional Federal District Court in Green Bay.
       Gary Robert Bruno, Shawano and Menominee County District 
     Attorney.
       Jay Conley, Oconto County District Attorney.
       John DesJardins, Outagamie County District Attorney.
       Douglas Drexler, Florence County District Attorney.
       Guy Dutcher, Waushara County District Attorney.
       E. James FitzGerald, Manitowoc County District Attorney.
       Kenneth Kratz, Calumet County District Attorney.
       Jackson Main, Jr., Kewaunee County District Attorney.
       David Miron, Marinette County District Attorney.
       Joseph Paulus, Winnebago County District Attorney.
       Gary Schuster, Door County District Attorney.
       John Snider, Waupaca County District Attorney.
       Ralph Uttke, Langlade County District Attorney.
       Demetrio Verich, Forest County District Attorney.
       John Zakowski, Brown County District Attorney.
       William Aschenbrener, Shawano County Sheriff.
       Charles Brann, Door County Sheriff.
       Todd Chaney, Kewaunee County Sheriff.
       Michael Donart, Brown County Sheriff.
       Patrick Fox, Waushara County Sheriff.
       Bradley Gehring, Outagamie County Sheriff.
       Daniel Gillis, Calumet County Sheriff.
       James Kanikula, Marinette County Sheriff.
       Norman Knoll, Forest County Sheriff.
       Thomas Kocourek, Manitowoc County Sheriff.
       Robert Kraus, Winnebago County Sheriff.
       William Mork, Waupaca County Sheriff.
       Jeffrey Rickaby, Florence County Sheriff.
       David Steger, Langlade County Sheriff.
       Kenneth Woodworth, Oconto County Sheriff.
       Richard Awonhopay, Chief, Menominee Tribal Police.
       Richard Brey, Chief of Police, Manitowoc.
       Patrick Campbell, Chief of Police, Kaukauna.
       James Danforth, Chief of Police, Oneida Public Safety.
       Donald Forcey, Chief of Police, Neenah.
       David Gorski, Chief of Police, Appleton.
       Robert Langan, Chief of Police, Green Bay.
       Michael Lien, Chief of Police, Two Rivers.
       Mike Nordin, Chief of Police, Sturgeon Bay.
       Patrick Ravet, Chief of Police, Marinette.
       Robert Stanke, Chief of Police, Menasha.
       Don Thaves, Chief of Police, Shawano.
       James Thome, Chief of Police, Oshkosh.
                                                                    ____

                                                    U.S. Attorney,


                                Eastern District of Wisconsin,

                                    Milwaukee, WI, August 9, 1994.
     To the District Attorney's, Sheriffs and Police Chiefs Urging 
         the Creation of a Federal District Court in Green Bay:
       Thank you for your letter of August 8, 1994, urging the 
     creation of a Federal District Court in Green Bay. You point 
     out a number of facts in your letter:
       (1) Although \1/3\ of the population of the Eastern 
     District of Wisconsin is in the northern part of the 
     district, all of the Federal District Courts are located in 
     Milwaukee.
       (2) A federal court in Green Bay would be more accessible 
     to the people of northern Wisconsin. It would substantially 
     reduce witness travel time and expenses, and it would make 
     federal court more accessible and less costly for local law 
     enforcement agencies.
       (3) The federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over 
     most felonies committed on the Menominee Reservation, located 
     approximately 3 hours from Milwaukee. The distance to 
     Milwaukee is a particular problem for victims, witnesses, and 
     officers from the Reservation.
       I have discussed this proposal with the chiefs of the 
     federal law enforcement agencies in the Eastern District of 
     Wisconsin, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 
     Federal Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, 
     Tobacco and Firearms, Secret Service, U.S. Marshal, U.S. 
     Customs Service, and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal 
     Investigation Division. All express support for such a court 
     and give additional reasons why it is needed.
       Over the past several years, the FBI, DEA, and IRS have 
     initiated a substantial number of investigations in the 
     northern half of the district. In preparation for indictments 
     and trials, and when needed to testify before the Grand Jury 
     or in court, officers regularly travel to Milwaukee. Each 
     trip requires 4 to 6 hours of round trip travel per day, plus 
     the actual time in court. In other words, the agencies' 
     already scarce resources are severely taxed. Several federal 
     agencies report that many cases which are appropriate for 
     prosecution are simply not charged federally because local 
     law enforcement agencies do not have the resources to bring 
     these cases and officers back and forth to Milwaukee.
       Nevertheless, there have been a substantial number of 
     successful federal investigations and prosecutions from the 
     Fox Valley area and other parts of the Northern District of 
     Wisconsin including major drug organizations, bank frauds, 
     tax cases, and weapons cases.
       It is interesting to note that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in 
     the Eastern District of Wisconsin holds hearings in Green 
     Bay, Manitowoc, and Oshkosh, all in the northern half of the 
     district. For the past four years approximately 29% of all 
     bankruptcy filings in the district were in these three 
     locations.
       In addition, we continue to prosecute most felonies 
     committed on the Menominee Reservation. Yet, the 
     Reservation's distance from the federal courts in Milwaukee 
     poses serious problems. A federal court in Green Bay is 
     critically important in the federal government is to live up 
     to its moral and legal obligation to enforce the law on the 
     Reservation.
       In summary, I appreciate and understand your concerns and I 
     join you in urging the creation of a Federal District Court 
     in Green Bay.
                                              Thomas P. Schneider,
             U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Wisconsin.
                                 ______

      By Mr. AKAKA (for himself, Mr. Daschle, Mr. Wellstone, Mr. 
        Inouye, and Mr. Jeffords):
  S. 403. A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for 
the organization and administration of the Readjustment Counseling 
Service, to improve eligibility for readjustment counseling and related 
counseling, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Veterans' 
Affairs.


       the readjustment counseling service amendments act of 1995

  Mr. AKAKA. Mr. President, in behalf of myself and Senators Daschle, 
Wellstone, Inouye, and Jeffords, I am today reintroducing legislation I 
offered in the last Congress that would make numerous improvements in 
the organization, policies, and programs known as the vet center 
program. The Readjustment Counseling Service Amendments of 1995 is 
similar to legislation I introduced in the 103d Congress, S. 1226, the 
Readjustment Counseling Service Amendments of 1994, which the Senate 
unanimously approved last March. The bill I am introducing today is in 
fact identical to S. 1226 as reported by the Veterans' Affairs 
Committee on November 3, 1993.
  As my colleagues know, vet centers are storefront, community-based 
centers operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs [VA] that, in an 
informal, user-friendly environment, offer counseling services to 
returned Vietnam-era veterans and post-Vietnam combat veterans. Since 
the program was first authorized in 1979, it has grown from 87 
facilities to 202 today, operating in all 50 States. Together, these 
centers have helped more than 1.1. million veterans successfully 
readjust to civilian life, including 94,686 last year. In the process, 
the vet center program has established leadership in such areas as 
post-traumatic stress disorder, homelessness, disaster assistance, 
sexual trauma, alcohol and substance abuse, suicide prevention, the 
physically disabled, and minority veterans.
  The Readjustment Counseling Service Amendments of 1995 attempts to 
ensure that the program remains viable, relevant, and responsive to the 
needs of today's veterans. It hopes to accomplish these goals by 
achieving two general aims. On the one hand, it would preserve that 
which is best in the vet 
 [[Page S2652]] center program by codifying and improving its 
organizational structure and those administrative practices which have 
hitherto made the program uniquely effective. On the other hand, it 
would enhance the ability of vet centers to undertake new challenges by 
expanding eligibility to new categories of veterans and encouraging VA 
to explore the potential of vet center-based health care and benefits 
services.
  Specifically, my legislation would: Codify the current organizational 
structure of RCS and require that funding for the program be 
specifically identified in the budget; raise the director of RCS to the 
Assistant Chief Medical Director level; expand eligibility for Vet 
Center services to all combat veterans, regardless of period of 
service, and authorize services for all other veterans on a resource-
available basis; authorize bereavement counseling provided through vet 
centers for the families of veterans who died in combat, and authorize 
such counseling to survivors of veterans who died of other service-
related causes on a resource-available basis; establish a statutory 
Advisory Committee on the Readjustment of Veterans; require VA to 
develop a plan to assign additional employment, training, and benefit 
counselors at vet centers; require a report on the feasibility and 
desirability of collocating vet centers and VA outpatient clinics; and, 
undertake a pilot program authorizing the provision of limited, primary 
health care services at veteran centers.
  Mr. President, the provisions of my bill have been variously endorsed 
by the major veterans service organizations, RCS field staff, and the 
Department itself at hearings on S. 1226 conducted by the Veterans' 
Affairs Committee during the last Congress. Indeed, the full Senate 
effectively endorsed the provisions of the bill I am offering today 
when it passed S. 1226 early last year. I hope that Senators will once 
again express support for the preserving and improving the unique vet 
center program by cosponsoring and supporting enactment of this 
important legislation.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the full text of the bill 
be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the bill was ordered to be printed in the 
Record as follows:
                                 S. 403
       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,
     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Readjustment Counseling 
     Service Amendments of 1995''.
     SEC. 2. ORGANIZATION OF THE READJUSTMENT COUNSELING SERVICE 
                   IN THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

       (a) In General.--Section 7305 of title 38, United States 
     Code, is amended--
       (1) by redesignating paragraph (7) as paragraph (8); and
       (2) by inserting after paragraph (6) the following new 
     paragraph (7):
       ``(7) A Readjustment Counseling Service.''.
       (b) Organization.--The Readjustment Counseling Service 
     shall have the organizational structure and administrative 
     structure of that service as such structures were in 
     existence on January 1, 1993.
       (c) Revision of Organizational Structure.--(1) The 
     Secretary of Veterans Affairs may not alter or revise the 
     organizational structure or the administrative structure of 
     the Readjustment Counseling Service until--
       (A) the Secretary has submitted to the Committees on 
     Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives 
     a report containing a full and complete statement of the 
     proposed alteration or revision; and
       (B) a period of 60 days has elapsed after the date on which 
     the report is received by the committees.
       (2) In the computation of the 60-day period under paragraph 
     (1)(B), there shall be excluded any day on which either House 
     of Congress is not in session because of an adjournment of 
     more than 3 calendar days to a day certain.
       (d) Budget Information Relating to the Service.--Each 
     budget submitted to Congress by the President under section 
     1105 of title 31, United States Code, shall set forth the 
     amount requested in the budget for the operation of the 
     Readjustment Counseling Service in the fiscal year covered by 
     the budget and shall set forth separately the amount 
     requested for administrative oversight of the activities of 
     the service (including the amount requested for funding of 
     the Advisory Committee on Readjustment of Veterans).
     SEC. 3. DIRECTOR OF THE READJUSTMENT COUNSELING SERVICE.

       (a) Director.--Section 7306(b) of title 38, United States 
     Code, is amended--
       (1) by striking out ``and'' at the end of paragraph (2);
       (2) by striking out the period at the end of paragraph (3) 
     and inserting in lieu thereof ``; and''; and
       (3) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(4) one shall be a person who (A)(i) is a qualified 
     psychiatrist, (ii) is a qualified psychologist holding a 
     diploma as a doctorate in clinical or counseling psychology 
     from an authority approved by the American Psychological 
     Association and has successfully undergone an internship 
     approved by that association, (iii) is a qualified holder of 
     a master in social work degree, or (iv) is a registered nurse 
     holding a master of science in nursing degree in psychiatric 
     nursing or any other mental-health related degree approved by 
     the Secretary, and (B) has at least 3 years of clinical 
     experience and 2 years of administrative experience in the 
     Readjustment Counseling Service or other comparable mental 
     health care counseling service (as determined by the 
     Secretary), who shall be the director of the Readjustment 
     Counseling Service.''.
       (b) Status of Director.--Section 7306(a)(3) of such title 
     is amended by striking out ``eight'' and inserting in lieu 
     thereof ``nine''.
       (c) Organizational Requirement.--The Director of the 
     Readjustment Counseling Service shall report to the Under 
     Secretary for Health of the Department of Veterans Affairs 
     through the Associate Deputy Under Secretary for Health for 
     Clinical Programs.
     SEC. 4. EXPANSION OF ELIGIBILITY FOR READJUSTMENT COUNSELING 
                   AND CERTAIN RELATED COUNSELING SERVICES.

       (a) Readjustment Counseling.--(1) Subsection (a) of section 
     1712A of title 38, United States Code, is amended to read as 
     follows:
       ``(a)(1)(A) Upon the request of any veteran referred to in 
     subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, the Secretary shall 
     furnish counseling to the veteran to assist the veteran in 
     readjusting to civilian life.
       ``(B) A veteran referred to in subparagraph (A) of this 
     paragraph is any veteran who--
       ``(i) served on active duty during the Vietnam era; or
       ``(ii) served on active military, naval, or air service in 
     a theater of combat operations (as determined by the 
     Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense) 
     during a period of war or in any other area during a period 
     in which hostilities (as defined in subparagraph (D) of this 
     paragraph) occurred in such area.
       ``(C) Upon the request of any veteran other than a veteran 
     referred to in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, the 
     Secretary may furnish counseling to the veteran to assist the 
     veteran in readjusting to civilian life.
       ``(D) For the purposes of subparagraph (A) of this 
     paragraph, the term `hostilities' means an armed conflict in 
     which the members of the Armed Forces are subjected to danger 
     comparable to the danger to which members of the Armed Forces 
     have been subjected in combat with enemy armed forces during 
     a period of war, as determined by the Secretary in 
     consultation with the Secretary of Defense.
       ``(2) The counseling referred to in paragraph (1) shall 
     include a general mental and psychological assessment of a 
     covered veteran to ascertain whether such veteran has mental 
     or psychological problems associated with readjustment to 
     civilian life.''.
       (2) Subsection (c) of such section is repealed.
       (b) Other Counseling.--Such section is further amended by 
     inserting after subsection (b) the following new subsection 
     (c):
       ``(c)(1) The Secretary shall provide the counseling 
     services described in section 1701(6)(B)(ii) of this title to 
     the surviving parents, spouse, and children of any member of 
     the Armed Forces who is killed during service on active 
     military, naval, or air service in a theater of combat 
     operations (as determined by the Secretary, in consultation 
     with the Secretary of Defense) during a period of war or in 
     any other area during a period in which hostilities (as 
     defined in subsection (a)(1)(D) of this section) occurred in 
     such area.
       ``(2) The Secretary may provide the counseling services 
     referred to in paragraph (1) to the surviving parents, 
     spouse, and children of any member of the Armed Forces who 
     dies while serving on active duty or from a condition (as 
     determined by the Secretary) incurred in or aggravated by 
     such service.''.
       (c) Authority To Contract for Counseling Services.--
     Subsection (e) of such section is amended by striking out 
     ``subsections (a) and (b)'' each place it appears and 
     inserting in lieu thereof ``subsections (a), (b), and (c)''.
     SEC. 5. ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON THE READJUSTMENT OF VETERANS.

       (a) In General.--(1) Subchapter II of chapter 17 of title 
     38, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 
     1712B the following:

     ``Sec. 1712C. Advisory Committee on the Readjustment of 
       Veterans

       ``(a)(1) There is in the Department the Advisory Committee 
     on the Readjustment of Veterans (hereafter in this section 
     referred to as the `Committee').
       ``(2) The Committee shall consist of not more than 18 
     members appointed by the Secretary from among veterans who--
       ``(A) have demonstrated significant civic or professional 
     achievement; and
       ``(B) have experience with the provision of veterans 
     benefits and services by the Department.
       ``(3) The Secretary shall seek to ensure that members 
     appointed to the Committee 
      [[Page S2653]] include persons from a wide variety of 
     geographic areas and ethnic backgrounds, persons from 
     veterans service organizations, and women.
       ``(4) The Secretary shall determine the terms of service 
     and pay and allowances of the members of the Committee, 
     except that a term of service may not exceed 2 years. The 
     Secretary may reappoint any member for additional terms of 
     service.
       ``(b)(1) The Secretary shall, on a regular basis, consult 
     with and seek the advice of the Committee with respect to the 
     provision by the Department of benefits and services to 
     veterans in order to assist veterans in the readjustment to 
     civilian life.
       ``(2)(A) In providing advice to the Secretary under this 
     subsection, the Committee shall--
       ``(i) assemble and review information relating to the needs 
     of veterans in readjusting to civilian life;
       ``(ii) provide information relating to the nature and 
     character of psychological problems arising from service in 
     the Armed Forces;
       ``(iii) provide an on-going assessment of the effectiveness 
     of the policies, organizational structures, and services of 
     the Department in assisting veterans in readjusting to 
     civilian life; and
       ``(iv) provide on-going advice on the most appropriate 
     means of responding to the readjustment needs of veterans in 
     the future.
       ``(B) In carrying out its duties under subparagraph (A), 
     the Committee shall take into special account veterans of the 
     Vietnam era, and the readjustment needs of such veterans.
       ``(c)(1) Not later than March 31 of each year, the 
     Committee shall submit to the Secretary a report on the 
     programs and activities of the Department that relate to the 
     readjustment of veterans to civilian life. Each such report 
     shall include--
       ``(A) an assessment of the needs of veterans with respect 
     to readjustment to civilian life;
       ``(B) a review of the programs and activities of the 
     Department designed to meet such needs; and
       ``(C) such recommendations (including recommendations for 
     administrative and legislative action) as the Committee 
     considers appropriate.
       ``(2) Not later than 90 days after the receipt of each 
     report under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall transmit to 
     the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House 
     of Representatives a copy of the report, together with any 
     comments and recommendations concerning the report that the 
     Secretary considers appropriate.
       ``(3) The Committee may also submit to the Secretary such 
     other reports and recommendations as the Committee considers 
     appropriate.
       ``(4) The Secretary shall submit with each annual report 
     submitted to the Congress pursuant to section 529 of this 
     title a summary of all reports and recommendations of the 
     Committee submitted to the Secretary since the previous 
     annual report of the Secretary submitted pursuant to that 
     section.
       ``(d)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the 
     provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. 
     App.) shall apply to the activities of the Committee under 
     this section.
       ``(2) Section 14 of such Act shall not apply to the 
     Committee.''.
       (2) The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 17 of 
     such title is amended by inserting after the item relating to 
     section 1712B the following:

``1712C. Advisory Committee on the Readjustment of Veterans.''.

       (b) Original Members.--(1) Notwithstanding subsection 
     (a)(2) of section 1712C of such title (as added by subsection 
     (a)), the members of the Advisory Committee on the 
     Readjustment of Vietnam and Other War Veterans on the date of 
     the enactment of this Act shall be the original members of 
     the advisory committee recognized under such section.
       (2) The original members shall so serve until the Secretary 
     of Veterans Affairs carries out appointments under such 
     subsection (a)(2). The Secretary shall carry out such 
     appointments as soon after such date as is practicable. The 
     Secretary may make such appointments from among such original 
     members.
     SEC. 6. PLAN FOR EXPANSION OF VIETNAM VETERAN RESOURCE CENTER 
                   PILOT PROGRAM.

       (a) Requirement.--(1) The Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
     shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the 
     Senate and House of Representatives a plan for the expansion 
     of the Vietnam Veteran Resource Center program established 
     pursuant to the amendment made by section 105 of the 
     Veterans' Administration Health-Care Amendments of 1985 
     (Public Law 99-166; 99 Stat. 944). The plan shall include a 
     schedule for, and an assessment of the cost of, the 
     implementation of the program at or through all Department of 
     Veterans Affairs readjustment counseling centers.
       (2) The Secretary shall submit the plan not later than 4 
     months after the date of the enactment of this Act.
       (b) Definition.--In this section, the term ``Department of 
     Veterans Affairs readjustment counseling centers'' has the 
     same meaning given the term ``center'' in section 1712A(i)(1) 
     of title 38, United States Code.
     SEC. 7. REPORT ON COLLOCATION OF VET CENTERS AND DEPARTMENT 
                   OF VETERANS AFFAIRS OUTPATIENT CLINICS.

       (a) Requirement.--(1) The Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
     shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the 
     Senate and House of Representatives a report on the 
     feasibility and desirability of the collocation of Vet 
     Centers and outpatient clinics (including rural mobile 
     clinics) of the Department of Veterans Affairs as current 
     leases for such centers and clinics expire.
       (2) The Secretary shall submit the report not later than 6 
     months after the date of the enactment of this Act.
       (b) Covered Matters.--The report under this section shall 
     include an assessment of the following:
       (1) The results of any collocation of Vet Centers and 
     outpatient clinics carried out by the Secretary before the 
     date of the enactment of this Act, including the effects of 
     such collocation on the quality of care provided at such 
     centers and clinics.
       (2) The effect of such collocation on the capacity of such 
     centers to carry out their primary mission.
       (3) The extent to which such collocation will impair the 
     operational independence or administrative integrity of such 
     centers.
       (4) The feasibility of combining the services provided by 
     such centers and clinics in the course of the collocation of 
     such centers and clinics.
       (5) The advisability of the collocation of centers and 
     clinics of significantly different size.
       (6) The effect of the locations (including urban and rural 
     locations) of the centers and clinics on the feasibility and 
     desirability of such collocation.
       (7) The amount of any costs savings to be achieved by 
     Department as a result of such collocation.
       (8) The desirability of such collocation in light of plans 
     for the provision of health care services by the Department 
     under national health care reform.
       (9) Any other matters that the Secretary determines 
     appropriate.
     SEC. 8. VET CENTER HEALTH CARE PILOT PROGRAM.

       (a) In General.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
     carry out a pilot program for the provision of health-related 
     services to eligible veterans at readjustment counseling 
     centers. The Secretary shall carry out the pilot program in 
     accordance with this section.
       (b) Services.--(1) In carrying out the pilot program, the 
     Secretary shall provide the services referred to in paragraph 
     (2) at not less than 10 readjustment counseling centers in 
     existence on the date of the enactment of this Act.
       (2) The Secretary shall provide basic ambulatory services 
     and health care screening services by such personnel as the 
     Secretary considers appropriate at each readjustment 
     counseling center under the pilot program. The Secretary 
     shall assign not less than one-half of a full-time employee 
     equivalent at each such center in order to provide such 
     services under the pilot program.
       (3) In determining the location of the readjustment 
     counseling centers at which to provide services under the 
     pilot program, the Secretary shall select centers that are 
     located in a variety of geographic areas and that serve 
     veterans of a variety of economic, social, and ethnic 
     backgrounds.
       (c) Period of Operation.--(1) The Secretary shall commence 
     the provision of health-related services at readjustment 
     counseling centers under the pilot program not later than 4 
     months after the date of the enactment of this Act.
       (2) The pilot program shall terminate 2 years after the 
     date on which the Secretary commences the provision of 
     services under paragraph (1).
       (d) Report.--(1) The Secretary shall submit to Congress a 
     report on the pilot program established under this section. 
     The report shall include the following:
       (A) A description of the program, including information 
     on--
       (i) the number of veterans provided basic ambulatory 
     services and health care screening services under the pilot 
     program;
       (ii) the number of such veterans referred to Department of 
     Veterans Affairs general health-care facilities in order to 
     provide such services to such veterans; and
       (iii) the cost to the Department of Veterans Affairs of the 
     pilot program.
       (B) An analysis of the effectiveness of the services 
     provided to veterans under the pilot program.
       (C) The recommendations of the Secretary for means of 
     improving the pilot program, and an estimate of the cost to 
     the Department of implementing such recommendations.
       (D) An assessment of the desirability of expanding the type 
     or nature of services provided under the pilot program in 
     light of plans for the provision of health care services by 
     the Department under national health care reform.
       (E) An assessment of the extent to which the provision of 
     services under the pilot program impairs the operational or 
     administrative independence of the readjustment counseling 
     centers at which such services are provided.
       (F) An assessment of the effect of the location of the 
     centers on the effectiveness for the Department and for 
     veterans of the services provided under the pilot program.
       (G) Such other information as the Secretary considers 
     appropriate.
     [[Page S2654]]   (2) The Secretary shall submit the report 
     not later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of 
     this Act.
       (e) Definitions.--For the purposes of this section:
       (1) The term ``Department of Veterans Affairs general 
     health-care facility'' has the meaning given such term in 
     section 1712A(i)(2) of title 38, United States Code.
       (2) The term ``eligible veteran'' means any veteran 
     eligible for outpatient services under paragraph (1), (2), or 
     (3) of section 1712(a) of such title.
       (3) The term ``readjustment counseling center'' has the 
     same meaning given the term ``center'' in section 1712A(i)(1) 
     of such title.
                                 ______

      By Ms. SNOWE:
  S. 406. A bill to amend title II of the Social Security Act to 
provide that a monthly insurance benefit thereunder shall be paid for 
the month in which the recipient dies to the recipient's surviving 
spouse, subject to a reduction of 50 percent in the last monthly 
payment if the recipient dies during the first 15 days, to the 
Committee on Finance.


             social security pro-rate amendment legislation

 Ms. SNOWE. Mr. President, today I am introducing legislation 
to correct an inequity that exists in our Social Security system.
  Currently, when a Social Security beneficiary dies, his or her last 
monthly benefit check must be returned to the Social Security 
Administration. This provision often causes problems for the surviving 
spouse because he or she is unable to financially subsidize the 
expenses accrued by the late beneficiary in their last month of life.
  Current law makes an inappropriate assumption that a beneficiary has 
not incurred expenses during his or her last month of life. I know that 
my colleagues have heard, as have I, from constituents who lost a 
husband or wife toward the end of the month, received the Social 
Security check and spent all or part of it to pay the bills and then 
received a notice from Social Security that the check must be returned. 
For many of these people, that check was the only income they had and 
they are left struggling to find the money to pay back the Social 
Security Administration and pay the rest of the expenses their spouse 
incurred in their last month.
  Therefore, my legislation would allow the spouse of the beneficiary 
who dies in the first 15 days of the month to receive one half of his 
or her spouse's regular benefits, and the spouse of the beneficiary who 
dies in the latter half of the month to receive the full monthly 
benefit.
  I believe this is a fair and direct approach to an unfair situation. 
I hope that my colleagues will join me in supporting this 
legislation.
                                 ______

      By Ms. SNOWE:
  S. 407. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a 
deduction from gross income for home care and adult day and respite 
care expenses of individual taxpayers with respect to a dependent of 
the taxpayer who suffers from Alzheimer's disease or related organic 
brain disorders; to the Committee on Finance.
  S. 408. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide 
tax incentives relating to the closure, realignment, or downsizing of 
military installations; to the Committee on Finance.
  S. 409. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow 
defense contractors a credit against income tax for 20 percent of the 
defense conversion employee retraining expenses paid or incurred by the 
contractors; to the Committee on Finance.
  S. 410. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make the 
dependent care credit refundable, and for other purposes; to the 
Committee on Finance.


                     defense conversion legislation

 Ms. SNOWE. Mr. President, I introduce a package of legislation 
that will guide the Federal Government in a role that is becoming more 
and more important to communities across America--defense conversion. 
In today's economic climate, the American people are demanding greater 
accountability for every dollar spent, so that even as we reduce 
spending we do so wisely, and in a way that does not compromise our 
Nation's economic security. The legislation I will introduce today will 
help the Federal Government live up to its defense conversion 
responsibilities by reassigning and consolidating coordination of our 
efforts to the Executive Office of the President; providing tax credits 
for training and defense conversion efforts, and ensuring that economic 
development tools are available first to communities and industries 
hardest-hit by defense base closings.
  With the end of the cold war and the disintegration of the Soviet 
military threat to Western Europe, the new environment of international 
security makes it possible to reduce the level of defense spending. I 
believe that any defense reductions must be made, however, in a careful 
and thoughtful manner because we must keep in mind the unrest in 
regions from Bosnia to Chechnya has threatened this fragile peace.
  I believe that sound defense planning must be focused on the level of 
military capability this Nation would need in wartime. While an austere 
defense posture may seem adequate in peacetime, even a limited 
international crisis can upset these perceptions almost overnight.
  It has been more than 5 years since the collapse of the Berlin Wall 
and the end of the cold war. The dramatic change in superpower 
relations has permitted the United States to make significant cuts in 
defense spending. That has led to a debate about how much to cut from 
the defense budget, and along with many of my colleagues, I believe 
that defense spending has been cut too much, too fast. Since 1987, the 
Defense Department's procurement budget has been cut by 47 percent. 
This will be the 12th year in a row that inflation-adjusted defense 
spending has declined, and the first year that defense spending was 
exceeded by another area of America's budget, spending on entitlements 
and human services.
  Even as we reduce the defense budget, however, the Federal Government 
still has a responsibility to help the industries, communities, and 
individuals adversely affected by these drastic cuts in defense
spending and by the closure or major realignment of military 
installations across the country. The challenges of successful defense 
conversion are enormous. And as we address these enormous challenges, 
we must provide the economic policies, tools, and incentives needed to 
  stimulate both the economy and defense conversion initiatives.My home 
State of Maine has endured a great deal of hardship brought on by cuts 
in defense spending. Defense-related enterprises in Maine span the 
spectrum of defense activities, ranging from the large Brunswick Naval 
Air Station and Kittery-Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, to smaller bases 
such as Cutler Naval Telecommunications Station and the Listening 
Station at Winter Harbor. Maine is also proud of the numerous large and 
small private companies that do business with the Pentagon. These range 
from the State's largest private employer--Bath Iron Works--to smaller 
firms such as Saco Defense and Fiber Materials.
  And we must not forget the hundreds of subcontractors and vendors 
that do business with these bases and companies. It is these smaller 
firms that are often overlooked when defense conversion is discussed. 
The fact is that defense-related jobs reach into every county in my 
home State of Maine. Every one of those jobs is important--military or 
civilian, large company or small. And whether in Maine or across the 
Nation, defense-related industries provide good jobs for hundreds of 
thousands of workers.
  The closure of Loring Air Force Base this past September 30 
exemplifies the defense conversion challenge facing Maine. Loring's 
closing resulted in the loss of nearly 20 percent of the employment, 14 
percent of the income, and about 17 percent of the population of 
Aroostook County. At the other end of the State, Kittery-Portsmouth 
Naval Shipyard has seen its workforce cut almost in half since the fall 
of the Berlin Wall, from over 8,000 employees to just 4,100. And Bath 
Iron Works has seen its employment drop from a peak of 12,000 to just 
under 9,000 as a result of cuts in the defense budget. These stark 
numbers graphically illustrate the importance of successful defense 
conversion to the long-term health of Maine's economy.
  Successful defense conversion does not happen overnight, and this 
legislation reflects that understanding. We 
 [[Page S2655]] must also realize that successful defense conversion 
cannot be imposed from the top down by the Federal Government. Instead, 
the Federal Government must work with industries and communities in 
crafting defense conversion strategies and options that can help those 
same industries and communities in their efforts to overcome the severe 
economic consequences of defense downsizing.
  The Department of Defense has always been the dominant government 
agency involved in defense conversion. Yet virtually every one of its 
defense conversion programs were imposed upon it by either the 
President or the Congress, not designed by the Pentagon itself.
  My legislation proposes to change this relationship, and consolidates 
responsibility for most of the Federal Government's defense conversion 
activities squarely where it belongs: within the Executive Office of 
the President. Companion legislation that I am introducing today would 
also, in effect, establish a defense conversion czar, a high-level 
executive official who is directly responsible to the President for the 
implementation and coordination of this critical effort.
  The simple fact of the matter is that of all the agencies within the 
Federal Government, the Defense Department is institutionally unsuited 
to direct such a crucial government venture. The central purpose of the 
Defense Department is to provide, equip and train the military forces 
needed to ensure the security of the Nation, to deter war, and to fight 
and win wars if deterrence fails. These institutional goals run counter 
to the basic premise of defense conversion--to help people, 
communities, and industries become less dependent on defense spending.
  A report issued last year by the General Accounting Office 
underscored that the Pentagon and defense conversion are fundamentally 
mismatched. That GAO report cited an evaluation by the Defense 
Department's own Inspector General of the department's defense 
conversion programs. After closely examining one of those programs, the 
inspector general found that ``ineffective planning and oversight had 
resulted in implementation problems.''
  Implementation problems. I don't believe that the working people of 
Maine who depend on wise defense conversion for their jobs and 
livelihood will understand implementation problems. I don't believe 
that the communities of Maine and America will tolerate implementation 
problems. This is why we must consider the advice of the congressional 
mandated Defense Conversion Commission, which 3 years ago took a hard 
look at the Federal Government's defense conversion efforts. Along with 
other Members of Congress whose State and districts have a big stake in 
the success of defense conversion efforts, I appeared before the 
Commission, and closely followed its findings.
  In its final report, the Commission made an even stronger case for 
decreasing the influence of the Defense Department. The Commission 
noted that:

       While the Department of Defense has a large role to play, 
     overall direction for defense conversion and transition 
     actions must come from the Executive Office of the President.

  I agree with the Commission's conclusion.
  The legislation I am introducing today will consolidate America's 
defense conversion efforts within the Executive Office of the 
President--a step that, based on this sort of unequivocal report, 
should have been taken long ago. The thousands of Maine workers who 
depend on defense-related industries for their livelihoods, the 
millions of Americans who are watching our actions today, and indeed, 
all of our citizens need to know that the Federal Government will 
wisely consider conversion efforts. Americans should know that one 
individual, reporting directly to the President, is responsible for the 
effective implementation and coordination of our overall defense 
conversion strategy.
  I have long believed that tax credits can provide an excellent 
incentive to encourage economic development and growth. Two of the 
bills that I am introducing today utilize this concept. The first 
provides tax credits to help give employers the inventive to hire 
workers who have lost their jobs through either the closure of a 
military installation or from reductions-in-force at a military 
installation. It will also provide those same tax credits to employers 
who have hired laid off workers from a defense contractor or major 
subcontractor. The second bill will provide tax credits to defense-
dependent industries to invest in worker retraining and retooling in 
order to help them diversify into commercial markets.
  Finally, the Economic Development Administration [EDA] within the 
Department of Commerce is actively involved in numerous successful 
defense conversion efforts throughout the country. The legislation I am 
introducing today amends the fiscal year 1991 Defense Authorization 
Act, which has served as the guidance for the EDA's defense conversion 
duties when utilizing funds authorized in defense bills.
  Under current law, the EDA does not give any special preference to 
defense conversion projects. This legislation specifically directs 
that, when funds are authorized for use by the EDA through the Defense 
Authorization Act, the EDA will ``ensure that [these] funds are 
reserved for communities identified as the most substantially and 
seriously affected by the closure or realignment of a military 
installation or the curtailment, completion, elimination, or 
realignment of a major defense contract or subcontract.''
  Mr. President, defense conversion ultimately boils down to another 
form of economic development--albeit one which affects the livelihoods 
of millions of Americans. Our mission is to ensure that the Federal 
Government makes successful defense conversion a reality. We must give 
our citizens the tools they need to literally turn swords into 
plowshares. While this will take a great deal of time and hard work, I 
believe that a partnership between private enterprise and government 
will make it a reality. The legislation that I introduce today will 
help move that effort along. As I said on the Floor of the House in 
1991, our responsibilities to the American people do not end with the 
base closure process. Instead, our responsibilities are only beginning.
  I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this package of 
legislation to ensure sound defense conversion policies into the 
future.
                                 ______

      By Ms. SNOWE:
  S. 411. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide 
for the treatment of long-term care insurance, and for other purposes; 
to the Committee on Finance.


                   the long-term care improvement act

 Ms. SNOWE. Mr. President, long-term care means different 
things to different people. It means home-health care for those who 
need some help, but do not require round-the-clock care. It means 
respite care so those families who are struggling to keep a loved one 
at home can have a short break and some time to themselves. And it 
means nursing home care for those in need of institutional services.
  As we continue the debate on health care reform this year, it is 
important that we all remember that any major reform of our health care 
system will be incomplete if it does not address some of the problems 
facing our long-term care system. I am introducing legislation today 
that addresses four areas that are in need of change: setting standards 
for private long-term care insurance; changing the tax code to make 
insurance more affordable; providing respite care tax credits for 
family caregivers; and providing a tax credit to those who care for 
Alzheimer's victims at home.
  Private insurance coverage for long-term nursing home care is very 
limited with private insurance payments amounting to 1 percent of total 
spending for nursing home care in 1991. In 1986, approximately 30 
insurers were selling long-term care insurance policies of some type 
and an estimated 200,000 people were covered. As of December 1991, the 
Health Insurance Association of America [HIAA] found that more than 2.4 
million policies had been sold, with 135 insurers offering coverage.
  HIAA estimates that the long-term care policies paid $80 a day for 
nursing home care and $40 a day for home health care; they had a 
lifetime 5 percent compounded inflation protection; a 20-day deductible 
period and a 4-year maximum coverage period. These policies had an 
average annual premium in 
 [[Page S2656]] December 1991 of $1,781 when purchased at the age of 
65, and $5,627 when purchased at the age of 79.
  We need to make sure that these policies are not only affordable, but 
that they deliver the benefits they promise. The National Association 
of Insurance Commissioners [NAIC] has produced standards for long-term 
care policies which cover the spectrum of issues--from disclosure to 
clearly defining the benefits, cost and time period covered. The 
Federal Government should require that all States meet this standard in 
any long-term care policies sold in their States. My bill would put the 
NAIC standards into law.
  There is general agreement that we need to change the tax code to 
take away any disincentives to purchasing long-term care insurance. In 
addition, the change may encourage employers to offer long-term care 
policies as an optional benefit, as they would be able to deduct the 
cost, too. This bill will treat private long-term care insurance 
policies like accident and health insurance for tax purposes. It would 
also define a dependent as any parent or grandparent of the taxpayer 
for whom the taxpayer pays expenses for long-term care services. This 
change will allow children and grandchildren to deduct the long-term 
care expenses they pay. Current law requires that an individual must 
pay 51 percent of the expenses for a dependent before they can be 
deducted.
  Over 80 percent of disabled elderly persons receive care from their 
family members, most of whom are their wives, daughters, or daughters-
in-law. Family caregivers provide between 80 and 90 percent of the 
medical care, household maintenance, transportation and shopping needed 
by older persons. Numerous studies have found that family caregivers 
give up their jobs,
 have reduced their working hours or have rejected promotions in order 
to provide long-term care to loved ones.

  My bill will expand the dependent care tax credit to make it 
applicable for respite care expenses and make the credit refundable. A 
respite care credit would be allowed for up to $1,200 for one 
qualifying dependent and $2,400 for two qualifying dependents. This 
money could go, for example, toward hiring an attendant for an elderly 
dependent during the work day, or for admittance to an adult day care 
center. The credit for respite care expenses would be available 
regardless of the caregiver's employment status.
  Such a respite care credit will save dollars for both caregiving 
families and the Government by postponing, or even avoiding, expensive 
institutionalization.
  Finally, this legislation will provide tax deductions from gross 
income for individual taxpayers who maintain a household which includes 
a dependent who has Alzheimer's disease or a related disorder. It would 
allow deductions of expenses, other than medical, which are related to 
the home health care, adult day care and respite care of an Alzheimer's 
victim.
  In most cases of Alzheimer's disease, families will bear the brunt of 
the responsibility of care. Many caregivers of dementia victims spend 
more than 40 hours a week in direct personal care. These families are 
trying to cope with the needs of a dependent older Alzheimer's victim 
with little or no financial or professional help.
  In the face of the continued and intense involvement of the family 
caregiver, services that provide respite from the ongoing pressures of 
care become essential in the caregivers' ability to support the 
Alzheimer's victim at home. Home health care, adult day care and long-
term respite care all provide opportunities to free caregivers from 
their caregiving responsibility and are crucial in enabling employed 
caregivers to continue working. Most caregivers willingly provide care 
for dependent and frail elderly family members. Even so, the presence 
of these supportive services can be a crucial factor in continued 
caregiving activities.
  It is important to provide some tax relief for those expenses related 
to their continued care in the home. Perhaps by such action we can 
delay the institutionalization of dementia victims. Surely we can 
provide some financial relief to their caregivers.
  I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this bill.
                                 ______

      By Ms. SNOWE (for herself and Mr. Cohen):
  S. 412. A bill to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to 
modify the bottled drinking water standards provisions, and for other 
purposes; to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.


                THE BOTTLED WATER STANDARDS ACT OF 1995

 Ms. SNOWE. Mr. President, today, I, along with Senator Cohen, 
am introducing legislation designed to make the regulatory process for 
bottled water more efficient and responsive, while expanding health 
protections for the consuming public.
  This bill, the Bottled Water Standards Act of 1995, requires the FDA 
to publish final regulations for a contaminant in bottled water no more 
than 6 months after EPA has issued regulations for that same 
contaminant in public drinking water. It may come as a surprise to some 
Senators that public drinking water and bottled water are regulated by 
different agencies of the Federal Government. But in fact, the FDA has 
the responsibility for ensuring the safety of bottled water, while EPA 
maintains separate authority for regulating public drinking water 
supplies.
  Unfortunately, the FDA has not always been timely in issuing its 
regulations for bottled water after EPA publishes its standards for tap 
water. On December 1, 1994, FDA published a final rule of 35 
contaminants in bottled water. Nearly 4 years earlier, however, in 
January 1991, the EPA regulations for these contaminants have already 
been issued. In the interim period, bottled water producers and 
consumers were left in limbo. Their product was subject to industry 
safety standards and various State rules, but the Federal standards 
that provide an important additional assurance for bottled water had 
not been completed. This circumstance was very unfair to both producers 
and consumers of bottled water and we should not let it continue.
  My bill will ensure a more expeditious response in the future. In 
addition to the 6-month deadline for new contaminants, the FDA will be 
given 1 year to issue final regulations for contaminants that the EPA 
already regulates, but that have not yet received new FDA standards for 
bottled water. If the FDA fails to meet either the 6-month or 1-year 
deadlines, the existing EPA standard is automatically implemented for 
bottled water.
  In some cases, FDA may determine that a particular contaminant 
regulated by EPA does not occur in bottled water. My bill would allow 
the FDA to simply issue such findings in the Federal Register before 
the deadline periods expire.
  The bill also stipulates that in all cases, the FDA standards for 
bottled water must be at least as stringent as the EPA's standards for 
public drinking water. The bill does reserve the FDA's right to issue 
more stringent standards, however, adding an extra measure of public 
health protection if necessary.
  Mr. President, it is my hope that this legislation will prompt the 
FDA to coordinate its regulatory activities for drinking water 
contaminants with the EPA. The bill would therefore have the effect of 
improving the efficiency of the Federal regulatory process--something 
all of us agree is necessary--while enhancing health protections for 
consumers. It represents a clear win-win proposition for our 
constituents.
  The bottled water industry generates sales in the billions, and it 
serves millions of American consumers. Surely, these producers and 
consumers alike deserve the kind of consideration from their Government 
that my bill guarantees. Last year, Members in both the House and the 
Senate agreed with this commonsense approach. Language very similar to 
that found in my bill was included in the House and Senate versions of 
the Safe Drinking Water Act reauthorization bills considered last year, 
and it was included without controversy. I hope that the Bottled Water 
Standards Act of 1995 will enjoy similar support in the Senate this 
year.
 Mr. COHEN. Mr. President, I am pleased to join my colleague 
from Maine, Senator Snowe, today to introduce legislation that will 
help to ensure public safety and consumer confidence.
  More and more Americans are drinking bottled water every day. 
Companies 
 [[Page S2657]] such as Poland Spring in Maine, have grown tremendously 
in recent years. Unfortunately, because of a jurisdictional quirk, all 
too common in our Federal Government, bottled water is not currently 
required to meet the same safety standards that we have placed on tap 
water.
  Tap water is regulated by the Environmental Protection 
Administration, which sets rigorous and comprehensive standards to 
ensure the safety of our Nation's drinking water. Bottled water is 
considered a food item and is therefore regulated by the Food and Drug 
Administration. In carrying out its responsibility to regulate bottled 
water, the FDA has failed, for whatever reason, to keep pace with EPA's 
detailed tap water regulations. Consequently, tap water must meet 
higher standards than bottled water.
  I want to make it clear that the bottled water industry firmly 
believes that their product is as safe, if not safer than tap water. 
But because bottled water is not required to meet tap water standards, 
the industry cannot adequately defend itself against allegations about 
the quality of bottled water.
  In an effort to resolve this dispute, the legislation being 
introduced today would simply require the FDA to publish regulations 
for a specific contaminant in bottled water no more than 6 months after 
the EPA has issued regulations for that same contaminant in tap water. 
If that contaminant is not a risk for bottled water, then FDA must 
formally make such a determination. If the FDA fails to meet this 6 
month deadline, the EPA regulations would then apply to both tap water 
and bottled water.
  I believe this proposal is a very reasonable and workable solution to 
this problem. I think both consumers and the bottled water industry, 
which welcomes this bill, would benefit from the changes this 
legislation attempts to achieve. I look forward to working with my 
colleagues toward the passage of this bill.
                                 ______

      By Mr. DASCHLE (for himself, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Pell, Mr. Dodd, Mr. 
        Simon, Mr. Harkin, Ms. Mikulski, Mr. Wellstone, Mr. Leahy, Mr. 
        Lautenberg, and Mr. Kerry):
  S. 413. A bill to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to 
increase the minimum wage rate under such act, and for other purposes; 
to the Committee on Labor and Human Resources.


                 the working wage increase act of 1995

  Mr. DASCHLE. Mr. President, generations of Americans have been raised 
to believe that hard work is a virtue and that if you work hard, you 
can get ahead and share in the American dream. But for many Americans 
today, putting in 40 hours per week will not ensure that they will be 
able to buy their own home or send their children to college.
  In fact, for some workers, a full-time job doesn't even pay enough to 
keep their families out of poverty.
  Workers who earn the minimum wage have seen their standard of living 
decline dramatically since the 1970's. Even with an adjustment for 
inflation, the minimum wage is now 27 percent lower than it was in 
1979.
  Looked at another way, the minimum wage is at its second lowest level 
in four decades. And if it remains at $4.25 per hour, its buying power 
will continue to erode.
  As the value of the minimum wage has fallen, the number of working 
families living in poverty has increased. I'm sure that many Americans 
would be shocked to learn that more than 11 percent of families with 
children where the householder is employed have incomes below the 
poverty line.
  That an individual could work 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year 
and still not provide for his or her children goes against our most 
basic notices of fairness and equity.
  This startling fact becomes even more important as the Nation turns 
its attention to the issue of welfare reform. Most Americans--Democrats 
and Republicans alike--feel strongly that we must break the cycle of 
dependency upon public assistance and require those who are able to 
work.
  But the simple truth is this. We can't encourage people to work if 
the wages they earn will not even pay for their most basic needs and 
the needs of their children.
  So we must find a way to make work pay.
  Raising the minimum wage is not the sole solution to this problem, 
but it is a good first step.
  And for the 36 percent of minimum-wage workers who are the sole 
breadwinners in their families, it is a very meaningful first step.
  The legislation I am introducing today with Senators Kennedy, Pell, 
Dodd, Simon, Harkin, Mikulski, Wellstone, Leahy, Kerry, and Lautenberg 
will help to restore the earning power of the minimum wage. Modeled on 
the last increase in the minimum wage--which passed with overwhelming 
bipartisan support and was signed by President Bush--the bill calls for 
a 45-cent increase in July, followed by a second 45-cent increase next 
year.
  This modest increase will not fully compensate for the erosion in the 
value of the minimum wage since the 1970's. However, when combined with 
the 1993 expansion of the earned income tax credit, this increase will 
ensure that minimum-wage workers and their families remain above the 
poverty level.
  The American public understands that men and women should be paid a 
living wage for their labor. In a poll conducted by the Wall Street 
Journal and NBC, 75 percent of those polled support an increase in the 
minimum wage.
  Despite the broad public support for an increase, some Republican 
leaders have expressed their opposition, arguing that requiring 
businesses to pay higher wages will lead to overall job loss. However, 
recent studies by some of the Nation's leading labor economists have 
concluded that when the minimum wage is at a low level, a modest 
increase will not effect employment negatively.
  In 1992, for example, New Jersey raised its minimum wage by 80 cents 
per hour, from $4.25 to $5.05. Economists found no reduction in 
employment opportunities as a result of this increase.
  Paying workers a living wage is not a Democratic or Republican issue. 
It is an issue of fairness and equity. It's my hope that Senators and 
Representatives on both sides of the aisle will join together to do 
what is right for low-wage workers.
  I think a recent editorial in the Huron, SD, Plainsman said it best: 
``Taking home $5 per hour is hardly making a living. But those on the 
lower end of the pay scale * * * deserve at least that much.''
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be 
printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the bill was ordered to be printed in the 
Record, as follows:

                                 S. 413

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Working Wage Increase Act of 
     1995''.

     SEC. 2. INCREASE IN THE MINIMUM WAGE RATE.

       Section 6(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 
     U.S.C. 206(a)(1)) is amended to read as follows:
       ``(1) except as otherwise provided in this section, not 
     less than $4.25 an hour during the period ending July 3, 
     1995, not less than $4.70 an hour during the year beginning 
     July 4, 1995, and not less than $5.15 an hour after July 3, 
     1996;''.

  Mr. DODD. Mr. President, I rise today as an original cosponsor of 
legislation increasing the minimum wage because I see it as one of our 
best tools to reform welfare by making work pay.
  Nearly everyone recognizes the need to overhaul our welfare system to 
encourage work and responsibility. We must institute work requirements 
and provide job training to make work possible. But we must also take 
concrete action to make work more attractive than public assistance.
  The current minimum wage is simply inadequate. If you work full time 
for $4.25 an hour, your annual income is only $8,500 a year. That is 
well below $12,500, which is the poverty level for a family of three.
  The minimum wage continues to lose ground as a percentage of average 
hourly wages--in fact, by next year the minimum wage will be at it 
lowest point since the Eisenhower administration. A recent survey in 
Baltimore found that 27 percent of the regulars at city soup kitchens 
and food pantries were working people with low-wage 
 [[Page S2658]] jobs. It is clear that the minimum wage is not a living 
wage, and it's time for us to do something about it.
  Many opponents claim that most minimum wage earners are middle-class 
high school students. That is simply not true. Two-thirds of the 
Nation's 4.2 million minimum-wage workers are adults over the age 21. 
The average minimum-wage earner brings home about half of his or her 
family's annual income.
  Another claim frequently made by critics of the minimum wage is that 
it destroys entry-level jobs. This argument is repeated so frequently 
that it has become a mantra, but recent economic analysis suggests it 
doesn't hold up. Several recent economic studies have found that the 
last two increases in the minimum wage had an negligible impact on 
employment.
  After surveying the literature on the subject, Harvard labor 
economist Richard Freeman concludes that ``at the level of the minimum 
wage in the late 1980's, moderate legislated increases did not reduce 
employment and were, if anything, associated with higher employment in 
some locales.''
  In the past, increasing the minimum wage has been a broadly 
bipartisan issue. In 1989, the vote to increase the wage was 382-37 in 
the House and 89-8 in the Senate. The public has clearly spoken about 
the issue. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 75 percent of 
the public supports increasing the minimum wage, while only 20 percent 
oppose it.
  I hope that we can put our partisan differences aside to provide 
millions of hard-working Americans with a modest boost they very much 
need and reduce welfare dependency at the same time.
                                 ______

      By Mrs. MURRAY (for herself and Mr. Hatfield):
  S. 414. A bill to amend the Export Administration Act of 1979 to 
extend indefinitely the current provisions governing the export of 
certain domestically produced crude oil; to the Committee on Banking, 
Housing, and Urban Affairs


           the alaska north slope oil export ban act of 1995

  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I am pleased to join with my colleague 
from Oregon, Senator Hatfield, in reintroducing legislation that will 
extend indefinitely the restrictions on the export of Alaska North 
Slope crude oil. Twenty years ago, Congress passed legislation that 
enabled oil to be produced on the North Slope. That legislation 
involved a careful balancing of a variety of interests. Foremost was 
our national energy security. In the face of a heavy reliance on 
imported oil, Congress determined that any oil produced from the North 
Slope should be used by American consumers unless the President found 
and Congress agreed that it was in the national interest to export all 
or any portion of that oil. Of equal importance, Congress was deeply 
concerned about the Alaska environmental impacts of North Slope oil 
production. Knowing that the Alaskan tundra and the wildlife would be 
endangered by oil pipeline construction and oil production, Congress 
saw no sense in facing these risks for the sake of supplying oil to 
foreign nations.
  By 1977, ANS crude was flowing through the Trans-Alaska pipeline 
system to the lower 48 States and Hawaii. From the pipeline's terminus 
at Valdez, AK, it moved by U.S.-flag Jones Act tankers to ports in the 
States of Washington and California. In both of these States, 
refineries were either built or modified to handle the surge of oil, 
which immediately reduced west coast reliance on imported crude. In 
Oregon, as well as in California and Washington, shipyards expanded to 
handle the construction and repair of more than 50 ships that carried 
ANS crude. A pipeline was built across Panama to provide an efficient 
means of transporting ANS crude that could not be sold on the west 
coast to gulf coast ports. Shipyards in the gulf benefitted from new 
tanker construction and repair business. The U.S. merchant marine was 
also a beneficiary of ANS crude, with the creation of over 2,000 jobs 
and the maintenance of a U.S. flag tanker capacity that would not have 
existed if ANS crude had been exported. This merchant marine capability 
not only created jobs, it helped to bolster our national defense by 
providing tankers flying the U.S.-flag that could be--and subsequently 
were used--in times of national emergency. In the early years of ANS 
crude production, west coast consumers enjoyed lower prices at the pump 
because of the abundant supply of Alaska oil. Above all, ANS crude 
reduced our reliance on imported oil and, together with a national 
energy conservation effort, helped to prevent our reliance on imported 
oil from being used against us as a foreign policy weapon.
  Mr. President, we in the State of Washington are directly affected by 
the congressional policy of restricting exports of Alaska oil. With ANS 
crude exports, we would have an influx of large foreign-flag tankers 
offloading crude oil to smaller ships along our coast so our refineries 
could be supplied with the oil we need. This offloading is an 
environmental hazard that we can ill afford. Thousands of jobs in 
refineries and related industries have been created in our State, and 
many Washingtonians perform ANS tanker repair work in the port of 
Portland.
  In this Congress, as they have done many times in the past, my 
distinguished colleagues from Alaska, Senators Stevens and Murkowski, 
have proposed legislation that would eliminate the ANS export 
restrictions. Their goal is understandable. Every barrel of ANS oil 
that is exported increases that State's severance tax revenues. 
However, I remind my colleagues that the law says that exports should 
be permitted only if they are in the national interest, not just the 
interest of the State of Alaska.
  Indeed, that question is an important one for the Senate to keep in 
mind as it considers this issue. Congress has also passed other laws 
that place nearly identical national interest restrictions in the 
export of all oil from any State, as well as from offshore areas and 
the naval petroleum reserves. My distinguished colleagues from Alaska 
are asking for an exemption from a policy that applies to every other 
State where oil if produced.
  At a time when our reliance on imported oil has reached a historic 
high, and when the Commerce Department has found that the level of oil 
imports poses a national security threat, Congress should not be 
permitting exports of ANS crude. Our energy security demands that the 
national interest restrictions on exports remain in place. Equally 
compelling is our need to protect the environment. Every barrel of 
Alaska oil that is exported must be replaced by a barrel of foreign oil 
that will come to the United States on large foreign-flag tankers. That 
would amount to a reckless endangerment of our coastal environment.
  Aside from increasing the tax revenues of the State of Alaska, the 
primary beneficiary of Alaska oil exports would be British Petroleum, 
the largest producer of ANS crude. This foreign-owned oil company will 
be able to reduce its oil transportation costs and, thus, increase its 
profits. None of us should be lulled into the false belief that British 
Petroleum's increased profits would mean increased production in 
Alaska. The North Slope fields are producing at their maximum level 
today. They are now old fields whose production has inevitably gone 
into decline, but continue to produce 25 percent of our Nation's oil.
  Nor will taking ANS crude from its west coast markets increase 
California oil production. The refineries that process Alaska oil can't 
handle the additional volumes of heavy grade of oil produced in 
California. They will replace any lost Alaska oil with foreign oil. In 
addition, Alaska oil sells on both the west and gulf coasts at world 
price levels. The only price impact of exports would be to permit 
British Petroleum to gain the power to set higher prices for the 
smaller amounts of ANS crude that would remain available to the west 
coast. If that price is passed through, it will harm consumers. The 
integrated oil company refineries--including those who are able to use 
supplies of oil they produce in Alaska--will be able to absorb any 
price increase. However, west coast independent refiners are in a poor 
position to absorb increases in the price of their crude oil stocks 
because their profit margins will not permit it. In addition, these 
independents do not have the docking facilities to handle large 
foreign-flag ships, nor do they have the storage tanks to handle 
supplies of this 
 [[Page S2659]] size. Inevitably, ANS exports
 will endanger the continued existence of independent refineries and 
the thousands of men and women who depend on these refineries for their 
livelihood.

  Finally, Mr. President, there is the issue of ships. The fleet that 
carries Alaska oil is aging. Within the past few days, the U.S. Coast 
Guard has launched an investigation to determine if existing regulation 
of these tankers is adequate. Their action comes on the heels of the 
discovery of four structural failures in ships that carry ANS crude to 
the west coast ports within the past month alone. Congress has already 
dealt with the issue of tanker safety in the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, 
which requires the gradual phase-in over the next few years of new, 
double-hulled tankers that will present far less danger to our 
environment. The proposal to export Alaska oil stipulates the U.S.-flag 
ships be used. There is a significant difference between a U.S. flag 
and a Jones Act ship. Jones Act ships must be built and repaired in the 
United States, while U.S.-flag ships can be foreign vessels that are 
placed under U.S. registry. To replace its aging fleet on ANS tankers, 
British Petroleum would under current law be required to enter into 
long-term charters ranging from 10 to 15 years in order to guarantee 
the financing and the construction of these ships. However, if it is 
permitted to use foreign-built vessels, British Petroleum can engage in 
short-term hires of existing, single-hulled vessels whose age does not 
require replacement under OPA90 for several years. British Petroleum 
should be constructing new Jones Act ships now. That would be the 
responsible and prudent policy to follow. Instead, they are continuing 
to use aging ships that pose a threat of structural failures. In 
addition, British Petroleum and its allies in Congress seek to deprive 
United States shipyards of much-needed new construction work. Jobs that 
would have been created by this work will be lost at the same time as 
our environment is endangered.
  Mr. President, it is clear that the State of Alaska and British 
Petroleum will benefit from Alaska oil exports. However, it is equally 
clear that these are the only beneficiaries of exports. Our national 
energy security, our environment, and the jobs of U.S. workers will be 
placed in jeopardy. Maintaining the restrictions on ANS exports is good 
policy for America. I urge my colleagues to cosponsor the legislation I 
am proud to introduce today.
  Mr. HATFIELD. Mr. President, I am pleased to join Senator Patty 
Murray in introducing legislation to extend the current restrictions on 
exports of Alaskan North Slope crude oil contained in section 7(d) of 
the Export Administration Act. In previous years, Congress has 
expressed strong bipartisan support for these restrictions. I am 
confident that Congress will again affirm its commitment to promoting 
national energy security by passing this important legislation.
  Since the Alaskan oil export restrictions were first exacted by 
Congress in 1973, they have provided enduring benefits for our Nation. 
We now have an efficient transportation infrastructure to move crude 
oil from Alaska to the lower 48 States and Hawaii. In addition, these 
restrictions have helped limit our reliance on OPEC and unstable 
Persian Gulf oil supplies. Furthermore, we have been able to enhance a 
domestic merchant marine that continues to help supply the essential 
oil requirements of our domestic economy and our military.
  Despite the lessons of two major oil crises and the Persian Gulf War, 
we foolishly continue to rely on foreign oil as a major energy source. 
U.S. oil imports now exceed half of our daily oil requirement. 
Government and private estimates now predict that by the year 2010, 
imports will equal 59 percent.
  Permitting the export of any Alaskan North Slope crude would only 
exacerbate this already serious problem. By allowing the export of 
Alaskan oil to Japan and other Pacific rim countries, we would further 
increase our dependency on Middle Eastern oil, increase consumer 
petroleum costs on the west coast, threaten the vitality of our 
domestic tanker fleet, and cause net Federal revenue losses. Moreover, 
Alaskan oil exports would cause job losses in the maritime and related 
ship-supply industries on the west coast. Mr. President, these are 
costs which this Nation simply cannot afford.
  Our ability to withstand future energy crises will certainly be 
tested if we fail to take the appropriate steps now to protect our own 
energy resources. By extending indefinitely the current export 
restrictions on Alaskan crude oil in section 7(d) of the act, we will 
reaffirm the policy of keeping this country on the right path toward 
energy security.
  I commend Senator Murray for her leadership. I look forward to 
working with her, members of the Senate Banking Committee, and other 
interested Senators, as this proposal moves forward.
                                 ______

      By Mr. HATCH (for himself, Mr. Moynihan, Mr. Graham, and Mr. 
        Bingaman):
  S. 415. A bill to apply the antitrust laws to major league baseball 
in certain circumstances, and for other purposes; to the Committee on 
the Judiciary.


         the professional baseball antitrust reform act of 1995

  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I am pleased to introduce legislation that, 
if and when it becomes law, will bring about an end to the baseball 
strike. In fact, the players have already voted to end their strike if 
this bill becomes law.
  Unlike other legislation that has been proposed, my bill would not 
impose a big-government solution. On the contrary, it would get 
government out of the way by eliminating a serious Government-made 
obstacle to settlement. Seventy-three years ago, the Supreme Court 
ruled that professional baseball is not a business in interstate 
commerce and is therefore immune from the reach of the Federal 
antitrust laws. This ruling was almost certainly wrong when it was 
first rendered in 1922. Fifty years later, in 1972, when the Supreme 
Court readdressed this question, the limited concept of interstate 
commerce on which the 1922 ruling rested had long since been shattered. 
The Court in 1972 accurately noted that baseball's antitrust immunity 
was an aberration that no other sport or industry enjoyed. But it left 
it to Congress to correct the Court's error.
  A limited repeal of this antitrust immunity is now in order. Labor 
negotiations between owners and players are impeded by the fact that 
baseball players, unlike all other workers, have no resort under the 
law if the baseball owners act in a manner that would, in the absence 
of the immunity, violate the antitrust laws. This aberration in the 
antitrust laws has handed the owners a huge club that gives them unique 
leverage in bargaining and discourages them from accepting reasonable 
terms. This is an aberration that Government has created, and it is an 
aberration that Government should fix.
  The legislation that I am introducing would provide for a limited 
repeal of professional baseball's antitrust immunity. This repeal would 
be limited to the subject matter of major league labor relations. It 
would not affect baseball's ability to control franchise relocation, 
nor would it affect the minor leagues. It also would not affect any 
other sport or business.
  This legislation would not impose any terms of settlement on the 
disputing parties, nor would it require that they reach a settlement. 
Rather, it would simply remove a serious impediment to settlement--an 
impediment that is the product of an aberration in our antitrust laws. 
In short, far from involving any governmental intrusion into the 
pending baseball dispute, the legislation would get Government out of 
the way.
  I am pleased to report that this bill has bipartisan support. 
Original cosponsors include Senators Moynihan, Graham, and Bingaman.
  I am even more pleased to report that the baseball players have 
already voted to end their strike if this bill becomes law. There will 
be a full 1995 baseball season if Congress acts quickly on this long 
overdue measure.
  I urge my colleagues in the Senate and the House to support this 
legislation.
 Mr. MOYNIHAN. Mr. President, I am pleased to be an original 
cosponsor of the Professional Baseball Antitrust Reform Act of 1995, a 
bill drafted by the distinguished chairman of the Judiciary Committee, 
Senator Hatch. I hope 
 [[Page S2660]] this legislation will help to facilitate negotiations 
in--and settlement of--the professional baseball strike that has gone 
on for 6 long months now.
  This bill is designed to be a partial repeal of major league 
baseball's antitrust exemption. It would leave the exemption in place 
as it pertains to minor league baseball and the ability of major league 
baseball to control the relocation of franchises.
  On January 4, 1995, the first day of the 104th Congress, I introduced 
my own legislation on this subject. My bill, S. 15, the National 
Pastime Preservation Act of 1995, would apply the antitrust laws to 
major league baseball without the exceptions suggested by my friend 
from Utah.
  In 1922, the Supreme Court of the United States, in Federal Baseball 
Club versus National League, held that ``exhibitions of base ball'' 
were not interstate commerce and thus were exempt from the antitrust 
laws. Fifty years later, in Flood versus Kuhn in 1972, the Court 
acknowledged that in fact baseball is a business engaged in interstate 
commerce, but declined to reverse Federal Baseball, citing a half 
century of congressional inaction on the matter.
  Clearly baseball is a business engaged in interstate commerce, and 
should be subject to the antitrust laws to the same extent that all 
other businesses are. But the greater point is that the strike must be 
settled through good-faith bargaining between the parties. I will 
support this and any other effort that will move the parties forward 
toward a collective bargaining agreement--and the resumption of 
baseball in America as soon as possible.
  I thank my friend from Utah for inviting me to cosponsor this 
legislation, and hope other Senators agree with us that the time has 
come to act.
                                 ______

      By Mr. THURMOND (for himself and Mr. Leahy):
  S. 416. A bill to require the application of the antitrust laws to 
major league baseball, and for other purposes; to the Committee on the 
Judiciary.


         THE MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL ANTITRUST REFORM ACT OF 1995

  Mr. THURMOND. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the Major 
League Baseball Antitrust Reform Act of 1995 to repeal the antitrust 
exemption which shields major league baseball from the antitrust laws 
that apply to all other sports. I am pleased to have Senator Leahy, the 
ranking member of the Antitrust, Business Rights, and Competition 
Subcommittee which I chair, join me in introducing this bill.
  The Thurmond-Leahy legislation addresses baseball's antitrust 
exemption, but is not specially drafted in an attempt to solve the 
current baseball strike. Although the ongoing strike raises questions 
about the antitrust exemption, major league baseball's problems go far 
deeper than this one strike. Baseball has suffered a strike or lockout 
every time a contract has expired during the last quarter century. 
Baseball has had eight strikes or lockouts in a row, the worst work 
stoppage record of all professional sports. Removing the antitrust 
exemption will not automatically resolve baseball's problems, but I 
believe it will move baseball in the right direction.
  Despite our interest in seeing the players return to the field, we 
must be ever mindful of the need to limit Federal Government 
intervention into matters best left to private remedies. The Congress 
should determine how much Federal involvement, if any, serves the 
public interest in this area. But as long as the special antitrust 
exemption remains in place for baseball, the Congress is involved. The 
Congress has an impact on the sport by simply permitting the special 
exemption to remain long after the factual basis for it has 
disappeared.
  It is now well-known that baseball's antitrust exemption is 
essentially a historical accident. The exemption was established in 
1922 by the Supreme Court--not the Congress--when the Court held that 
professional baseball was not interstate commerce and therefore could 
not be subject to the Federal antitrust laws. Since that time, the 
Supreme Court held that baseball is, of course, interstate commerce, 
but the Court refused to end the exemption. Instead, the Court held 
that it is up to the Congress to make any necessary changes in the 
exemption. In light of the Supreme Court decisions in this area, we 
must recognize that responsibility has shifted to the Congress to 
address the exemption and whatever effects it may have on major league 
baseball's problems.
  Some Members of Congress believe that we should not get involved 
during the current strike, while other Members have asserted that in 
the absence of a strike there is no need for the Congress to take 
action on this issue. Whether there is a strike or not, it is my belief 
that it is proper for the Congress to consider this antitrust issue as 
a matter of public policy. The Congress has considered baseball's 
antitrust exemption in the past, including serious attention by the 
Senate Judiciary Committee last year, prior to the current strike. I 
intend to
 continue working on this issue, even if the strike were to end today.

  As a practical matter, there is no guarantee that any legislation on 
this subject will be enacted promptly, despite our best efforts, given 
the press of other business in both the Senate and the House. Thus, 
this legislation ought to have little impact on baseball's 
negotiations. The players and owners certainly should continue to work 
to settle their differences without assuming that congressional 
intervention will occur.
  The Thurmond-Leahy legislation would repeal baseball's antitrust 
exemption, while maintaining the status quo for the minor leagues. 
Protecting the current relations with the minor leagues is important to 
avoid disruption of the more than 170 minor league teams which are 
thriving throughout our Nation. This is a priority which other Members 
and I have clearly expressed. The Thurmond-Leahy bill also makes clear 
that it does not override the provisions of the Sports Broadcast Act of 
1961, which permits league-wide contracts with television networks.
  Nor does the Thurmond-Leahy legislation affect the so-called 
nonstatutory labor exemption. The nonstatutory labor exemption shields 
employers from the antitrust laws when they are involved in collective 
bargaining with a union. Court interpretations of the nonstatutory 
labor exemption are somewhat unsettled. But there is no doubt that, at 
a minimum, repealing baseball's special exemption would permit 
antitrust challenges in the absence of a collective bargaining 
arrangement, and would place baseball on the same footing as other 
professional sports and businesses.
  I am also concerned about the issue of franchise relocation, a 
subject on which I held hearings in the mid-1980's while serving as 
chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Relocation is a significant issue 
to baseball, as well as other professional sports. If the antitrust 
laws need adjustment in this area, we should consider this matter in 
the context of all professional sports. Thus, the Thurmond-Leahy bill 
does not address franchise relocation, but separate legislation is 
being considered to protect objective franchise relocation rules in all 
professional sports.
  Mr. President, I join the millions of Americans who are anxious for 
the 1995 baseball season to begin, and encourage the owners and players 
to resolve their differences. But again, I believe the proper role for 
the Congress is to repeal the Court imposed antitrust exemption. This 
will restore baseball to the same level playing field as other 
professional sports and businesses. By removing the antitrust 
exemption, the players and owners will have one less distraction 
keeping them from developing a long-term working relationship, and the 
Congress will no longer be intertwined in baseball because of the 
special exemption.
 Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, today I join with Senator Thurmond 
to introduce the Major League Baseball Antitrust Reform Act of 1995. As 
chairman and ranking Democrat on the Senate's Antitrust Subcommittee, 
we will be participating in hearings later this week into the exemption 
from the Federal antitrust laws enjoyed by major league baseball. Our 
antitrust laws are intended to protect competition and benefit 
consumers. No one is or should be above the law. Yet for over 70 years, 
major league baseball has operated outside our antitrust laws. I think 
that should be reviewed and corrected.
  Last summer, the Senate Judiciary Committee had an opportunity to 
right this situation when we considered a bill to repeal baseball's 
antitrust exemption that was very similar to the 
 [[Page S2661]] bill we are introducing today. While Senator Thurmond 
and I supported the measure, some of our colleagues blinked and the 
measure was defeated.
  Soon thereafter negotiations between major league baseball owners and 
players disintegrated. We have since witnessed a preemptive strike, the 
unilateral imposition of a salary cap, failed efforts at mediation, the 
loss of one season and likely obliteration on a second, and pleas from 
all corners to resolve the current impasse going for naught.
  In my view, major league baseball's exemption from Federal antitrust 
laws has significantly contributed to the problem that confronts us all 
today. Had Congress repealed that out-of-date, judicially proclaimed 
immunity from law, I believe that this matter would not be festering. I 
hope that we will, at long last, take up the issue of major league 
baseballs' antitrust exemption.
  Baseball has been the national pastime. It has served to bind parent 
to child. It teaches important values including the benefits of 
teamwork and doing ones best. It is part of our history. The game's 
current caretakers are about to cost the American people another year 
without baseball.
  Seniors who look forward to the joys of spring training and to 
following their favorite teams on radio or television will have to do 
without. Youngsters looking for positive role models, contemporary 
heros, and a sport to span generations or Americans will be 
shortchanged.
  Cities and towns that have invested millions in facilities to support 
major league baseball will be cheated. Vendors and others who rely on 
baseball for jobs that help them scratch out a living for themselves 
and their families will be hit, again.
  There is a public interest in the resumption of true, major league 
baseball. The current situation derives at least in part from 
circumstances in which the Federal antitrust laws have not applied, 
Congress has provided no regulatory framework to protect the public, 
and the major leagues have chosen to operate without a strong, 
independent commissioner who could look out for the best interests of 
baseball. Thus, competing financial interests continue to clash, with 
no resolution in sight.
  In my view, the burden of proof is on those who seek to justify 
baseball's exemption from the law. No other business or professional or 
amateur sport is possessed of the exemption from law that major league 
baseball has enjoyed and abused.
  I look forward to our prompt hearings and to move ahead thoughtfully 
to consider whether major league baseball, as it is currently 
organized, is entitled to exemption from legal requirements to which 
all other businesses must conform their behavior. It is time to forge a 
legal framework in which the public will be better served. Since the 
multibillion-dollar businesses that have grown from what was once our 
national pastime are now big business being run accordingly to a 
financial bottom line, a healthy injection of competition may be just 
what is needed.
                                 ______

      By Mr. KOHL:
  S. 417. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 with 
respect to the eligibility of veterans for mortgage revenue bond 
financing; to the Committee on Finance.


              MORTGAGE REVENUE BOND FINANCING LEGISLATION

 Mr. KOHL. Mr. President, I reintroduce legislation that will 
help Wisconsin and several other States extend one of our most 
successful veterans programs to Persian Gulf war participants and 
others. This bill will amend the eligibility requirements for mortgage 
revenue bond financing for State veterans housing programs.
  Wisconsin uses this tax-exempt bond authority to assist veterans in 
purchasing their first home. Under rules adopted by Congress in 1984, 
this program excluded from eligibility veterans who served after 1977 
or who had been out of service for more than 30 years. This bill would 
simply remove those restrictions.
  Wisconsin and the other eligible States simply want to maintain a 
principle that we in the Senate have also strived to uphold--that 
veterans of the Persian Gulf war should not be treated less generously 
than those of past wars. This bill will make that possible.
                                 ______

      By Mr. CONRAD (for himself, Mr. Daschle, Mr. Wellstone, and Mr. 
        Baucus):
  S. 418. A bill to amend the Food Security Act of 1985 to extend, 
improve, increase flexibility, and increase conservation benefits of 
the conservation reserve program, and for other purposes; to the 
Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.


         the conservation reserve program extension act of 1995

 Mr. CONRAD. Mr. President, I introduce the Conservation 
Reserve Program Extension Act of 1995. I am pleased to be joined in 
offering this legislation by Senator Daschle, Senator Wellstone, and 
Senator Baucus.
  Established in the 1985 farm bill, the Conservation Reserve Program 
[CRP] is one of the most popular programs ever offered by the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture. Its objective, as stated in the 1985 farm 
bill, was ``to assist owners and operators of highly erodible cropland 
in conserving and improving the soil and water resources of their farms 
or ranches.''
  Several factors led to the creation of the program: The United States 
had accumulated large surpluses of agricultural commodities; commodity 
prices were extremely low; the agricultural economy was in a 
precipitous downturn; the cost of agricultural programs was increasing, 
and soil erosion was actually increasing in some areas of the country. 
Thus, Congress decided to initiate a program to reduce surplus 
commodities by retiring cropland, increase prices, boost producer 
income, and just as important, sharply reduce soil erosion.
  Although the program's goal of maintaining higher prices was not as 
measurable as producers in my State would have liked--a goal which is 
obviously affected by other factors--the program was well-received and 
achieved positive results. Between 1986 and 1989, farmers were given 
nine opportunities to enroll land in the CRP, and they enrolled 33.9 
million acres. As a result, the program returned normalcy to the 
agricultural sector and, along with conservation compliance 
requirements of the 1985 farm bill, helped reduce soil erosion 
substantially.
  Conditions were different during the debate over the 1990 farm bill, 
and the CRP was modified to meet those conditions. The CRP was 
broadened to include more environmentally sensitive lands. Bids were 
accepted on the basis of an environmental benefits index that measured 
the potential contribution to conservation and environmental program 
goals that land would provide if enrolled. Seven goals were set for the 
program. The goals included surface water quality improvement, 
potential ground water quality improvement, preservation of soil 
productivity, assistance to farmers most affected by conservation 
compliance, encouragement of tree planting, enrollment in hydrologic 
unit areas identified under the water quality initiative, and
enrollment in conservation priority areas established by Congress. 
These changes broadened the scope of the program, helping it achieve 
  positive, measurable results.Although initially mandated to research 
40 to 45 million acres, according to USDA's Economic Research Service 
the CRP now includes 36.4 million acres through 375,000 contractual 
agreements. This represents about 8 percent of total U.S. cropland. The 
CRP has reduced soil erosion by 700 million tons per year, a reduction 
of 22 percent compared with conditions that existed prior to the 
program. In addition, the program has produced enormous benefits for 
wildlife, both game and nongame species. It is no surprise that 
reauthorization of the CRP is the primary legislative goal of nearly 
every wildlife organization.
  The CRP has had a significant impact on North Dakota agriculture. 
Consider the following statistics provided by USDA's Agricultural 
Stabilization and Conservation Service:

Number of bids...................................................26,600
Number of contracts..............................................18,520
Acres contracted..............................................3,180,569
Average rental rate.................................................$38
Total annual rental........................................$121,998,974

  Commodity base acres involved include:

Wheat.........................................................1,138,046
Corn............................................................134,417
[[Page S2662]] Barley...........................................580,059
Oats............................................................263,683
Sorghum...........................................................1,837
                                                             __________

  Total base acres............................................2,118,042

  Total annual erosion reduction: 45,842,990 tons.
  The future of this program is central to the debate over the 1995 
farm bill in my State.
  The legislation we are introducing today represents our effort to 
address the questions of participants in our States and many others who 
have concerns about the future of CRP: farm implement dealers, 
fertilizer and pesticide companies, local business people, lenders, 
conservationists, ranchers, hunters, and various other parties.
  Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture made two significant 
announcements that signal its intentions over the future of the CRP. On 
August 24, 1994, USDA announced 1-year contract extensions to 
participants whose contract expires on September 30, 1995.
  On December 14, 1994, USDA announced that action would be taken to 
modify and extend all CRP contracts and to improve the targeting of the 
CRP to more environmentally sensitive acres.
  As a result of these announcements, the Congressional Budget Office 
[CBO] adjusted its baseline projections for CRP spending. However, the 
new baseline suggests that the new CRP will shrink to less than half 
its size, about 15 million acres.
  I believe a 15-million acre CRP is insufficient to maintain the broad 
benefits of the program. Passage of this legislation is necessary to 
maintain program benefits.
  First, environmental benefits will be lost. As I noted, he CRP 
provides outstanding improvements in water quality, soil quality, and 
wildlife habitat. Even more benefits could be gained through enactment 
of our bill. A mistake was made once before in allowing a similar 
program, the soil bank, to expire. From 1956 to 1972, USDA managed the 
soil bank, to divert cropland from production in order to reduce 
inventories, and to establish and maintain protective vegetative cover 
on the land. In 1960, there were 28.7 million acres under contract. 
Although many forces were at work in ending the program such as 
commodity prices in the world market, by the mid-1970's most land had 
returned to crop production. Many of those acres are now enrolled in 
the CRP.
  Second, commodity prices will likely fall. As CRP contracts expire, 
several surveys have shown that a majority of farmers will return the 
land to production, increasing stocks and depressing prices. According 
to USDA's Economic Research Service, wheat prices would fall 9 percent; 
corn prices would fall 5 percent. Lower prices and increased acreage 
receiving payments would increase total deficiency payments 21 percent.
  Third, the debate over the 1995 farm bill could become an 
increasingly difficult budget fight. Some members of Congress 
continually suggest that Federal farm programs should be cut 
significantly to solve our budget deficit. I disagree. Agriculture 
spending has been cut significantly in recent years. If other Federal 
programs had taken the same reductions agriculture has, our deficit 
problem would be much less serious, if not solved. If we fail to fully 
extend the CRP, the budget pressures on agriculture will very likely 
increase dramatically, threatening farm income that is already at 
insufficient levels.
  Fourth, the combination of lower prices and the loss of rental 
payments will have serious financial implications for producers and 
landowners in North Dakota and many other States. If, as some of my 
colleagues have suggested, the CRP is significantly downsized at the 
same time farm programs are eliminated, the combined impact would 
seriously erode land values, and hurt rural schools, businesses and 
communities, and lending institutions.
  I believe that is the wrong approach to Federal agriculture policy. I 
believe the CRP is an important part of a long-term strategy to 
maintaining a sound rural economy. The bill I am introducing would lead 
us in that direction by accomplishing the following:
  Requiring the Secretary of Agriculture to offer current contract 
holders the option of renewing their current contract for 10 years upon 
expiration. Acreage not reenrolled would be required to follow a basic 
conservation plan.
  Requiring the Secretary to use a bidding system to enroll new acres 
into the CRP with cost-share assistance available for carrying out 
conservation measures and practices. Three criteria shall be used by 
USDA to determine new enrollment: water quality, soil quality, and 
wildlife habitat.
  By moving forward on such a policy, it is my belief that we will be 
making better long-term decisions for this valuable national resource. 
The benefits to society in improved water and soil quality and wildlife 
habitat are real and measurable. Let us not repeat the errors of the 
past when the soil bank was cavalierly eliminated.


                          ____________________