STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS
(Senate - February 08, 2005)

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[Congressional Record Volume 151, Number 12 (Tuesday, February 8, 2005)]
[Pages S1117-S1138]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




          STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS

      By Mr. LAUTENBERG (for himself and Mr. Corzine):
  S. 308. A bill to require that Homeland Security grants related to 
terrorism preparedness and prevention be awarded based strictly on an 
assessment of risk, threat, and vulnerabilities; to the Committee on 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
  Mr. LAUTENBERG. Mr. President, I rise today to speak on a matter of 
great significance to our State and to many States across the country: 
protecting our homeland from another terrorist attack.
  Everyone is aware of how difficult the fight is against terrorism, 
wherever it takes place in the world, and the number of casualties we 
have experienced in Iraq, that manifests itself in Afghanistan and 
different countries. But one place we ought to be looking at in terms 
of protecting ourselves from terror is in the United States. We should 
not be skimping on the costs or resources available for Homeland 
Security. My colleague Senator Corzine and I today are introducing a 
bill to ensure that Federal Homeland Security funds get sent where they 
are needed most.
  On September 11, 2001, 700 of the people who lost their lives were 
from New Jersey. On that terrible day, people of north Jersey could see 
the smoke rising from the World Trade Center. From my own home, I look 
directly at the World Trade Center. In my pre-Senate day, I was 
commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and had 
offices in the Trade Center and know what the hustle and bustle of life 
was there. Thousands and thousands of people were working in those two 
buildings, destroyed by a terrorist that went beyond the wildest 
imagination.
  The New York-New Jersey region bore the brunt of those attacks on 
September 11. It continues to be the most at-risk area. We are not the 
only ones at risk. States such as Virginia, with their military 
installation, their ports, are also to be included, and a place of some 
threat, New Mexico, with Los Alamos, and Florida with its ports, and 
Texas with their ports. All of these States have to be on the alert all 
the time and need funds with which to protect themselves. So I hope we 
can all agree that homeland security funding ought to be targeted to 
those parts of the country most at risk of another terrorist attack.

  Now, the 9/11 Commission agrees with this approach. They said:

       Homeland security assistance should be based strictly--

  ``Strictly''--

     on an assessment of risks and vulnerabilities.

  They further say:

       [F]ederal homeland security assistance should not remain a 
     program for general revenue sharing.

  I think we are all agreed they did a splendid job. This was a focal 
point for them. The 9/11 Commission reported homeland security money is 
too important to be caught up in porkbarrel politics. Unfortunately, 
our current homeland security funding is not based on risks and 
threats.
  Under current law, 40 percent of all State homeland security grants, 
over $1 billion each year, are given out as revenue sharing. The system 
results in preposterous funding allocations.
  For example, this year, New Jersey's homeland security grant was cut, 
reduced by 34 percent. I remind those who are listening, New Jersey 
lost 700 of its citizens. Our funding was cut despite the fact that we 
in New Jersey were under a code orange alert from August 1 to just 
after the election because of unspecified threats against the 
Prudential Building in Newark. The Prudential Building is a center of 
major financial activity and was highlighted as one of five locations 
that ought to be especially guarded. Yet the city of Newark saw its 
funding cut by 17 percent. Another high-risk urban area, Jersey City--
which is directly across from where the Trade Centers were in New York, 
and where so much of the rescue activity was directed, with police from 
that area, emergency response people--Jersey City saw its funding cut 
60 percent. That does not make sense.
  The FBI has identified a 2-mile strip between the Port of Newark and 
Newark-Liberty International Airport as the most at-risk area in the 
entire country for a terrorist attack--a 2-mile stretch, highly 
visible. If you fly into Newark-Liberty Airport, you see the bustling 
port that we have there and the activity that goes on. It is an area, 
certainly, that would represent, in the FBI's view, one of the most 
appealing targets for terror. Yet the area's homeland security funding 
was cut. It defies sense.
  The system is broken. That is why my colleague, Senator Corzine, and 
I are introducing the Risk-Based Homeland Security Funding Act, to 
require that homeland security grants are allocated solely based on 
risk and threat to the area.
  Our bill would take the 9/11 Commission's recommendations and turn 
them into law.
  President Bush understands that risk and vulnerability must be the 
principal yardsticks for distributing homeland security funds. In the 
fiscal year 2006 budget just released, President Bush stated that 
homeland security funds need to be allocated on risks, threats, and 
vulnerabilities.
  So I hope our colleagues will support the bill Senator Corzine and I 
are introducing today. Our bill will set the gold standard for 
determining whether homeland security grants are being properly 
allocated. I ask my colleagues to think of this as a national interest, 
to make sure that none of the areas of high vulnerability are open to 
attack any more than we can possibly do to prevent it because any 
attack in these areas will have a ripple effect throughout the country. 
Again, these places are an invitation to the terrorists. As much as we 
hate them, we know these people are not fools. We know they plan these 
things. We know they look for the most vulnerable targets. And we 
should not permit those targets to go without the protection they fully 
deserve.
  So I hope our colleagues will support this bill. It would turn the 9/
11 Commission's recommendations into law.
  I ask unanimous consent that the text of our bill be printed in the 
Record.
  There being no objection, the bill was ordered to be printed in the 
Record, as follows:

                                 S. 308

       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 ``Risk-Based Homeland Security 
     Funding Act''.

     SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

       Congress agrees with the recommendation on page 396 of the 
     Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks 
     Upon the United States (commonly known as the ``9/11 
     Report''), which includes the following:
     ``Homeland security assistance should be based strictly on an 
     assessment of risks and vulnerabilities. . . . [F]ederal 
     homeland security assistance should not remain a program for 
     general revenue sharing. It should supplement state and local 
     resources based on the risks or vulnerabilities that merit 
     additional support. Congress should not use this money as a 
     pork barrel.''.

     SEC. 3. RISK-BASED HOMELAND SECURITY GRANT FUNDING.

       (a) Criteria for Awarding Homeland Security Grants.--Except 
     for grants awarded under any of the programs listed under 
     section 4(b), all homeland security grants related to 
     terrorism prevention and terrorism preparedness shall be 
     awarded based strictly on an assessment of risk, threat, and 
     vulnerabilities, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland 
     Security.
       (b) Limitation.--Except for grants awarded under any of the 
     programs listed under section 4(b), none of the funds 
     appropriated for Homeland Security grants may be used for 
     general revenue sharing.
       (c) Conforming Amendment.--Section 1014(c)(3) of the USA 
     PATRIOT ACT (42 U.S.C. 3714(c)(3)) is repealed.

     SEC. 4. PRESERVATION OF PRE-9/11 GRANT PROGRAMS FOR TRADITION 
                   FIRST RESPONDER MISSIONS .

       (a) Savings Provision.--This Act shall not be construed to 
     affect any authority to award grants under a Federal grant 
     program listed under subsection (b), which existed on 
     September 10, 2001, to enhance traditional missions of State 
     and local law enforcement, firefighters, ports, emergency 
     medical services, or public health missions.
       (b) Programs Excluded.--The programs referred to in 
     subsection (a) are the following:
       (1) The Firefighter Assistance Program authorized under 
     section 33 of the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 
     1974 (15 U.S.C. 2229).

[[Page S1118]]

       (2) The Emergency Management Performance Grant Program and 
     the Urban Search and Rescue Grant Program authorized under--
       (A) title VI of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and 
     Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5195 et seq.);
       (B) the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and 
     Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations 
     Act, 2000 (Public Law 106-74; 113 Stat. 1047 et seq.); and
       (C) the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977 (42 U.S.C. 
     7701 et seq.).
       (3) The Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law 
     Enforcement Assistance Programs authorized under part E of 
     title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 
     1968 (42 U.S.C. 3750 et seq.).
       (4) The Public Safety and Community Policing (COPS ON THE 
     BEAT) Grant Program authorized under part Q of title I of the 
     Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 
     3796dd et seq.).
       (5) Grant programs under the Public Health Service Act (42 
     U.S.C. 201 et seq.) regarding preparedness for bioterrorism 
     and other public health emergencies;
       (6) The Emergency Response Assistance Program authorized 
     under section 1412 of the Defense Against Weapons of Mass 
     Destruction Act of 1996 (50 U.S.C. 2312).
       (7) Grant programs under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster 
     Relief and Emergency Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.).

  Mr. CORZINE. Mr. President, I rise today to join my colleague, 
Senator Lautenberg, in both support and the introduction of the Risk-
Based Homeland Security Funding Act. I think this is simply urgent. It 
is fundamental to the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, as 
Senator Lautenberg mentioned.
  Quoting language that was in that Commission report:

       Homeland security assistance should be based strictly on an 
     assessment of risks and vulnerabilities.

  Quoting further:

       [F]ederal homeland security assistance should not remain a 
     program for general revenue sharing.

  In fact, I believe we should relabel the bill. I had a little 
argument with my colleague from New Jersey. I think we ought to call it 
the Common Sense Homeland Security Act. It is only common sense. I 
think there is a consensus among all those who seriously contemplate 
this issue that we need to be smart and strategic about how we allocate 
our limited homeland security resources.
  This is not a local issue, although people will often argue that we 
are trying to speak only from parochial interests. I think you have to 
think about this as protecting America where we are most vulnerable. It 
is a national issue.
  Our economic assets are at stake. In New Jersey, that 2-mile stretch 
Senator Lautenberg spoke about in his comments has the Port of Newark, 
which is really what is often labeled the Port of New York. Mr. 
President, 80 percent of all of the incoming cargo containers that come 
into that east coast port are in Newark and Elizabeth. So you hear 
about the Port of New York and New Jersey. It is really the Port of New 
Jersey and Elizabeth. And that is in that 2-mile stretch.
  Then on the other end of that 2-mile stretch is Liberty International 
or Newark Airport, which is, depending on which year and the number of 
flight landings, the third or fourth busiest airport in America--the 
busiest airport in the metropolitan region of New York and New Jersey.
  In between, there are rail lines, chemical plants, oil refineries, 
all the economic assets that are important to the economic distribution 
of assets across the east coast.
  It is incredible, as Senator Lautenberg talked about, that this 
particular area is seeing these cuts. Newark is getting cut 17 percent 
from 2004 to 2005, and, unbelievably, Jersey City is getting cut 64 
percent, from $17 million down to about $6 million in homeland 
security, State, and local grants. It is very hard to justify. You look 
at your constituents and say we are talking about the threat-based 
allocation of risk, and we see these kinds of cuts given the kind of 
serious concerns that we have.
  It is a national issue, it is not just a New Jersey issue because if 
that airport and that port come down, it has a major long-term impact 
on the economy of the Nation. It is important. I note, as Senator 
Lautenberg did, the Senator from Virginia has ports that have a major 
impact on more than just Virginia's economic well-being. The airports 
have more than just an economic impact on the individual State. We have 
to think about what the ripple impact is as we go forward. So we have 
to prioritize.
  I am pleased the President cited almost the same language in his 
budget yesterday. Concentrating Federal funds for State and local 
homeland security assistance programs on the highest threats and 
vulnerabilities and needs is the Presidential goal. We need to 
translate that into specific legislative authority so we do not come up 
with formulas that are revenue sharing based.

  Forty percent of the funds currently allocated are based on just 
equal allocation to the States. Nice idea, but we ought to do that in 
other areas, not with regard to homeland security where we ought to 
deal with the national economy, the national strategic interests of the 
country. So I hope we can take this act, this commonsensical approach, 
and implement it.
  By the way, I also wonder why we are cutting 30 percent to our State 
and local communities. The first responders are the first line of 
defense in protecting the American people and in responding to these 
attacks. We certainly saw that in the 9/11 case.
  I hope we can have a strong debate in Congress about how we are 
allocating within the expenditures we have with regard to homeland 
security. In my view, there is too much ignoring of the reality of the 
need to fund our local responders, making sure their communications 
equipment can talk to each other, making sure they have the kinds of 
equipment that would be able to respond, as was so heroically done by 
the people who responded to the 9/11 tragedy.
  All this has to be put in the context of real-life experiences, 
though. And Senator Lautenberg talked about that. Seven hundred people 
in our community died. This is a hot issue in the State of New Jersey 
because it impacted families, and it still is very much a live part of 
their community. People want to see action. They want to see changes as 
we go forward. And they want to see us be particularly focused on those 
places where there are risks.
  It is hard for New Jerseyans to understand when you put the city of 
Newark on the highest alert, singled out, along with New York City and 
Washington, DC, one day, and then get your homeland security funds cut 
by 20 percent or so 6 months later when the allocation comes out 
according to a formula, as apposed to thinking about where risks are. 
It is hard for the people not only in Newark, but we have Hamilton, NJ, 
which had a post office that was the site where all the anthrax letters 
were sent out. We had to shut it down. We spent $60 million cleaning up 
that post office, just like we had to clean up the Hart Building here 
in Washington.
  And people say, I do not really understand why we are not concerned 
about what is going on with regard to risk in New Jersey when we have 
these kinds of practical realities: 700 of our citizens, orange alerts 
for Newark, Hamilton post office, and I could go on and on. There are a 
number of instances--Atlantic City, where the way the formula works is, 
if you are not a town of 225,000 people, you do not get considered for 
these grants. We have about 40,000 people in Atlantic City, but that 
does not take into account the people who come and visit there, which 
is about 100,000 on average a day; and then all the people who work 
there, which is about another 40,000. So you are getting up toward 
those numbers. And on peak days it can be 300,000 people. It is the 
second highest concentration of casinos in the country.
  I think we need to bring common sense to where we are focusing 
homeland security dollars. I think that is what this act is about. I am 
thrilled that we have Michael Chertoff who is stepping in as the 
Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. I do not think there 
is a smarter guy, a more objective, intellectually honest individual. I 
think he will push forward with commonsense approaches to allocation 
and recommendations.
  Finally, this bill does not cover other programs. It does not include 
the COPS Program, fire grants, other things where you need to be 
reflective of the needs of general revenue sharing approaches. This is 
dealing with homeland security the same way we deal

[[Page S1119]]

with national security. There we identify what we think the threats are 
and apply the resources to match those needs.
  We need to bring common sense to this. I hope my colleagues will 
support this legislation. It is very straightforward and a simple 
reflection of the 9/11 Commission Report, a reflection of the words the 
President put in his budget report. I think it is appropriate as to how 
we should move forward with regard to funding for homeland security 
allocations.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. DeMINT (for himself, Mr. Salazar, and Mr. Ensign):
  S. 309. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide 
for the disposition of unused health benefits in cafeteria plans and 
flexible spending arrangements; to the Committee on Finance.
  Mr. DeMINT. Mr. President, I rise today to offer a bill that would 
update flexible spending arrangements, known as FSAs, to allow up to 
$500 of unused health benefits to be carried forward to next year's FSA 
or transferred to a health savings account.
  Flexible spending arrangements allow employees to set aside money in 
an employer-established benefit plan that can be used on a tax-free 
basis to meet their out-of-pocket health care expenses during the year. 
However, under current law, any money remaining in the FSA at the end 
of the year must be returned to the employer.
  Nearly 37 million private sector employees have access to an FSA. 
However, only 18 percent of eligible employees take advantage of the 
pretax health care spending provided by flexible spending arrangements. 
Many employees cite the fear of forfeiting unused funds as the primary 
reason why they elect not to participate in an FSA.
  This use-it-or-lose-it rule does more, though, than discourage 
widespread participation. It can also lead to perverse incentives such 
as encouraging people to spend money on health care products and 
services that they do not necessarily need. In other words, at the end 
of the year, if there is money left in the account, the employee's 
incentive is to go out and get an extra pair of sunglasses or whatever 
it is and spend that money, and that in turn drives up demand and the 
price of health care for everybody.
  The bill I am introducing today provides greater flexibility and 
consumer choice. The bill would allow up to $500 of unused funds at the 
end of the year to be carried forward in that flexible spending 
arrangement for use in the next year, or that employee could begin a 
new HSA, a health savings account, and put up to $500 into that health 
savings account.
  I believe this bill will encourage greater participation in flexible 
spending arrangements and, to a lesser extent, participation in health 
savings account benefit plans. The Joint Committee on Taxation 
estimates that approximately 76 percent of current FSA participants 
will take advantage of the rollover option each year.
  Through this legislation, we can expand access to health care for 
millions of Americans by making it easier for them to save for their 
health care costs. This bill would also reduce end-of-the-year excess 
spending and overuse of health care services, allowing FSA participants 
to benefit from the prudent use of their health care resources.
  I am grateful to Senators Salazar and Ensign who have joined me as 
original cosponsors of this bill. They understand that reducing health 
costs and increasing access to health care are worthy goals that we 
should all support.
  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. 309

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

     SECTION 1. DISPOSITION OF UNUSED HEALTH BENEFITS IN CAFETERIA 
                   PLANS AND FLEXIBLE SPENDING ARRANGEMENTS.

       (a) In General.--Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code 
     of 1986 (relating to cafeteria plans) is amended by 
     redesignating subsections (h) and (i) as subsections (i) and 
     (j), respectively, and by inserting after subsection (g) the 
     following:
       ``(h) Contributions of Certain Unused Health Benefits.--
       ``(1) In general.--For purposes of this title, a plan or 
     other arrangement shall not fail to be treated as a cafeteria 
     plan solely because qualified benefits under such plan 
     include a health flexible spending arrangement under which 
     not more than $500 of unused health benefits may be--
       ``(A) carried forward to the succeeding plan year of such 
     health flexible spending arrangement, or
       ``(B) to the extent permitted by section 106(d), 
     contributed by the employer to a health savings account (as 
     defined in section 223(d)) maintained for the benefit of the 
     employee.
       ``(2) Health flexible spending arrangement.--For purposes 
     of this subsection, the term `health flexible spending 
     arrangement' means a flexible spending arrangement (as 
     defined in section 106(c)) that is a qualified benefit and 
     only permits reimbursement for expenses for medical care (as 
     defined in section 213(d)(1), without regard to subparagraphs 
     (C) and (D) thereof).
       ``(3) Unused health benefits.--For purposes of this 
     subsection, with respect to an employee, the term `unused 
     health benefits' means the excess of--
       ``(A) the maximum amount of reimbursement allowable to the 
     employee for a plan year under a health flexible spending 
     arrangement, over
       ``(B) the actual amount of reimbursement for such year 
     under such arrangement.''.
       (b) Effective Date.--The amendments made by subsection (a) 
     shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 
     2004.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. SMITH (for himself, Mrs. Clinton, Ms. Collins, Mr. 
        Bingaman, Ms. Cantwell, Mr. Coleman, Mr. Corzine, Ms. Snowe, 
        Mrs. Feinstein, Ms. Landrieu, Mrs. Murray, Mr. DeWine, Mr. 
        Bayh, Mr. Reed, Mr. Kerry, Mr. Schumer, Mr. Dayton, Mr. Wyden, 
        Mrs. Lincoln, Mr. Lieberman, Ms. Mikulski, Mr. Nelson of 
        Florida, Ms. Stabenow, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Leahy, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. 
        Feingold, and Mr. Sarbanes):
  S. 311. A bill to amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to 
permit States the option to provide medicaid coverage for low-income 
individuals infected with HIV; to the Committee on Finance.
  Mr. SMITH. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the Early 
Treatment for HIV Act, ETHA, of 2005. Senator Clinton joins me in 
introducing this bill, and I want to thank her for her steadfast 
support for people living with HIV. HIV knows no party affiliation, and 
I am pleased to say that ETHA cosponsors sit on both sides of the 
aisle.
  Simply stated, ETHA gives States the opportunity to extend Medicaid 
coverage to low-income, HIV-positive individuals before they develop 
full-blown AIDS. Today, the unfortunate reality is that most patients 
must become disabled before they can qualify for Medicaid coverage. 
Nearly 50 percent of people living with AIDS who know their status lack 
ongoing access to treatment. In my home State of Oregon, there are 
approximately 4,500 persons living with HIV/AIDS. It is estimated that 
approximately 40 percent of these Oregonians are not receiving care for 
their HIV disease. Not being in care puts these people's own health at 
risk, and also makes them more infectious. We can do better, and we 
should do everything possible to ensure that all people living with HIV 
can get early, effective medical care.
  Oregon's Ryan White funded AIDS Drug Assistance Program is nearing 
maximum enrollment and may need to wait list eligible clients in the 
near future. The fact of the matter is that safety net programs all 
over the country are running out of money, and are generally unable to 
cover all of the people who need assistance paying for their medical 
care. As other programs are failing, ETHA gives States another way to 
reach out to low-income, HIV-positive individuals.
  With approximately 150 newly detected HIV infections in Oregon 
annually, my state desperately needs to provide early treatment to 
these individuals. It has been shown that current HIV treatments are 
very successful in delaying the progression from HIV infection to AIDS, 
and help improve the health and quality of life for millions of people 
living with the disease.
  Studies conducted by Pricewaterhouse Cooper have found that providing 
early intervention care significantly delays the progression of HIV and 
is highly cost-effective. ETHA reduces by 60 percent the death rate of

[[Page S1120]]

persons living with HIV who received coverage under Medicaid. Disease 
progression is significantly slowed and health outcomes improved. 
Medicaid offsets alone reduce gross Medicaid costs by approximately 70 
percent due to the prevention of avoidable high cost medical 
interventions. Research determined that over 5 years the true cost of 
ETHA is $55.2 million. Over 10 years, ETHA saves $31.7 million. It 
shows that preventing the health of people living with HIV, preventing 
opportunistic infections, and slowing the progression to AIDS, will 
save taxpayers dollars. Ultimately, its clear that in implementing 
ETHA, the United States will take an important step toward ensuring 
that all Americans living with HIV can get the medical care they need 
to stay healthy and productive for as long as possible.
  Importantly, ETHA also offers States an enhanced Federal Medicaid 
match, which means more money for States that invest in treatments for 
HIV. This provision models the successful Breast and Cervical Cancer 
Treatment and Prevention Act of 2000, which allows States to provide 
early Medicaid intervention to women with breast and cervical cancer. 
Even in these difficult times, 45 States are now offering early 
Medicaid coverage to women with breast and cervical cancer. We can 
build upon this success by passing ETHA and extending similar early 
intervention treatments to people with HIV.
  HIV/AIDS touches the lives of millions of people living in every 
State in the Union. Some get the proper medications, but too many do 
not. This is literally a life and death issue, and ETHA can help many 
more Americans enjoy long, healthy lives.
  I want to thank Senators Clinton, Collins, Bingaman, Coleman, 
Cantwell, Snowe, Corzine, Feinstein, Murray, Wyden, DeWine, Bayh, Reed, 
Kerry, Dayton, Schumer, Lincoln, Lieberman, Mikulski, Nelson, Stabenow, 
Johnson, Sarbanes, Leahy, Kennedy, Feingold and Lautenberg for joining 
us as cosponsors of ETHA. I also wish to thank all of the organizations 
around the country that have expressed support for this bill. I have 
received numerous support letters from those organizations, and I ask 
unanimous consent that those letters be printed in the Record. In 
particular, I want to thank the Human Rights Campaign, The AIDS 
Institute, ADAP Working Group and the Treatment Access Expansion 
Project, for helping bring so much attention to ETHA. I hope all of my 
colleagues will join us in supporting this critical, life-saving 
legislation.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:


                                                  AIDS Action,

                                 Washington, DC, February 2, 2005.
     Hon. Gordon Smith,
     Russell Senate Office Building,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Smith: On behalf of the AIDS Action Council 
     board of directors and our diverse, nationwide membership of 
     community-based service providers and public health 
     departments working with people living with or affected by 
     HIV, I would like to thank you for introducing the Early 
     Treatment for HIV Act (ETHA) with Senator Clinton and offer 
     my strong support for this important piece of legislation.
       As you know, ETHA is a means to eliminate barriers to early 
     drug therapy and comprehensive care for people living with 
     HIV. This important legislation would give States the option 
     of allowing HIV positive people with low incomes to qualify 
     for Medicaid coverage earlier in the course of their 
     infection, permitting them to receive greater benefits from 
     anti-retroviral therapy.
       Access to pharmaceuticals and quality health services is 
     vital for people living with HIV. Advancements in treatment 
     and the development of anti-retroviral (ARV) therapy have 
     enabled HIV positive individuals to lead longer and healthier 
     lives. However, ARV therapy is often prohibitively expensive, 
     costing approximately $10,000 to $12,000 annually, making it 
     virtually impossible for low-income people, who are often 
     uninsured or underinsured, to access these life-prolonging 
     medications.
       Current Federal treatment guidelines recommend the 
     initiation of ARV therapy early in the course of HIV 
     infection. With early initiation, the efficacy of ARV therapy 
     increases, boosting the effectiveness of other available HIV 
     drugs and staving off disability. Initiated early on, ARV 
     therapy ultimately saves costs associated with delayed 
     medical treatment. Unfortunately, many uninsured and 
     underinsured people living with HIV cannot afford ARV therapy 
     on their own. Further, Americans living with HIV do not 
     qualify for Medicaid until they have received an AIDS 
     diagnosis and are sick enough to meet Medicaid's categorical 
     requirements for disability--a point at which it is too late 
     for ARV treatment to be optimally effective. These barriers 
     to early treatment must be eliminated so that low income 
     people living with HIV can access the health care they need.
       During this time of shrinking Federal budgets and economic 
     downsizing, savings in Federal HIV programs, whether in 
     mandatory or discretionary spending, are beneficial to all 
     parties involved. By allowing HIV positive individuals to 
     qualify for Medicaid earlier in the course of HIV infection, 
     ETHA will create significant savings for the Federal 
     Government in overall health care funding.
       AIDS Action looks forward to working with you on passage of 
     this bill. Together we can ensure that people living with HIV 
     have access to the treatments and health services they need 
     to stay healthy.
           Sincerely,
                                                 Marsha A. Martin,
     Executive Director.
                                  ____



                                           The AIDS Institute,

                                 Washington, DC, February 2, 2005.
     Re the early treatment for HIV Act (ETHA).

     Senator Gordon Smith,
     U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Smith: The AIDS Institute applauds you for 
     your continued leadership and commitment to those people 
     living with HIV/AIDS in our country who are in need of 
     lifesaving healthcare and treatment. While the HIV/AIDS 
     epidemic in sub-Sahara Africa and other parts of the world 
     often overshadow the epidemic in the United States, we must 
     not forget about the approximately 900,000 people living in 
     the U.S. who have HIV or AIDS.
       Those infected with HIV are more likely to be low-income, 
     and it disproportionately impacts certain populations, 
     particularly minorities. In fact, the AIDS case rate per 
     100,000 population for African Americans was 9.5 times that 
     of whites in 2003.
       According to a recent Institute of Medicine report titled, 
     ``Public Financing and Delivery of HIV/AIDS Care: Securing 
     the Legacy of the Ryan White CARE Act'', 233,000 of the 
     463,070 people living with HIV in the U.S. who need 
     antiretroviral treatment do not have ongoing access to this 
     treatment. This does not include an additional 82,000 people 
     who are infected but unaware of their HIV status and are in 
     need of antiretrovira1 medications.
       One reason why there are so many people lacking treatment 
     is that under current law, Medicaid, which is the single 
     largest public payer of HIV/AIDS care in the U.S., only 
     covers those with full blown AIDS, not those with HIV.
       The Early Treatment for HIV Act (ETHA), being re-introduced 
     in this Congress under your leadership and Sen. Hillary 
     Clinton, would correct an archaic mindset in the delivery of 
     public health care. No longer would a Medicaid eligible 
     person with HIV have to become disabled with AIDS to receive 
     access to Medicaid provided care and treatment. Providing 
     coverage to those with HIV can prevent them from developing 
     AIDS, and allow them to live a productive life with their 
     family and be a healthy contributing member of society.
       ETHA would provide States the option of amending their 
     Medicaid eligibility requirements to include uninsured and 
     under-insured, pre-disabled poor and low-income people living 
     with HIV. No State has to participate if they choose not to.
       As all States have participated in the Breast and Cervical 
     Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act, on which ETHA is 
     modeled, we believe all States will opt to choose this 
     approach in treating those with HIV. States will opt into 
     this benefit not only because it is the medically and 
     ethically right thing to do, but it is cost effective, as 
     well.
       A recent study prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers found 
     that if ETHA was enacted, over 10 years:
       --the death rate for persons living with HIV on Medicaid 
     would be reduced by 50 percent;
       --there would be 35,000 more individuals having CD4 levels 
     above 500 under ETHA versus the existing Medicaid system; and
       --result in a savings of $31.7 million.
       The AIDS Institute thanks you for your bipartisan 
     leadership by introducing ``The Early Treatment for HIV Act 
     of 2006''. It is the type of Medicaid reform that is 
     critically needed to update the program to keep current with 
     the Federal Government's guidelines for treating people with 
     HIV.
       We look forward to working with you and your colleagues as 
     it moves to enactment.
           Sincerely,
                                              Dr. A. Gene Copello,
     Executive Director.
                                  ____

                                                 February 2, 2005.
     Hon. Gordon Smith,
     404 Russell Senate Office Building,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Smith: The American Academy of HIV Medicine is 
     an independent organization of HIV Specialists and others 
     dedicated to promoting excellence in HIV/AIDS care. As the 
     largest independent organization of HIV frontline providers, 
     our 2,000 members provide direct care to more than 340,000 
     HIV patients--more than two thirds of the patients in active 
     treatment for HIV disease.
       The Academy, particularly those HIV Specialists in the 
     state of Oregon, would like to thank and commend you for co-
     sponsoring the Early Treatment for HIV Act (ETHA).

[[Page S1121]]

       ETHA addresses a cruel irony in the current Medicaid 
     system--that under current Medicaid rules people must become 
     disabled by AIDS before they can receive access to Medicaid 
     provided care and treatment that could have prevented them 
     from becoming so ill in the first place. ETHA would bring 
     Medicaid eligibility rules in line with the clinical standard 
     of care for treating HIV disease. ETHA helps address the fact 
     that increasingly, in many parts of the country, there are 
     growing waiting lists for access to life-saving medications 
     and limited to no access to comprehensive health care. 
     Particularly in Oregon, we have been witness to difficulties 
     in access to care for some of our patients, having endured a 
     severe strain on our AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) for 
     quite some time.
       The Academy believes this legislation would allow HIV 
     positive individuals access to the medical care that we 
     recognize as vital towards postponing or avoiding the onset 
     of AIDS and towards enormously increase the quality of life 
     for people living with HIV disease.
       As a provider at a public health clinic (the Multnomah 
     County Health Department HIV clinic), I see patients from a 6 
     county area, with a growing number of uninsured. The 
     difficulties in obtaining medication coverage have been 
     growing monthly, and have become a major part of the 'medical 
     care' we provide. A more equitable system of coverage and 
     medication access would help tremendously, and allow us to 
     focus on what we are trained to do. Thank you for your 
     efforts in this area.
           Sincerely,
     Michael S. MacVeigh.
     James E. McDonald.
     Joan Reeder.
     Maria Kosmetatos.
                                  ____



                                         Cascade AIDS Project,

                                   Portland, OR, February 1, 2005.
     Senator Gordon Smith,
     U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Smith: As you know, Cascade AIDS Project is 
     the largest AIDS service organization in Oregon. For two 
     decades we have served and advocated for people living with 
     and at risk for HIV/AIDS. We strongly urge you to support the 
     Early Treatment of HIV Act.
       The Early Treatment for HIV Act will allow low-income 
     individuals living with HIV to qualify for Medicaid coverage 
     earlier in the course of their disease instead of waiting 
     until they are disabled by full-blown AIDS.
       Healthcare advocates have long been arguing that to treat 
     an individual's illness at its earlier stages costs less than 
     waiting until the individual is significantly disabled by 
     further progression of the illness.
       There are many Americans--those in the low income bracket 
     and in underserved communities--who do not have access to 
     drug treatment regimens because they have not progressed to 
     fullblown AIDS. The ACT would make access to those drugs 
     possible.
       Medicaid is a lifeline to HIV care for roughly half of 
     those living with AIDS, and 90% of all children living with 
     AIDS. All Medicaid programs cover some prescription drugs, 
     but with the improved drug therapy of today, it is crucial 
     that individuals infected with HIV receive access to these 
     drugs as soon as their conditions call for it.
       Passage of the Early Treatment for HIV Act will save 
     countless lives and must be viewed as a priority. We know 
     that passage of the Act is the right thing to do.
           Sincerely,
                                                    Thomas Bruner,
     Executive Director.
                                  ____



                                                     TII-CANN,

                                 Washington, DC, February 2, 2005.
     Hon. Gordon Smith,
     U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC.
     Subject: ETHA (The Early Treatment for HIV Act)

       Dear Senator Smith: I wanted to express our appreciation 
     and support for your introduction of ETHA in the 109th U.S. 
     Congress together with Senator Clinton and the other original 
     co-sponsors.
       Having been working since day one on the ETHA process and 
     having closely studied the potentially lifesaving--and cost 
     savings--potentials of this bill we feel it's particularly 
     crucial that this important legislation be passed into law as 
     soon as possible.
       The across the board potential cost savings inherent in 
     providing early access to HIV treatment over 10 years are a 
     compelling fiscally responsible story and of course treating 
     sick Americans as soon as possible is simply the correct 
     moral and ethical course of action for the world's most 
     powerful country. The value of increasing life span and 
     quality of life to tens of thousands of affected individuals, 
     and their families, has a tremendous value to society at 
     large, as well.
       Once again we extend our thanks to you and Senator Clinton 
     for your leadership and we look forward to helping this 
     Important private and PublIc health legislation to work its 
     way through our congressional process.
           Sincerely,
                                                William E. Arnold,
     CEO.
                                  ____



                                               Project Inform,

                              San Francisco, CA, February 2, 2005.
     Hon. Gordon Smith,
     U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Smith: I am writing to thank you and Senator 
     Clinton for introducing the Early Treatment for HIV Act. 
     Project Inform, a national HIV/AIDS treatment information and 
     advocacy organization serving 80,000 people nationwide, 
     strongly supports this legislation.
       This bill would allow, states to extend Medicaid coverage 
     to pre-disabled people living with IV. It represents a 
     breakthrough in assuring early access to care for thousands 
     of low-income people living with HIV. Current HIV treatments 
     are successfully delaying the progression from HIV infection 
     to AIDS, thus improving the health and quality of life for 
     many people living with the disease. However, without access 
     to early intervention health care and treatment, these 
     advances remain out of reach for many non-disabled, low-
     income people with HIV.
       Project Inform is acutely aware of the need for early 
     access to lifesaving medications and healthcare for people 
     living with HIV/AIDS. Discretionary programs such as the AIDS 
     Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) are simply unable to meet the 
     growing need. If ETHA is passed and implemented by the 
     states, a great burden will be lifted off these safety net 
     programs and people living with the disease will be able to 
     get the care and treatment needed to live longer, more 
     productive lives.
       A recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that if 
     ETHA is passed and implemented by the states, the death rate 
     of people living with HIV on Medicaid would be cut in half 
     over a ten-year period. It also revealed that over a ten-year 
     period, ETHA would save money in the Medicaid program. It is 
     a humane and cost-effective bill and I thank you again for 
     your leadership in introducing it. Please let me know how 
     Project Inform can help make it become law.
           Sincerely,
                                                       Ryan Clary,
     Senior Policy Advocate.
                                  ____



                                          Partnership Project,

                                   Portland, OR, February 1, 2005.
     Hon. Gordon Smith,
     U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Smith: I am writing to thank you for 
     introducing the Early Treatment for HIV Act with Senator 
     Clinton, and to offer my strong support for this legislation.
       This bill would allow states to extend Medicaid coverage to 
     pre-disabled people living with HIV. It represents a 
     breakthrough In assuring early access to care for thousands 
     of low-income people living with HIV. Current HIV treatments 
     are successfully delaying the progression from HIV infection 
     to AIDS, thus improving the health and quality of life for 
     many people living with the disease. However, without access 
     to early intervention health care and treatment, these 
     advances remain out of reach for many non-disabled, low-
     income people with HIV.
       The more people who are on Medicaid the more the pressure 
     will be relieved on ADAP, CareAssist, and other programs that 
     serve Oregon residents.
       A recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that if 
     ETHA Is passed and implemented by the states, the death rate 
     of people living with HIV on Medicaid would be cut in half 
     over a ten-year period. It also revealed that over a ten-year 
     period, ETHA would save money in the Medicaid program. It is 
     a humane and cost-effective bill and I thank you again for 
     your leadership in introducing it. Please let me know how I 
     can help make it become law.
           Sincerely,
                                                     Rick Stoller,
     Clinical Manager.
                                  ____



                                                       NASTAD,

                                 Washington, DC, February 2, 2005.
     Hon. Gordon Smith,
     Russell Senate Office Building,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Smith: On behalf of the National Alliance of 
     State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), I am writing 
     to offer our support for the ``Early Treatment for HIV Act.'' 
     NASTAD represents the nation's chief state and territorial 
     health agency staff who are responsible for HIV/AIDS 
     prevention, care and treatment programs funded by state and 
     federal governments. This legislation would give states an 
     important option in providing care and treatment services to 
     low-income Americans living with HIV.
       The Early Treatment for HIV Act (ETHA) would allow states 
     to expand their Medicaid programs to cover HIV positive 
     individuals, before they become disabled, without having to 
     receive a waiver. NASTAD believes this legislation would 
     allow HIV positive individuals to access the medical care 
     that is widely recommended, can postpone or avoid the onset 
     of AIDS, and can enormously increase the quality of life for 
     people living with HIV.
       State AIDS directors continue to develop innovative and 
     cost-effective HIV/AIDS programs in the face of devastating 
     state budget cuts and federal contributions that fail to keep 
     up with need. ETHA provides a solution to states by 
     increasing health care access for those living with HIV/AIDS. 
     ETHA will also save states money in the long-run by treating 
     HIV positive individuals earlier in the disease's progression 
     and providing states with a federal match for the millions of 
     dollars they are presently spending on HIV/AIDS care.

[[Page S1122]]

       Thank you very much for your continued commitment to 
     persons living with HIV/AIDS. I look forward to working with 
     you to gain support for this important piece of legislation.
           Sincerely,
                                                Julie M. Scofield,
     Executive Director.
                                  ____



                                   AIDS Foundation of Chicago,

                                    Chicago, IL, February 2, 2005.
     Hon. Gordon Smith,
     U.S. Senate,
     Washington DC.
       Dear Senator Smith: I am writing to thank you for 
     introducing the Early Treatment for HIV Act with Senator 
     Clinton, and to offer the AIDS Foundation of Chicago's (AFC) 
     strong support for this legislation.
       Founded in 1985, the mission of AFC is to lead the fight 
     against HIV/AIDS and improve the lives of people affected by 
     the epidemic. In order to accomplish this, AFC collaborates 
     with community organizations to develop and improve HIV/AIDS 
     services; funds and coordinates prevention, care, and 
     advocacy projects; and champion's effective, compassionate 
     HIV/AIDS policy. AFC is the sole AIDS advocacy organization 
     monitoring and responding to AIDS-related state legislation 
     and public policy in Illinois.
       This bill would allow states to extend Medicaid coverage to 
     pre-disabled people living with HIV. It represents a 
     breakthrough in assuring early access to care for thousands 
     of low-income people living with HIV. Current HIV treatments 
     are successfully delaying the progression from HIV infection 
     to AIDS, thus improving the health and quality of life for 
     many people living with the disease. However, without access 
     to early intervention health care and treatment, these 
     advances remain out of reach for many non-disabled, low-
     income people with HIV.
       A recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that if 
     ETHA is passed and implemented by the states, the death rate 
     of people living with HIV on Medicaid would be cut in half 
     over a ten-year period. It also revealed that over a ten-year 
     period, ETHA would save money in the Medicaid program. It is 
     a humane and cost-effective bill and I thank you again for 
     your leadership in introducing it. Please let me know how I 
     can help make it become law.
           Sincerely,
                                                      Jim Pickett,
     Director of Public Policy.
                                  ____



                                  AIDS Action Baltimore, Inc.,

                                  Baltimore, MD, February 3, 2005.
     Hon. Gordon Smith,
     U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Smith: On behalf of AIDS Action Baltimore, 
     Inc. (AAB) I am writing to thank you for introducing the 
     Early Treatment for HIV Act with Senator Clinton, and to 
     offer my strong support for this legislation.
       This bill would allow states to extend Medicaid coverage to 
     pre-disabled people living with HIV. It represents a 
     breakthrough in assuring early access to care for thousands 
     of low-income people living with HIV. Current HIV treatments 
     are successfully delaying the progression from HIV infection 
     to AIDS, thus improving the health and quality of life for 
     many people living with the disease. However, without access 
     to early intervention health care and treatment, these 
     advances remain out of reach for many non-disabled, low-
     income people with HIV.
       AAB has been engaged in research advocacy and providing 
     valuable medical, financial and emotional support to 
     thousands of people with HIV infection since 1987. Access to 
     care and treatment is of the utmost importance to someone 
     living with HIV disease. Medicaid will not only help improve 
     the quality of life for an individual with HIV disease by 
     will also help to relieve pressure on the AIDS Drug 
     Assistance Programs in all of our states.
       A recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that if 
     ETHA is passed and implemented by the states, the death rate 
     of people living with HIV on Medicaid would be cut in half 
     over a ten-year period. It also revealed that over a ten-year 
     peiod, ETHA would save money in the Medicaid program. It is a 
     humane and cost-effective bill and I thank you again for your 
     leadership in introducing it. Please let me know how I can 
     help make it become law.
           Sincerely,
                                                        Lynda Dee,
                                               Executive Director.
                                  ____
                                  


                                                  AIDS Action,

                                                 February 2, 2005.
     Hon. Gordon Smith,
     Russell Senate Office Building,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Smith: On behalf of the AIDS Action Council 
     board of directors and our diverse, nationwide membership of 
     community-based service providers and public health 
     departments working with people living with or affected by 
     HIV, I would like to thank you for introducing the Early 
     Treatment for HIV Act (ETHA) with Senator Clinton and offer 
     my strong support for this important piece of legislation.
       As you know, ETHA is a means to eliminate barriers to early 
     drug therapy and comprehensive care for people living with 
     HIV. This important legislation would give states the option 
     of allowing HIV positive people with low incomes to qualify 
     for Medicaid coverage earlier in the course of their 
     infection, permitting them to receive greater benefits from 
     anti-retroviral therapy.
       Access to pharmaceuticals and quality health services is 
     vital for people living with HIV. Advancements in treatment 
     and the development of anti-retroviral (ARV) therapy have 
     enabled HIV positive individuals to lead longer and healthier 
     lives. However, ARV therapy is often prohibitively expensive, 
     costing approximately $10,000 to $12,000 annually, making it 
     virtually impossible for low-income people, who are often 
     uninsured or underinsured, to access these life-prolonging 
     medications.
       Current federal treatment guidelines recommend the 
     initiation of ARV therapy early in the course of HIV 
     infection. With early initiation, the efficacy of ARV therapy 
     increases, boosting the effectiveness of other available HIV 
     drugs and staving off disability. Initiated early on, ARV 
     therapy ultimately saves costs associated with delayed 
     medical treatment. Unfortunately, many uninsured and 
     underinsured people living with HIV cannot afford ARV therapy 
     on their own. Further, Americans living with HIV do not 
     qualify for Medicaid until they have received an AIDS 
     diagnosis and are sick enough to meet Medicaid's categorical 
     requirements for disability--a point at which it is too late 
     for ARV treatment to be optimally effective. These barriers 
     to early treatment must be eliminated so that low income 
     people living with HIV can access the health care they need.
       During this time of shrinking federal budgets and economic 
     downsizing, savings in federal HIV programs, whether in 
     mandatory or discretionary spending, are beneficial to all 
     parties involved. By allowing HIV positive individuals to 
     qualify for Medicaid earlier in the course of HIV infection, 
     ETHA will create significant savings for the federal 
     government in overall health care funding.
       AIDS Action looks forward to working with you on passage of 
     this bill. Together we can ensure that people living with HIV 
     have access to the treatments and health services they need 
     to stay healthy.
           Sincerely,
                                            Marsha A. Martin, DSW,
     Executive Director.
                                  ____

  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. 311

       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 ``Early Treatment for HIV Act 
     of 2005''.

     SEC. 2. OPTIONAL MEDICAID COVERAGE OF LOW-INCOME HIV-INFECTED 
                   INDIVIDUALS.

       (a) In General.--Section 1902 of the Social Security Act 
     (42 U.S.C. 1396a) is amended--
       (1) in subsection (a)(10)(A)(ii)--
       (A) by striking ``or'' at the end of subclause (XVII);
       (B) by adding ``or'' at the end of subclause (XVIII); and
       (C) by adding at the end the following:

       ``(XIX) who are described in subsection (cc) (relating to 
     HIV-infected individuals);''; and

       (2) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(cc) HIV-infected individuals described in this 
     subsection are individuals not described in subsection 
     (a)(10)(A)(i)--
       ``(1) who have HIV infection;
       ``(2) whose income (as determined under the State plan 
     under this title with respect to disabled individuals) does 
     not exceed the maximum amount of income a disabled individual 
     described in subsection (a)(10)(A)(i) may have and obtain 
     medical assistance under the plan; and
       ``(3) whose resources (as determined under the State plan 
     under this title with respect to disabled individuals) do not 
     exceed the maximum amount of resources a disabled individual 
     described in subsection (a)(10)(A)(i) may have and obtain 
     medical assistance under the plan.''.
       (b) Enhanced Match.--The first sentence of section 1905(b) 
     of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396d(b)) is amended by 
     striking ``section 1902(a)(10)(A)(ii)(XVIII)'' and inserting 
     ``subclause (XVIII) or (XIX) of section 1902(a)(10)(A)(ii)''.
       (c) Conforming Amendments.--Section 1905(a) of the Social 
     Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396d(a)) is amended in the matter 
     preceding paragraph (1)--
       (1) by striking ``or'' at the end of clause (xii);
       (2) by adding ``or'' at the end of clause (xiii); and
       (3) by inserting after clause (xiii) the following:
       ``(xiv) individuals described in section 1902(cc);''.
       (d) Exemption From Funding Limitation for Territories.--
     Section 1108(g) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 
     1308(g)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
       ``(3) Disregarding medical assistance for optional low-
     income hiv-infected individuals.--The limitations under 
     subsection (f) and the previous provisions of this subsection 
     shall not apply to amounts expended for medical assistance 
     for individuals described in section 1902(cc) who are only 
     eligible for such assistance on the basis of section 
     1902(a)(10)(A)(ii)(XIX).''.
       (e) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section 
     shall apply to calendar quarters beginning on or after the 
     date of

[[Page S1123]]

     the enactment of this Act, without regard to whether or not 
     final regulations to carry out such amendments have been 
     promulgated by such date.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. McCAIN (for himself, Ms. Cantwell, and Mr. Leahy):
  S. 312. A bill to implement the recommendations of the Federal 
Communications Commission report to the Congress regarding low-power FM 
service; to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce The Local 
Community Radio Act of 2005. This bill would allow the Federal 
Communications Commission (FCC) to license Low Power FM stations on 
third adjacent channels to full power stations without limitations and 
eliminate the requirement that the FCC perform further testing on the 
economic impact of Low Power FM radio. Additionally, the bill seeks to 
protect stations that provide radio reading services, which some have 
suggested are more susceptible to interference then other stations 
because they are carried on a subcarrier frequency. I am pleased to be 
joined in this effort by Senators Leahy and Cantwell who are co-
sponsors of the bill. I thank them for their support. A similar bill 
was introduced in the 108th Congress and passed out of the Senate 
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
  In January 2000, the FCC launched Low Power FM radio service to 
``enhance locally focused community-oriented radio broadcasting.'' Low 
Power FM stations are just that--low power radio stations on the FM 
band that generally reach an audience within a 3.5 mile radius of the 
station's transmitter. In rural areas, this signal may not reach many 
people, but it provides rural citizens with another media outlet--
another voice in the market. In urban areas, this signal may reach 
hundreds of thousands of people and provide not just local content, but 
very specific neighborhood news and information.
  Localism is increasingly important in today's changing media 
landscape. Rampant ownership consolidation has taken place in the radio 
industry since passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Since 
that time, many Americans have complained that the large media 
conglomerates fail to serve local communities' interests and seem to 
use their local station license as a conduit to air national 
programming. Low Power FM was introduced, in part, to respond to such 
complaints.
  Between May 1999 and May 2000, the Commission received over 3,400 
applications for Low Power FM stations from non-commercial educational 
entities and community organizations. However, before the Commission 
could act on many of the applications for this new community service, 
broadcasters frightened legislators into halting the full 
implementation of Low Power FM. Broadcasters masqueraded their true 
concerns about competition from a real local radio broadcaster in 
thinly veiled claims of interference.
  Due to the broadcasters' subterfuge, Congress added language to a 
2000 appropriations bill requiring the FCC to hire an independent 
engineering firm to further study broadcasters' claims of interference. 
I am not happy to report that after spending almost two years and over 
2 million dollars, the independent study revealed what the FCC and 
community groups had said all along: LPFM will do no harm to other 
broadcasters. Perhaps, we should send a bill to the National 
Association of Broadcasters.
  That brings us to the future of Low Power FM. The FCC, as required by 
the appropriations language, reported the study's findings to Congress 
last February and recommended full implementation of Low Power FM. This 
bill simply follows the FCC's recommendation: begin licensing Low Power 
FM stations on third adjacent channels to full power stations without 
limitations. Additionally, the bill seeks to protect full power 
stations that provide radio reading services. It is estimated that 
about 1.1 million people in the U.S. are blind, and it is important to 
ensure this helpful radio reading service remains interference free.
  The enactment of this bill will immediately make available a number 
of Low Power FM frequencies. By some estimates, Congress' legislation 
delaying the full implementation, which mostly affected metropolitan 
areas, led to the elimination of half the Low Power FM applications 
filed during 2000.
  For example, Congress' action eliminated the LPFM slot in Fresno 
applied for by El Comite de los Pobres. The group had hoped to address 
the dearth of local programming for the Latino community by airing 
bilingual coverage of local issues. New Orleans' Music Business 
Institute's application was eliminated as well. The Music Business 
Institute teaches young people how to get into the music business. The 
Institute had planned to use the station to help start the musical 
careers of local artists, and to educate listeners about the city's 
jazz and blues musical heritage.
  There are some wonderful LPFM stations that are up and running. A 
recent article published in The Nation called these stations, ``beacons 
of grassroots democracy.'' The article discussed WRFR in Rockland, 
Maine: ``Shunning the canned programming approach of Rockland's two 
Clear Channel stations, WRFR offers an array of local talent, tastes 
and interests, and was recently named Maine station of the year by a 
state music association. Although country music, a Maine favorite, is 
heavily represented, hardly any WRFR deejay restricts himself to a 
single era, genre or Top-40 play list.''
  In 2000, the Southern Development Foundation established a Low Power 
FM station in Opelousas, Louisiana, which sponsors agriculture 
programs, leases land to farmers, raises money for scholarships for 
needy kids and helps citizens learn to read. The station director told 
a local community newsletter: ``You've got local radio stations that 
are owned by larger companies. There should be some programming 
concerning the music that is from here, and the people from here. But 
there's not.''
  I ask the broadcasters to come clean and join us in promoting LPFM. 
More good radio brings about more radio listening--and that's good for 
all broadcasters. Therefore, in the interests of would-be new 
broadcasters, existing broadcasters, but most of all, the listening 
public, I urge the enactment of the Local Community Radio Act of 2005.
  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. 312

       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 ``Local Community Radio Act of 
     2005''.

     SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

       Congress makes the following findings:
       (1) The passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 led 
     to increased ownership consolidation in the radio industry.
       (2) At a hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, 
     Science, and Transportation, on June 4, 2003, all 5 members 
     of the Federal Communications Commission testified that there 
     has been, in at least some local radio markets, too much 
     consolidation.
       (3) A commitment to localism--local operations, local 
     research, local management, locally-originated programming, 
     local artists, and local news and events--would bolster radio 
     listening.
       (4) Local communities have sought to launch radio stations 
     to meet their local needs. However, due to the scarce amount 
     of spectrum available and the high cost of buying and running 
     a large station, many local communities are unable to 
     establish a radio station.
       (5) In 2003, the average cost to acquire a commercial radio 
     station was more than $2,500,000.
       (6) In January, 2000, the Federal Communications Commission 
     authorized a new, affordable community radio service called 
     ``low-power FM'' or ``LPFM'' to ``enhance locally focused 
     community-oriented radio broadcasting''.
       (7) Through the creation of LPFM, the Commission sought to 
     ``create opportunities for new voices on the air waves and to 
     allow local groups, including schools, churches, and other 
     community-based organizations, to provide programming 
     responsive to local community needs and interests''.
       (8) The Commission made clear that the creation of LPFM 
     would not compromise the integrity of the FM radio band by 
     stating, ``We are committed to creating a low-power FM radio 
     service only if it does not cause unacceptable interference 
     to existing radio service.''.
       (9) Currently, FM translator stations can operate on the 
     second and third-adjacent channels to full power radio 
     stations, up to an effective radiated power of 250 watts, 
     pursuant to part 74 of title 47, Code of Federal

[[Page S1124]]

     Regulations, using the very same transmitters that LPFM 
     stations will use. The FCC based its LPFM rules on the actual 
     performance of these translators that already operate without 
     undue interference to FM stations. The actual interference 
     record of these translators is far more useful than any 
     results that further testing could yield.
       (10) Small rural broadcasters were particularly concerned 
     about a lengthy and costly interference complaint process. 
     Therefore, in September, 2000, the Commission created a 
     simple process to address interference complaints regarding 
     LPFM stations on an expedited basis.
       (11) In December, 2000, Congress delayed the full 
     implementation of LPFM until an independent engineering study 
     was completed and reviewed. This delay was due to some 
     broadcasters' concerns that LPFM service would cause 
     interference in the FM band.
       (12) The delay prevented millions of Americans from having 
     a locally operated, community based radio station in their 
     neighborhood.
       (13) Approximately 300 LPFM stations were allowed to 
     proceed despite the congressional action. These stations are 
     currently on the air and are run by local government 
     agencies, groups promoting arts and education to immigrant 
     and indigenous peoples, artists, schools, religious 
     organizations, environmental groups, organizations promoting 
     literacy, and many other civically-oriented organizations.
       (14) After 2 years and the expenditure of $2,193,343 in 
     taxpayer dollars to conduct this study, the broadcasters' 
     concerns were demonstrated to be unsubstantiated.

     SEC. 3. REPEAL OF PRIOR LAW.

       Section 632 of the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and 
     State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations 
     Act, 2001 (Public Law 106-553; 114 Stat. 2762A-111), is 
     repealed.

     SEC. 4. MINIMUM DISTANCE SEPARATION REQUIREMENTS.

       The Federal Communications Commission shall modify its 
     rules to eliminate third-adjacent minimum distance separation 
     requirements between--
       (1) low-power FM stations; and
       (2) full-service FM stations, FM translator stations, and 
     FM booster stations.

     SEC. 5. PROTECTION OF RADIO READING SERVICES.

       The Federal Communications Commission shall retain its 
     rules that provide third-adjacent channel protection for 
     full-power non-commercial FM stations that broadcast radio 
     reading services via a subcarrier frequency from potential 
     low-power FM station interference.

     SEC. 6. ENSURING AVAILABILITY OF SPECTRUM FOR LPFM STATIONS.

       The Federal Communications Commission when licensing FM 
     translator stations shall ensure--
       (1) licenses are available to both FM translator stations 
     and low-power FM stations; and
       (2) that such decisions are made based on the needs of the 
     local community.

  Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, today, I am pleased to be joining with 
the Senator from Arizona, Mr. McCain, and the Senator from Vermont, Mr. 
Leahy, as a cosponsor of the Local Community Radio Act of 2005. This 
legislation is similar to the version of S. 2505, the Low Power Radio 
Act of 2004 that was introduced last Congress.
  This bill removes once and for all the barriers keeping low power FM 
service from flourishing in communities of all sizes across the 
country, while protecting important radio reading services. Under the 
existing law, my State has only a handful of low power FM stations. If 
this bill becomes law, the Federal Communication Commission will be 
able to move forward and license additional low power FM stations to 
serve communities all across the State of Washington such as Bainbridge 
Island, Vashon Island and Auburn.
  Let me review the history of this issue for the Senate. The 
Telecommunications Act of 1996 removed completely the ownership caps 
restricting the number of stations that any one company can own 
nationwide. The Act has led to an unprecedented level of consolidation 
and mergers in the U.S. radio industry. Additionally, within a local 
market, the rules allows ownership of up to eight radio stations, on a 
sliding scale, depending on total number of stations in the market.
  Five years ago, the FCC adopted rules creating a new, low power FM 
radio service in response to public concerns that the increased 
consolidation of radio ownership weakened the local character of radio.
  Low power FM stations serve the public interest by providing 
significantly greater opportunities for citizen involvement in 
broadcasting in communities across the country. Eligible licensees are 
non-profit, government or educational institutions, public safety or 
transportations services. No existing broadcasting licensee or media 
entity can have an ownership interest or any program or operating 
agreement with any low power FM stations.
  In many media markets, the number of independent local voices has 
dropped significantly, replaced by giant corporations replicating 
formats and programming from across the country. Voice-tracking, a 
practice in which a DJ either pre-records part of a program for a local 
station or for a station out of the immediate market, is not a 
substitute for true localism.
  With fewer independent outlets available for artists to get airplay 
for a given genre of music, particularly for newer acts, there is a 
perception in some quarters of the music industry that you need to 
resort to the reprehensible practices such as payola in order to be 
heard by the public.
  During its proceeding on low power FM, the FCC conducted tests on the 
effects of these low power stations on full power FM broadcasts for 
various types of radio receivers. The FCC engineering reports concluded 
that low power FM signals would not cause interference with the signals 
to full power FM stations within their service areas. Based on the 
results of interference testing, LPFM stations were not required to 
protect stations three channels away from inference as is required for 
full power stations. These rules allowed radio frequencies for LPFM 
stations to become available in larger media markets where under the 
old rules of third adjacent channel separation, there was no space 
available for them on the crowded radio dial.
  While the public reaction to low power FM was positive, the reaction 
of FM broadcasters, both commercial and non-commercial, was negative. 
Congress was convinced to add a rider to the 2001 Commerce, Justice, 
State appropriations law that effectively undid the provisions in the 
FCC rules, and once again required third adjacent channel separation. 
Congress also required the FCC to perform a study examining the impact 
on interference on the third adjacent channel.
  Over two million dollars later, the results of the study validated 
the FCC's original analysis. Last year, I joined the Senator from 
Arizona, Mr. McCain, and the Senator from Vermont, Mr. Leahy, in 
sponsoring a bill that would have accepted the results of this latest 
engineering study to undo the 2001 appropriations rider. It also 
addressed specific concerns about protecting stations providing reading 
services over the radio frequencies to assist the blind. Under the 
Senator from Arizona's (Mr. McCain) leadership, the Commerce Committee 
reported the low power FM bill out favorably with an amendment, but it 
did not come to a vote on the floor.
  The time has come to move ahead with this proposal. The U.S. radio 
industry has experienced an unprecedented wave of consolidation and 
mergers since passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The 
consolidation trend has raised barriers of both size and cost for new 
broadcasters. The legislation we introduce today allows new entrants 
into broadcasting activities and new voices on our public airwaves. I 
hope the Commerce Committee will again act quickly on this legislation.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I am pleased today to join Senators McCain 
and Cantwell in introducing important legislation to increase the 
number of frequencies available for low power radio stations in 
America. Low power stations serve their communities with broadcasting 
that reflects local needs and local preferences. In this way, low power 
FM offers a valuable counterpoint to nationwide media consolidation. As 
National Public Radio reported this morning, low power FM has a large 
following of listeners tired of hearing the same programming across the 
country. For this reason, I have been a strong supporter of low power 
FM for many years now. In fact, I recently urged FCC Chairman Powell to 
expedite licensing for new low power stations.
  Unfortunately, for many years now the number of low power FM stations 
the FCC could license has been limited by unrealistic and unnecessary 
rules requiring these small stations to find available frequencies far 
from any full power broadcaster. Interference must be avoided if we are 
to make use of the

[[Page S1125]]

airwaves. The current rules, however, go beyond what is necessary to 
protect full power stations from interference and, instead, protect 
them from competition. This bill will reduce the unnecessary 
restrictions on low power FM stations.
  Of course, the need for low power FM radio must be balanced against 
other important uses of nearby frequencies. I have worked hard to 
protect reading services for the blind, and this bill protects those 
services by retaining the third-adjacent rule where such services would 
be affected. In addition, this bill protects commercial broadcasters of 
all sizes from actual interference by leaving intact the FCC's 
expedited interference claim review procedures.
  I look forward to working with all the parties involved to strengthen 
local broadcasting.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. LUGAR (for himself, Mr. Domenici, Mr. Hagel, Mr. Reed, Mr. 
        Biden, Mr. Levin, Ms. Collins, Mr. McCain, and Mr. Obama):
  S. 313. A bill to improve authorities to address urgent 
nonproliferation crises and United States nonproliferation operations; 
to the Committee on Armed Services.
  Mr. LUGAR. Mr. President, I rise to again introduce a bill that will 
strengthen U.S. nonproliferation efforts. It is supported by the 
Administration and several of my colleagues. This bill represents the 
fourth installment of Nunn-Lugar legislation that I have offered since 
1991.
  In that year, Sam Nunn and I authored the Nunn-Lugar Act, which 
established the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. That program has 
provided U.S. funding and expertise to help the former Soviet Union 
safeguard and dismantle their enormous stockpiles of nuclear, chemical 
and biological weapons, means of delivery and related materials. In 
1997, Senator Nunn and I were joined by Senator Domenici in introducing 
the Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction Act, which expanded 
Nunn-Lugar authorities in the former Soviet Union and provided WMD 
expertise to first responders in American cities. In 2003, Congress 
adopted the Nunn-Lugar Expansion Act, which authorized the Nunn-Lugar 
program to operate outside the former Soviet Union to address 
proliferation threats. The bill that I am introducing today would 
strengthen the Nunn-Lugar program and provide it with greater 
flexibility to address emerging threats.
  To date, the Nunn-Lugar program has deactivated or destroyed: 6,564 
nuclear warheads; 568 ICBMs; 477 ICBM silos; 17 ICBM mobile missile 
launchers; 142 bombers; 761 nuclear air-to-surface missiles; 420 
submarine missile launchers; 543 submarine launched missiles; 28 
nuclear submarines; and 194 nuclear test tunnels.
  The Nunn-Lugar program also facilitated the removal of all nuclear 
weapons from Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. After the fall of the 
Soviet Union, these three nations emerged as the third, fourth, and 
eighth largest nuclear powers in the world. Today, all three are 
nuclear weapons free as a result of cooperative efforts under the Nunn-
Lugar program. In addition, Nunn-Lugar is the primary tool through 
which the United States is working with Russian authorities to 
identify, safeguard and destroy Russia's massive chemical and 
biological warfare capacity.
  These successes were never a foregone conclusion. Today, even after 
more than 12 years, creativity and constant vigilance are required to 
ensure that the Nunn-Lugar program is not encumbered by bureaucratic 
obstacles or undercut by political disagreements.
  During Secretary Rice's confirmation hearing with the Senate Foreign 
Relations Committee on January 18, 2005, I asked Dr. Rice if she and 
the Administration supported this legislation, to which she responded 
``Yes we do.'' Secretary Rice and President Bush have long argued that 
there needs to be maximum flexibility granted to the Administration to 
execute a global, focused and timely effort to fight proliferation. In 
view of the Administration's strong support for this bill, I look 
forward to working with the Armed Services Committee to enact it.
  I have devoted much time and effort to overseeing and accelerating 
the Nunn-Lugar program. Uncounted individuals of great dedication 
serving on the ground in the former Soviet Union and in our government 
have made this program work. Nevertheless, from the beginning, we have 
encountered resistance to the Nunn-Lugar concept in both the United 
States and Russia. In our own country, opposition often has been 
motivated by false perceptions that Nunn-Lugar money is foreign 
assistance or by beliefs that Defense Department funds should only be 
spent on troops, weapons, or other war-fighting capabilities. Until 
recently, we also faced a general disinterest in non-proliferation that 
made gaining support for Nunn-Lugar funding and activities an annual 
struggle.
  The attacks of September 11 changed the political discourse on this 
subject. We have turned a corner--the public, the media, and political 
candidates are paying more attention now. In a remarkable moment in the 
first presidential debate last year, both President Bush and his 
opponent agreed that the number one national security threat facing the 
United States was the prospect that weapons of mass destruction would 
fall into the hands of terrorists.
  While the Administration has noted its support for this bill, the 9/
11 Commission also weighed in last year with another important 
endorsement of the Nunn-Lugar program, saying that ``Preventing the 
proliferation of [weapons of mass destruction] warrants a maximum 
effort--by strengthening counter-proliferation efforts, expanding the 
Proliferation Security Initiative, and supporting the Cooperative 
Threat Reduction Program.'' The Report went on to say that ``Nunn-Lugar 
. . . is now in need of expansion, improvement and resources.''
  My bill would underscore the bipartisan consensus on Nunn-Lugar by 
streamlining and accelerating Nunn-Lugar implementation. It would grant 
more flexibility to the President and the Secretary of Defense to 
undertake proliferation projects outside the former Soviet Union. It 
also would eliminate Congressionally-imposed conditions on Nunn-Lugar 
assistance that in the past have forced the suspension of time-
sensitive nonproliferation projects. The purpose of the bill is to 
reduce bureaucratic red tape and friction within our government that 
hinder effective responses to nonproliferation opportunities and 
emergencies.
  For example, recently Albania appealed for help in destroying 16 tons 
of chemical agent left over from the Cold War. Last August, I visited 
this remote storage facility. Nunn-Lugar officials are working closely 
with Albanian leaders to destroy this dangerous stockpile. But this 
experience also is illustrative of the need to reduce bureaucratic 
delays. The package of documents related to the mission took some 11 
weeks to be finalized and readied for President Bush. From beginning to 
end, the bureaucratic process to authorize dismantlement of chemical 
weapons in Albania took more than three months. Fortunately, the 
situation in Albania was not a crisis, but we may not be able to afford 
these timelines in future nonproliferation emergencies.
  As I said when I introduced this legislation during our November 
session last year, I wanted to have the benefit of the Administration's 
views and my colleagues' input. Since then, I am pleased that Senators 
Domenici, Hagel, Reed, Biden, Levin, Collins, McCain and Obama have all 
signed on as co-sponsors. The Administration has now stated that they 
support this bill. I look forward to working in Congress to enact it.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. CORNYN:
  S. 314. A bill to protect consumers, creditors, workers, pensioners, 
shareholders, and small businesses, by reforming the rules governing 
venue in bankruptcy cases to combat forum shopping by corporate 
debtors; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the Fairness in 
Bankruptcy Litigation Act of 2005.
  This legislation will provide much-needed protection--for consumers, 
creditors, workers, pensioners, shareholders, and small businesses--by 
reforming the rules governing venue in bankruptcy cases to combat forum 
shopping.
  Quite simply, my bill will prevent corporate debtors from moving 
their

[[Page S1126]]

bankruptcy cases thousands of miles away from the communities and their 
workers who have the most at stake. And it will prevent bankrupt 
corporations from effectively selecting the judge in their own cases--
because picking the judge isn't far off from picking the verdict.
  This Act is a positive step for fairness, responsibility, and 
justice. It implements a major recommendation from the October 1997 
National Bankruptcy Review Commission report, and earned the support of 
prominent bankruptcy law professors and practitioners nationwide. The 
bill is also supported by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) and 
former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger (D); Brady C. 
Williamson, who served as chairman of the National Bankruptcy Review 
Commission; and major national bankruptcy organizations like the 
National Association of Credit Management and the Commercial Law League 
of America.
  With the introduction of this Act, this body will now have an 
opportunity to consider this growing crisis, which effects so many 
consumers and workers, just as we are about to examine the issue of 
comprehensive bankruptcy reform.
  Sadly, our current bankruptcy venue law has become a target for 
enormous abuse. It's a problem that is well documented by academics, 
most recently in a comprehensive book published just last week by UCLA 
Law Professor Lynn M. LoPucki, as well as by Harvard Law Professor 
Elizabeth Warren, who served as the reporter for the National 
Bankruptcy Review Commission, and Professor Jay L. Westbrook of the 
University of Texas Law School.
  I have personal experience with the worst kind of forum shopping. 
During my service to the State of Texas as Attorney General, I argued 
that the Enron Federal bankruptcy court proceedings should be litigated 
in Houston. That seemed like the common sense argument, of course--
after all, Houston was where the majority of employees and others who 
were victimized by that corporate scandal called home.
  Yet that's not where the case ended up. Instead, Enron was able to 
exploit a key loophole in bankruptcy law to maneuver their proceedings 
as far away from Houston as possible. They ended up in their desired 
forum in New York. See In re Enron Corp., 274 B.R. 327 (S.D.N.Y. Bankr. 
2002).
  Enron used the place of incorporation of one of its small 
subsidiaries in order to file a bankruptcy claim in New York, and then 
used that smaller claim as the basis for shifting all of its much 
larger bankruptcy proceedings into that same court. The company had 
7,500 employees in the Houston headquarters, but they filed for 
bankruptcy in New York, where Enron had only 57 employees.
  This kind of blatant forum shopping makes a mockery of our laws. The 
common-sense legislation that I've introduced today will combat such 
egregious forum shopping by requiring that corporate debtors file where 
their principal place of business or principal assets are located, 
rather than their state of incorporation, and forbidding parent 
companies from manipulating the venue by filing first through a 
subsidiary.
  Bankruptcy venue abuse is not just bad for our legal system; it hurts 
America's consumers, creditors, workers, pensioners, shareholders, and 
small businesses. Under current law, corporate debtors effectively get 
to pick the court in which they will file for bankruptcy. As a result, 
creditors can be forced to litigate far away from the real-world 
location, where costs and inconveniences associated with travel are 
prohibitive.
  This troubling loophole also serves to unfairly enable corporate 
debtors to evade their financial commitments. It badly disables 
consumers, creditors, workers, pensioners, shareholders, and small 
businesses from pursuing and receiving reasonable compensation from 
bankruptcy proceedings.
  Current law allows debtors to forum shop and thereby to pick 
jurisdictions likely to rule in their favor. If debtors get to pick the 
jurisdiction, then bankruptcy judges have a disturbing incentive to 
compete with other bankruptcy courts for major bankruptcy cases, by 
tilting their rulings in favor of corporate debtors and their 
attorneys.
  The examples are numerous. Here are three of the most prominent 
incidents: Polaroid. In October 2001, Boston-based Polaroid filed for 
bankruptcy in Delaware, listing assets at $1.9 billion. Polaroid's top 
executives claimed that the company was a ``melting ice cube,'' and 
arranged a hasty sale for $465 million to a single bidder. The court 
refused to hear testimony as to the true value of the company and 
closed the sale in only 70 days. The top executives went to work for 
the new buyer and received millions of dollars in stock. Meanwhile, 
disabled employees had their health-care coverage canceled. The so-
called ``melting ice cube'' became profitable the day after the sale 
became final.
  K-Mart. In January 2002, failed top executives delivered Michigan-
based K-Mart to the bankruptcy court in Chicago, which reportedly had 
been actively soliciting large corporate debtors to file there. With a 
workforce of 225,000, K-Mart had more employees than any company that 
had ever filed bankrupt nationwide. The Chicago judge let the failed 
executives take tens of millions of dollars in bonuses, perks, and loan 
forgiveness. Bankruptcy lawyers also profited, pocketing nearly $140 
million in legal fees. But some 43,000 creditors received only about 
ten cents on the dollar.
  Worldcom. Worldcom perpetrated one of the biggest accounting frauds 
in history, inflating its income by $9 billion. Although based in 
Mississippi, Worldcom followed Enron into the New York bankruptcy 
court, where its managers received the same lenient treatment. No 
trustee was appointed; indeed, five months after the case was filed, 
the directors in office when the fraud occurred still constituted a 
majority of the board. They chose their own successors. A Top Worldcom 
executive used money taken from the company to build an exempt Texas 
homestead, and Worldcom took no action. That executive then used the 
homestead to buy his way out of his problems with the SEC. Meanwhile, 
creditors--mostly bondholders--lost $20 billion.
  This is not the first time we have addressed this important issue. 
The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law 
held a hearing on July 21, 2004, entitled ``Administration of Large 
Business Bankruptcy Reorganizations: Has Competition for Big Cases 
Corrupted the Bankruptcy System?,'' and Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) 
has previously led efforts to champion bankruptcy venue reform in the 
House. During the 107th Congress, Senator Durbin introduced S. 2798, 
the Employee Abuse Prevention Act of 2002, joined by Senators Kennedy, 
Kerry, Leahy, and Rockefeller, while Congressman William D. Delahunt 
(D-MA) introduced the same bill in the House; section 205 of that 
legislation would have reformed bankruptcy venue law.
  I believe we must take steps to respond to this important problem. 
The American people deserve better from our legal system. All 
bankruptcy cases deserve to be handled fairly and justly, and no 
corporate debtor should be allowed to escape responsibility by fleeing 
to another venue. It is high time that we take up this much-needed 
reform.
  I ask unanimous consent that letters of support be printed in the 
Record.
  There being no objection, the letters were ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                    Attorney General of Texas,

                                     Austin, TX, February 2, 2005.
     Re Fairness in Bankruptcy Litigation Act of 2005.

     Hon. John Cornyn,
     U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Cornyn: I support your important initiative to 
     prohibit opportunistic forum shopping by corporate debtors.
       As you know firsthand from your tenure as Attorney General 
     of Texas during the State's involvement in the Enron 
     bankruptcy proceedings, such unsavory court-shopping truly 
     harms innumerable parties--large and small alike. Far too 
     often, corporate debtors file for bankruptcy in a far-flung 
     district solely because of their incorporation in the state 
     where that district is located.
       Your proposal to amend 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1408--the aptly named 
     Fairness in Bankruptcy Litigation Act--would prevent this 
     unseemly practice. As you know, bankruptcy forum shopping can 
     adversely impact not just states and state agencies, but 
     countless consumers, creditors, employees, pensioners, 
     stockholders, and small businesses that are regularly 
     thwarted from protecting their interests simply because the 
     debtor filed in a distant forum.

[[Page S1127]]

       The venue stratagems used by large law firms to maximize 
     their professional fees, render far-away courts inaccessible 
     to scores of unsecured creditors, and select compliant, 
     debtor-friendly judges undermine the credibility of our 
     nation's bankruptcy system. Indeed, after two years of public 
     hearings, the National Bankruptcy Review Commission 
     recommended that Congress overhaul the law to prevent forum 
     shopping by large Chapter 11 debtors and their affiliates. I 
     strongly support their recommendation and applaud you for 
     bringing this urgent matter to the attention of the United 
     State Senate.
       Abusive forum shopping by corporate debtors harms Americans 
     from all walks of life. It is time for this gamesmanship to 
     stop. I commend your efforts to strengthen our bankruptcy 
     system and safeguard the interests of ordinary Americans.
           Sincerely,
     Greg Abbott.
                                  ____

                                             Murphy, Hesse, Toomey


                              & Lehane, LLP, Attorneys at Law,

                                     Boston, MA, February 8, 2005.
     Re Bankruptcy Venue Reform.

     Senator John Cornyn,
     Hart Senate Office Building,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator: I commend efforts, either through an 
     amendment to the bankruptcy bill before Congress or through 
     the separate vehicle being introduced by Senator Cornyn, to 
     close a major jurisdictional loophole in the bankruptcy 
     statutes which directly affects every investor, business 
     competitor, creditor, consumer, union, and state Attorney 
     General in this country. While forum shopping and court 
     competition are having a direct, adverse effect on the 
     governance and reorganization of large, public companies, 
     investors are feeling that effect in their returns; employees 
     and unions in the abrogation of collectively bargained 
     contracts and economic security; competitors in the loss of a 
     level playing field; consumers and creditors in the loss of 
     basic rights; and Attorneys General in the loss of power to 
     be heard and to protect the rights of constituents and state 
     public policy.
       For the past decade, most bankrupt large public companies 
     have ``forum shopped'' their cases to the bankauptcy courts 
     in Wilmington, Delaware and New York City. For a time, that 
     was generally thought to be advantageous. But events in Enron 
     and other cases have shown otherwise. The shopping benefited 
     bankruptcy professionals who worked in those cases by 
     enabling them to charge higher fees and by freeing them from 
     some restrictions on conflicts of interest. The shopping also 
     benefited executives of some of those companies by allowing 
     them to hang onto their jobs longer and in some cases even be 
     paid large ``retention bonuses.''
       But the effect of forum shopping on the companies--and 
     hence on the shareholders and bondholders who invested in 
     them--has been decidedly negative. According to major studies 
     and the empirical research of experts like Professor Lynn 
     LoPucki of UCLA law school, companies reorganized in the 
     Delaware and New York courts in the early and mid-1990s 
     failed at a rate more than double the rate for companies 
     reorganized in other courts. As other courts copied Delaware 
     in an effort to staunch their outflow of cases, the failure 
     rates for those courts' reorganizations skyrocketed to match 
     Delaware's rates. To confirm a plan, the Bankruptcy Code 
     requires that the court find that ``confirmation . . . is not 
     likely to be followed by the liquidation, or the need for 
     further financial reorganization of the debtor.'' But of the 
     43 largest public companies reorganized in U.S. Bankruptcy 
     Courts from 1997 through 2000--the most recent period for 
     which failure rates can be calculated--21 (49%) were back in 
     bankruptcy within five years. Historically, the failure rates 
     for big reorganization in non-competing courts have been 
     below 10%.
       Legislative action can address this problem in a common 
     sense, fair, simple and direct way, by requiring bankrupt 
     companies file in their local bankruptcy courts. By local 
     courts, I mean the courts in the cities where the companies 
     have their headquarters or their principal operations. This 
     will free judges from the pressures to compete with other 
     courts for cases, and enable them to return to the crucial 
     function for which they were appointed: to protect 
     shareholders, creditors, employees, suppliers, customers and 
     the companies themselves during the brief but often frantic 
     period between the failure of one corporate regime and its 
     replacement with another. It will also ensure that these 
     judges and courts hear from everyone affected and entitled to 
     be heard--not only those who can afford to travel or appear 
     in ``foreign'' courts, especially the public's lawyers, the 
     Attorneys General. It is not a panacea for economic 
     insecurity, and it changes no legal rights or duties or law. 
     But it will cure a major inequity and a loophole utilized 
     primarily to ``game'' the system. Enactment of this bill, or 
     a similar legislative amendment, will enable us to say: ``We 
     had a problem, and now we have fixed it.''
     Scott Harshbarger.
                                  ____

                                             Commercial Law League


                                      of America ',

                                    Chicago, IL, February 7, 2005.
     Hon. John Cornyn,
     U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Cornyn: The Commercial Law League of America 
     (``CLLA''), founded in 1895, is the Nation's oldest 
     organization of attorneys and other experts in credit and 
     finance actively engaged in the field of commercial law, 
     bankruptcy and reorganization. Its membership exceeds 3,500 
     individuals. The CLLA has long been associated with the 
     representation of creditor interests, while at the same time 
     seeking fair, equitable and efficient administration of 
     bankruptcy cases for all parties in interest.
       The Bankruptcy Section of the CLLA is made up of 
     approximately 1,100 bankruptcy lawyers and bankruptcy judges 
     from virtually every State in the United States. Its members 
     include practitioners with both small and large practices, 
     who represent divergent interests in bankruptcy cases. The 
     CLLA has testified on numerous occasions before Congress as 
     experts in the bankruptcy and reorganization fields.
       A principal concern of the CLLA is the need for an 
     amendment requiring that the domicile and residence for venue 
     of corporate debtors be conclusively presumed to be the 
     location of the debtor's principal place of business without 
     regard to the debtor's state of incorporation. Such a change 
     would benefit creditors and prevent an unacceptable degree of 
     forum shopping by debtors who are in search of a venue that 
     will be friendly to their needs. More important, however, 
     requiring that a corporate bankruptcy take place locally 
     ensures that the distinct needs of the community are not 
     overlooked.
       Allowing the practice of forum shopping by debtors 
     undermines the bankruptcy process and creates unwarranted 
     competition among the courts. Before filing, the debtor is 
     able to determine which courts have taken friendly views of 
     the debtor's particular needs and select such a court with 
     the intent of creating a disadvantage for creditors. Indeed, 
     some corporate debtors have even commenced bankruptcy cases 
     in preferred venues by strategically creating or using 
     otherwise healthy subsidiaries to create a basis for filing 
     in the intended court. Current law as written fosters these 
     abuses.
       The CLLA strongly supports passage of the Fairness in 
     Bankruptcy Litigation Act of 2005 (the ``Act'') since the 
     proposed legislation addresses these abuses. The Act will 
     help to eliminate the forum shopping that skews the 
     bankruptcy process and will foster greater local control over 
     important business and community decisions. Although the Act 
     may require some technical modifications to achieve and 
     address the legislation's purported goals, its overall 
     provisions and goals are well grounded and supported by the 
     abuses taking place within the bankruptcy system.
       Much has been said among members of Congress that 
     bankruptcy reform is necessary to prevent what it perceives 
     as abuse of the bankruptcy process. A venue provision that 
     requires corporate bankruptcies to be filed at the principal 
     place of business furthers that goal and for all these 
     reasons we encourage the passage of the Act at the earliest 
     opportunity.
           Respectfully submitted,
     Mary K. Whitmer,
       President.
     Jay L. Welford,
       Co-Chair, National Governmental Affairs Committee.
     Peter C. Califano,
       Chair, Legislative Committee, Bankruptcy Section.
     Alan I. Nahmias,
       Chair, Bankruptcy Section.
     Judith Greenstone Miller,
       Co-Chair, National Governmental Affairs Committee.
                                  ____



                                           Harvard Law School,

                                                 January 31, 2005.
     Senator John Cornyn,
     617 Senate Hart Office Building,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Cornyn: Since its inception, the central 
     promise of the Federal bankruptcy system is that all 
     creditors--large and small--have equal access to participate 
     in the judicially-supervised liquidation or reorganization of 
     the debtor. No bankruptcy will be run to benefit one group of 
     creditors over another, or to permit the debtor to escape 
     from close scrutiny after its financial collapse.
       Unfortunately, that promise has been significantly eroded. 
     Mega-companies and their counsel shop for courts that will 
     render decisions that may favor the debtor, the attorneys or 
     a small group of powerful creditors. These parties often file 
     the bankruptcy petitions in locations far distant from most 
     of the company's business and from most of its creditors, 
     including its workers, retirees and local trade creditors who 
     have made their own investments in the company.
       Forum shopping creates an advantage for the insiders, while 
     making it virtually impossible for small creditors to 
     participate in the bankruptcy process. Employees, pensioners, 
     trade creditors and others have claims that are important to 
     them, but that are not large enough to justify millions of 
     dollars in lawyers' fees or trips to distant locations. As a 
     result, many of these smaller parties are shut out of the 
     system. They literally cannot get to the courthouse.
       Bankruptcy courts around the country are capable of 
     handling the cases that come their way--large or small. The 
     judges are smart and thoughtful, and the court personnel are 
     dedicated and hard-working. No

[[Page S1128]]

     single court in this country, regardless of its experience, 
     should have an exclusive lock on dealing with big cases. No 
     court has special powers or unique skills to deal with the 
     questions of claims, property of the estate, financing, 
     fraud, attorneys' fees and so on--issues that can arise in 
     any case, regardless of size.
       The current system of court shopping harms too many 
     parties. Closing a loophole in the bankruptcy laws that 
     permits this unseemly practice and forcing companies in 
     trouble to subject themselves to the scrutiny of their local 
     courts and local creditors is an important step toward 
     strengthening the credibility of the bankruptcy system. The 
     reform embodied in your proposal is real reform. If a company 
     prospers in part because it draws on the strength of the 
     community where it operates, that same community should be 
     able to participate fully in its financial reorganization.
           Very truly yours,
                                                 Elizabeth Warren,
     Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law.
                                  ____

                                                    School of Law,


                            The University of Texas at Austin,

                                  Austin, Texas, February 6, 2005.
     Senator John Cornyn,
     Senate Hart Office Building,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Cornyn: There is no single reform of our 
     Chapter 11 system that is as important as ensuring an end to 
     the forum shopping that has so distorted that system in 
     recent years. The present venue rules are so loosely 
     constructed that they permit any large public' company to 
     file a Chapter 11 pretty much wherever it likes. Naturally, 
     the management of companies in financial trouble and the 
     professionals that advise them take advantage of those rules 
     to choose the forum that will best serve their interests. 
     Often that means a Chapter 11 filing in a courthouse far away 
     from the company's home.
       These rules permit the company's management to escape the 
     close scrutiny of intensely interested local media and to 
     avoid attendance at court hearings by employees, local 
     suppliers, and others vitally interested in the case and 
     knowledgeable about the company. They force smaller creditors 
     to file claims from afar, claims that are often the subject 
     of an arbitrary objection by the debtor that the distant 
     creditor cannot afford to litigate. Conversely, creditors who 
     received some payment before bankruptcy may be the subject of 
     long-distance preference attacks that they cannot properly 
     defend in a remote courthouse, especially if the amounts 
     involved, although substantial, are not enough to justify the 
     expense of a defense. Compounding the problem of expense is 
     the creditor's lack of knowledge of lawyers in the distant 
     forum and the risk, especially in Delaware, that in a big 
     case most experienced local lawyers will already be committed 
     to other clients. On top of these direct injuries to 
     creditors, in cases where a trustee in bankruptcy is 
     appointed, the administration of assets hundreds or thousands 
     of miles removed from the trustee's home cannot be done 
     efficiently and rarely can be done well.
       These and other effects of forum shopping are inefficient 
     and prejudicial. In addition, the present system imposes 
     subtle pressures on bankruptcy judges and district judges, 
     who cannot be unaware that their decisions as to venue will 
     determine whether the community and the local bar will be 
     greatly enriched by the administration of large bankruptcy 
     cases. Despite the high degree of professionalism on our 
     federal bench, it is not reasonable to expect that these 
     pressures will have no effect.
       Although I am expressing my own opinions and not speaking 
     for the University or the Law School, I write as someone who 
     has practiced, studied, taught, and written about bankruptcy 
     law for over thirty years. Please let me know if I can 
     provide further information that would be helpful to your 
     work.
           Respectfully,
                                                 Jay L. Westbrook,
                                                 Benno C. Schmidt,
     Chair of Business Law
                                  ____

                                         University of California,


                                   Los Angeles, School of Law,

                                Los Angeles, CA, January 31, 2005.
     Senator John Cornyn,
     Hart Senate Office Bldg.,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Cornyn: I write to thank you for your courage 
     in proposing the Fairness in Bankruptcy Litigation Act of 
     2005. This legislation will not only provide protection for 
     all parties to large, public company bankruptcies, it will 
     also protect honest bankruptcy judges from the pressures 
     arising from the necessity to compete for cases. My research 
     suggests that by ending the necessity for the courts to 
     compete for cases, this legislation will result in better 
     reorganizations, the preservation of jobs, and higher returns 
     to creditors and shareholders.
       This is a difficult issue to present to the public, because 
     it is both obscure and complex. Please be assured that I and 
     many others appalled by the competition will do whatever we 
     can to assist you.
           Yours truly,
     Lyan M. LoPucki
                                  ____

       Dear Senator Cornyn: I am writing to you to support your 
     effort to pass a bill that would prevent corporations from 
     shopping for the most favorable venue. The current practice 
     has resulted in a ``race to the bottom'' as bankruptcy courts 
     work hard to lure corporate bankruptcies to their courts.
       I was a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City 
     School of Law for almost 20 years. My own worst example is 
     the case of Birch Telecom, a Kansas City-based company that 
     filed in Delaware in 2002. After laying off a quarter of 
     their employees--citizens of Missouri, Kansas, and Texas--
     Birch went into bankruptcy with a prepared plan (known as a 
     ``pre-pack'') that included significant compensation for the 
     very officers who had led the company into bankruptcy.
       A bankruptcy judge from Texas, sitting by designation 
     (because of the volume of cases being filed in Delaware) had 
     the audacity to suggest that he might not approve the plan 
     because of the compensation package. Before his words were 
     out of his mouth, Birch Telecom's attorneys had appealed the 
     reference of the case to that judge. The case was withdrawn, 
     and a Delaware judge, who understood that the game is 
     appeasing the corporate debtors, approved the plan 13 days 
     later.
       What possible chance do employees and local creditors have 
     when a distant bankruptcy judge will rubber-stamp the 
     company's every request, in a court too far away for them 
     even to appear?
       Congress says that it is trying to stop bankruptcy abuse. 
     Venue shopping is the very worst example of bankruptcy abuse, 
     and it affects the lives of thousands of ordinary Americans--
     employees and small businesses--every single day.
       I wish you good luck in the passage of this important piece 
     of legislation.
       Sincerely,
                                                   Corinne Cooper,
     Professor Emerita of Law.
                                  ____

                                            Creel & Moore, L.L.P.,


                                     Attorneys and Counselors,

                                     Dallas, TX, February 4, 2005.
     Re proposed bankruptcy legislation/venue.

     Senator John Cornyn,
     Hart Senate Building, Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Cornyn: One of the issues being discussed in 
     connection with proposed bankruptcy legislation is in what 
     venue or venues is it most appropriate for business debtors 
     to initiate voluntary bankruptcy cases, where they conduct 
     their daily business or where they were incorporated.
       Because a corporation (or any other type of business 
     organization) seeking bankruptcy relief should do so in a 
     forum that is convenient for itself, its management, its 
     employees and its creditors, Section 1408 of Title 28 of the 
     U.S. Code should be amended to prohibit the right of a debtor 
     corporation to file in the state of its incorporation unless 
     it either has its principal place of business or its 
     principal assets in that state.
       The reason for requiring a debtor to seek relief in a 
     bankruptcy court nearest to its actual place of operation is 
     that, otherwise, the rights of the other parties are 
     significantly and adversely affected because of the distance, 
     delay and costs of dealing with a faraway court.
       The practice that has developed over the years is that 
     corporations, for example those created under the laws of 
     Delaware, file in Delaware, far from their actual places of 
     business, Texas for example, thus causing their management, 
     employees and creditors to have the burden and expense of 
     travel, to hire distant counsel with whom they have had no 
     prior experience, or both, in order to protect their 
     interests. Many times, at least from a creditor/employee 
     perspective, the inconvenience and expense, when balanced 
     against the probability of an insignificant recovery on a 
     claim, is such that creditors/employees simply abandon their 
     claims, a result which is contrary to the spirit and intent 
     of the Bankruptcy Code.
       As a bankruptcy practitioner for over 40 years and one who 
     is active in various bankruptcy organizations, I urge you and 
     your staff to consider the thoughts expressed in their 
     letter.
       As the grandfather of Richie Anderson who served as an 
     intern on your staff last summer, I know, from his 
     experience, that you will listen to the opinions of your 
     constituents.
           Yours very truly,
     L. E. Creel, III.
                                  ____

                                                         Winstead,
                                                 February 4, 2005.
     Re Bankruptcy Venue Reform
     Hon. John Cornyn,
     U.S. Senate, Hart Senate Office Bldg.,
     Washington, DC.

       Dear Senator Cornyn:  I write in support of reform of the 
     Bankruptcy Code's current venue provisions.
       I am twenty-three year bankruptcy practitioner and head of 
     the bankruptcy practice for our law firm, I additionally 
     serve as Vice President (Business Bankruptcy) of the 
     Bankruptcy Section of the State Bar of Texas and am national 
     co-chair of the Unsecured Trade Creditors' Committee of the 
     American Bankruptcy Institute. My practice, while focused in 
     Texas, brings me before courts throughout the country--
     particularly those in Delaware and New York.
       Practicing in Texas, I have personal experience with the 
     unfortunate practice of companies and their counsel shopping 
     for forums. Whether to escape the watchful eye of employees, 
     creditors or the press, numerous companies from around the 
     country have filed bankruptcy cases in the District of

[[Page S1129]]

     Delaware or the Southern District of New York to obtain what 
     they believed would be either favorable treatment or a venue 
     for their bankruptcy cases which would in large measure 
     frustrate the rights and interests of their creditors and 
     employees. It is for these reasons, among others, that I 
     strongly support a modification of the Bankruptcy Venue 
     Statute and urge prompt action.
       If I can be of any assistance to you, please do not 
     hesitate to call upon me. Best regards.
           Very truly yours,
     Berry D. Spears.
                                  ____

                                      Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr PC,


                                       Attorneys & Counselors,

                                                 February 7, 2005.
     Re Amendment to Section 1408 of Title 28, United States Code
     Hon. John Cornyn,
     U.S. Senate, Hart Senate Office Bldg.,
     Washington, DC.

       Dear Senator Cornyn: As a bankruptcy practitioner for some 
     25 years, I am writing to voice my support for an amendment 
     to the venue provisions of Section 1408 of Title 28, United 
     States Code. As has been well documented, the concept of 
     ``forum shopping'' by significant Chapter 11 Debtors 
     throughout the country has become an art form over the last 
     few years. Certain jurisdictions now actively campaign to 
     attract large, high-profile bankruptcy cases to their venue. 
     It goes without saying that bankruptcy judges must become 
     ``Debtor friendly'' in order to maintain the attractiveness 
     of these venue options. Accordingly, decisions relating to 
     the allowance of professional fees, conflicts and other 
     critical bankruptcy issues have become disparate throughout 
     the country.
       An amendment to Section 1408, which limits the use of the 
     state of incorporation to those instances where the Debtors' 
     principal place of business or principal assets reside, will 
     promote uniformity as well as removing some of the perceived 
     inequities in the system. The public's perception of a fair 
     and uniform bankruptcy system is paramount.
       Thank you for your interest in this legislation.
           Very truly yours,
     Russell L. Munsch.
                                  ____



                                 Fulbright & Jaworski, L.L.P.,

                                 Houston, Texas, February 7, 2005.
     Re bankruptcy venue reform.

     Senator John Cornyn,
     Senate Hart Office Building, Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Cornyn: I write you to express my strong 
     support for bankruptcy venue reform. By way of introduction, 
     I have been a partner in the bankruptcy section of Fulbright 
     & Jaworski since June 1, 2004. Prior to that, I served as a 
     United States Bankruptcy Judge in Houston for almost 17 
     years, resigning as Chief Judge a day before I joined 
     Fulbright.
       Over the many years of my judicial career, I watched as 
     many cases which should have been filed in Texas instead 
     found their way to the dockets of courts in Delaware, New 
     York, or some other distant jurisdiction. This migration of 
     large cases is not unique to Texas and it represents a 
     fundamental flaw in the perceived and actual fairness of the 
     bankruptcy system. The ``little people'' (small creditors, 
     former employees, etc.) in a large bankruptcy case are at 
     once the most vulnerable economically and the parties least 
     capable of participating in a distant forum.
       I firmly feel the integrity of today's bankruptcy system 
     requires that the rights of all involved be protected and 
     that fair access to court be ensured. Bankruptcy venue reform 
     would be a tremendous step toward rectifying these problems.
       The opinions expressed in this letter are my own and not 
     those of Fulbright & Jaworski or its clients. I appreciate 
     your consideration of my concerns. If you should have any 
     questions or need additional information or assistance from 
     me, please do not hesitate to contact me.
           Sincerely,
     William Greendyke.
                                  ____

                                                 January 31, 2005.
     Senator John Cornyn,
     Senate Hart Office Building,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Cornyn: On behalf of the National Association 
     of Credit Management (NACM), I am writing to express the 
     support of NACM National Board of Directors and the NACM 
     membership for the Venue in Bankruptcy Cases bill scheduled 
     to be introduced by Senator Cornyn. This important 
     legislation would provide enormous relief to the thousands of 
     business creditors, and most importantly to small business 
     creditors whose interests are routinely impaired by a 
     bankruptcy process that is long-overdue for change.
       NACM is a 22,000-member trade association, representing the 
     interests of corporate (commercial) credit executives. NACM 
     was founded in 1896 and represents both American business 
     credit professionals in all 50 states as well as business 
     credit executives in more than 30 countries worldwide. NACM's 
     mission is to ensure the constant improvement and enhancement 
     of the business trade credit profession and process.
       NACM's membership comprises all types of businesses: 
     manufacturers, wholesalers, service industries, and financial 
     institutions. NACM's members range in size from small 
     businesses to a majority of the Fortune 500. NACM members 
     make the daily decisions to extend unsecured, business and 
     trade credit from one company to another. NACM members--the 
     business credit executive--approve and provide billions of 
     dollars each day in business and trade credit, which fuels 
     this country's business economy.
       This bill would provide much needed relief to businesses 
     and--perhaps even more importantly--to small businesses. This 
     bill would provide relief to the current practice of 
     requesting a transfer of venue, which is both expensive and 
     time consuming to both the debtor's estate and to creditors. 
     Additionally, this bill would address any abuse that 
     currently exists in the Code that encourages ``shopping'' 
     cases into a ``friendly forum''.
       Our membership stands ready to provide whatever level of 
     support is needed to advance this important legislation. As 
     the national organization representing the decision makers 
     within the American economic model who drive commerce, we 
     hope you will ensure that Congressional leadership will take 
     action on this bill as expeditiously as possible.
       We must provide immediate relief to the small business that 
     simply cannot afford to wait any longer for bankruptcy reform 
     from Congress.
       Thank you for your consideration of our comments and please 
     let us know what we can do to assist you in advancing this 
     legislation.
           Sincerely yours,
                                             Robin Schausell, CAE,
                                                        President.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. FEINGOLD:
  S. 315. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide 
that reimbursements for costs of using passenger automobiles for 
charitable and other organizations are excluded from gross income, and 
for other purposes; to the Committee on Finance.
  Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, I am pleased to reintroduce legislation 
today that would increase the mileage reimbursement rate for 
volunteers.
  Under current law, when volunteers use their cars for charitable 
purposes, the volunteers may be reimbursed up to 14 cents per mile for 
their donated services without triggering a tax consequence for either 
the organization or the volunteers. If the charitable organization 
reimburses any more than that, they are required to file an information 
return indicating the amount, and the volunteers must include the 
amount over 14 cents per mile in their taxable income. By contrast, the 
mileage reimbursement level currently permitted for businesses is 40.5 
cents per mile.
  We are asking volunteers and volunteer organizations to bear a 
greater burden of delivering essential services. But the 14 cents per 
mile limit is posing a very real hardship for charitable organizations 
and other nonprofit groups. I have heard from a number of people in 
Wisconsin on the need to increase this reimbursement limit.
  A representative of one organization, the Portage County Department 
on Aging, explained just how important volunteer drivers are to their 
ability to provide services to seniors in that county. The Department 
on Aging reported that dozens of volunteer drivers delivered meals to 
homes and transported people to medical appointments, meal sites, and 
other essential services.
  As many of my colleagues know, the senior meals program is one of the 
most vital services provided under the Older Americans Act, and 
ensuring that meals can be delivered to seniors or that seniors can be 
taken to meal sites is an essential part of that program. 
Unfortunately, Federal support for the senior nutrition programs has 
stagnated in recent years. This has increased pressure on local 
programs to leverage more volunteer services to make up for lagging 
Federal support. The 14 cents per mile reimbursement limit, though, 
increasingly poses a barrier to obtaining those contributions. Portage 
County reports that many of their volunteers cannot afford to offer 
their services under such a restriction. And if volunteers cannot be 
found, their services will have to be replaced by contracting with a 
provider, greatly increasing costs to the Department, costs that come 
directly out of the pot of funds available to pay for meals and other 
services.
  And the same is true for thousands of other non-profit and charitable 
organizations that provide essential services to communities across our 
Nation.
  By contrast, businesses do not face this restrictive mileage 
reimbursement limit. The comparable mileage rate for someone who works 
for a business is currently 40.5  cents per mile. This disparity means 
that a business hired to deliver the same meals delivered by

[[Page S1130]]

volunteers for Portage County may reimburse their employees over double 
the amount permitted the volunteer without a tax consequence.

  This doesn't make sense. The 14 cents per mile volunteer 
reimbursement limit is badly outdated. According to the Congressional 
Research Service, Congress first set a reimbursement rate of 12 cents 
per mile as part of the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984, and did not 
increase it until 1997, when the level was raised slightly, to 14 cents 
per mile, as part of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997.
  The bill I am introducing today is identical to a measure I 
introduced in the 107th Congress and the 108th Congress in nearly every 
respect. It raises the limit on volunteer mileage reimbursement to the 
level permitted to businesses. It is essentially the same provision 
passed by the Senate as part of a tax bill in 1999, and it is 
essentially the same provision that passed the Senate as part of the 
CARE Act.
  At the time of the 1999 tax bill, the Joint Committee on Taxation 
(JCT) estimated that the mileage reimbursement provision would result 
in the loss of $1 million over the five-year fiscal period from 1999 to 
2004. The revenue loss was so small that the JCT did not make the 
estimate on a year by year basis.
  Though the revenue loss is small, it is vital that we do everything 
we can to move toward a balanced budget, and to that end I have 
included a provision to fully offset the cost of the measure and make 
it deficit neutral. That provision increases the criminal monetary 
penalties for individuals and corporations convicted of tax fraud. The 
provision passed the Senate in the 108th Congress as part of the JOBS 
bill, but was later dropped in conference and was not included in the 
final version of that bill.
  I urge my colleagues to support this measure. It will help ensure 
charitable organizations can continue to attract the volunteers that 
play such a critical role in helping to deliver services and it will 
simplify the tax code both for nonprofit groups and the volunteers 
themselves.
  I ask unanimous consent that the text of the legislation be printed 
in the Record.
  There being no objection, the bill was ordered to be printed in the 
Record, as follows:

                                 S. 315

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

     SECTION 1. MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENTS TO CHARITABLE VOLUNTEERS 
                   EXCLUDED FROM GROSS INCOME.

       (a) In General.--Part III of subchapter B of chapter 1 of 
     the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by inserting 
     after section 139A the following new section:

     ``SEC. 139B. MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENTS TO CHARITABLE VOLUNTEERS.

       ``(a) In General.--Gross income of an individual does not 
     include amounts received, from an organization described in 
     section 170(c), as reimbursement of operating expenses with 
     respect to use of a passenger automobile for the benefit of 
     such organization. The preceding sentence shall apply only to 
     the extent that such reimbursement would be deductible under 
     this chapter if section 274(d) were applied--
       ``(1) by using the standard business mileage rate 
     established under such section, and
       ``(2) as if the individual were an employee of an 
     organization not described in section 170(c).
       ``(b) No Double Benefit.--Subsection (a) shall not apply 
     with respect to any expenses if the individual claims a 
     deduction or credit for such expenses under any other 
     provision of this title.
       ``(c) Exemption From Reporting Requirements.--Section 6041 
     shall not apply with respect to reimbursements excluded from 
     income under subsection (a).''.
       (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections for part III 
     of subchapter B of chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 
     1986 is amended by inserting after the item relating to 
     section 139A and inserting the following new item:

``Sec. 139B. Reimbursement for use of passenger automobile for 
              charity.''.

       (c) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section 
     shall apply to taxable years beginning after the date of the 
     enactment of this Act.

     SEC. 2. INCREASE IN CRIMINAL MONETARY PENALTY LIMITATION FOR 
                   THE UNDERPAYMENT OR OVERPAYMENT OF TAX DUE TO 
                   FRAUD.

       (a) In General.--Section 7206 of the Internal Revenue Code 
     of 1986 (relating to fraud and false statements) is amended--
       (1) by striking ``Any person who--'' and inserting ``(a) In 
     General.--Any person who--'', and
       (2) by adding at the end the following new subsection:
       ``(b) Increase in Monetary Limitation for Underpayment or 
     Overpayment of Tax Due to Fraud.--If any portion of any 
     underpayment (as defined in section 6664(a)) or overpayment 
     (as defined in section 6401(a)) of tax required to be shown 
     on a return is attributable to fraudulent action described in 
     subsection (a), the applicable dollar amount under subsection 
     (a) shall in no event be less than an amount equal to such 
     portion. A rule similar to the rule under section 6663(b) 
     shall apply for purposes of determining the portion so 
     attributable.''.
       (b) Increase in Penalties.--
       (1) Attempt to evade or defeat tax.--Section 7201 of the 
     Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended--
       (A) by striking ``$100,000'' and inserting ``$250,000'',
       (B) by striking ``$500,000'' and inserting ``$1,000,000'', 
     and
       (C) by striking ``5 years'' and inserting ``10 years''.
       (2) Willful failure to file return, supply information, or 
     pay tax.--Section 7203 of such Code is amended--
       (A) in the first sentence--
       (i) by striking ``misdemeanor'' and inserting ``felony'', 
     and
       (ii) by striking ``1 year'' and inserting ``10 years'', and
       (B) by striking the third sentence.
       (3) Fraud and false statements.--Section 7206(a) of such 
     Code (as redesignated by subsection (a)) is amended--
       (A) by striking ``$100,000'' and inserting ``$250,000'',
       (B) by striking ``$500,000'' and inserting ``$1,000,000'', 
     and
       (C) by striking ``3 years'' and inserting ``5 years''.
       (c) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section 
     shall apply to underpayments and overpayments attributable to 
     actions occurring after the date of the enactment of this 
     Act.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. FEINGOLD:
  S. 316. A bill to limit authority to delay notice of search warrants; 
to the Committee on the Judiciary.
  Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, today I will reintroduce in the Senate 
the Reasonable Notice and Search Act. This bill is nearly identical to 
a bill I introduced in the 108th Congress, S. 1701. It addresses 
Section 213 of the USA-PATRIOT Act, the provision of that important 
statute passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks that has caused perhaps 
the most concern among Members of Congress and the public. Section 213, 
sometimes referred to as the ``delayed notice search provision'' or the 
``sneak and peek provision,'' authorizes the government in limited 
circumstances to conduct a search without immediately serving a search 
warrant on the owner or occupant of the premises that have been 
searched.
  Prior to the PATRIOT Act, secret searches for physical evidence were 
performed in some jurisdictions under the authority of Court of Appeals 
decisions, but the Supreme Court never definitively ruled whether they 
were constitutional. Section 213 of the PATRIOT Act authorized delayed 
notice warrants in any case in which an ``adverse result'' would occur 
if the warrant were served before the search was executed. Adverse 
result was defined as including: 1. endangering the life or physical 
safety of an individual; 2. flight from prosecution; 3. destruction of 
or tampering with evidence; 4. intimidation of potential witnesses; or 
5. otherwise seriously jeopardizing an investigation or unduly delaying 
a trial. This last catch-all category could apply in virtually any 
criminal case. In addition, while some courts had required the service 
of the warrant within a specified period of time, the PATRIOT Act 
simply required that the warrant specify that it would be served within 
a ``reasonable'' period of time after the search.
  It is interesting to note that this provision of the PATRIOT Act was 
not limited to terrorism cases. In fact, before the PATRIOT Act passed, 
the FBI already had the authority to conduct secret searches of foreign 
terrorists and spies with no notice at all under the Foreign 
Intelligence Surveillance Act. Furthermore, the PATRIOT Act ``sneak and 
peek'' authority was not made subject to the sunset provision that will 
cause many of the new surveillance provisions of the act to expire at 
the end of this year unless Congress reenacts them. So Section 213 was 
pretty clearly a provision that the Department of Justice wanted 
regardless of the terrorism threat after 9/11.
  Perhaps that is why this provision has caused such controversy since 
it was passed. In 2003, by a wide bipartisan margin, the House passed 
an amendment to the Commerce-Justice-

[[Page S1131]]

State appropriations bill offered by Representative Otter from Idaho, a 
Republican, to stop funding for delayed notice searches authorized 
under section 213. The size of the vote took the Department by 
surprise, and it immediately set out to defend the provision 
aggressively. Clearly, this is a power that the Department does not 
want to lose.

  I raised concerns about the sneak and peek provision when it was 
included in the PATRIOT Act. I did not, and still do not, believe there 
had been adequate study and analysis of the justifications for these 
searches and the potential safeguards that might be included. I did not 
argue then, however, and I am not arguing now that there should be no 
delayed notice searches at all and that the provision should be 
repealed. I simply believe that this provision should be modified to 
protect against abuse. My bill will do four things to accomplish this.
  First, my bill would narrow the circumstances in which a delayed 
notice warrant can be granted to the following: potential loss of life, 
flight from prosecution, destruction or tampering with evidence, or 
intimidation of potential witnesses. The ``catch-all provision'' in 
section 213, allowing a secret search when serving the warrant would 
``seriously jeopardize an investigation or unduly delay a trial'' can 
too easily be turned into permission to do these searches whenever the 
government wants.
  Second, I believe that any delayed notice warrant should provide for 
a specific and limited time period within which notice must be given--7 
days. This is consistent with some of the pre-PATRIOT Act court 
decisions and will help to bring this provision in closer accord with 
the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. Under my bill, prosecutors 
will be permitted to seek 7-day extensions if circumstances continue to 
warrant that the subject not be made aware of the search. But the 
default should be a week, unless a court is convinced that more time 
should be permitted.
  Third, Section 213 should include a sunset provision so that it 
expires along with the other expanded surveillance provisions in Title 
II of the PATRIOT Act, at the end of 2005. This will allow Congress to 
determine if the balance between civil liberties and law enforcement 
has been correctly struck.
  Finally, the bill requires a public report on the number of times 
that section 213 is used, the number of times that extensions are 
sought beyond the 7-day notice period, and the type of crimes being 
investigated with this power. This information will help the public and 
Congress evaluate the need for this authority and determine whether it 
should be retained or modified after the sunset.
  These are reasonable and moderate changes to the law. They do not gut 
the provision. Rather, they recognize the growing and legitimate 
concern from across the political spectrum that this provision was 
passed in haste and presents the potential for abuse. They also send a 
message that Fourth Amendment rights have meaning and potential 
violations of those rights should be minimized if at all possible. I 
urge my colleagues to support this bill.
  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. 316

  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 ``Reasonable Notice and Search 
     Act''.

     SEC. 2. LIMITATION ON AUTHORITY TO DELAY NOTICE OF SEARCH 
                   WARRANTS.

       Section 3103a of title 18, United States Code, is amended--
       (1) in subsection (b)--
       (A) in paragraph (1), by striking ``may have an adverse 
     result (as defined in section 2705)'' and inserting ``will 
     endanger the life or physical safety of an individual, result 
     in flight from prosecution, result in the destruction of or 
     tampering with the evidence sought under the warrant, or 
     result in intimidation of potential witnesses''; and
       (B) in paragraph (3), by striking ``a reasonable period'' 
     and all that follows and inserting ``7 calendar days, which 
     period, upon application of the Attorney General, the Deputy 
     Attorney General, or an Associate Attorney General, may 
     thereafter be extended by the court for additional periods of 
     up to 7 calendar days each if the court finds, for each 
     application, reasonable cause to believe that notice of the 
     execution of the warrant will endanger the life or physical 
     safety of an individual, result in flight from prosecution, 
     result in the destruction of or tampering with the evidence 
     sought under the warrant, or result in intimidation of 
     potential witnesses.''; and
       (2) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(c) Reports.--
       ``(1) In general.--On a semiannual basis, the Attorney 
     General shall transmit to Congress and make public a report 
     concerning all requests for delays of notice, and for 
     extensions of delays of notice, with respect to warrants 
     under subsection (b).
       ``(2) Contents.--Each report under paragraph (1) shall 
     include, with respect to the preceding 6-month period--
       ``(A) the total number of requests for delays of notice 
     with respect to warrants under subsection (b);
       ``(B) the total number of such requests granted or denied;
       ``(C) for each request for delayed notice that was granted, 
     the total number of applications for extensions of the delay 
     of notice and the total number of such extensions granted or 
     denied; and
       ``(D) on an aggregate basis, the nature of the crime being 
     investigated for each request for delay of notice that was 
     granted or denied.''.

     SEC. 3. SUNSET ON DELAYED NOTICE AUTHORITY.

       (a) PATRIOT Act.--Section 224(a) of the USA PATRIOT Act of 
     2001 (Public Law 107-56; 115 Stat. 295) is amended by 
     striking ``213,''.
       (b) Amendments.--The amendments made by this Act shall 
     sunset as provided in section 224 of the USA PATRIOT Act of 
     2001.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. FEINGOLD (for himself, Mr. Akaka, Mr. Bingaman, Ms. 
        Cantwell, Mr. Corzine, Mr. Dayton, Mr. Durbin, Mr. Jeffords, 
        Mr. Kennedy, and Mr. Wyden):
  S. 317. A bill to protect privacy by limiting the access of the 
Government to library, bookseller, and other personal records for 
foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes; to the Committee 
on the Judiciary.
  Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, today I will reintroduce the Library, 
Bookseller, and Personal Records Privacy Act. The bill is identical to 
the bill I introduced in the 108th Congress, S. 1507.
  This bill would amend Sections 215 and 505 of the USA-PATRIOT Act to 
protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans. It would set reasonable 
limits on the Federal Government's access to library, bookseller, 
medical, and other sensitive, personal information under the Foreign 
Intelligence Surveillance Act (``FISA'') and related foreign 
intelligence authority.
  I am pleased that several of my distinguished colleagues have joined 
me as original cosponsors of this important legislation.
  Millions of Patriotic Americans love our country and support our 
military men and women in their difficult missions abroad, but worry 
about the fate of our Constitution here at home.
  Much of our Nation's strength comes from our constitutional liberties 
and respect for the rule of law. That is what has kept us free for our 
two and a quarter century history. Our constitutional freedoms, our 
American values, are what make our country worth fighting for as we 
strive to win the war on terror.
  Here at home, there is no question that the FBI needs ample resources 
and legal authority to prevent future acts of terrorism. But the 
PATRIOT Act went too far when it comes to the government's access to 
personal information about law abiding Americans.
  Even though in the end I opposed the PATRIOT Act, there were many 
provisions that I did support. And even in those provisions I sought to 
amend when the bill was debated, there was often some change that I 
supported. For example, Congress was right to expand the category of 
business records that the FBI could obtain pursuant to the Foreign 
Intelligence Surveillance Act. Prior to the PATRIOT Act, the FBI could 
seek a court order to obtain only travel records--such as airline, 
hotel, and car rental records--and records maintained by storage 
facilities. The PATRIOT Act allows any business records to be 
subpoenaed. I don't quibble with that change.
  But what my colleagues and I do find problematic--and an increasing 
number of Americans who value their privacy and First Amendment rights 
agree with us--is that the current law allows the FBI broad, almost 
unfettered access to personal information

[[Page S1132]]

about law-abiding Americans who have no connection to terrorism or 
spying.

  Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act requires the FBI to show in an 
application to the court that the documents are ``sought for'' an 
international terrorism or foreign intelligence investigation. There is 
no requirement that the FBI make a showing of individualized suspicion 
that the documents relate to a suspected terrorist or spy.
  In other words, under current law, the FBI could serve a subpoena on 
a library for all the borrowing records of its patrons or on a 
bookseller for the purchasing records of its customers simply by 
asserting that they want the records for a terrorism investigation.
  Since the passage of the PATRIOT Act, librarians and booksellers have 
become increasingly concerned by the potential for abuse of this law. I 
was pleased to stand with the American Booksellers Association and the 
Free Expression Network over 2 years ago when we first started to raise 
these concerns.
  Librarians and booksellers are concerned that under the PATRIOT Act, 
the FBI could seize records from libraries and booksellers in order to 
monitor what books Americans have purchased or borrowed, or who has 
used a library's or bookstore's internet computer stations, even if 
there is no evidence that the person is a terrorist or spy, or has any 
connection to a terrorist or spy.
  These concerns are so strong that some librarians across the country 
have taken the unusual step of destroying records of patrons' book and 
computer use, as well as posting signs on computer stations warning 
patrons that whatever they read or access on the internet could be 
monitored by the federal government.
  As a librarian in California said, ``We felt strongly that this had 
to be done. . . . The government has never had this kind of power 
before. It feels like Big Brother.''
  And as the executive director of the American Library Association 
said, ``This law is dangerous. . . . I read murder mysteries--does that 
make me a murderer? I read spy stories--does that mean I'm a spy? 
There's no clear link between a person's intellectual pursuits and 
their actions.''
  The American people do not know how many or what kind of requests 
Federal agents have made for library records under the PATRIOT Act. The 
Justice Department refuses to release that information to the public.
  But in a survey released by the University of Illinois at Urbana-
Champaign, about 550 libraries around the Nation reported having 
received requests from Federal or local law enforcement during the past 
year. About half of the libraries said they complied with the law 
enforcement request, and another half indicated that they had not.
  Americans don't know much about these incidents, because the law also 
contains a provision that prohibits anyone who receives a subpoena from 
disclosing that fact to anyone.
  In testimony before the Judiciary Committee, Attorney General 
Ashcroft stated that as of September 18, 2003, the Department of 
Justice had never used Section 215. The Department has not made that 
claim in public testimony since then, leading many to speculate that 
the provision has now been used. Whether it has been used once, or 
dozens of times, the problem with the section remains--it is too broad 
and does not permit adequate judicial supervision. There is a potential 
for overreaching that Congress must address.
  David Schwartz, president of Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops, the oldest 
and largest independent bookseller in Milwaukee, summed up well the 
American values at stake when he said: ``The FBI already has 
significant subpoena powers to obtain records. There is no need for the 
government to invade a person's privacy in this way. This is a uniquely 
un-American tool, and it should be rejected. The books we read are a 
very private part of our lives. People could stop buying books, and 
they could be terrified into silence.''
  I would not claim that we have reached the point where people in this 
country are afraid to buy books, but section 215 is a tool that is 
unnecessarily broad. And it raises the specter of indiscriminate 
government snooping into the private lives of innocent citizens, which 
is an unnecessary distraction from the serious law enforcement work 
that is needed to fight terrorism.
  It is time to reconsider those provisions of the PATRIOT Act that are 
un-American and, frankly, unpatriotic.
  But my concerns with the PATRIOT Act go beyond library and bookseller 
records. Under section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, the FBI could seek any 
records maintained by a business. These business records could contain 
sensitive, personal information--for example, medical records 
maintained by a doctor or hospital or credit records maintained by a 
credit agency. All the FBI would have to do is simply assert that the 
records are ``sought for'' its terrorism or foreign intelligence 
investigation.
  Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act goes too far. Americans rightfully 
have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their library, bookstore, 
medical, financial, or other records containing personal information. 
Prudent safeguards are needed to protect these legitimate privacy 
interests.
  The Library, Bookseller, and Personal Records Privacy Act is a 
reasonable solution. It would restore a pre-PATRIOT Act requirement 
that the FBI make a factual, individualized showing that the records 
sought pertain to a suspected terrorist or spy while leaving in place 
other PATRIOT Act expansions of this business records power.
  My bill will not prevent the FBI from doing its job. It recognizes 
that the post-September 11 world is a different world. There are 
circumstances when the FBI should legitimately have access to library, 
bookseller, or other personal information.
  I'd like to take a moment to explain how the safeguard in my bill 
would be applied. Suppose the FBI is conducting an investigation of an 
international terrorist organization. It has information that suspected 
members of the group live in a particular neighborhood. The FBI would 
like to obtain records from the library in the suspects' neighborhood. 
Under current law, the FBI could decide to ask the library for all 
records concerning anyone who has ever borrowed a book or used a 
computer, and what books were borrowed, simply by asserting that the 
documents are sought for a terrorism investigation. But under my bill, 
the FBI could not do so. The FBI would have to set forth specific and 
articulable facts giving reason to believe that the person to whom the 
records pertain is a suspected terrorist. The FBI could obtain only 
those library records--such as borrowing records or computer sign-in 
logs--that pertain to the suspected terrorists. The FBI could not 
obtain library records concerning individuals who are not suspected 
terrorists.
  So, under my bill, the FBI can still obtain documents that it 
legitimately needs, but my bill would also protect the privacy of law-
abiding Americans. I might add that if, as the Justice Department says, 
the FBI is using its PATRIOT Act powers in a responsible manner, does 
not seek the records of law-abiding Americans, and only seeks the 
records of suspected terrorists or suspected spies, then there is no 
reason for the Department to object to my bill.
  The second part of my bill would address privacy concerns with 
another Federal law enforcement power expanded by the PATRIOT Act--the 
FBI's national security letter authority. The FBI does not need court 
approval to use this power.
  My bill would amend section 505 of the PATRIOT Act. Part of this 
section relates to the production of records maintained by electronic 
communications providers. Libraries or bookstores with internet access 
for customers could be deemed ``electronic communication providers'' 
and therefore be subject to a request by the FBI under its NSL 
authority.
  As I mentioned earlier, some librarians are so concerned about the 
potential for abuse by the FBI that they have taken matters into their 
own hands before the FBI knocks on their door. Some librarians have 
begun shredding on a daily basis sign-in logs and other documents 
relating to the public's use of library computer terminals to access 
the internet.
  Again, safeguards are needed to ensure that any individual who 
accesses the internet at a library or bookstore does not automatically 
give up all expectations of privacy. Like the section

[[Page S1133]]

215 fix I've discussed, my bill would require an individualized showing 
by the FBI of how the records of internet usage maintained by a library 
or bookseller pertain to a suspected terrorist or spy.
  Yes, the American people want the FBI to be focused on preventing 
terrorism. And, yes, it may make sense to make some changes to the law 
to allow the FBI access to the information that it needs to prevent 
terrorism. But we do not need to change the values that constitute who 
we are as a Nation in order to protect ourselves from terrorism. We can 
protect both our Nation and our privacy and civil liberties.
  An increasing number of Americans are beginning to understand that 
the PATRIOT Act went too far. Four States and over 350 cities and 
counties across the country have now passed resolutions expressing 
opposition to the PATRIOT Act. And it's not just the Berkeleys and 
Madisons of this Nation, but other States and communities with strong 
conservative and libertarian values, such as Alaska and cities in 
Montana, that have passed such resolutions.
  I have many concerns with the PATRIOT Act. I am not seeking to repeal 
it, in whole or in part. In this bill, my colleagues and I are only 
seeking to modify two provisions that pose serious potential for abuse.
  The privacy of law-abiding Americans is at stake, along with their 
confidence in their government. Congress should act to protect our 
privacy and reassure our citizens. The Library, Bookseller, and 
Personal Records Privacy Act bill is a reasonable approach to do just 
that. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.
  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. 317

       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 ``Library, Bookseller, and 
     Personal Records Privacy Act''.

     SEC. 2. PRIVACY PROTECTIONS ON GOVERNMENT ACCESS TO LIBRARY, 
                   BOOKSELLER, AND OTHER PERSONAL RECORDS UNDER 
                   FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE ACT OF 1978.

       (a) Applications for Orders.--Subsection (b) of section 501 
     of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 
     U.S.C. 1861) is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (1), by striking ``and'' at the end;
       (2) in paragraph (2), by striking the period at the end and 
     inserting ``; and''; and
       (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
       ``(3) shall specify that there are specific and articulable 
     facts giving reason to believe that the person to whom the 
     records pertain is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign 
     power.''.
       (b) Orders.--Subsection (c)(1) of that section is amended 
     by striking ``finds'' and all that follows and inserting 
     ``finds that--
       ``(A) there are specific and articulable facts giving 
     reason to believe that the person to whom the records pertain 
     is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power; and
       ``(B) the application meets the other requirements of this 
     section.''.
       (c) Oversight of Requests for Production of Records.--
     Section 502 of that Act (50 U.S.C. 1862) is amended--
       (1) in subsection (a), by striking ``the Permanent'' and 
     all that follows through ``the Senate'' and inserting ``the 
     Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee 
     on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the 
     Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on the 
     Judiciary of the Senate''; and
       (2) in subsection (b), by striking ``On a semiannual 
     basis,'' and all that follows through ``a report setting 
     forth'' and inserting ``The report of the Attorney General to 
     the Committees on the Judiciary of the House of 
     Representatives and the Senate under subsection (a) shall set 
     forth''.

     SEC. 3. PRIVACY PROTECTIONS ON GOVERNMENT ACCESS TO 
                   INFORMATION ON COMPUTER USERS AT BOOKSELLERS 
                   AND LIBRARIES UNDER NATIONAL SECURITY 
                   AUTHORITY.

       (a) In General.--Section 2709 of title 18, United States 
     Code, is amended--
       (1) by redesignating subsection (e) as subsection (f); and
       (2) by inserting after subsection (d) the following new 
     subsection (e):
       ``(e) Records of Booksellers and Libraries.--(1) When a 
     request under this section is made to a bookseller or 
     library, the certification required by subsection (b) shall 
     also specify that there are specific and articulable facts 
     giving reason to believe that the person or entity to whom 
     the records pertain is a foreign power or an agent of a 
     foreign power.
       ``(2) In this subsection:
       ``(A) The term `bookseller' means a person or entity 
     engaged in the sale, rental, or delivery of books, journals, 
     magazines, or other similar forms of communication in print 
     or digitally.
       ``(B) The term `library' means a library (as that term is 
     defined in section 213(2) of the Library Services and 
     Technology Act (20 U.S.C. 9122(2))) whose services include 
     access to the Internet, books, journals, magazines, 
     newspapers, or other similar forms of communication in print 
     or digitally to patrons for their use, review, examination, 
     or circulation.
       ``(C) The terms `foreign power' and `agent of a foreign 
     power' have the meaning given such terms in section 101 of 
     the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 
     1801).''.
       (b) Sunset of Certain Modifications on Access.--Section 
     224(a) of the USA PATRIOT ACT of 2001 (Public Law 107-56; 115 
     Stat. 295) is amended by inserting ``and section 505'' after 
     ``by those sections)''.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. FEINGOLD:
  S. 318. A bill to clarify conditions for the interceptions of 
computer trespass communications under the USA-PATRIOT Act; to the 
Committee on the Judiciary.
  Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, I am pleased to introduce the Computer 
Trespass Clarification Act of 2005, which would amend and clarify 
section 217 of the USA-PATRIOT Act. This bill is virtually identical to 
a bill I introduced in the 108th Congress, S. 2783.
  Section 217 of the PATRIOT Act addresses the interception of computer 
trespass communications. This bill would modify existing law to more 
accurately reflect the intent of the provision, and also protect 
against invasions of privacy.
  Section 217 was designed to permit law enforcement to assist computer 
owners who are subject to denial of service attacks or other episodes 
of hacking. The original Department of Justice draft of the bill that 
later became the PATRIOT Act included this provision. A section by 
section analysis provided by the Department on September 19, 2001, 
stated the following: ``Current law may not allow victims of computer 
trespassing to request law enforcement assistance in monitoring 
unauthorized attacks as they occur. Because service providers often 
lack the expertise, equipment, or financial resources required to 
monitor attacks themselves as permitted under current law, they often 
have no way to exercise their rights to protect themselves from 
unauthorized attackers. Moreover, such attackers can target critical 
infrastructures and engage in cyberterrorism. To correct this problem, 
and help to protect national security, the proposed amendments to the 
wiretap statute would allow victims of computer attacks to authorize 
persons `acting under color of law' to monitor trespassers on their 
computer systems in a narrow class of cases.''
  I strongly supported the goal of giving computer system owners the 
ability to call in law enforcement to help defend themselves against 
hacking. Including such a provision in the PATRIOT Act made a lot of 
sense. Unfortunately, the drafters of the provision made it much 
broader than necessary, and refused to amend it at the time we debated 
the bill in 2001. As a result, the law now gives the government the 
authority to intercept communications by people using computers owned 
by others as long as they have engaged in some unauthorized activity on 
the computer, and the owner gives permission for the computer to be 
monitored--all without judicial approval.
  Only people who have a ``contractual relationship'' with the owner 
allowing the use of a computer are exempt from the definition of a 
computer trespasser under section 217 of the PATRIOT Act. Many people--
for example, college students, patrons of libraries, Internet cafes or 
airport business lounges, and guests at hotels--use computers owned by 
others with permission, but without a contractual relationship. They 
could end up being the subject of government snooping if the owner of 
the computer gives permission to law enforcement.
  My bill would clarify that a computer trespasser is not someone who 
has permission to use a computer by the owner or operator of that 
computer. It would bring the existing computer trespass provision in 
line with the purpose of section 217 as expressed in the Department of 
Justice's initial explanation of the provision. Section 217 was 
intended to target only a narrow class of people: Unauthorized

[[Page S1134]]

cyberhackers. It was not intended to give the government the 
opportunity to engage in widespread surveillance of computer users 
without a warrant.
  I should note that there is no specific evidence that the provision 
is being abused. But, of course, unless criminal charges are brought 
against someone as a result of such surveillance, there would never be 
any notice at all that the surveillance has taken place. The computer 
owner authorizes the surveillance, and the FBI carries it out. There is 
no warrant, no court proceeding, no opportunity even for the subject of 
the surveillance to challenge the assertion of the owner that some 
unauthorized use of the computer has occurred.
  My bill would modify the computer trespass provision in the following 
ways to protect against abuse, while still maintaining its usefulness 
in cases of denial of service attacks and other forms of hacking.
  First, it would require that the owner or operator of the protected 
computer authorizing the interception has been subject to ``an ongoing 
pattern of communications activity that threatens the integrity or 
operation of such computer.'' In other words, the owner has to be the 
target of some kind of hacking.
  Second, the bill limits the length of warrantless surveillance to 96 
hours. This is twice as long as is allowed for an emergency wiretap. 
With four days of surveillance, it should not be difficult for the 
government to gather sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to obtain a 
warrant if continued surveillance is necessary.
  Finally, the bill would require the Attorney General to annually 
report on the use of Section 217 to the Senate and House Judiciary 
Committees. Section 217 is one of the provisions that is subject to the 
sunset provision in the PATRIOT Act and will expire at the end of 2005. 
We in the Congress need to do more oversight of the use of this and 
other provisions of PATRIOT Act in order to evaluate their 
effectiveness.
  The computer trespass provision now in the law as a result of section 
217 of the PATRIOT Act leaves open the possibility for significant and 
unnecessary invasions of privacy. The reasonable and modest changes to 
the provision contained in this bill preserve the usefulness of the 
provision for investigations of cyberhacking, but reduce the 
possibility of government abuse. We must continually seek to balance 
the need for effective tools to fight crime and terrorism against the 
civil liberties of our citizens. The Computer Trespass Clarification 
Act strikes the right balance, and I urge my colleagues to support it.
  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. 318

       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 ``Computer Trespass 
     Clarification Act of 2005''.

     SEC. 2. AMENDMENTS TO TITLE 18.

       (a) Definitions.--Section 2510(21)(B) of title 18, United 
     States Code, is amended by--
       (1) inserting ``or other'' after ``contractual''; and
       (2) striking ``for access'' and inserting ``permitting 
     access''.
       (b) Interception and Disclosure.--Section 2511(2)(i) of 
     title 18, United States Code, is amended--
       (1) in clause (I), by inserting after ``the owner or 
     operator of the protected computer'' the following: ``is 
     attempting to respond to communications activity that 
     threatens the integrity or operation of such computer and 
     requests assistance to protect rights and property of the 
     owner or operator, and''; and
       (2) in clause (IV), by inserting after ``interception'' the 
     following: ``ceases as soon as the communications sought are 
     obtained or after 96 hours, whichever is earlier, unless an 
     interception order is obtained under this chapter, and''.
       (c) Report.--The Attorney General shall, within 60 days of 
     enactment and annually thereafter, report to the Committees 
     on the Judiciary of the Senate and the House of 
     Representatives on the use during the previous year of 
     section 2511 of title 18, United States Code, relating to 
     computer trespass provisions as amended by subsection (b).
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. DOMENICI (for himself and Mr. Kennedy):
  S. 319. A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to revise the 
amount of minimum allotments under the Projects for Assistance in 
Transition from Homelessness program; to the Committee on Health, 
Education, Labor, and Pensions.
  Mr. DOMENICI. Mr. President, I rise today with my friend Senator 
Kennedy to introduce a bill that will raise the minimum grant amounts 
given to States and territories under the PATH program. The PATH 
program provides services through formula grants of at least $300,000 
to each State, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and $50,000 to 
eligible U.S. territories. Subject to available appropriations, this 
bill will raise the minimum allotments to $600,000 to each State and 
$100,000 to eligible US territories.
  When the PATH program was established in fiscal year 1991 as a 
formula grant program, Congress appropriated $33 million. That amount 
has steadily increased over the years with Congress appropriating $55 
million this past year. However, despite these increases, States and 
territories such as New Mexico that have rural and frontier 
populations, have not received an increase in their PATH funds. Under 
the formula, as it currently exists, many states and territories will 
never receive an increase to their PATH program, even with increasing 
demand and inflation. This problem is occurring in my home State of New 
Mexico as well as twenty-five other States and territories throughout 
the United States.
  The PATH program is authorized under the Public Health Service Act 
and it funds community-based outreach, mental health, substance abuse, 
case management and other support services, as well as a limited set of 
housing services for people who are homeless and have serious mental 
illnesses. Program services are provided in a variety of different 
settings, including clinic sites, shelter-based clinics, and mobile 
units. In addition, the PATH program takes health care services to 
locations where homeless individuals are found, such as streets, parks, 
and soup kitchens.
  PATH services are a key element in the plan to end chronic 
homelessness. Every night, an estimated 600,000 people are homeless in 
America. Of these, about one-third are single adults with serious 
mental illnesses. I have worked closely with organizations in New 
Mexico such as Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless and I have seen 
first hand the difficulties faced by the more than 15,000 homeless 
people in New Mexico, 35 percent of who are chronically mentally ill or 
mentally incapacitated.
  PATH is a proven program that has been very successful in moving 
people out of homelessness. PATH has been reviewed by the Office of 
Management and Budget and has scored significantly high marks in 
meeting program goals and objectives. Unquestionably, homelessness is 
not just an urban issue. Rural and frontier communities face unique 
challenges in serving PATH eligible persons and the PATH program 
funding mechanisms must account for these differences.
  Thank you and I look forward to working with my colleague Senator 
Kennedy on this important issue.
  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. 319

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

     SECTION 1. MINIMUM ALLOTMENTS UNDER THE PROJECTS FOR 
                   ASSISTANCE IN TRANSITION FROM HOMELESSNESS 
                   PROGRAM.

       Section 524 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 
     290cc-24) is amended to read as follows:

     ``SEC. 524. DETERMINATION OF AMOUNT OF ALLOTMENT.

       ``(a) Determination Under Formula.--Subject to subsection 
     (b), the allotment required in section 521 for a State for a 
     fiscal year is the product of--
       ``(1) an amount equal to the amount appropriated under 
     section 535 for the fiscal year; and
       ``(2) a percentage equal to the quotient of--
       ``(A) an amount equal to the population living in urbanized 
     areas of the State involved, as indicated by the most recent 
     data collected by the Bureau of the Census; and
       ``(B) an amount equal to the population living in urbanized 
     areas of the United States, as indicated by the sum of the 
     respective amounts determined for the States under 
     subparagraph (A).

[[Page S1135]]

       ``(b) Minimum Allotment.--
       ``(1) In general.--Subject to paragraph (2), the allotment 
     for a State under section 521 for a fiscal year shall, at a 
     minimum, be the greater of--
       ``(A) the amount the State received under section 521 in 
     fiscal year 2005; and
       ``(B) $600,000 for each of the several States, the District 
     of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and 
     $100,000 for each of Guam, the Virgin Islands, American 
     Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
       ``(2) Condition.--If the funds appropriated in any fiscal 
     year under section 535 are insufficient to ensure that States 
     receive a minimum allotment in accordance with paragraph (1), 
     then--
       ``(A) no State shall receive less than the amount they 
     received in fiscal year 2005; and
       ``(B) any funds remaining after amounts are provided under 
     subparagraph (A) shall be used to meet the requirement of 
     paragraph (1)(B), to the maximum extent possible.''.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. ALLARD:
  S. 320. A bill to require the Secretary of the Army to carry out a 
pilot on compatible use buffers on real property bordering Fort Carson, 
Colorado, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Armed Services.
  Mr. ALLARD. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the Fort Carson 
Conservation Act of 2005 and take a moment to explain why this 
legislation is critical to our national security.
  Since World War II, hundreds of thousands of soldiers at Fort Carson 
have trained in relative isolation. With few current residents nearby, 
the Army has been using Fort Carson's ranges for large-scale training 
exercises, weapons testing and live fire. This training often occurs at 
night, a vital capability given the Army's preference to conduct 
military operations in darkness.
  The 140,000 acre Army installation and training facility was once 
miles from Colorado Springs and Pueblo. As both cities grow closer to 
the base's fence line, Fort Carson is facing constraints on its 
training flexibility, impacting military readiness. The issue of 
training at the post is particularly relevant considering nearly 15,000 
soldiers based at Fort Carson have been deployed or are currently 
employed to Iraq.
  The situation is not getting better. Over the last two decades, real 
estate and industrial development along Colorado's front range has 
exploded. Hundreds of thousands of people have moved to the Centennial 
State and settled along the 1-25 corridor. I remember the days when it 
was possible to drive for miles along the eastern foothills of the 
Rocky Mountains and encounter few if any residential areas. Today, 
there seems to be development all along Colorado's front range.
  Yet, military readiness at the post is not the only thing at risk. 
The post's fragile prairie habitat is also in danger. Fort Carson has 
always prided itself on its conservation of the public trust. Mountain 
Post has a special office just to ensure environmental compliance and 
protect the post's biodiversity. The mountain plover, the black-tailed 
prairie dog, the Arkansas River feverfew, and the Pueblo goldenweed are 
among the many rare species protected at Fort Carson.
  Over the last 3 years Fort Carson has partnered with the Nature 
Conservancy on a unique plan to address the rising encroachment 
concerns. This forward-thinking plan calls for the purchase of 
conservation easements of lands south and southeast of the base for a 
small number of willing sellers.
  If implemented, I believe the plan will preserve the military utility 
of key Fort Carson training areas while conserving important short 
grass prairie at a landscape scale, along with the ranching community 
that sustains it. As much as 82,000 acres of uninhibited, precious 
prairie would be protected, including four globally rare plant species.
  The Army fully supports this plan and has consistently described it 
as its number one priority under the service's Compatible Use Buffer 
program. This plan also enjoys widespread support from the local 
community, including the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. The 
Colorado Department of Transportation, the Great Outdoors of Colorado, 
and the Nature Conservancy all support the plan as well.
  I be1ieve we need to act now to protect unique training facilities 
like those at Fort Carson before it is too late. This program makes 
sense for the soldiers training at Fort Carson who require an isolated 
environment to conduct their maneuvers. This program makes sense for 
the environment.
  This plan makes too much sense for Congress to pass up. That is why I 
am introducing the Fort Carson Conservation Act. I am pleased that 
Congressman Joel Hefley is introducing this landmark legislation in the 
House of Representatives today as well.
  The Fort Carson Conservation Act of 2005 would require the Secretary 
of the Army to carry out a pilot project that creates a buffer zone out 
of the property bordering Fort Carson. The objective of this pilot 
would be to demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of utilizing 
conservation easements and leases to limit enroachment and preserve the 
environment.
  Under the pilot project, the Secretary of the Army would enter into 
agreements with one or more willing sellers to purchase conservation 
easements. These agreements would be founded on the authority already 
provided in section 2684a of title 10 of the United States Code. The 
pilot project would expire when either the project is completed or 
within 5 years.
  From my perspective, this pilot project is only the beginning. By 
working closely with the Army and the other military services, the 
Nature Conservancy has planted the seed for the expansion of this 
project. I strongly support the Conservancy's effort and believe that 
key military installations like Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, Fort 
Huachuca, Fort Stewart, and Eglin Air Force Base will soon be in a 
position to benefit from this proactive conservation effort.
  Mr. President, it is a little known secret that the Department of 
Defense is one of the best stewards of our environment. Almost 350 
endangered and threatened species live on military bases across the 
country--that is more than are found on land managed by the National 
Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land 
Management. In an era of rapid growth and urban development, military 
training areas have become, in many respects, the last refuge for many 
endangered species.
  Creating natural buffer zones that protect fragile habitat and ensure 
our military readiness is a win-win proposal. It is the right thing to 
do for the environment. It is the right thing to do for our Nation's 
Armed Forces. I urge my colleagues to support the Fort Carson 
Conservation Act.
  Thank you for the opportunity to speak on this important matter.
  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. 320

       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 ``Fort Carson Conservation Act 
     of 2005''.

     SEC. 2. PILOT PROJECT ON COMPATIBLE USE BUFFERS ON REAL 
                   PROPERTY BORDERING FORT CARSON, COLORADO.

       (a) In General.--The Secretary of the Army shall carry out 
     a pilot project at Fort Carson, Colorado, for purposes of 
     evaluating the feasibility and effectiveness of utilizing 
     conservation easements and leases granted by one or more 
     willing sources to limit development and preserve habitat on 
     real property in the vicinity of or ecologically related to 
     military installations in the United States.
       (b) Procedures.--
       (1) Phases.--The Secretary shall carry out the pilot 
     project in four phases, as specified in the Fort Carson Army 
     Compatible Use Buffer Project.
       (2) Lease and easement agreements.--Under the pilot 
     project, the Secretary shall enter into agreements with one 
     or more eligible entities who are willing to do so to 
     purchase from the entity or entities one or more conservation 
     easements, or to lease from the entity or entities one or 
     more conservation leases, on real property in the vicinity of 
     or ecologically related to Fort Carson for the purposes of--
       (A) limiting any development or use of the property that 
     would be incompatible with the current and anticipated future 
     missions of Fort Carson; or
       (B) preserving habitat on the property in a manner that--
       (i) is compatible with environmental requirements; and
       (ii) may eliminate or reduce current or anticipated 
     environmental restrictions that would or might otherwise 
     restrict, impede, or otherwise interfere, whether directly or 
     indirectly, with current or anticipated military training, 
     testing, or operations on Fort Carson.

[[Page S1136]]

       (3) Encroachments and other constraints on use.--In 
     entering into agreements under the pilot project, the 
     Secretary may, subject to the provisions of this section, 
     utilize the authority for agreements under this subsection to 
     limit encroachments and other constraints on military 
     training, testing, and operations under section 2684a of 
     title 10, United States Code.
       (4) Relationship to current use plan.--Any agreement 
     entered into under the pilot project shall be compatible with 
     the Fort Carson Army Compatible Use Buffer Project.
       (c) Expiration.--The authority of the Secretary to enter 
     into agreements under the pilot project shall expire on the 
     earlier of--
       (1) the date of the completion of phase IV of the Fort 
     Carson Army Compatible Use Buffer Project; or
       (2) the date that is five years after the date of the 
     enactment of this Act.
       (d) Definitions.--In this section:
       (1) The term ``Fort Carson Army Compatible Use Buffer 
     Project'' means the Fort Carson Army Compatible Use Buffer 
     Project, a plan to use conservation easements and leases on 
     property in the vicinity of or ecologically related to Fort 
     Carson to create a land buffer to accommodate current and 
     future missions at Fort Carson while conserving sensitive 
     natural resources.
       (2) The term ``eligible entity'' means any of the 
     following:
       (A) A State or political subdivision of a State.
       (B) A private entity that has as its stated principal 
     organizational purpose or goal the conservation, restoration, 
     or preservation of land and natural resources, or a similar 
     purpose or goal, as determined by the Secretary.
       (e) Funding.--
       (1) Authorization of appropriations.--Funds are hereby 
     authorized to be appropriated to the Department of Defense 
     for fiscal year 2006 for the Department of Defense, for 
     expenses not otherwise provided for, for operation and 
     maintenance for Defense-wide activities in the amount of 
     $30,000,000, to be available for the pilot project.
       (2) Availability without fiscal year limitation.--Funds 
     authorized to be appropriated by paragraph (1) shall be 
     available without fiscal year limitation.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Ms. SNOWE (for herself, Mr. Kohl, Mr. Rockefeller, and Ms. 
        Landrieu):
  S. 321. A bill to provide more child support money to families 
leaving welfare, to simplify the rules governing the assignment and 
distribution of child support collected by States on behalf of 
children, to improve the collection of child support, and for other 
purposes; to the Committee on Finance.
  Mr. KOHL. Mr. President, I rise today in strong support of the Child 
Support Distribution Act 2005, which Senator Snowe and I introduced 
today. I want to thank Senator Snowe for her hard work and dedication 
to this important issue and am proud to have worked with her for many 
years on this legislation. And I'd like to thank Senators Rockefeller 
and Landrieu for their cosponsorship and support.
  Senator Snowe and I have worked, both separately and in tandem, on 
issues related to child support for more than ten years. On many 
occasions, we've come close to seeing the positive changes contained in 
this legislation enacted. In 2000, a House version of this bill passed 
by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 405 to 18. In the 108th Congress, 
our legislation was included in the TANF Reauthorization bill that 
passed out of the Senate Finance Committee with bipartisan support. 
This year, S. 6, which was introduced by Senator Santorum, and is 
supported by Majority Leader Frist and Senators McConnell and 
Hutchison, contains child support provisions that are almost based 
entirely on the legislation we're discussing today.
  This legislation consistently receives bipartisan support because it 
takes a common sense approach to child support. By passing through more 
child support funds directly to low-income families, rather than 
sending it to the federal government, non-custodial parents are more 
likely pay, and families see a huge benefit from the additional income.
  Currently, approximately 60 percent of poor children who live with 
their mothers and whose fathers live outside the home do not receive 
child support. Though there are a variety of reasons why non-custodial 
parents may not be paying support for then children, many don't pay 
because the system actually discourages them from doing so.
  Under current law, $2.1 billion in child support is retained every 
year by the State and Federal Governments as repayment for welfare 
benefits--rather than delivered to the children to whom it is owed. 
Fifty-six percent of that amount is for families who have left welfare. 
Since the money doesn't benefit their kids, fathers are discouraged 
from paying support. And mothers have no incentive to push for payment 
since the support doesn't go to them.
  The current rules withhold a key source of income for low-income 
families that could help them maintain self-sufficiency. According to 
the Center for Law and Social Policy, child support constitutes 16 
percent of family income for low-income households that receive it. For 
families who leave welfare, this number almost doubles. A Washington 
State study of families leaving welfare with regular child support 
payments found that these families found work faster and kept jobs 
longer, compared to families without steady child support income.
  It's time for Congress to change this system and encourage States to 
distribute more child support to families. My home State of Wisconsin 
has been a leader in this practice, which has benefited thousands of 
working families. In 1997, I worked with my State to institute an 
innovative program of passing through child support payments directly 
to families. An evaluation of the  Wisconsin program clearly shows that 
when child support payments are delivered to families, non-custodial 
parents are more apt to pay, and to pay more. In addition, Wisconsin 
has found that, overall, this policy does not increase government 
costs. That makes sense because ``passing through'' support payments to 
families means they have more of their own resources, and are less apt 
to depend on public help to meet other needs such as food, 
transportation or child care.

  We now have a key opportunity to encourage all States to follow 
Wisconsin's example. This legislation gives States options and strong 
incentives to send more child support directly to families who are 
working their way off--or are already off--public assistance. Not only 
will this create the right incentives for non-custodial parents to pay, 
but it will also simplify the job for States, who currently face an 
administrative nightmare in following the complicated rules of the 
current system.
  This legislation finally brings the Child Support Enforcement program 
into the post-welfare reform era, shifting its focus from recovering 
welfare costs to increasing child support to families so they can 
sustain work and maintain self-sufficiency. After all, it's only fair 
that if we are asking parents to move off welfare, stay off welfare, 
and take financial responsibility for their families, then we in 
Congress must make sure that child support payments actually go to the 
families to whom they are owed and who are working so hard to succeed.
  It is time for Congress to make this change. It's time that we 
finally make child support meaningful for families, and make sure that 
children get the support they need and deserve.
                                 ______
                                 
      Mr. JEFFORDS (for himself, Mr. Leahy, Mrs. Clinton, and Mr. 
        Schumer):
  S. 322. A bill to establish the Champlain Valley National Heritage 
Partnership in the States of Vermont and New York, and for other 
purposes; to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
  Mr. JEFFORDS. Mr. President, I am very pleased to introduce the 
Champlain Valley National Heritage Act of 2005. I am joined by Senator 
Leahy and Senators Schumer and Clinton of New York. This bill will 
establish a National Heritage Partnership within the Champlain Valley. 
Passage of this bill will culminate a process to enhance the incredible 
cultural resources of the Champlain Valley.
  The Champlain Valley of Vermont and New York has one of the richest 
and most intact collections of historic resources in the United States. 
Fort Ticonderoga still stands where it has for centuries, at the scene 
of numerous battles critical to the birth of our nation. Revolutionary 
gunboats have recently been found fully intact on the bottom of Lake 
Champlain. Our cemeteries are the permanent resting place for great 
explorers, soldiers and sailors. The United States and Canada would not 
exist today but for events that occurred in this region.
  We in Vermont and New York take great pride in our history. We 
preserve it, honor it and show it off to visitors from around the 
world. These visitors

[[Page S1137]]

are also very important to our economy. Tourism is among the most 
important industries in this region and has much potential for growth.
  The Champlain Valley Heritage Partnership will bring together more 
than one hundred local groups working to preserve and promote our 
heritage.
  This project has taken many years for me to bring to the point of 
introducing legislation. This has been time well spent working at the 
grass-roots level to develop a framework to direct federal resources to 
where it will do the most good. I am confident that we have found the 
best model. This will be a true partnership that supports each member 
but does not impose any new federal requirements.
  The Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership will preserve our 
historic resources, interpret and teach about the events that shaped 
our nation and will be an engine for economic growth. I am hopeful that 
this bill, which was passed unanimously by the Senate last year, will 
become law during this Congress.
  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. 322

       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 ``Champlain Valley National 
     Heritage Partnership Act of 2005''.

     SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.

       (a) Findings.--Congress finds that--
       (1) the Champlain Valley and its extensive cultural and 
     natural resources have played a significant role in the 
     history of the United States and the individual States of 
     Vermont and New York;
       (2) archaeological evidence indicates that the Champlain 
     Valley has been inhabited by humans since the last retreat of 
     the glaciers, with the Native Americans living in the area at 
     the time of European discovery being primarily of Iroquois 
     and Algonquin descent;
       (3) the linked waterways of the Champlain Valley, including 
     the Richelieu River in Canada, played a unique and 
     significant role in the establishment and development of the 
     United States and Canada through several distinct eras, 
     including--
       (A) the era of European exploration, during which Samuel de 
     Champlain and other explorers used the waterways as a means 
     of access through the wilderness;
       (B) the era of military campaigns, including highly 
     significant military campaigns of the French and Indian War, 
     the American Revolution, and the War of 1812; and
       (C) the era of maritime commerce, during which canals 
     boats, schooners, and steamships formed the backbone of 
     commercial transportation for the region;
       (4) those unique and significant eras are best described by 
     the theme ``The Making of Nations and Corridors of 
     Commerce'';
       (5) the artifacts and structures associated with those eras 
     are unusually well-preserved;
       (6) the Champlain Valley is recognized as having one of the 
     richest collections of historical resources in North America;
       (7) the history and cultural heritage of the Champlain 
     Valley are shared with Canada and the Province of Quebec;
       (8) there are benefits in celebrating and promoting this 
     mutual heritage;
       (9) tourism is among the most important industries in the 
     Champlain Valley, and heritage tourism in particular plays a 
     significant role in the economy of the Champlain Valley;
       (10) it is important to enhance heritage tourism in the 
     Champlain Valley while ensuring that increased visitation 
     will not impair the historical and cultural resources of the 
     region;
       (11) according to the 1999 report of the National Park 
     Service entitled ``Champlain Valley Heritage Corridor 
     Project'', ``the Champlain Valley contains resources and 
     represents a theme `The Making of Nations and Corridors of 
     Commerce', that is of outstanding importance in U.S. 
     history''; and
       (12) it is in the interest of the United States to preserve 
     and interpret the historical and cultural resources of the 
     Champlain Valley for the education and benefit of present and 
     future generations.
       (b) Purposes.--The purposes of this Act are--
       (1) to establish the Champlain Valley National Heritage 
     Partnership in the States of Vermont and New York to 
     recognize the importance of the historical, cultural, and 
     recreational resources of the Champlain Valley region to the 
     United States;
       (2) to assist the State of Vermont and New York, including 
     units of local government and nongovernmental organizations 
     in the States, in preserving, protecting, and interpreting 
     those resources for the benefit of the people of the United 
     States;
       (3) to use those resources and the theme ``The Making of 
     Nations and Corridors of Commerce'' to--
       (A) revitalize the economy of communities in the Champlain 
     Valley; and
       (B) generate and sustain increased levels of tourism in the 
     Champlain Valley;
       (4) to encourage--
       (A) partnerships among State and local governments and 
     nongovernmental organizations in the United States; and
       (B) collaboration with Canada and the Province of Quebec 
     to--
       (i) interpret and promote the history of the waterways of 
     the Champlain Valley region;
       (ii) form stronger bonds between the United States and 
     Canada; and
       (iii) promote the international aspects of the Champlain 
     Valley region; and
       (5) to provide financial and technical assistance for the 
     purposes described in paragraphs (1) through (4).

     SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

       In this Act:
       (1) Heritage partnership.--The term ``Heritage 
     Partnership'' means the Champlain Valley National Heritage 
     Partnership established by section 4(a).
       (2) Management entity.--The term ``management entity'' 
     means the Lake Champlain Basin Program.
       (3) Management plan.--The term ``management plan'' means 
     the management plan developed under section 4(b)(B)(i).
       (4) Region.--
       (A) In general.--The term ``region'' means any area or 
     community in 1 of the States in which a physical, cultural, 
     or historical resource that represents the theme is located.
       (B) Inclusions.--The term ``region'' includes
       (i) the linked navigable waterways of--

       (I) Lake Champlain;
       (II) Lake George;
       (III) the Champlain Canal; and
       (IV) the portion of the Upper Hudson River extending south 
     to Saratoga;

       (ii) portions of Grand Isle, Franklin, Chittenden, Addison, 
     Rutland, and Bennington Counties in the State of Vermont; and
       (iii) portions of Clinton, Essex, Warren, Saratoga and 
     Washington Counties in the State of New York.
       (5) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
     of the Interior.
       (6) State.--the term ``State'' means--
       (A) the State of Vermont; and
       (B) the State of New York.
       (7) Theme.--The term ``theme'' means the theme ``The Making 
     of Nations and Corridors of Commerce'', as the term is used 
     in the 1999 report of the National Park Service entitled 
     ``Champlain Valley Heritage Corridor Project'', that 
     describes the periods of international conflict and maritime 
     commerce during which the region played a unique and 
     significant role in the development of the United States and 
     Canada.

     SEC. 4. HERITAGE PARTNERSHIP.

       (a) Establishment.--There is established in the regional 
     the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership.
       (b) Management Entity.--
       (1) Duties.--
       (A) In general.--The management entity shall implement the 
     Act.
       (B) Management plan.--
       (i) In general.--Not later than 3 years after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the management entity shall develop a 
     management plan for the Heritage Partnership.
       (ii) Existing plan.--Pending the completion and approval of 
     the management plan, the management entity may implement the 
     provisions of this Act based on its federally authorized plan 
     ``Opportunities for Action, an Evolving Plan For Lake 
     Champlain''.
       (iii) Contents.--The management plan shall include--

       (I) recommendations for funding, managing, and developing 
     the Heritage Partnership;
       (II) a description of activities to be carried out by 
     public and private organizations to protect the resources of 
     the Heritage Partnership;
       (III) a list of specific, potential sources of funding for 
     the protection, management, and development of the Heritage 
     Partnership;
       (IV) an assessment of the organizational capacity of the 
     management entity to achieve the goals for implementation; 
     and
       (V) recommendations of ways in which to encourage 
     collaboration with Canada and the Province of Quebec in 
     implementing this Act.

       (iv) Considerations.--In developing the management plan 
     under clause (i), the management entity shall take into 
     consideration existing Federal, State, and local plans 
     relating to the region.
       (v) Submission to secretary for approval.--

       (I) In general.--Not later than 3 years after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the management entity shall submit the 
     management plan to the Secretary for approval.
       (II) Effect of failure to submit.--If a management plan is 
     not submitted to the Secretary by the date specified in 
     paragraph (I), the Secretary shall not provide any additional 
     funding under this Act until a management plan for the 
     Heritage Partnership is submitted to the Secretary.

       (vi) Approval.--Not later than 90 days after receiving the 
     management plan submitted under subparagraph (V)(I), the 
     Secretary, in consultation with the States, shall approve or 
     disapprove the management plan.
       (vii) Action following disapproval.--

       (I) General.--If the Secretary disapproves a management 
     plan under subparagraph (vi), the Secretary shall--

       (aa) advise the management entity in writing of the reasons 
     for the disapproval;

[[Page S1138]]

       (bb) make recommendations for revisions to the management 
     plan; and
       (cc) allow the management entity to submit to the Secretary 
     revisions to the management plan.

       (II) Deadline for approval of revision.--Not later than 90 
     days after the date on which a revision is submitted under 
     subparagraph (vii)(I)(cc), the Secretary shall approve or 
     disapprove the revision.

       (viii) Amendment.--

       (I) In general.--After approval by the Secretary of the 
     management plan, the management entity shall periodically--

       (aa) review the management plan; and
       (bb) submit to the Secretary, for review and approval by 
     the Secretary, the recommendations of the management entity 
     for any amendments to the management plan that the management 
     entity considers to be appropriate.

       (II) Expenditure of funds.--No funds made available under 
     this Act shall be used to implement any amendment proposed by 
     the management entity under subparagraph (viii)(1) until the 
     Secretary approves the amendments.

       (2) Partnerships.--
       (A) In general.--In carrying out this Act, the management 
     entity may enter into partnerships with--
       (i) the States, including units of local governments in the 
     States;
       (ii) nongovernmental organizations;
       (iii) Indian Tribes; and
       (iv) other persons in the Heritage Partnership.
       (B) Grants.--Subject to the availability of funds, the 
     management entity may provide grants to partners under 
     subparagraph (A) to assist in implementing this Act.
       (3) Prohibition on the acquisition of real property.--The 
     management entity shall not use Federal funds made available 
     under this Act to acquire real property or any interest in 
     real property.
       (c) Assistance From Secretary.--To carry out the purposes 
     of this Act, the Secretary may provide technical and 
     financial assistance to the management entity.

     SEC. 5. EFFECT.

       Nothing in this Act--
       (1) grants powers of zoning or land use to the management 
     entity;
       (2) modifies, enlarges, or diminishes the authority of the 
     Federal Government or a State or local government to manage 
     or regulate any use of land under any law (including 
     regulations); or
       (3) obstructs or limits private business development 
     activities or resource development activities.

     SEC. 6. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

       (a) In General.--There is authorized to be appropriated to 
     carry out this Act not more than a total of $10,000,000, of 
     which not more than $1,000,000 may be made available for any 
     fiscal year.
       (b) Non-Federal Share.--The non-Federal share of the cost 
     of any activities carried out using Federal funds made 
     available under subsection (a) not be less than 50 percent.

     SEC. 7. TERMINATION OF AUTHORITY.

       The authority of the Secretary to provide assistance under 
     this Act terminates on the date that is 15 years after the 
     date of enactment of this Act.

                          ____________________