(Senate - July 27, 2006)

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[Pages S8378-S8382]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


      By Mrs. BOXER (for herself and Mrs. Feinstein):
  S. 3746. A bill to authorize the Secretry of the Interior and the 
Secretary of Agriculture to make grants to facilitate the establishment 
of the National Ag Science Center in Stanislaus County, California; to 
the committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.
  Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, I rise today with my colleague Senator 
Feinstein to introduce a bill authorizing the Secretaries of 
Agriculture and Interior to make grants to facilitate the establishment 
of the National Ag Science Center in Stanislaus County, California. 
This bill will create a facility that will help teach visitors from all 
across the country about the significance of agriculture in our 
Nation's culture and economy, the importance of science in agriculture, 
and California's role as the Nation's preeminent agricultural State.
  This bill will designate $10 million in total grant funding to help 
fund construction costs of the center, with the

[[Page S8379]]

federal share limited to 33 percent of the total cost. I am happy to 
report that the center is making great progress on raising private 
donations to complete its share of the construction funding.
  The center will help promote California's place as the Nation's most 
diverse and productive agricultural State. With the farmers, growers, 
and ranchers of our State producing over 350 different crops and 
commodities, and nearly 80,000 active farming operations, agriculture 
is one of California's most important industries. From our vineyards 
and wineries, to the almond, stone fruit, strawberry, cotton, and rice 
farms, to the citrus groves of central and southern California, to the 
dairy and cattle ranches across the State, farming and agriculture are 
ubiquitous in California and impact all of our communities in an 
important way.
  The farms, large and small, produce half of America's produce and are 
exported all across the globe, providing billions of dollars to our 
economy and balance of trade.
  The center's mission will place an emphasis on agricultural science 
education, with interactive, high-technology exhibits designed to 
foster an understanding of the importance of agriculture, and how 
science plays an essential role in the farm-to-food process. There will 
also be a strong focus on highlighting the important relationship 
between agriculture, conservation, and the environment.
  I would also like to thank Representatives Cardoza, Matsui and 
Radanovich for introducing a companion bill in the House of 
      By Mr. ROCKEFELLER (for himself, Mr. Kerry, Mr. Kennedy, and Mr. 
  S. 3747. A bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act and 
the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to provide access 
to Medicare benefits for individuals ages 55 to 65, to amend the 
Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a refundable and advanceable 
credit against income tax for payment of such premiums, and for other 
purposes; to the Committee on Finance.
  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Mr. President, in 2004, 45.8 million Americans were 
without health insurance. That is 15.7 percent of our population, an 
increase of over 800,000 people in just one year. Yet this number 
doesn't even reflect the true extent of the problem, as at least 
another 16 million adults and children are underinsured. This means 
that even though they have insurance, they are not able to access 
quality health care when they need it because of high deductibles, 
soaring co-payments, and unreasonable health benefit restrictions.
  As I have said many times before, it is unacceptable that a world 
superpower such as ours has so many people that are uninsured. Lacking 
or having inadequate health insurance has been shown over and over to 
be associated with poorer health and quality of life. The uninsured are 
over 40 percent more likely to be diagnosed with late stage breast and 
prostate cancers and more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with 
late stage melanoma. They are hospitalized more often for avoidable 
conditions such as pneumonia and uncontrolled diabetes.
  The Institute of Medicine estimates that 18,000 people die every year 
because they lack health coverage. Thousands more suffer unnecessary 
pain and disability because they can't get the health care they need 
when they need it. We cannot allow so many of our fellow citizens to 
just fall through the cracks of a deficient health care system. We can 
and must do better.
  I have introduced several bills to this Congress to provide greater 
access to health insurance coverage in this country. These bills 
include the MediKids Health Insurance Act to improve coverage for kids, 
the TAA Health Coverage Improvement Act to offer insurance options to 
trade displaced workers, and the Small Employers Health Benefits Plan 
Act to offer more affordable health care to small business owners and 
their employees. Today, I join Senators Kerry, Kennedy, and Sarbanes in 
introducing yet another key piece of legislation to reduce the number 
of uninsured Americans--the Medicare Early Access Act of 2006.
  The Medicare Early Access Act of 2006, which has also been introduced 
in the House of Representatives by Congressman Pete Stark, provides a 
new coverage option for our Nation's near elderly. This legislation 
would allow people aged 55 through 64, who are not otherwise eligible 
for coverage under a group health plan or Federal health insurance 
program, to buy into Medicare. It also provides a 75 percent tax credit 
for Medicare early access premiums to make coverage more affordable for 
the broadest range of near elderly individuals.
  Insurance coverage for the near-elderly, the 29 million people 
between the ages of 55 and 64, is particularly critical. The near 
elderly are the fastest growing group of uninsured Americans--almost 
one in seven are uninsured. And, we know the risk of serious illness 
for adults increases with age, requiring more frequent contact with the 
health care system and the related financial obligations. Over 50 
percent of near-elderly Americans have at least one serious health 
problem, including diabetes, cancer, chronic lung disease, heart 
problems, or stroke. Without adequate access to health care, these 
individuals typically delay care until more serious complications 
develop that could require high-cost hospital care or even lead to 
premature death.

  With job layoffs, early retirement, and the dwindling number of 
employers offering health insurance, the near-elderly now face greater 
hurdles to maintaining adequate health care coverage. In March of this 
year, a major American automotive company offered 113,000 of its 
employees up to $140,000 to leave the company with no claims to future 
benefits. It is predicted that more large employers will follow suit in 
the near future, while other companies continue to seek bankruptcy 
court approval to set aside long-standing benefit programs. The 
greatest impact of these types of buyouts and benefit restrictions will 
be on the near-elderly age group, who do not yet have the safety net of 
  Some of my colleagues might argue that Medicare buy-in legislation is 
unnecessary because the near elderly can get coverage in the individual 
market. I would say to my colleagues that the near elderly have an 
extremely difficult time buying insurance in the individual market. 
Because this group tends to have pre-existing chronic illnesses, 
private insurers often deny them coverage or offer them coverage at 
unaffordable rates. So the individual market actually fails to be an 
option for most near elderly individuals and they bear the risk of 
forgoing coverage altogether.
  Lack of insurance and gaps in coverage affect us all, not just the 
uninsured person in need of care. When an uninsured person goes to a 
hospital, clinic, or emergency room and cannot pay for the cost of his 
or her care, the unpaid balances are passed on to those who have 
insurance or other means to pay. Insurance rates go up as do our taxes 
to support public programs. Whether through higher insurance premiums 
or taxes supporting our public insurance programs, we all pay, one way 
or another, for not doing more to address the problem of the uninsured. 
Failure to achieve a solution now to this burgeoning problem will 
surely cost us more if we wait, both in human life and in dollars.
  The Medicare Early Access Act of 2006 may not be the total solution 
to solving America's crisis of the uninsured, but it is an earnest 
attempt to address the problem of the health care access for one of the 
most vulnerable segments of our population-the near elderly. These 
individuals often have the greatest need and the least choice when it 
comes to affordable health insurance coverage. By offering the near-
elderly access to comprehensive health benefits through Medicare, we 
can hopefully reduce the long-term costs to our health care system. I 
urge my colleagues to join us in taking this important step toward 
making health insurance and personal dignity a reality for all 
      By Mr. OBAMA (for himself and Mr. Durbin):
  S. 3757. A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal 
Service located at 950 Missouri Avenue in East St. Louis, Illinois, as 
the ``Katherine Dunham Post Office Building''; to the Committee on 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

[[Page S8380]]

  Mr. OBAMA. Mr. President, today, I am introducing legislation, along 
with Senator Durbin, to honor the lifetime achievements and legacy of 
one of Illinois' most treasured figures, Katherine Dunham, who passed 
away on May 21, 2006. Our bill would name the post office on Missouri 
Avenue in East St. Louis, the ``Katherine Dunham Post Office 
  Katherine Dunham was born in Glen Ellyn, IL, on June 22, 1909, to 
Albert Millard Dunham and Fanny June Taylor. Her father was a 
descendant of slaves from Madagascar and West Africa, and her mother 
was French Canadian. Her diverse background would foreshadow her 
lifelong commitment to exploring and teaching the history of culture 
around the world.
  Katherine Dunham's trailblazing life began at an early age when she 
entered the University of Chicago as one of the first African Americans 
to attend the school. She eventually earned bachelor, master's and 
doctoral degrees in anthropology, and participated in the Rosenwald 
Fellowship. Under this program she completed work on Caribbean and 
Brazilian dance anthropology, the first time significant work was done 
in the field. In 1931, Dunham opened her first dance school, which 
would become one of the most successful dance programs in American and 
European theater, and eventually led to her lead role in musicals, 
operas, and cabarets throughout the world.
  Dunham first appeared in London in June 1948 with her company in 
``Caribbean Rhapsody'' as part of the first tour to bring black dance 
as an art form, and American modern dance to the European public. After 
her return to the U.S., Dunham continued to dance, choreograph and 
direct on Broadway with her production, ``Katharine Dunham and Her 
Company and Bamboche.''
  When ``Aida'' premiered in 1963, Dunham became the first African 
American to choreograph for the Metropolitan Opera, further 
establishing her stature in the dance community. Beginning in 1940, 
Dunham also appeared in several films, including, ``Carnival of 
Rhythm'', ``Cabin in the Sky'', ``Star Spangled Rhythm'', ``Stormy 
Weather'', and ``Casbah''. Dunham also produced the choreography for 
``Pardon My Sarong''.
  What's more, Katherine Dunham's legacy doesn't stop on the dance 
stage. She used her notoriety to focus the public's attention to social 
injustices around the world. At the age of 82, Ms. Dunham undertook a 
47-day hunger strike in 1993, which helped shift public awareness to 
the international relationship between America and Haiti, ultimately 
assisting in the return of Haiti's first democratically elected 
  In 1967, Dunham moved to East St. Louis, where she helped open a 
performing arts training center and established a dance anthropology 
program at the innercity branch of southern Illinois University that 
was eventually named the Katherine Dunham Centers for the Arts and 
  Katherine Dunham was a woman far ahead of her time and her 
contributions earned her the recognition and admiration of her peers. 
Among her many honors are the Presidential Medal of Arts, Kennedy 
Center Honors, French Legion of Honor, Southern Cross of Brazil, Grand 
Cross of Haiti, NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award, Lincoln Academy 
Laureate, and the Urban League's Lifetime Achievement Award. Dunham was 
one of 75 women whose lives were celebrated in the book, ``I Have A 
  At one of the major highlights of her career, Dunham received the 
Albert Schweitzer Music Award ``for a life's work dedicated to music 
and devoted to humanity,'' in front of a packed house at New York's 
Carnegie Hall.
  I ask my colleagues to join me in celebrating the life and legacy of 
Katherine Dunham and her efforts to bring the cultures of the world to 
the community of East St. Louis, by naming the post office on Missouri 
Avenue in East St. Louis, the ``Katherine Dunham Post Office 
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, post offices are often designated in honor 
of individuals who have made valuable contributions to their Nation. 
Today, I am pleased to honor Ms. Katherine Dunham, the world-renowned 
dancer, choreographer, teacher, and social activist, by cosponsoring 
legislation that designates the U.S. Post Office at 950 Missouri Avenue 
in East St. Louis, IL, as the ``Katherine Dunham Post Office 
  Born in Chicago and raised in Joliet, IL, Ms. Dunham began dancing 
while in high school. She became one of the first African Americans to 
attend the University of Chicago and later earned her bachelor's and 
master's degrees in anthropology. In 1938, Dunham was hired as dance 
director for Chicago's Federal Theatre Project, where her fiery style 
would mark her work for several decades.
  In the spring of 1938, Ms. Dunham formed her own company, the Dunham 
Dance Company, and began to explore the connection of Caribbean dance 
to its African roots. In 1940, the company traveled to New York and 
performed a program titled ``Tropics and Le Jazz Hot.'' New York Times 
critic John Martin said: ``Her performance may very well become a 
historic occasion.'' Dunham's company undertook a national tour and 
performed on Broadway and in Hollywood. In 1945, Dunham opened the 
Katherine Dunham School of Arts and Research in New York. That same 
year, the company toured Europe with a program called ``Caribbean 
Rhapsody,'' which was already a success in the United States. It was 
the first time Europe had seen Black dance as an art form and also the 
first time that special elements of American modern dance appeared 
outside America. In 1963, Dunham secured her place in artistic history 
by becoming the first black choreographer at the Metropolitan Opera, 
where she helped stage the new production of ``Aida.''
  Dunham shut down her dance company in 1965 to become adviser to the 
cultural ministry of Senegal. She attended the first World Festival of 
Negro Arts in Senegal as an official representative from the United 
  In 1967, Dunham opened the Performing Arts Training Center, an 
African-American cultural center for local youngsters, in East St. 
Louis, IL. She later expanded the program to include senior citizens.
  Except for a brief appearance in 1965, Dunham did not perform 
regularly after 1962 as she focused on her choreography. One of her 
major works was choreographing and directing Scott Joplin's opera 
``Treemonisha'' in 1972.
  In February 1992, at the age of 82, Dunham again became the subject 
of international attention when she began a 47-day fast at her East St. 
Louis home. Because of her age, her involvement with Haiti, and the 
respect accorded her as an activist and artist, Dunham became the 
center of a movement that coalesced to protest the United States' 
deportations of Haitian boat-refugees fleeing to the United States 
after the military overthrow of Haiti's democratically-elected 
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. She agreed to end her fast only after 
Aristide visited her and personally requested her to stop.
  Ms. Dunham is the recipient of many coveted awards, including the 
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Dance Pioneer Award, the National 
Medal of Arts, Kennedy Center Honors, the French Legion of Honor, the 
Southern Cross of Brazil, the Grand Cross of Haiti, the NAACP Lifetime 
Achievement Award, the Lincoln Academy Laureate, the Urban League's 
Lifetime Achievement Award, and numerous honorary degrees. She was also 
one of 75 women whose lives were celebrated in the book, ``I Have a 
  I ask my colleagues to join me in honoring Ms. Dunham's humanitarian, 
artistic, and intellectual contributions to the world of dance. She 
revolutionized American dance and used her fame to bring public 
attention to social injustices at home and abroad. It is appropriate to 
express our appreciation to Katherine Dunham for her service to the 
East St. Louis community and to the world by naming an East St. Louis 
post office in her honor.
      By Mr. REED (for himself, Mr. Rockfeller, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. 
        Bingaman, and Mr. Kerry).
  S. 3758. A bill to establish certain requirements relating to the 
continuation of the Survey of Income and Program Participation; to the 
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
  Mr. REED. Mr. President. I am joined by Mr. Rockefeller, Mr. Kennedy, 
Mr. Bingaman, and Mr. Kerry in introducing important legislation 

[[Page S8381]]

the Survey of Income and Program Participation, SIPP. This legislation 
is also being introduced in the other body by Mrs. Maloney.
  The SIPP is the only large-scale longitudinal survey that provides 
data for evaluating the effectiveness of programs like Social Security, 
Medicaid, unemployment insurance, food stamps, and Temporary Assistance 
for Needy Families, TANF. There is no other survey that provides the 
richness and detail of the data that the SIPP collects. The survey 
provides essential information on the extent to which programs meet 
families' basic needs and promote upward mobility.
  Unfortunately, the President, in his fiscal year 2007 budget, 
proposed the elimination of the SIPP, followed by a redesign that would 
not be ready until 2009 at the earliest. In the meantime, there would 
be an irretrievable loss of data.
  By eliminating the SIPP, we not only abandon significant research 
investments by government and private researchers but we would also 
lose the ability to examine family outcomes over time. Without access 
to the SIPP's consistent time-series data, we will have to wait years, 
if not decades, to understand the implications of current policy 
decisions. Researchers and policymakers would no longer have an 
accurate dynamic picture of living standards in America.
  It is important that we create a process to ensure that we do not 
lose valuable resources for assessing program effectiveness and 
economic well-being. As such, our legislation would create a SIPP 
Commission whose members would be required to review any proposals to 
change or eliminate the SIPP. This would allow for necessary input from 
users of the SIPP. The bill would also prevent the administration from 
unilaterally discontinuing or changing the survey.
  Mr. President, this survey helps Congress to make good policy choices 
and to be good stewards of American tax dollars. Proposals to cut or 
eliminate this survey need to be taken seriously and considered 
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of this bill be 
printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:
       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       The Secretary of Commerce may not--
       (1) discontinue the Survey of Income and Program 
       (2) make any change in the design or content of such 
     Survey, or
       (3) allow any of the foregoing,

     unless the discontinuation or change involved has first been 
     approved in accordance with section 2.


       (a) In General.--Whenever in the judgment of the Secretary 
     of Commerce it becomes necessary to discontinue the Survey of 
     Income and Program Participation or to make any change in the 
     design or content of the Survey of Income and Program 
     Participation, he shall prepare a written proposal under this 
     subsection. Such proposal--
       (1) shall include--
       (A) a description of the specific actions proposed to be 
       (B) the date or schedule for their proposed implementation; 
       (C) the reasons or justification for each proposed action; 
       (2) shall be submitted by the Secretary of Commerce to the 
     SIPP Commission (established by section 3) in such time, 
     form, and manner as the Commission may require.
       (b) Consideration and Decision.--The SIPP Commission shall 
     promptly consider any proposal received under subsection (a) 
     and, after appropriate deliberation, shall transmit its 
     decision to approve or disapprove such proposal to the 
     Secretary of Commerce in timely fashion. Any such decision 
     shall be in writing and shall include a statement of reasons 
     and justification.


       (a) In General.--There is established a commission to be 
     known as the ``Commission on the Survey of Income and Program 
     Participation'' (in this Act referred to as the ``SIPP 
     Commission'' or the ``Commission'').
       (b) Composition.--The Commission shall be composed of--
       (1) the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, 
     who shall serve ex officio;
       (2) 1 member from the Department of Agriculture, who shall 
     be appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture;
       (3) 1 member from the Department of Labor, who shall be 
     appointed by the Secretary of Labor;
       (4) 1 member from the Department of Energy, who shall be 
     appointed by the Secretary of Energy;
       (5) 1 member from the Department of Health and Human 
     Services, who shall be appointed by the Secretary of Health 
     and Human Services;
       (6) 1 member from the Social Security Administration, who 
     shall be appointed by the Commissioner of Social Security;
       (7) 1 member from the Bureau of the Census, who shall be 
     appointed by the Secretary of Commerce in consultation with 
     the Director of the Census; and
       (8) 2 members from the National Academy of Sciences, who 
     shall be appointed by the Director of the Office of 
     Management and Budget from among individuals recommended by 
     the Council of the National Academy of Sciences.

     All appointments to the Commission shall be made from among 
     social scientists and statisticians who have experience 
     analyzing longitudinal household data on economic well-being 
     and participation in government programs.
       (c) Terms of Appointees.--
       (1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), each 
     member who is appointed to the Commission shall be appointed 
     for a term of 2 years.
       (2) Vacancies.--
       (A) In general.--Any member appointed to fill a vacancy 
     occurring before the expiration of the term for which the 
     member's predecessor was appointed shall be appointed only 
     for the remainder of that term.
       (B) Service after term ends.--A member may serve after the 
     expiration of that member's term until a successor has taken 
       (C) Manner of appointment.--A vacancy among any of the 
     appointed members shall be filled in the manner in which the 
     original appointment was made.
       (d) Chairman.--The Director of the Office of Management and 
     Budget shall serve as Chairman of the Commission.
       (e) Functions.--
       (1) In general.--It shall be the function of the Commission 
     to consider and act on any proposal relating to the Survey of 
     Income and Program Participation (described in section 2(a)) 
     in accordance with section 2(b).
       (2) Nondelegable functions.--The functions of the Director 
     of the Office of Management and Budget under this Act shall 
     be nondelegable.
       (f) Procedures.--The Commission shall meet at the call of 
     the Chairman of the Commission. A majority of the members of 
     the Commission who are eligible to vote shall constitute a 
     quorum. All members except those under paragraphs (1) and 
     (8), respectively, of subsection (b) shall be eligible to 
       (g) Compensation.--Members of the Commission shall serve as 
     such without pay, but shall be allowed travel expenses, 
     including a per diem allowance in lieu of subsistence, in the 
     same manner as persons serving intermittently in Government 
     service are allowed travel expenses under section 5703 of 
     title 5, United States Code.


       This Act shall take effect as of the date of the enactment 
     of this Act or September 30, 2006, whichever is earlier.
      By Mr. BURNS:
  S. 3759. A bill to name the Armed Forces Readiness Center in Great 
Falls, Montana, in honor of Captain William Wylie Galt, a recipient of 
the Congressional Medal of Honor; to the Committee on Armed Services.
  Mr. BURNS. Mr. President, I rise today to pay tribute to the Galt 
family from my home State of Montana. The Galt family first came to 
Montana in 1910 settling in Judith Basin County. They have been leaders 
in their communities ever since.
  One member of the Galt family paid the ultimate sacrifice for his 
country at the young age of 24. U.S. Army CPT William Wylie Galt was 
awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his brave actions in 1944. 
The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an 
enemy force that can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the 
armed services of the United States.
  Captain Galt's citation reads:

       For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond 
     the call of duty. Capt. Galt, Battalion S3, at a particularly 
     critical period following 2 unsuccessful attacks by his 
     battalion, of his own volition went forward and ascertained 
     just how critical the situation was. He volunteered, at the 
     risk of his life, personally to lead the battalion against 
     the objective. When the lone remaining tank destroyer refused 
     to go forward, Capt. Galt jumped on the tank destroyer and 
     ordered it to precede the attack. As the tank destroyer moved 
     forward, followed by a company of riflemen, Capt. Galt manned 
     the .30-caliber machinegun in the turret of the tank 
     destroyer, located and directed fire on an enemy 77mm. anti-
     tank gun, and destroyed it. Nearing the enemy positions, 
     Capt. Galt stood fully exposed in the turret, ceaselessly 
     firing his machinegun and tossing hand grenades into the 
     enemy zigzag series of trenches despite the hail of sniper 
     and machinegun bullets ricocheting off the tank destroyer. As 
     the tank destroyer moved, Capt. Galt so maneuvered it that 40 
     of the enemy were

[[Page S8382]]

     trapped in one trench. When they refused to surrender, Capt. 
     Galt pressed the trigger of the machinegun and dispatched 
     every one of them. A few minutes later an 88mm shell struck 
     the tank destroyer and Capt. Galt fell mortally wounded 
     across his machinegun. He had personally killed 40 Germans 
     and wounded many more. Capt. Galt pitted his judgment and 
     superb courage against overwhelming odds, exemplifying the 
     highest measure of devotion to his country and the finest 
     traditions of the U.S. Army.

  In 2005, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, BRAC, decided 
to permanently close Galt Hall U.S. Army Reserve Center on Gore Hill in 
Great Falls, MT, and relocate units to a new Armed Forces Readiness 
Center near Malmstrom Air Force Base across town. The U.S. Army Reserve 
Center on Gore Hill was dedicated to Captain Galt in 1958.
  I believe it is a fitting tribute to name the U.S. Armed Forces 
Readiness Center in Great Falls, MT, ``The Captain William Wylie Galt 
Great Falls Armed Forces Readiness Center'' to carry on the history of 
this brave Montanan.
  Captain Galt may be gone, but with the naming of the Armed Forces 
Readiness Center in Great Falls after him, the memory of this true hero 
will live on and remind us that freedom is never free.