111 th CONGRESS, FIRST SESSION
of America PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE
Vol. 155 WASHINGTON, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2009 No. 130
House of Representatives
The House met at 10:30 a.m. and was ican Society of Civil Engineers has the private sector, from their local
called to order by the Speaker pro tem- rated our overall infrastructure with a Chamber, contractors, unions, the local
pore (Ms. SPEIER). grade of ‘‘D’’ and has done so repeat- community leadership, all being part
f edly. It is one of those rare, important of this movement to rebuild and renew
issues that actually unites people rath- America.
DESIGNATION OF SPEAKER PRO er than dividing them. This is the fastest way to get the
TEMPORE Water and transportation invest- economy on track, to improve the envi-
The SPEAKER pro tempore laid be- ments are overwhelmingly supported ronment, put people to work and make
fore the House the following commu- by the public across the board from our communities more liveable, our
nication from the Speaker: coast to coast. And a majority of Re- families safer, healthier and more eco-
WASHINGTON, DC, publicans, Democrats and independents nomically secure.
September 15, 2009. would increase their taxes to get this f
I hereby appoint the Honorable JACKIE job done.
SPEIER to act as Speaker pro tempore on this Rebuilding and renewing America GET HEALTHCARE DONE RIGHT
day. will make a huge difference in both the The SPEAKER pro tempore. The
NANCY PELOSI, economy and the everyday quality of Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from
Speaker of the House of Representatives. life of Americans. The economic recov- Michigan (Mrs. MILLER) for 5 minutes.
f ery package that we passed early in the Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Madam
year was an important step to stop the Speaker, the American health care sys-
economic free fall. I would hate to tem is clearly in need of reform. Yet at
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursu- think what my State of Oregon would the same time our system of health
ant to the order of the House of Janu- be facing without the $6 billion for edu- care continues to be the envy of the
ary 6, 2009, the Chair will now recog- cation, health care, unemployment and world in producing life-saving innova-
nize Members from lists submitted by infrastructure. It was very important tions in the pharmaceutical industry,
the majority and minority leaders for for the State of Oregon and for States in medical procedures and in treat-
morning-hour debate. across the country, important but not ment.
The Chair will alternate recognition enough. Congress certainly must act to help
between the parties, with each party The perfect next step is to reauthor- bring down costs and expand access to
limited to 30 minutes and each Mem- ize and fund the next transportation health insurance, while preserving the
ber, other than the majority and mi- bill, which expires in 15 days. Our quality of care patients receive in this
nority leaders and the minority whip, Transportation and Infrastructure great, great Nation. I have heard many
limited to 5 minutes. Committee has been hard at work. of my Democratic colleagues, and cer-
f They have developed a great outline for tainly the President, speak about the
the new legislation. need to increase competition in the
REBUILDING AND RENEWING But the highway trust fund that health insurance marketplace to help
AMERICA would fund that new vision faces a sig- reduce costs, and I could not agree
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The nificant shortfall. Our recent stopgap more.
Chair recognizes the gentleman from efforts to plug the hole just adds to the But where I part company with my
Oregon (Mr. BLUMENAUER) for 5 min- long-term deficit without the certainty Democratic colleagues is in their pre-
utes. that communities and contractors re- scription for the problem. The way
Mr. BLUMENAUER. Madam Speaker, quire to start needed big projects. they want to increase competition is to
these times demand that Congress and In the short term, the House should create a new government insurance
the administration do more than one come together, work with the Senate company, better known as the public
thing at a time, health care, energy, and pass a short-term extension of 4 to option, to provide this competition.
dealing with the economic downturn 6 months that will allow us to get the They have demonized insurance compa-
and near financial meltdown inherited reauthorization and the funding in nies in an effort to build support for
by the new administration. One chal- order. this misguided plan, even though re-
lenge needs more attention, rebuilding In the meantime, every Member cent public opinion surveys have shown
and renewing America. ought to take advantage of this oppor- that over 80 percent of Americans are
Our fraying infrastructure has been a tunity to involve people back home in satisfied with their current plan. My
growing problem for years. The Amer- this critical discussion. People from concerns with the public option, which
b This symbol represents the time of day during the House proceedings, e.g., b 1407 is 2:07 p.m.
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Matter set in this typeface indicates words inserted or appended, rather than spoken, by a Member of the House on the floor.
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H9494 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — HOUSE September 15, 2009
are shared, I think, by huge amounts of This has driven up costs by forcing The results are predictable. Studies
Americans, is that it would have an un- insurance companies to settle because show that 50 percent of youth who reg-
fair advantage that could crowd out these suits cost too much to fight, re- ularly perform farm work drop out of
private health care, and it would put gardless of their merit, and the costs school. The consequences of this high
huge new costs on the American tax- are passed along to doctors in the form drop-out rate are tragic.
payers. of higher premiums and ultimately In addition to these children being
For months the President has said if higher health insurance costs to con- deprived of educational opportunities,
you like what you have, you can keep sumers. It has also made it very dif- which could help them escape a life-
it. Then just last week, the President ficult for specialty doctors like OB/ time of being stooped over in the hot
changed that and he said, instead, GYNs to practice, and it limits access, sun picking fruits and vegetables, it de-
there is nothing in this bill that would particularly in rural areas. prives our country of the talents and
force you or your employer to change Many States have enacted caps on potential contributions of these young
what you have. noneconomic damages. And in every children.
Well, it may be true that nothing place where this has happened, doctors Adding to their heartbreaking cir-
will force you or your employer into have moved in, lawyers have moved cumstances is the fact that many of
the public option, but the bill before out, and costs have gone down. our labor laws do not protect them
the House has perverse incentives to So I was very disappointed when the equally. Not only do they earn sub-
encourage your employer to do just President said over the weekend that minimum wages, but under current law
that. The bill mandates individuals to he doesn’t believe caps work. Respect- the children of agriculture are allowed
purchase insurance, and it requires fully, Mr. President, actually, caps on to use hazardous farm equipment and
large employers to provide care for noneconomic damage is medical liabil- work in an environment that contin-
their employees. Businesses that do ity reform. ually exposes them to poisonous pes-
not provide health care insurance will Madam Speaker, the American peo- ticides, which can lead to serious in-
be taxed at 8 percent of their payroll as ple are rightfully concerned about how jury or even death.
a penalty, and most employers will tell any reform will impact out-of-control These dangerous and exploitive con-
you that health care costs typically Federal spending and our exploding ditions, which are illegal for children
run about 14 to 16 percent of their pay- Federal deficit. It just stretches credi- in every other industry, simply do not
roll. bility when people are told that we can reflect the precious value we Ameri-
So businesses that are struggling to create a public option, expand access cans place on children. I am intro-
make ends meet will now face a choice, and availability of care, and we can do ducing the CARE Act to reflect our
either continue to pay 15 percent of so without dramatically increasing value.
their payroll to provide coverage for taxes or adding to the Federal debt. The CARE Act raises labor standards
their employees, or just dump them Well, you can’t get something for for farm worker children to the same
out onto the public plan and take the 8 nothing, particularly when the govern- level as those for children in all other
percent penalty. Well, that is a pretty ment is involved. And many seniors occupations. Specifically, the bill
easy business decision to make. Unfor- find it difficult to believe that we can raises the minimum age for working in
tunately, it has very broad implica- pay for some of this by reducing spend- agriculture to 14 and restricts children
tions for their employers, and I believe ing on Medicare by $600 billion and under 16 from working when it inter-
this Nation will go to a government- more and not impact their level of feres with their education or endangers
run health care plan very, very quickly care. their health and well-being.
as a result of that. The proponents say these cuts are The CARE Act also prohibits chil-
Madam Speaker, there is a better just waste, fraud and abuse. Well, if dren under the age of 18 from agricul-
way to reduce the cost of insurance at there is that much waste, fraud and tural work that the Department of
virtually no cost to the government, abuse, we should be attacking that. Labor has specified as particularly haz-
and that is to simply allow individuals Madam Speaker, we can do better. ardous. This is consistent with current
and businesses to purchase health care And, for the sake of the American peo- law governing all industries outside of
insurance across State lines. Lifting ple, we must do better. agriculture.
this restriction would bring hundreds, f The CARE Act also requires employ-
if not thousands, of new competitors ers to document the injuries, illness
into the private marketplace to com- CHILDREN AND EMPLOYMENT
and deaths of these young people. This
pete for business. This would abso- The SPEAKER pro tempore. The documentation will enable the Depart-
lutely reduce costs, and it’s a simple Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from ment of Labor to monitor and protect
change which we can enact imme- California (Ms. ROYBAL-ALLARD) for 5 children working in agriculture from
diately. minutes. exploitation and dangerous work condi-
The President actually made an anal- Ms. ROYBAL-ALLARD. Madam tions. And, finally, to help ensure com-
ogy to private auto insurance, and I Speaker, I rise to introduce the Chil- pliance with the bill’s protective meas-
would respectfully remind the Presi- dren’s Act for Responsible Employ- ures, the CARE Act sets a minimum
dent that auto insurance can be pur- ment, better known as the CARE Act. fine of $500 for child labor violations
chased across State lines, and there is This month, millions of children and a maximum fine of $15,000.
no public option in auto insurance. The across the country are returning to Madam Speaker, it is our moral obli-
market regulates itself to keep costs school. After meeting their teachers gation to do all we can to protect the
down. and reconnecting with friends, they rights, the safety and the educational
Additionally, millions of Americans will launch headlong into their studies. future of our most precious resource,
today have their health care covered Absent from our Nation’s classroom, our children. The CARE Act is a posi-
by a health savings account. If H.R. however, will be thousands of children tive step toward meeting that obliga-
3200 is enacted, health savings accounts who, instead of going to school, will be tion.
will be gone and those who utilize them working in the fields and orchards of I urge my colleagues to cosponsor
will be forced to change their coverage. our country. These are not children of and help pass the Children’s Act for Re-
So, again, this is actually less choice local farmers, but hired hands who sponsible Employment, known as the
and less competition in the health care travel from crop to crop to help their CARE Act.
industry. families make ends meet.
I was very glad last week when the These children who help put food on f
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President said he would look at pilot their table start school late and con- b 1045
programs with regard to medical liabil- tinue to work long hours, leaving them
ity reform. For too long, trial attor- little time or energy to do their home- EXAMINING THE PRESIDENT’S
neys have looked at doctors as ATM work. If previous years are any guide, CLAIMS ON HEALTH CARE
machines and have filed countless friv- some of these students will miss 1 out The SPEAKER pro tempore. The
olous lawsuits. of every 6 days of school. Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from
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