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Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of H.R. 1424, Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007

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Location: Washington, DC


PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 1424, PAUL WELLSTONE MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION EQUITY ACT OF 2007 -- (House of Representatives - March 05, 2008)

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Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Mr. Speaker, I will be asking for a recorded vote on the previous question today, and the reason is that the House majority leader, Mr. Hoyer, has just announced that the House will not take up the electronic surveillance bill this week, further delaying any decisions in the closing of an important intelligence gap. We have now gone 18 days since the expiration of the Protect America Act. If the previous question is defeated, we will immediately bring up the Senate legislation to close that gap.

I also rise today to oppose this rule. I commend Mr. Ramstad and Mr. Kennedy for their work on mental health parity. In the past, I have been a cosponsor of their legislation. But I offered a substitute amendment in the Rules Committee last night which was not ruled in order. The alternative is supported by 285 organizations that support the Senate version of the mental health parity bill which passed the United States Senate unanimously in September. The differences are on policy, and my amendment was not made in order. Instead, we have the 50th closed rule of this Congress. No amendments. This floor can't stomach debate on policy issues, and I think that is a sad commentary on the way this House is being run.

This is a major bill, one of the most important, I think, we will consider this year. I believe very strongly that mental illness and a disease of the brain is a medical condition that should be treated as seriously as a disease of the heart or the liver or the lungs.

The amendment that I offered, the substitute, is a bipartisan compromise that was worked out in negotiations lasting over 2 years. It is supported by mental health providers, the mental health community, business and the insurance industry.

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