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Mr. INOUYE. Mr. President, today I rise to recognize the need for inclusion of pharmacists in the National Health Services Corps, NHSC, student loan repayment program. It is imperative that our Nation focus its efforts on increased access to affordable, high quality healthcare for our Nation's underserved communities. Today's pharmacist graduates with a professional doctorate degree. My home State of Hawaii is home to our only school of pharmacy program located at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and this year will mark the school's very first graduating class. Pharmacists are vital to our intent of increasing access to patient-centered, team-based healthcare for all individuals. They collaborate with providers across the continuum of care to improve medication-use related outcomes, provides access to prevention and wellness screening that, among others, can reduce tobacco use and increase immunization rates all of which support provider effectiveness and organizational efficiencies. The integration of the pharmacist across the continuum of care helps increase access to primary and preventive care and allows for better management of chronic disease. Pharmacists support prescribers by focusing on the management of medications preventing adverse events that lead to avoidable emergency room visits and hospital admissions. This collaborative effort among healthcare providers helps improve clinical and economic outcomes and increases patient satisfaction with their care.
The current approach of recruiting and retaining primary care practitioners may limit access to robust patient-centered, team-based care by patients in underserved communities. Today over 88 percent of pharmacy students borrow over $107,000 to help them pay for their education. The incorporation of comprehensive pharmacy services in these particular communities is a primary objective of the Health Resources and Services Administration patient-safety and clinical pharmacy services collaborative. Making pharmacists eligible to participate in NHSC loan repayment program will ensure that the reorganization of our healthcare system envisioned in legislation, federal action, and community-based models all benefit from patient-centered, team-based models of care that integrate comprehensive pharmacy services.
I urge you to consider the benefits of including pharmacists in the NHSC student loan repayment program.
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Mr. INOUYE. I am pleased to introduce my Commercial Seafood Consumer Protection Act, Seafood Safety Act. The Seafood Safety Act will strengthen the partnership between the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, HHS, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, DHS, the Federal Trade Commission, FTC, and other appropriate Federal agencies, to coordinate Federal activities for ensuring that commercially distributed seafood in the United States meets the food quality and safety requirements of Federal law. The bill provides for no new jurisdiction and does not alter any existing jurisdiction given to FDA or any other agency. The bill does not include any authorization of appropriations, but seeks only to strengthen existing partnerships and share information.
The bill remains largely unchanged since I first introduced it in the 110th Congress, but this version, like the one I introduced in the 111th, incorporates the FTC as an additional partner since they have broad existing authority for consumer and interstate commerce fraud issues.
Specifically, the bill requires the Secretaries of Commerce, HHS, DHS, and the FTC to enter into agreements as necessary to strengthen cooperation on seafood safety, seafood labeling, and seafood fraud. Those agreements must address seafood testing and inspection; data standardization for seafood names; data coordination for the exportation, transportation, sale, harvest, or trade of seafood; seafood labeling compliance assurance; and information-sharing for observed non-compliance. The bill also increases the number of laboratories certified to inspection standards of the FDA and allows the Secretary of Commerce to increase the number and capacity of NOAA laboratories responsible for seafood safety testing. It allows for an increase in the percentage of seafood import shipments tested and inspected to improve detection of violations. Finally, the bill allows the Secretary of HHS to refuse entry of seafood imports from countries with known violations, and also allows the Secretary to permit individual seafood shipments from recognized and properly certified exporters.
For the safety of the American people, I remain committed to the Seafood Safety Act and look forward to continuing to work to ensure its passage.
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Mr. INOUYE. Mr. President, I am pleased to introduce the International Fisheries Stewardship and Enforcement Act, which I also introduced in the 111th. This bill would harmonize the enforcement provisions of the U.S. statutes for implementing international fisheries agreements to strengthen international fisheries enforcement.
Specifically it would grant the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, and the U.S. Coast Guard authority to implement international fisheries laws, expand their authorities in carrying out investigations and enforcement activities, and establish interference with investigations as a prohibited act. It would also amend the enforcement provisions of statutes for implementing international fisheries agreements to conform to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, while increasing both civil and criminal penalties for violating international fisheries laws.
The bill also authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to maintain and make public a list of vessels engaged in illegal, unregulated, and unreported, IUU, fishing and authorize appropriate action against listed vessels, which will hopefully allow for strong strides in our fight against illegal activity.
Finally, by creating an International Cooperation and Assistance Program that will provide assistance for international capacity building efforts, training, outreach, and education, it is my hope that we are able to more-successfully combat IUU fishing and promote international marine conservation.
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Mr. INOUYE. Mr. President, foreign registered ships now carry 97 percent of the imports and exports moving in United States international trade. These foreign vessels are held to lower standards than United States registered ships, and are virtually untaxed. Their costs of operation are, therefore, lower than United States ship operating costs, which explains their 97 percent market share.
Seven years ago, in order to help level the playing field for United States-flag ships that compete in international trade, Congress enacted, under the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, Public Law 108-357, Subchapter R, a ``tonnage tax'' that is based on the tonnage of a vessel, rather than taxing international income at a 35 percent corporate income tax rate. However, during the House and Senate conference, language was included, which states that a United States vessel cannot use the tonnage tax on international income if that vessel also operates in United States domestic commerce for more than 30 days per year.
This 30-day limitation dramatically limits the availability of the tonnage tax for those United States ships that operate in both domestic and international trade and, accordingly, severely hinders their competitiveness in foreign commerce. It is important to recognize that ships operating in United States domestic trade already have significant cost disadvantages. Specifically, they are built in higher priced United States shipyards; do not receive Maritime Security Payments, even when operated in international trade; and are owned by United States-based American corporations. The inability of these domestic operators to use the tonnage tax for their international service is a further, unnecessary burden on their competitive position in foreign commerce.
When windows of opportunity present themselves in international trade, American tax policy and maritime policy should facilitate the participation of these American-built ships. Instead, the 30-day limit makes them ineligible to use the tonnage tax, and further handicaps American vessels when competing for international cargo. Denying the tonnage tax to coastwise qualified ships further stymies the operation of American built ships in international commerce, and further exacerbates America's 97 percent reliance on foreign ships to carry its international cargo.
These concerns were of sufficient importance that in December 2006 Congress repealed the 30-day limit on domestic trading--but only for approximately 50 ships operating in the Great Lakes. These ships primarily operate in domestic trade on the Great Lakes, but also carry cargo between the United States and Canada in international trade, Section 415 of P.L. 109-432, the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006.
The identifiable universe of remaining ships other than the Great Lakes ships that operate in domestic trade, but that may also operate temporarily in international trade, totals 13 United States flag vessels. These 13 ships normally operate in domestic trades that involve Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Alaska, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana. In the interest of providing tax equity to the United States corporations that own and operate these 13 vessels, my bill would repeal the tonnage tax 30-day limit on domestic operations and enable these vessels to utilize the tonnage tax on their international income so they receive the same treatment as other United States flag international operations. I stress that, under my bill, these ships will continue to pay the normal 35 percent United States corporate tax rate on their domestic income.
Repeal of the tonnage tax's 30-day limit on domestic operations is a necessary step toward providing tax equity between United States flag and foreign flag vessels. I strongly urge the tax writing committees of the U.S. Congress to give this legislation their expedited consideration and approval.
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Mr. INOUYE. Mr. President, the legislation I am reintroducing today will extend to qualified teaching hospital support organizations the existing debt-financed safe harbor rule. Congress enacted that rule to support the public service activities of tax-exempt schools, universities, pension funds, and consortia of such institutions. Our teaching hospitals require similar support.
As a result, for-profit hospitals are moving from older areas to affluent locations where residents can afford to pay for treatment. These private hospitals typically have no mandate for community service. In contrast, non-profit hospitals must fulfill a community service requirement. They must stretch their resources to provide increased charitable care, update their facilities, and maintain skilled staffing resulting in closures of non-profit hospitals due to this financial strain.
The problem is particularly severe for teaching hospitals. Non-profit hospitals provide nearly all the postgraduate medical education in the United States. Post-graduate medical instruction is by nature not profitable. Instruction in the treatment of mental disorders and trauma is especially costly.
Despite their financial problem, the Nation's non-profit hospitals strive to deliver a very high level of service. A study in the December 2006 issue of Archives of International Medicine had surveyed hospital's quality of care in four areas of treatment. It found that non-profit hospitals consistently outperformed for-profit hospitals. The study also found that teaching hospitals had a higher level of performance in treatment and diagnosis, and that investments in technology and staffing leads to better care. In addition, it recommended that alternative payments and sources of payments be considered to finance these improvements.
The success and financial constraints of non-profit teaching hospitals is evident in work of the Queen's Health Systems in my State. This 151-year-old organization maintains the largest, private, nonprofit hospital in Hawaii. The Queen's Health Systems serve as the primary clinical teaching facility for the University of Hawaii's medical residency program in medicine, general surgery, orthopedic surgery, pathology, psychiatry, and is a clinical teaching facility for obstetrics-gynecology. It conducts educational and training programs for nurses and allied health personnel. The Queen's Health Systems operate the only trauma unit as well as the chief behavioral health program in the State. It maintains clinics throughout Hawaii, health programs, for Native Hawaiians, and a small hospital in the rural, economically depressed island of Molokai. Furthermore, the Queen's Health Systems annually provides millions of dollars in uncompensated health services. To help pay for these community benefits, the Queen's Health Systems, as other nonprofit teaching hospitals, relies significantly on income from its endowment.
In the past, the Congress has allowed tax-exempt schools, colleges, universities, and pension funds to invest their endowment in real estate so as to better meet their financial needs. Under the tax code, these organizations can incur debt for real estate investments without triggering the tax on unrelated business activities.
If the Queen's Health Systems were part of a university, it could borrow without incurring an unrelated business income tax. Not being part of a university, however, a teaching hospital and its support organization run into the tax code's debt financing prohibition. Non-profit teaching hospitals have the same if not more pressing needs as that of universities, schools, and pension trusts. The same safe harbor rule should be extended to teaching hospitals.
My bill would allow the support organizations for qualified teaching hospitals to engage in limited borrowing to enhance their endowment income. The proposal for teaching hospitals is actually more restricted than current law for schools, universities and pension trusts. Under safeguards developed by the Joint Committee on Taxation staff, a support organization for a teaching hospital cannot buy and develop land on a commercial basis. The proposal is tied directly to the organization endowment. The staff's revenue estimates show that the provision with its general application will help a number of teaching hospitals.
The U.S. Senate has several times before acted favorably on this proposal. The Senate adopted a similar provision in H.R. 1836, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Act of 2001. The House conferees on that bill, however, objected that the provision was unrelated to the bill's focus on individual tax relief and the conference deleted the provision from the final legislation. Subsequently, the Finance Committee included the provision in H.R. 7, the CARE Act of 2002, and in S. 476, the CARE Act of 2003, which the Senate passed. In a previous Congress' S. 6, the Marriage, Opportunity, Relief, and Empowerment Act of 2005, which the Senate leadership introduced, also included the proposal.
As the Senate Finance Committee's hearings show, substantial health needs would go unmet if not for our charitable hospitals. It is time for the Congress to assist the Nation's teaching hospitals in their charitable, educational service.
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Mr. INOUYE. Mr. President, nearly 16 years ago I stood before you to introduce a bill ``to provide an opportunity for the Pottawatomi Nation in Canada to have the merits of their claims against the United States determined by the United States Court of Federal Claims.''
That bill was introduced as Senate Resolution 223, which referred the Pottawatomi's claim to the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and required the Chief Judge to report back to the Senate and provide sufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law to enable the Congress to determine whether the claim of the Pottawatomi Nation in Canada is legal or equitable in nature, and the amount of damages, if any, which may be legally or equitably due from the United States.
Over a decade ago, the Chief Judge of the Court of Federal Claims reported back that the Pottawatomi Nation in Canada has a legitimate and credible legal claim. Thereafter, by settlement stipulation, the United States has taken the position that it would be ``fair, just and equitable'' to settle the claims of the
ottawatomi Nation in Canada for the sum of $1,830,000. This settlement amount was reached by the parties after seven years of extensive, fact-intensive litigation. Independently, the court concluded that the settlement amount is ``not a gratuity'' and that the ``settlement was predicated on a credible legal claim.'' Pottawatomi Nation in Canada, et al. v. United States, Cong. Ref. 94-1037X at 28, Ct. Fed. Cl., September 15, 2000, Report of Hearing Officer.
The bill I introduce today is to authorize the appropriation of those funds that the United States has concluded would be ``fair, just and equitable'' to satisfy this legal claim. If enacted, this bill will finally achieve a measure of justice for a tribal nation that has for far too long been denied.
For the information of our colleagues, this is the historical background that informs the underlying legal claim of the Canadian Pottawatomi.
The members of the Pottawatomi Nation in Canada are one of the descendant groups--successors-in-interest--of the historical Pottawatomi Nation and their claim originates in the latter part of the 18th century. The historical Pottawatomi Nation was aboriginal to the United States. They occupied and possessed a vast expanse in what is now the States of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. From 1795 to 1833, the United States annexed most of the traditional land of the Pottawatomi Nation through a series of treaties of cession--many of these cessions were made under extreme duress and the threat of military action. In exchange, the Pottawatomi were repeatedly made promises that the remainder of their lands would be secure and, in addition, that the United States would pay certain annuities to the Pottawatomi.
In 1829, the United States formally adopted a Federal the policy of removal; an effort to remove all Indian tribes from their traditional lands east of the Mississippi River to the west. As part of that effort, the government increasingly pressured the Pottawatomi to cede the remainder of their traditional lands, some five million acres in and around the city of Chicago, and remove their nation west. For years, the Pottawatomi steadfastly refused to cede the remainder of their tribal territory. Then in 1833, the United States, pressed by settlers seeking more land, sent a Treaty Commission to the Pottawatomi with orders to extract a cession of the remaining lands. The Treaty Commissioners spent 2 weeks using extraordinarily coercive tactics--including threats of war--in an attempt to get the Pottawatomi to agree to cede their territory. Finally, those Pottawatomi who were present relented and on September 26, 1933, they ceded their remaining tribal estate through what would be known as the Treaty of Chicago. Seventy-seven members of the Pottawatomi Nation signed the Treaty of Chicago. Members of the ``Wisconsin Band'' were not present and did not assent to the cession.
In exchange for their land, the Treaty of Chicago provided that the United States would give to the Pottawatomi 5 million acres of comparable land in what is now Missouri. The Pottawatomi were familiar with the Missouri land, aware that it was similar to their homeland. However, the Senate refused to ratify that negotiated agreement and unilaterally switched the land to five million acres in Iowa. The Treaty Commissioners were sent back to acquire Pottawatomi assent to the Iowa land. All but seven of the original 77 signatories refused to accept the change even with promises that if they were dissatisfied ``justice would be done.''
Nevertheless, the Treaty of Chicago was ratified as amended by the Senate in 1834. Subsequently, the Pottawatomi sent a delegation to evaluate the land in Iowa. The delegation reported back that the land was ``not fit for snakes to live on.''
While some Pottawatomi moved westward, many of the Pottawatomi, particularly the Wisconsin Band, whose leaders never agreed to the Treaty, refused to do so. By 1836, the United States began to forcefully remove Pottawatomi who remained in the east with devastating consequences. As is true with many other American Indian tribes, the forced removal westward came at great human cost. Many of the Pottawatomi were forcefully removed by mercenaries who were paid on a per capita basis government contract. Over one-half of the Indians removed by these means died en route. Those who reached Iowa were almost immediately removed further to inhospitable parts of Kansas against their will and without their consent.
After learning of these conditions, many of the Pottawatomi, including most of the Wisconsin Band, vigorously resisted forced removal. To avoid Federal troops and mercenaries, much of the Wisconsin Band ultimately found it necessary to flee to Canada. They were often pursued to the border by government troops, government-paid mercenaries or both. Official files of the Canadian and United States governments disclose that many Pottawatomi were forced to leave their homes without their horses or any of their possessions other than the clothes on their backs.
By the late 1830s, the government refused payment of annuities to any Pottawatomi groups that had not removed west. In the 1860s, members of the Wisconsin Band--those still in their traditional territory and those forced to flee to Canada--petitioned Congress for the payment of their treaty annuities promised under the Treaty of Chicago and all other cession treaties. By the Act of June 25, 1864, 13 Stat. 172, Congress declared that the Wisconsin Band did not forfeit their annuities by not removing and directed that the share of the Pottawatomi Indians who had refused to relocate to the west should be retained for their use in the United States Treasury. H.R. Rep. No. 470, 64th Cong., p. 5, as quoted on page 3 of memo dated October 7, 1949. Nevertheless, much of the money was never paid to the Wisconsin Band.
In 1903, the Wisconsin Band--most of whom now resided in three areas, the States of Michigan and Wisconsin and the Province of Ontario--petitioned the Senate once again to pay them their fair portion of annuities as required by the law and treaties, Sen. Doc. No. 185, 57th Cong., 2d Sess. By the act of June 21, 1906, 34 Stat. 380, Congress directed the Secretary of the Interior to investigate claims made by the Wisconsin Band and establish a roll of the Wisconsin Band Pottawatomi that still remained in the east. In addition, Congress ordered the Secretary to determine ``the [Wisconsin Bands] proportionate shares of the annuities, trust funds, and other moneys paid to or expended for the tribe to which they belong in which the claimant Indians have not shared, [and] the amount of such monies retained in the Treasury of the United States to the credit of the clamant Indians as directed the provision of the Act of June 25, 1864.''
In order to carry out the 1906 Act, the Secretary of Interior directed Dr. W.M. Wooster to conduct an enumeration of Wisconsin Band Pottawatomi in both the United States and Canada. Dr. Wooster documented 2,007 Wisconsin Pottawatomi: 457 in Wisconsin and Michigan and 1,550 in Canada. He also concluded that the proportionate share of annuities for the Pottawatomi in Wisconsin and Michigan was $477,339 and that the proportionate share of annuities due the Pottawatomi Nation in Canada was $1,517,226. Congress thereafter enacted a series of appropriation Acts from June 30, 1913 to May 29, 1928 to satisfy most of the money owed to those Wisconsin Band Pottawatomi residing in the United States. However, the Wisconsin Band Pottawatomi who resided in Canada were never paid their share of the tribal funds.
Since that time, the Pottawatomi Nation in Canada has diligently and continuously sought to enforce their treaty rights, although until this Congressional reference, they had never been provided their day in court. In 1910, the United States and Great Britain entered into an agreement for the purpose of dealing with claims between both countries, including claims of Indian tribes within their respective jurisdictions, by creating the Pecuniary Claims Tribunal. From 1910 to 1938, the Pottawatomi Nation in Canada diligently sought to have their claim heard in this international forum. Overlooked for more pressing international matters of the period, including the intervention of World War I, the Pottawatomi then came to the U.S. Congress for redress of their claim.
In 1946, the Congress waived its sovereign immunity and established the Indian Claims Commission for the purpose of granting tribes their long-delayed day in court. The Indian Claims Commission Act, ICCA, granted the Commission jurisdiction over claims such as the type involved here. In 1948, the Wisconsin Band Pottawatomi from both sides of the border brought suit together in the Indian Claims Commission for recovery of damages. Hannahville Indian Community v. U.S., No. 28 (Ind. Cl. Comm. Filed May 4, 1948). Unfortunately, the Indian Claims Commission dismissed Pottawatomi Nation in Canada's part of the claim ruling that the Commission had no jurisdiction to consider claims of Indians living outside territorial limits of the United States. Hannahville Indian Community v. U.S., 115 Ct. Cl. 823, 1950. The claim of the Wisconsin Band residing in the United States that was filed in the Indian Claims Commission was finally decided in favor of the Wisconsin Band by the U.S. Claims Court in 1983. Hannahville Indian Community v. United States, 4 Ct. Cl. 445, 1983. The Court of Claims concluded that the Wisconsin Band was owed a member's proportionate share of unpaid annuities from 1838 through 1907 due under various treaties, including the Treaty of Chicago and entered judgment for the American Wisconsin Band Pottawatomi for any monies not paid. Still the Pottawatomi Nation in Canada was excluded because of the jurisdictional limits of the ICCA.
Undaunted, the Pottawatomi Nation in Canada came to the Senate, and after careful consideration, we finally gave them their long-awaited day in court through the Congressional reference process. The court has now reported back to us that their claim is meritorious and that the payment that this bill would make constitutes a ``fair, just and equitable'' resolution to this claim.
The Pottawatomi Nation in Canada has sought justice for over 150 years. They have done all that we asked in order to establish their claim. Now it is time for us to finally live up to the promise our government made so many years ago. It will not correct all the wrongs of the past, but it is a demonstration that this government is willing to admit when it has left an unfulfilled obligation, and that the United States is willing to do what we can to see that justice, so long delayed, is not now denied.
Finally, I would just note that the claim of the Pottawatomi Nation in Canada is supported through specific resolutions by the National Congress of American Indians, the oldest, largest and most-representative tribal organization here in the United States, the Assembly of First Nations, which includes all recognized tribal entities in Canada, and each and every of the Pottawatomi tribal groups that remain in the United States today.
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Mr. INOUYE. Mr. President, I rise to introduce a bill that would establish a Native American Economic Advisory Council. This Council's primary duties would be to consult, coordinate, and make recommendations to Federal agencies for the purpose of improving the substandard economic conditions that exist in our Native communities.
Currently, there is no Council, and despite the Federal Government's ``trust'' relationship with Native American tribes, Native Americans themselves continue to rank lowest in quality of life standings. As a nation we need to preserve our Native communities as they are rich with cultural significance and living history.
Native communities are considered ``emerging economies'' that have stalled because of the current economic situation. This bill is an attempt to keep these communities moving by educating, empowering, and encouraging our future Native American leaders to create sustainable economic growth programs in their own communities.
In Hawaii, the cost of living ranges from 30 percent to 60 percent higher than the national average. We have to start planning for economic stability in the future and this bill provides an opportunity to do so. I look forward to working with my colleagues on reinvesting in our Nation's future.
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Mr. INOUYE. Mr. President, I rise to introduce a bill that would provide authority for the establishment of branch banking facilities on Indian reservations so that the Federally-chartered Native American Bank could enable access to financial services to Indian tribes and their citizens.
Many years ago, as part of my service as Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, I met with tribal leaders to discuss the challenges of economic development in Indian country. At that time, I suggested that they might give consideration to a means by which tribal governments could pool their resources and thereby provide the capital that other tribal governments could employ on a short-term loan basis to undertake reservation-based projects that held the potential of stimulating economic growth in their tribal communities.
The tribal leaders with whom I met were very interested in this idea, and in the ensuing years, went forward and established the Native American Bank--which is headquartered in Denver--but continues to manage its first affiliated bank on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana.
As my colleagues know, there are few financial institutions located either on or near Indian reservations, and sadly, there is evidence that some financial institutions have found it apparently necessary to either charge very high rates that they associate with the risk of doing business in Indian country, or to deny financial assistance altogether.
The Native American Bank has stepped into that latter void and has been providing meaningful financial services to tribal governments and their citizens for a number of years.
This bill contains amendments to the McFadden Act that have been carefully sculpted to address only this narrow expansion of capacity on the part of financial institutions serving Indian country.
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Mr. INOUYE. Mr. President, I am reintroducing legislation today that would direct the Secretary of the Army to determine whether certain nationals of the Philippine Islands performed military service on behalf of the United States during World War II.
Our Filipino veterans fought side by side with Americans and sacrificed their lives on behalf of the United States. This legislation would confirm the validity of their claims and further allow qualified individuals the opportunity to apply for military and veterans benefits that, I believe, they are entitled to. As this population becomes older, it is important for our Nation to extend its firm commitment to the Filipino veterans and their families who participated in making us the great Nation that we are today.
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Mr. INOUYE. Mr. President, I rise today in support of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act.
The story of U.S. citizens taken from their homes on the west coast and confined in camps is a story that was made known after a fact-finding study by a Commission that Congress authorized in 1980. That study was followed by a formal apology by President Reagan and a bill for reparations. Far less known, and indeed, I myself did not initially know, is the story of Latin Americans of Japanese descent taken from their homes in Latin America, stripped of their passports, brought to the U.S., and interned in American camps.
This is a story about the U.S. government's act of reaching its arm across international borders, into a community that did not pose an immediate threat to our Nation, in order to use them, devoid of passports or any other proof of citizenship, for exchange with Americans with Japan. Between the years 1941 and 1945, our Government, with the help of Latin American officials, arbitrarily arrested persons of Japanese descent from streets, homes, and workplaces. Approximately 2,300 undocumented persons were brought to camp sites in the U.S., where they were held under armed watch, and then held in reserve for prisoner exchange. Those used in an exchange were sent to Japan, a foreign country that many had never set foot on since their ancestors' immigration to Latin America.
Despite their involuntary arrival, Latin American internees of Japanese descent were considered by the Immigration and Naturalization Service as illegal entrants. By the end of the war, some Japanese Latin Americans had been sent to Japan. Those who were not used in a prisoner exchange were cast out into a new and English-speaking country, and subject to deportation proceedings. Some returned to Latin America. Others remained in the U.S., because their country of origin in Latin America refused their re-entry, because they were unable to present a passport.
When I first learned of the wartime experiences of Japanese Latin Americans, it seemed unbelievable, but indeed, it happened. It is a part of our national history, and it is a part of the living histories of the many families whose lives are forever tied to internment camps in our country.
The outline of this story was sketched out in a book published by the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians formed in 1980. This Commission had set out to learn about Japanese Americans. Towards the close of their investigations, the Commissioners stumbled upon this extraordinary effort by the U.S. Government to relocate, intern, and deport Japanese persons formerly living in Latin America. Because this finding surfaced late in its study, the Commission was unable to fully uncover the facts, but found them significant enough to include in its published study, urging a deeper investigation.
I rise today to introduce the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act, which would establish a fact-finding Commission to extend the study of the 1980 Commission. This Commission's task would be to determine facts surrounding the U.S. government's actions in regards to Japanese Latin Americans subject to a program of relocation, internment, and deportation. I believe that examining this extraordinary program would give finality to, and complete the account of Federal actions to detain and intern civilians of Japanese ancestry.
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Mr. INOUYE. Mr. President, I rise to introduce a bill to reauthorize Title VIII of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act. Title VIII provides authority for the appropriation of funds for the construction of low-income housing for Native Hawaiians and further provides authority for access to loan guarantees associated with the construction of housing to serve Native Hawaiians.
Three studies have documented the acute housing needs of Native Hawaiians--which include the highest rates of overcrowding and homelessness in the State of Hawaii. Those same studies indicate that inadequate housing rates for Native Hawaiians are amongst the highest in the Nation.
The reauthorization of Title VIII will support the continuation of efforts to assure that the native people of Hawaii may one day have access to housing opportunities that are comparable to those now enjoyed by other Americans.
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Mr. INOUYE. Mr. President, today I am reintroducing a bill which is of great importance to a group of patriotic Americans. This legislation is designed to end space-available travel privileges on military aircraft to those who have been totally disabled in the service of our country.
Currently, retired members of the Armed Services are permitted to travel on a space-available basis on non-scheduled military flights within the continental United States, and on scheduled overseas flights operated by the Military Airlift Command. My bill would provide the same benefits for veterans with 100 percent service-connected disabilities.
We owe these heroic men and women who have given so much to our country a debt of gratitude. Of course, we can never repay them for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of our Nation, but we can surely try to make their lives more pleasant and fulfilling. One way in which we can help is to extend military travel privileges to these distinguished American veterans. I have received numerous letters from all over the country attesting to the importance attached to this issue by veterans. Therefore, I ask that my colleagues show their concern and join me in saying ``thank you'' by supporting this legislation.
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Mr. INOUYE. Mr. President, today I am reintroducing legislation to enable those former prisoners of war who have been separated honorably from their respective services and who have been rated as having a 30 percent service-connected disability to have the use of both the military commissary and post exchange privileges. While I realize it is impossible to adequately compensate one who has endured long periods of incarceration at the hands of our Nation's enemies, I do feel this gesture is both meaningful and important to those concerned because it serves as a reminder that our nation has not forgotten their sacrifices.
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Mr. INOUYE. Mr. President, in our effort to accommodate many Americans by making Memorial Day the last Monday in May, we have lost sight of the significance of this day to our nation. My bill would restore Memorial Day to May 30 and authorize our flag to fly at half mast on that day. In addition, this legislation would authorize the President to issue a proclamation designating Memorial Day and Veterans Day as days for prayer and ceremonies. This legislation would help restore the recognition our veterans deserve for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of our Nation.
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