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Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington DC

DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008

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Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. Madam Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. I was going to yield a minute of my time to the gentleman from Texas to explain his amendment. I appreciate his speech, and I thought the gentleman's speech was a thoughtful speech. He has come to the floor consistently on every appropriations bill in an effort to save money, but I would like to yield to the gentleman just so he can tell us what his amendment does in this bill. If the gentleman would be kind enough to explain that to us, we would appreciate it over here on the majority.

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Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. I appreciate the gentleman and his analysis.

At least as I read page 58, line 21, the gentleman seeks to reduce by $8 million section 501 of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980 and section 505 of the Family Support Act of 1988. That reduction the committee fundamentally opposes in part because of Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980 and the Family Support Act of 1988 are reputable programs that have provided an enormous benefit to the American taxpayer. That is precisely why it is in the bill. And it is specifically in the section of the bill "Children and Families Services Programs'' because of its enormous benefit to the American taxpayer.

I appreciate the gentleman's effort at fiscal accountability and fiscal responsibility, and the gentleman has clearly led a crusade through every single one of these appropriations bills, but I would encourage Members to oppose the Hensarling amendment.

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Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. Reclaiming my time, I want to make sure, and I appreciate the gentleman from Rhode Island's thoughts on the subject, but I want to make sure that this amendment is going to the heart of Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980 and Family Support Act of 1988.

Madam Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Madam Chairman, as I understand Mr. Hensarling's amendment, he goes at the heart of the Administration on Aging, section 204 of the report, and these programs, including supportive service centers, preventive health, are protection for vulnerable and older Americans that are at the heart of the bill. It's clear to me that according to the Health and Human Services budget in brief that consumer empowerment, healthy lifestyles, community living incentives, are a critical part of taking care of families and their caregivers. And I just don't know where the gentleman arrives at the numbers that he seeks to cut in the bill.

The committee learned through exhaustive testimony from the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services the importance of funding this program. As the gentleman, Mr. Hensarling knows, the President has sought to fund the program, and the committee has worked in a Republican and Democrat bipartisan way, sought to increase the program, and so we are going to stick with this number.

I want to thank the gentleman from Rhode Island for yielding me the time. I am encouraging members of the committee to oppose the Hensarling amendment.

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Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. Madam Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Illinois is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. I yield to the gentlelady from Texas.

Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas. Let me say to the gentleman who objected, I truly understand his objection on the reading program. However, statistics have shown that if these young people are under the influence of drugs, that's where they fall. And if we could prevent this drug usage, it probably will let some of the ability come through.

I know that it's difficult, but this is a very serious problem, and these cuts will hurt very severely in areas, primarily in school districts where we've had even young people having the ability to sell drugs to another young person. Obviously, it's coming from somewhere else.

But in Dallas, we have not found a single child that has experimented with this "cheese'' that has survived. And we do have parents involved. We'll have to discontinue this program if we don't have these funds. And I would just plead with you to help find these funds somewhere, if you have a severe objection to it coming from this area.

But I felt that if the area's funding was not being handled correctly, it could be placed in a program that's going very well, that has influenced the decrease of 23 percent drug usage among our youth in the last 5 years. And I have grave concern about allowing this to go on without the assistance that's needed.

As I said earlier, I have worked with the FBI. They're working with merchants to try to get some of the Tylenol PM and the other off the market in these areas. It is a serious undertaking in the area. And all of our law enforcement people are involved.

But our schools cannot continue this without the funding. And that's the reason why I plead for understanding for this funding.

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Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. Madam Chairman, at the desk, the amendment that the gentleman was speaking to concerned Native Hawaiians, but the gentleman spoke about Alaskans. And I asked the Clerk if he had the amendment that the gentleman was speaking about on Native Alaskans and he said he did not have that amendment. So I'm trying to figure out, are we responding to the Native Hawaiian language for $33,907,000, which is what is at the desk, or the gentleman's argument about Alaskans, which is not at the desk? And that is my inquiry.


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