5:59 PM EDT

Lois J. Frankel, D-FL 22nd

Ms. FRANKEL of Florida. Mr. Speaker, during this week, we sadly recognize and commiserate Equal Pay Day, which marks the number of extra days in 2014 the average woman has to work to earn as much as her male counterpart did in 2013, so I rise for the women who are not here today because they are working hard to take care of themselves and their families.

I am going to keep it simple, Mr. Speaker. Equal pay is about fairness, and as important, it is about survival. Equal pay means safe, secure housing. Equal pay means saving for a child's college education. Equal pay means building a pension that allows for a dignified retirement. Equal pay means that everyone, regardless of their gender, gets a fair shot at living their American Dream.

END

5:59 PM EDT

Lois J. Frankel, D-FL 22nd

Ms. FRANKEL of Florida. Mr. Speaker, during this week, we sadly recognize and commiserate Equal Pay Day, which marks the number of extra days in 2014 the average woman has to work to earn as much as her male counterpart did in 2013, so I rise for the women who are not here today because they are working hard to take care of themselves and their families.

I am going to keep it simple, Mr. Speaker. Equal pay is about fairness, and as important, it is about survival. Equal pay means safe, secure housing. Equal pay means saving for a child's college education. Equal pay means building a pension that allows for a dignified retirement. Equal pay means that everyone, regardless of their gender, gets a fair shot at living their American Dream.

END

5:59 PM EDT

Lois J. Frankel, D-FL 22nd

Ms. FRANKEL of Florida. Mr. Speaker, during this week, we sadly recognize and commiserate Equal Pay Day, which marks the number of extra days in 2014 the average woman has to work to earn as much as her male counterpart did in 2013, so I rise for the women who are not here today because they are working hard to take care of themselves and their families.

I am going to keep it simple, Mr. Speaker. Equal pay is about fairness, and as important, it is about survival. Equal pay means safe, secure housing. Equal pay means saving for a child's college education. Equal pay means building a pension that allows for a dignified retirement. Equal pay means that everyone, regardless of their gender, gets a fair shot at living their American Dream.

END

6:00 PM EDT

Grace Meng, D-NY 6th

Ms. MENG. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in recognition of the Week of the Young Child. The National Association for the Education of Young Children started the Week of the Young Child in 1971; and since that time, this week has focused public attention on young children and young parents, two groups that don't have high-priced lobbyists to advocate for them here in Washington.

For this reason, I cofounded the Congressional Kids Safety Caucus, where we seek to raise awareness on preventable child injury. Additionally, assisting in the care and education of our youngest are amongst the highest yielding and most just investments our government can make.

So I call today on my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to recommit themselves to working toward high-quality early childhood education for all. [Page: H3126]

END

6:01 PM EDT

Marcy Kaptur, D-OH 9th

Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, with the tragic shooting at Fort Hood this past week, our country has once again been ravaged by the convergence of mental instability and gun rampages.

As President Obama did today, let us honor those lost to this terrible tragedy--Sergeant First Class Danny Ferguson, Sergeant Timothy Owens, and soldier Carlos Lazaney--and continue to pray for the injured as they recover, as well as all those in uniform who serve our Nation.

As this is now the second shooting at Fort Hood in recent years, Americans and we, in Congress, must again ask ourselves: Isn't it time for a national conversation on untreated mental illness?

As a member of the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, we must use this moment to support early diagnosis, as well as pathbreaking neurological research, building on the President's BRAIN Initiative. We must probe the undiscovered functions of the human mind and human performance.

Advanced research and treatment will benefit both our deserving veterans and all Americans who struggle with the unknown reaches of the unquiet mind.

Again, I lend my support to honor the heroes lost at Fort Hood, and I implore my colleagues to make certain this latest tragedy is, indeed, the last tragedy. Let us measure up to this worthy challenge.

END

6:01 PM EDT

Marcy Kaptur, D-OH 9th

Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, with the tragic shooting at Fort Hood this past week, our country has once again been ravaged by the convergence of mental instability and gun rampages.

As President Obama did today, let us honor those lost to this terrible tragedy--Sergeant First Class Danny Ferguson, Sergeant Timothy Owens, and soldier Carlos Lazaney--and continue to pray for the injured as they recover, as well as all those in uniform who serve our Nation.

As this is now the second shooting at Fort Hood in recent years, Americans and we, in Congress, must again ask ourselves: Isn't it time for a national conversation on untreated mental illness?

As a member of the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, we must use this moment to support early diagnosis, as well as pathbreaking neurological research, building on the President's BRAIN Initiative. We must probe the undiscovered functions of the human mind and human performance.

Advanced research and treatment will benefit both our deserving veterans and all Americans who struggle with the unknown reaches of the unquiet mind.

Again, I lend my support to honor the heroes lost at Fort Hood, and I implore my colleagues to make certain this latest tragedy is, indeed, the last tragedy. Let us measure up to this worthy challenge.

END

6:02 PM EDT

Suzanne Bonamici, D-OR 1st

Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the 2015 Ryan budget, a budget that will hurt middle class Americans while, at the same time, giving breaks to some of the wealthiest people in this country.

Early childhood education is important, but the Ryan budget cuts Head Start. Millions of Americans are still struggling to find work in a changing economy. Instead of investing in programs to prepare the unemployed for new careers, this budget cuts job training.

Nearly 16 million children are food-insecure, and we know that growing up hungry is directly correlated to a child's academic success. This budget guts the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and for millions of young people with dreams of attending college, this budget offers them no hope; instead, it cuts Pell grant aid.

We must do more to invest in this great Nation if we want to continue our economic recovery and create a brighter future, and instead of robust investments in infrastructure and transportation, the Ryan budget takes us backward. Mr. Speaker, we can and we should and we must do better.

END

6:03 PM EDT

Suzanne Bonamici, D-OR 1st

Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the 2015 Ryan budget, a budget that will hurt middle class Americans while, at the same time, giving breaks to some of the wealthiest people in this country.

Early childhood education is important, but the Ryan budget cuts Head Start. Millions of Americans are still struggling to find work in a changing economy. Instead of investing in programs to prepare the unemployed for new careers, this budget cuts job training.

Nearly 16 million children are food-insecure, and we know that growing up hungry is directly correlated to a child's academic success. This budget guts the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and for millions of young people with dreams of attending college, this budget offers them no hope; instead, it cuts Pell grant aid.

We must do more to invest in this great Nation if we want to continue our economic recovery and create a brighter future, and instead of robust investments in infrastructure and transportation, the Ryan budget takes us backward. Mr. Speaker, we can and we should and we must do better.

END

6:04 PM EDT

Barbara Lee, D-CA 13th

Ms. LEE of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise with an extremely heavy heart to pay tribute to the life of our beloved Anne Louise Taylor who passed away last week.

Words cannot really express my sadness as we mourn Anne's untimely death. She served as my district director for more than 5 years, but more importantly, she was a trusted and loving friend.

Anne's contributions to the residents of the East Bay were enormous. With true compassion and commitment, she touched the lives of thousands of people. Prior to joining my office, Anne's accomplished public career included working for California Assembly Member and California State Board of Equalization Member Johan Klehs; was district director for Assembly Member Ellen Corbett; and was head of government relations at California State East Bay during the administration of President Mo Qayoumi.

Not only was she a true public servant and a phenomenal woman, but she was deeply passionate about her community of Alameda, California, where she attended high school and loved the Fourth of July parade and the Alameda Point Antique Faire.

Our deepest condolences from my office, my community, and my staff. Our condolences go out to Anne's two exceptional daughters, Eleanore and Grace Guenon, and to her entire family, whom she loved deeply.

Our thoughts and our prayers are with them during these very difficult days. May her spirit continue to soar and her memory stay very close to our hearts. She touched so many lives. We know that her soul is resting in peace.

END

6:04 PM EDT

Barbara Lee, D-CA 13th

Ms. LEE of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise with an extremely heavy heart to pay tribute to the life of our beloved Anne Louise Taylor who passed away last week.

Words cannot really express my sadness as we mourn Anne's untimely death. She served as my district director for more than 5 years, but more importantly, she was a trusted and loving friend.

Anne's contributions to the residents of the East Bay were enormous. With true compassion and commitment, she touched the lives of thousands of people. Prior to joining my office, Anne's accomplished public career included working for California Assembly Member and California State Board of Equalization Member Johan Klehs; was district director for Assembly Member Ellen Corbett; and was head of government relations at California State East Bay during the administration of President Mo Qayoumi.

Not only was she a true public servant and a phenomenal woman, but she was deeply passionate about her community of Alameda, California, where she attended high school and loved the Fourth of July parade and the Alameda Point Antique Faire.

Our deepest condolences from my office, my community, and my staff. Our condolences go out to Anne's two exceptional daughters, Eleanore and Grace Guenon, and to her entire family, whom she loved deeply.

Our thoughts and our prayers are with them during these very difficult days. May her spirit continue to soar and her memory stay very close to our hearts. She touched so many lives. We know that her soul is resting in peace.

END

6:04 PM EDT

Barbara Lee, D-CA 13th

Ms. LEE of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise with an extremely heavy heart to pay tribute to the life of our beloved Anne Louise Taylor who passed away last week.

Words cannot really express my sadness as we mourn Anne's untimely death. She served as my district director for more than 5 years, but more importantly, she was a trusted and loving friend.

Anne's contributions to the residents of the East Bay were enormous. With true compassion and commitment, she touched the lives of thousands of people. Prior to joining my office, Anne's accomplished public career included working for California Assembly Member and California State Board of Equalization Member Johan Klehs; was district director for Assembly Member Ellen Corbett; and was head of government relations at California State East Bay during the administration of President Mo Qayoumi.

Not only was she a true public servant and a phenomenal woman, but she was deeply passionate about her community of Alameda, California, where she attended high school and loved the Fourth of July parade and the Alameda Point Antique Faire.

Our deepest condolences from my office, my community, and my staff. Our condolences go out to Anne's two exceptional daughters, Eleanore and Grace Guenon, and to her entire family, whom she loved deeply.

Our thoughts and our prayers are with them during these very difficult days. May her spirit continue to soar and her memory stay very close to our hearts. She touched so many lives. We know that her soul is resting in peace.

END

6:06 PM EDT

John Barrow, D-GA 12th

Mr. BARROW of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Kristin Fulford, a member of my 12th District staff for the past 9 years. Kristin has been an invaluable part of our team, handling thousands of casework issues for folks all over my district.

Kristin has made sure that folks received their Social Security and Medicare payments, helped high school students prepare to enter one of our Nation's military institutions, and has done almost everything else in between.

You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in the 12th District who doesn't know someone that Kristin has helped. She has been a team player who, for nearly a decade, has taken pride in helping the folks in our communities.

All of us in Congress know how hard our staffs work, and we know we wouldn't be here if it weren't for people like Kristin, who are our eyes, ears, and helping hands when we can't be home.

I wish Kristin, her husband, Edward, and their daughter, Wren, all the best as she begins her new journey, and I know the folks in my district will miss her as much as I will.

END

6:06 PM EDT

John Barrow, D-GA 12th

Mr. BARROW of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Kristin Fulford, a member of my 12th District staff for the past 9 years. Kristin has been an invaluable part of our team, handling thousands of casework issues for folks all over my district.

Kristin has made sure that folks received their Social Security and Medicare payments, helped high school students prepare to enter one of our Nation's military institutions, and has done almost everything else in between.

You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in the 12th District who doesn't know someone that Kristin has helped. She has been a team player who, for nearly a decade, has taken pride in helping the folks in our communities.

All of us in Congress know how hard our staffs work, and we know we wouldn't be here if it weren't for people like Kristin, who are our eyes, ears, and helping hands when we can't be home.

I wish Kristin, her husband, Edward, and their daughter, Wren, all the best as she begins her new journey, and I know the folks in my district will miss her as much as I will.

END

6:07 PM EDT

Sam Farr, D-CA 20th

Mr. FARR. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the 75th anniversary of one of the greatest pieces of American literature, John Steinbeck's ``The Grapes of Wrath.'' The National Steinbeck Center in his hometown of Salinas, California, is celebrating all year, with events throughout the country.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was published on April 14, 1939. Set during the Great Depression, the novel captured the brutal honesty, the story of migrant farmworkers fleeing Oklahoma's Dust Bowl in search of new opportunity in California. Steinbeck wanted to shine a light on the social injustices that plagued the working poor.

Sparking controversy, it quickly rose to the top of the bestsellers list. It was banned and burned in many parts of the country.

Inspired by the novel, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt helped pass new labor laws after touring the shocking conditions of the California camps. ``The Grapes of Wrath'' changed the way we viewed poverty in this country.

This is why it figured prominently in the decision to award Steinbeck the Nobel Prize. Even today, the novel still offers us hope--hope that our best days lie before us. Steinbeck's words resonate just as true today as they did 75 years ago.

END

6:07 PM EDT

Sam Farr, D-CA 20th

Mr. FARR. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the 75th anniversary of one of the greatest pieces of American literature, John Steinbeck's ``The Grapes of Wrath.'' The National Steinbeck Center in his hometown of Salinas, California, is celebrating all year, with events throughout the country.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was published on April 14, 1939. Set during the Great Depression, the novel captured the brutal honesty, the story of migrant farmworkers fleeing Oklahoma's Dust Bowl in search of new opportunity in California. Steinbeck wanted to shine a light on the social injustices that plagued the working poor.

Sparking controversy, it quickly rose to the top of the bestsellers list. It was banned and burned in many parts of the country.

Inspired by the novel, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt helped pass new labor laws after touring the shocking conditions of the California camps. ``The Grapes of Wrath'' changed the way we viewed poverty in this country.

This is why it figured prominently in the decision to award Steinbeck the Nobel Prize. Even today, the novel still offers us hope--hope that our best days lie before us. Steinbeck's words resonate just as true today as they did 75 years ago.

END

6:07 PM EDT

Sam Farr, D-CA 20th

Mr. FARR. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the 75th anniversary of one of the greatest pieces of American literature, John Steinbeck's ``The Grapes of Wrath.'' The National Steinbeck Center in his hometown of Salinas, California, is celebrating all year, with events throughout the country.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was published on April 14, 1939. Set during the Great Depression, the novel captured the brutal honesty, the story of migrant farmworkers fleeing Oklahoma's Dust Bowl in search of new opportunity in California. Steinbeck wanted to shine a light on the social injustices that plagued the working poor.

Sparking controversy, it quickly rose to the top of the bestsellers list. It was banned and burned in many parts of the country.

Inspired by the novel, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt helped pass new labor laws after touring the shocking conditions of the California camps. ``The Grapes of Wrath'' changed the way we viewed poverty in this country.

This is why it figured prominently in the decision to award Steinbeck the Nobel Prize. Even today, the novel still offers us hope--hope that our best days lie before us. Steinbeck's words resonate just as true today as they did 75 years ago.

END

6:10 PM EDT

John B. Larson, D-CT 1st

Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, I rise with a great sense of pride on behalf of the entire delegation of the State of Connecticut who are, indeed, honored again to be national champions. Our entire delegation will have an extended period of time in which we can amplify the great accomplishments of the University of Connecticut.

For an unprecedented second time, first and foremost, our women's basketball team went undefeated and was perfect, as they are; and of course, the men's team down in Ralph Hall's great State of Texas, where we have won the national championship three times, again, was able to win the national championship in Kevin Ollie's first year as the coach when the team was eligible for it.

This is remarkable. Fourteen national championships in the game of basketball. We are very proud not only of our coaches and our student athletes, but of all the hard work and effort that goes into this.

Our delegation will be down here at another time to further extoll the virtues of the University of Connecticut and the great State it represents.

END

6:12 PM EDT

Randy Neugebauer, R-TX 19th

Mr. NEUGEBAUER. Mr. Speaker, it is an honor for me to rise tonight to recognize a great friend and great public servant and a great chancellor at Texas Tech University.

When Chancellor Hance was first appointed to be the third chancellor of Texas Tech University, his motto was ``Dream no little dreams.'' I think this is a perfect motto for the chancellor to use because that really expresses the way he has lived his life.

Kent Hance was born to Raymond and Beral Cole Hance on November 14, 1942, in the great city of Dimmitt, Texas, which is in my congressional district, a town known for grit and determination, which clearly was passed along to Hance.

He enrolled in Texas Tech University in 1961 and joined the fraternity Delta Tau Delta, where he often mentioned that he became friends with a guy named John Deutschendorf, who later became a guy by the name of John Denver.

Now, I think, sometimes, Kent Hance claims that he helped John Denver with some of his material, but we have not been able to actually verify that.

Hance graduated from Texas Tech in 1965 with a business degree, and despite his better judgment, he entered law school at the University of Texas. While he was at that school, they named him president of the Student Bar Association and, of course, in the true Red Raider spirit.

After graduating with his law degree, he returned to west Texas to practice law and teach business law at Texas Tech. While teaching, undoubtedly, the most momentous meeting in his career was when he had this student by the name of Randy Neugebauer in his business law class.

Now, what was kind of unique about that class, with Professor Hance and his student Randy Neugebauer, was that little did either one of us know that both of us would go on to be congressmen for the 19th District of Texas.

In 1974, Kent Hance decided to run for the Texas Senate and won in that west Texas seat. He served in the senate from 1974 through 1978, when he decided to run for Congress for the 19th Congressional District.

[Time: 18:15]

Interestingly enough, in that race, he defeated a young man in Midland, Texas, by the name of George W. Bush. Many of us know that he became the future President of the United States.

One of the things that President Bush would occasionally say is that, Mr. Hance and I accomplished something he was not able to accomplish, and that was being elected to Congress, but then he would smile and say, but I guess it worked out, and it work out indeed.

While serving the House of Representatives from 1979 to 1985, he was known for his conservative voting record and was a member of the Boll Weevil Conservatives. Congressman Hance became one of President Reagan's closest allies when he was working on his 1981 tax package. In 1984, Hance decided to run for the Senate in Texas, a seat that ultimately was won by Phil Gramm.

In 1987, Texas Governor Bill Clements appointed Hance to a vacancy on the Texas Railroad Commission. Upon doing so, he became the first Republican to ever serve on the railroad commission in Texas.

Due to his successes on the commission, he was reelected in 1988, and in 1989, he was elected chairman of the railroad commission. After stepping down in 1990 from his commission, he continued to practice law. In 2006, Kent Hance was chosen to become the third chancellor of the Texas Tech University System.

When appointed to the position of chancellor to begin implementing the motto, as I mentioned earlier, ``Dream no little dreams,'' and no little dreams did Kent Hance have for Texas Tech University. He said that he was going to raise a billion dollars and began a fundraising campaign to do that, the largest one in the school's history.

Additionally, Hance decided to grow the university to 40,000 students by 2020 to meet the demands of a growing State. Not only has his fundraising campaign exceeded a billion dollar mark, but under his leadership, Chancellor Hance has grown the university system and about doubled it by adding Angelo State and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso.

Texas Tech University, the flagship institution of the Texas Tech system, has also increased in the number of degrees by 46 percent between 2006 and 2012 and added a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa to the campus. All together, it is quite easy to see why in 1985, even though Kent Hance had not accomplished all of this, that people recognized early his talents and named him Distinguished Alumni of Texas Tech.

On October 11, 2013, unfortunately, Kent Hance announced that he would be stepping down as chancellor. While Texas Tech and west Texas would be losing one of its best advocates, we are extremely grateful for the services that he offered as he served and will continue to serve as chairman emeritus. Future students of Texas Tech will also benefit from his decisions to continue teaching his seminar classes on leadership.

Before handing over the floor to some of my colleagues who would like to say some things about Chancellor Hance, I wanted to read a quick quote from President George W. Bush. Upon his announcement for retirement, George Bush was quoted saying:

Texas Tech was fortunate to have Kent in a leadership position. He loves the Red Raiders and he leaves behind a better university, and I wish all the best to my friend.

Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Hall).

6:12 PM EDT

Randy Neugebauer, R-TX 19th

Mr. NEUGEBAUER. Mr. Speaker, it is an honor for me to rise tonight to recognize a great friend and great public servant and a great chancellor at Texas Tech University.

When Chancellor Hance was first appointed to be the third chancellor of Texas Tech University, his motto was ``Dream no little dreams.'' I think this is a perfect motto for the chancellor to use because that really expresses the way he has lived his life.

Kent Hance was born to Raymond and Beral Cole Hance on November 14, 1942, in the great city of Dimmitt, Texas, which is in my congressional district, a town known for grit and determination, which clearly was passed along to Hance.

He enrolled in Texas Tech University in 1961 and joined the fraternity Delta Tau Delta, where he often mentioned that he became friends with a guy named John Deutschendorf, who later became a guy by the name of John Denver.

Now, I think, sometimes, Kent Hance claims that he helped John Denver with some of his material, but we have not been able to actually verify that.

Hance graduated from Texas Tech in 1965 with a business degree, and despite his better judgment, he entered law school at the University of Texas. While he was at that school, they named him president of the Student Bar Association and, of course, in the true Red Raider spirit.

After graduating with his law degree, he returned to west Texas to practice law and teach business law at Texas Tech. While teaching, undoubtedly, the most momentous meeting in his career was when he had this student by the name of Randy Neugebauer in his business law class.

Now, what was kind of unique about that class, with Professor Hance and his student Randy Neugebauer, was that little did either one of us know that both of us would go on to be congressmen for the 19th District of Texas.

In 1974, Kent Hance decided to run for the Texas Senate and won in that west Texas seat. He served in the senate from 1974 through 1978, when he decided to run for Congress for the 19th Congressional District.

[Time: 18:15]

Interestingly enough, in that race, he defeated a young man in Midland, Texas, by the name of George W. Bush. Many of us know that he became the future President of the United States.

One of the things that President Bush would occasionally say is that, Mr. Hance and I accomplished something he was not able to accomplish, and that was being elected to Congress, but then he would smile and say, but I guess it worked out, and it work out indeed.

While serving the House of Representatives from 1979 to 1985, he was known for his conservative voting record and was a member of the Boll Weevil Conservatives. Congressman Hance became one of President Reagan's closest allies when he was working on his 1981 tax package. In 1984, Hance decided to run for the Senate in Texas, a seat that ultimately was won by Phil Gramm.

In 1987, Texas Governor Bill Clements appointed Hance to a vacancy on the Texas Railroad Commission. Upon doing so, he became the first Republican to ever serve on the railroad commission in Texas.

Due to his successes on the commission, he was reelected in 1988, and in 1989, he was elected chairman of the railroad commission. After stepping down in 1990 from his commission, he continued to practice law. In 2006, Kent Hance was chosen to become the third chancellor of the Texas Tech University System.

When appointed to the position of chancellor to begin implementing the motto, as I mentioned earlier, ``Dream no little dreams,'' and no little dreams did Kent Hance have for Texas Tech University. He said that he was going to raise a billion dollars and began a fundraising campaign to do that, the largest one in the school's history.

Additionally, Hance decided to grow the university to 40,000 students by 2020 to meet the demands of a growing State. Not only has his fundraising campaign exceeded a billion dollar mark, but under his leadership, Chancellor Hance has grown the university system and about doubled it by adding Angelo State and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso.

Texas Tech University, the flagship institution of the Texas Tech system, has also increased in the number of degrees by 46 percent between 2006 and 2012 and added a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa to the campus. All together, it is quite easy to see why in 1985, even though Kent Hance had not accomplished all of this, that people recognized early his talents and named him Distinguished Alumni of Texas Tech.

On October 11, 2013, unfortunately, Kent Hance announced that he would be stepping down as chancellor. While Texas Tech and west Texas would be losing one of its best advocates, we are extremely grateful for the services that he offered as he served and will continue to serve as chairman emeritus. Future students of Texas Tech will also benefit from his decisions to continue teaching his seminar classes on leadership.

Before handing over the floor to some of my colleagues who would like to say some things about Chancellor Hance, I wanted to read a quick quote from President George W. Bush. Upon his announcement for retirement, George Bush was quoted saying:

Texas Tech was fortunate to have Kent in a leadership position. He loves the Red Raiders and he leaves behind a better university, and I wish all the best to my friend.

Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Hall).

6:18 PM EDT

Ralph M. Hall, R-TX 4th

Mr. HALL. Mr. Speaker, I rise in honor of my dear friend and former colleague Kent Hance, a man who spent his life in public service for the benefit of Texas, our country, and certainly for 8 years at the Texas Tech University [Page: H3128]

System, where he currently serves as chancellor.

I am especially proud to speak for Kent. He was and is a very successful attorney; he was a great member of the Texas Senate; he was a real leader in the United States Congress; and, important to me, he is and was and will always be a super friend.

Kent and I served in the Texas State Senate at different times so our paths did not cross until I was first elected to Congress, where he was already serving as Congressman for the 19th District of Texas.

We are both conservatives, and we worked together with President Reagan to carry out his tax cut in 1981, along with other conservative thrusts.

Tonight, we recognized Kent for his efforts on behalf of Texas education. For the last 8 years, Kent has served his alma mater, Texas Tech University, and he certainly has worked with the school to make tremendous strides in furthering the prestigious school's advances for students.

During his time as chancellor, Texas Tech has far surpassed previous fundraising goals and enrollment records at all four institutions. Kent has also worked to put Texas Tech on track to becoming a tier one research institution. I was also pleased to support the legislation that spawned the law school at Texas Tech.

I come from a family of teachers and value quality education for our Nation's students, as I know Kent does. Education is directly tied to our children's future opportunities as well American innovation and competitiveness. That is why we look for leaders like Kent Hance who will work tirelessly to ensure that students receive the best education possible, because I agree, as he agrees, that children are 25 percent of our population and 100 percent of our future.

I thank Kent for his friendship and for his service to our great State of Texas and our country. I congratulate him on his success as chancellor for Texas Tech University System. And I wish him all the very best in his future endeavors.

6:20 PM EDT

Joe Barton, R-TX 6th

Mr. BARTON. Mr. Speaker, we are here to honor a Texas legend in his own time, the Honorable Kent Hance of Dimmitt, Texas, some of us Aggies would put an ``a'' instead of an ``i.'' But Kent was born in west Texas and he, as has already been pointed out, got elected to the Texas Senate at a very young age. Then I got elected to the House of Representatives in 1978, along with such stalwarts as Phil Gramm of College Station. I think Charlie Stenholm was already here. Ralph Hall came a little

bit later. Marvin Leath of Waco came a little bit later.

He became what was known as a Boll Weevil Democrat. When Ronald Reagan got elected, President Reagan called a number of the Boll Weevils to the White House and asked if they would support his economic plan, but he only asked one to carry the Reagan tax cut which really began the renaissance of America, and that young man was Congressman Kent Hance of the 19th Congressional District. He was on the Ways and Means Committee as a Democrat. He carried the Reagan tax cut in the Ways and Means Committee

and prevailed. I would assume the chairman then was Dan Rostenkowski. I am not sure, but I think that's right.

Well, in 1984, he decided to go back to Texas. He relinquished his seat and Larry Combest replaced him, and five other young Texans came in as part of the Texas Six Pack: Dick Armey, Joe Barton, Larry Combest, Beau

Boulter, I believe, and Mac Sweeney. He switched parties, became a Republican, and got appointed to the railroad commission. He was the first Republican to be named chairman of the railroad commission.

He did run for Governor a time or two in that time span and did not have the same luck for Governor. He went into the private sector, became a consultant and an attorney and helped me politically on a number of issues, then, as has been pointed out, became chancellor of Texas Tech. And the students hardly know what a chancellor is, most universities not only know Ken Hance, they affectionately call him the ``Hancellor'' at Texas Tech.

The thing that impresses me the most about Kent is that, when people are in elected office and we are successful, we have lots of friends, and they call us and pat us on the back and offer to do things and help us and support us. When we lose or are not successful, normally the only people that try to raise our spirits are our family and sometimes people that we owe money to.

On one particular occasion, I had had a political setback and I was really down and I was kind of moping around my house in Ennis, Texas. And one morning about, I want to say, 9:30, my cell phone rang and it was Kent Hance, and I will never forget that.

So we're here to honor you for your public service, but I am also here to thank you for your personal friendship. You are a great man. I wish you well, and I hope you stay involved in the public sector, because people of your caliber are in short supply and are always needed.

God bless you and God bless your family.

6:24 PM EDT

Randy Neugebauer, R-TX 19th

Mr. NEUGEBAUER. I thank the gentleman.

I think what the gentleman said about Mr. Hance was he dedicated himself to a life of public service and education. I think when you ask people, Kent Hance was always available to be your friend, and I think that is a unique characteristic for someone who led a very busy schedule like that. He'd always take time out to be a good friend to folks.

Mr. Speaker, now I will yield to a gentleman from Texas (Mr. Smith).

6:25 PM EDT

Lamar S. Smith, R-TX 21st

Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, it is nice to have our friend and former Member of the House down here on the floor with us tonight, Kent Hance.

Well, today we honor Texas Tech University Chancellor Kent Hance, who is about to enjoy a well-earned retirement. He has served as chancellor for over 7 years.

Texas Tech is the only campus in Texas that is home to a major university, a law school, and a medical school. The university continues to expand to other parts of Texas outside Lubbock. For example, there is a satellite campus in my home district in the town of Fredericksburg.

Under Kent Hance's tenure, Texas Tech set new student enrollment records and research expenditures have almost tripled. It so happens that I have more Red Raiders in my D.C. office than graduates of any other college, so I know the quality of students who come from Texas Tech.

Fortunately for Tech, Chancellor Hance will not be far away. He will continue to serve as chancellor emeritus of the university and teach a course in political leadership--no surprise there.

This should not come as a great surprise since Kent Hance has loved the university ever since he set foot on its campus as a student in 1961. Chancellor Hance likes to say, ``Dream no little dreams.'' His leadership in turning Texas Tech into one of the top higher learning institutions in America reflects that motto.

Thank you, Chancellor Hance, for all you have done for Texas Tech University and all you have done for the great State of Texas.

6:27 PM EDT

Mike Conaway, R-TX 11th

Mr. CONAWAY. Mr. Speaker, Kent Hance was headed for a life of crime and waywardness before he attended Texas Tech University. Texas Tech would not be where it is today without Kent Hance, but Chancellor Hance wouldn't be who he is today without having attended Texas Tech in 1961.

A storied career as a political servant, one of Kent Hance's political accomplishments, as it has been said, was that he was the only person to defeat President George W. Bush in an election. He won Texas' 19th Congressional District seat with his folksy humor, quick wit, and good old-fashioned hard work. Kent Hance once remarked that had President Bush defeated him in that congressional race, Bush would have wound up as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee instead of Governor and President

of the United States. [Page: H3129]

Everyone has a Kent Hance story. Some of us have even been the victims of his punch line. But his ability to weave experiences, real and imagined, to make a point or disarm an opponent, is legendary.

Kent Hance has been known as many things--an attorney, a professor, a State senator, a railroad commissioner, a Congressman, and friend--but I believe his best role has been as chancellor of Texas Tech University.

We thank you for your service at Texas and our Nation. Your leadership and legacy will shine bright for years to come. And I wish Kent Hance and his family Godspeed in the next chapters of their lives.

6:27 PM EDT

Mike Conaway, R-TX 11th

Mr. CONAWAY. Mr. Speaker, Kent Hance was headed for a life of crime and waywardness before he attended Texas Tech University. Texas Tech would not be where it is today without Kent Hance, but Chancellor Hance wouldn't be who he is today without having attended Texas Tech in 1961.

A storied career as a political servant, one of Kent Hance's political accomplishments, as it has been said, was that he was the only person to defeat President George W. Bush in an election. He won Texas' 19th Congressional District seat with his folksy humor, quick wit, and good old-fashioned hard work. Kent Hance once remarked that had President Bush defeated him in that congressional race, Bush would have wound up as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee instead of Governor and President

of the United States. [Page: H3129]

Everyone has a Kent Hance story. Some of us have even been the victims of his punch line. But his ability to weave experiences, real and imagined, to make a point or disarm an opponent, is legendary.

Kent Hance has been known as many things--an attorney, a professor, a State senator, a railroad commissioner, a Congressman, and friend--but I believe his best role has been as chancellor of Texas Tech University.

We thank you for your service at Texas and our Nation. Your leadership and legacy will shine bright for years to come. And I wish Kent Hance and his family Godspeed in the next chapters of their lives.

6:29 PM EDT

Pete Olson, R-TX 22nd

Mr. OLSON. I thank my colleague from Lubbock for hosting this Special Order to celebrate another Texan from Lubbock, our good friend, Kent Hance. Kent and I became friends in 1998. I was working at the time for United States Senator Phil Gramm.

My friends have talked about Kent's achievements. I plan to be like the Wizard of Oz and pull back the curtain and show the real Kent Hance.

The real Kent Hance joined us on November 14, 1942, in Dimmitt, Texas. He is now 71 years young.

Before Kent was born, Dimmitt had grown from J.W. Carter's Hotel, Miss Lou Belsher's School, and Uncle Buck Tate's Lumber and Wagon Yard to the county seat of Castro County with a population of 943. Kent went to Dimmitt High School, graduating in 1961. Dimmitt High School has two mascots--the Bobcats for the boys and the Bobbies for the girls.

Kent and his best buddy, Spider, spent a lot of time at the Carlile Theater trying to find the love of their lives. Spider found his love in Corpus Christi, Texas, and Kent sought optimism from Spider's dad. Movies, charm, and yes, a 1970 Camaro couldn't get the job done. Nothing happened in Dimmitt.

Kent met his true love, Susie, and they both were lawyers. They worked hard and they played hard, and they loved races at the track. After 1 hard week of working hard and playing hard, they popped down to El Paso, Texas, and crossed the river into Juarez to go to races at the track. The cab driver had very poor English and took them to a very special track--monkey jockeys riding greyhounds. Kent learned two things that night: Susie will follow him anywhere in the world; and he needed to learn

more Spanish, especially the word ``horse'' in Spanish.

One more personal story about Kent Hance. We spent 24 hours together on an aircraft carrier underway. To come aboard a carrier, you fly a very different approach--a controlled crash. There are wires across the back of the deck which hook onto the aircraft to catch it. The plane goes to full power before it is hooked. To take off, you have a catapult shot, zero to 140 miles in 300 feet. I have never heard a human being scream so loudly with terror and joy than Kent Hance on that aircraft.

I will close by talking about Kent's tenure at Texas Tech University, the institute that gave him his education and his love of life in the business world. Because of Kent Hance, Texas Tech has a medical school in El Paso, Texas. Kent chased this down doggedly, getting a big donation, $50 million from alumni, to make this dream happen. Red Raider Nation is thrilled to have this building on campus, the Kent Hance Chapel. It gives students a place when they are struggling, a place of peace, a place

of prayer, and a place to have a wedding after they leave Texas Tech.

As Kent leaves Texas Tech behind, some are already talking about is he the greatest chancellor we have ever had. To paraphrase Bum Phillips: Kent Hance may not be in a class by himself, but whatever class he is in, it don't take long to call the roll.

Kent, my friend, as you move on to your next challenge, you have my best. It is not very good, but it is my best. God bless you.

6:34 PM EDT

Randy Neugebauer, R-TX 19th

Mr. NEUGEBAUER. I thank the gentleman for bringing up a point. While Chancellor Hance was out raising all of this money for the university, over a billion dollars, I think it exemplifies who Kent Hance is. He put his money up, too, contributing and building that chapel. Whereas the gentleman mentioned that a lot of weddings have been held, but students also go over there and spend time for prayer, and I think that says a lot about the character of the man we honor today.

It is now my pleasure to yield to the gentleman from New Mexico (Mr. Pearce), my neighbor to the west.

6:35 PM EDT

Steven Pearce, R-NM 2nd

Mr. PEARCE. I thank the gentleman from Lubbock for yielding.

Many would ask: What does a former Representative from Texas have to do with New Mexico? Well, New Mexico's Second District is bordered on two sides by Texas. In those days growing up 3 miles from Texas, often we New Mexico guys slid across the State line in the middle of the night. We found things to entertain us there, and we would be back home by daylight. So west Texas and eastern New Mexico have a lot in common.

I had an opportunity to meet Mr. Hance when he was in Congress. I was flying as the corporate pilot for the Congressman from the Second District of New Mexico, at that time a gentleman named Mud Runnels, and during that association, I had the opportunity to meet the Congressman from Lubbock. I started watching him from a distance there. Many people are going to recount the good things, the titles and positions that he has had, but I would like to recount as someone watching Kent Hance from a

distance as he made his way through Congress and later became chancellor of Texas Tech, a university that is host to many students from New Mexico. Watching from a distance, I can say that Mr. Hance did the things that all leaders are called to do. He served with honor and distinction, but he made tough choices when they were called for.

A couple of years ago, a high-profile employee of Texas Tech needed the firm hand of discipline on his shoulder, and Kent Hance made the tough calls. Texas Tech has been better off because he was there as a strong person in times when they needed strong leadership.

So again, from the New Mexico side of the border, we would like to say thank you for guiding an institution that has been home to so many New Mexicans. Thank you for your distinguished service, your commitment to principle and honor and duty. We all from New Mexico say God bless you, Godspeed to you, and thanks for your years of service.

6:37 PM EDT

Pete Sessions, R-TX 32nd

Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Neugebauer, thank you for inviting the Texas delegation and our friends from New Mexico to come and honor our dear friend, Kent Hance, tonight.

Kent Hance, as you have heard the stories, he is not just a living legend, he is a man who served not just the State of Texas but our great Nation with honor and distinction. Kent Hance, as chancellor of Texas Tech, has done the same thing for thousands of young people who came not only to Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas, for a great education, he helped make their experiences and their education even better.

As Randy Neugebauer knows as the Member of Congress from the 19th Congressional District of Texas, the high plains of Texas offers a unique opportunity not only for the kind of people who live there, the kinds of circumstances as God rolls thunder and sandstorms and rainstorms across Texas, but it provides the kind of unique experiences that people who live there love it. They love where they are from, and it builds the kind of person who has spirit and opportunity, but who sees themselves

not just as a proud Texan but as an American, and Kent Hance truly has lived up to that.

There has been a discussion tonight about Susie, Kent's beloved Susie, this beautiful young woman who, albeit from Dallas, Texas, who was stolen away by the marauding Kent Hance and taken up to Lubbock, Texas; and we still miss Susie as she lives in Lubbock and enjoys her life there with the girls. But I want you to know,

Mr. Speaker, that tonight the Texas delegation and so many others are here on the floor to talk about the life and times of a young man who came to Congress, who served the State of Texas, his Nation, and has now served [Page: H3130]

in providing education that is superior second to none, building not just a medical school that is second to none, but a law school and an undergraduate degree, engineering and other areas that have made Texas Tech not just on the map

literally, but has made it better because of his personal commitment to excellence.

So I want to join the Texas delegation and Chairman Neugebauer tonight as we give a big Texas salute and a thank-you to the gentleman from Lubbock, Texas, the gentleman Kent Hance.

6:40 PM EDT

Steve Stockman, R-TX 36th

Mr. STOCKMAN. I have to tell you, when I first got elected, it was none other than Kent Hance who came down. I was a young guy, and he gave me a lot of advice, but I knew him before he knew me because Ronald Reagan was in trouble, and Kent Hance stepped forward against a lot of his party's wishes and took the bull by the horns and really changed the United States, which is amazing. But one of the things that, Kent, you have always done is you have reached out to me when you didn't have to.

But the most important thing is that you have your birthday on the proper day, November 14, which is also my birthday.

Everybody talked about you raising a billion dollars, but the thing that I liked the most is you ran and beat somebody, and that person you beat was none other than the next President of the United States, George Bush. And yet you reached across after you beat George Bush, you became his number one fan. I am just amazed, and I wish we could do this more often where we reach across the aisle and demonstrate love beyond partisanship. That, to me, is what speaks volumes about you.

And what also touches my heart is that you are Texas. I mean, when you think about your life story, I don't know if you are going to write a book, if you have written a book, you need to write a book. We have mutual friends, and I hear your story is phenomenal.

The one thing I do ask, and you have always been very gracious to me, but you have to teach me how to raise money, because you raised a billion dollars. That is phenomenal. And you did it for good causes.

I think I had a dream once that you are going to give me $250 million. A mutual friend of ours in Dallas told me that story. You called him up and you said you had a dream, and I thought that was the cleverest thing to do.

Again, I want to express my friendship to you and how much you have helped me throughout the years. You have been very gracious to me. I thank you.

6:40 PM EDT

Steve Stockman, R-TX 36th

Mr. STOCKMAN. I have to tell you, when I first got elected, it was none other than Kent Hance who came down. I was a young guy, and he gave me a lot of advice, but I knew him before he knew me because Ronald Reagan was in trouble, and Kent Hance stepped forward against a lot of his party's wishes and took the bull by the horns and really changed the United States, which is amazing. But one of the things that, Kent, you have always done is you have reached out to me when you didn't have to.

But the most important thing is that you have your birthday on the proper day, November 14, which is also my birthday.

Everybody talked about you raising a billion dollars, but the thing that I liked the most is you ran and beat somebody, and that person you beat was none other than the next President of the United States, George Bush. And yet you reached across after you beat George Bush, you became his number one fan. I am just amazed, and I wish we could do this more often where we reach across the aisle and demonstrate love beyond partisanship. That, to me, is what speaks volumes about you.

And what also touches my heart is that you are Texas. I mean, when you think about your life story, I don't know if you are going to write a book, if you have written a book, you need to write a book. We have mutual friends, and I hear your story is phenomenal.

The one thing I do ask, and you have always been very gracious to me, but you have to teach me how to raise money, because you raised a billion dollars. That is phenomenal. And you did it for good causes.

I think I had a dream once that you are going to give me $250 million. A mutual friend of ours in Dallas told me that story. You called him up and you said you had a dream, and I thought that was the cleverest thing to do.

Again, I want to express my friendship to you and how much you have helped me throughout the years. You have been very gracious to me. I thank you.

6:42 PM EDT

Michael C. Burgess M.D., R-TX 26th

Mr. BURGESS. I thank the gentleman for the recognition, and I am pleased to come to the floor of the House tonight to offer my congratulations to a great Texan, chancellor of Texas Tech University and former Member of Congress and former State senator.

I have had the good fortune to know Mr. Hance since I arrived here, and I know firsthand of his commitment to education. And the reason I know this is there is hardly a semester that goes by that I don't have at least one Tech intern working in my office.

Mr. Hance understands the value of education for young people, and he also understands the value of placing them in situations where they may have an opportunity to do something that they would probably never have an opportunity to do again, working with a Member of Congress' office. Yes, sometimes it is unglamorous, sorting mail or helping organize letters for a reply, but sometimes going to a congressional hearing, sometimes going to a congressional hearing that is of significant importance.

Certainly I want to thank Kent for always having the foresight to have your students in the offices here in the capital of the United States because I think it makes a big difference not just to us, not just to Texas Tech, but it makes a big difference to Texas and the Nation.

On a personal note, I want to acknowledge that I was not someone who was in political life all my life. I ran a medical practice for a number of years, and then rather unexpectedly won a race for Congress. Shortly after winning the nomination prior to the fall election, Mr. Hance and I crossed paths, and he has provided me life counsel and guidance from time to time. Of that I am certainly appreciative.

[Time: 18:45]

The one thing I will never forget--I don't even remember the trouble that was going on here in Washington, but it was something and it affected a lot of us and it affected a lot of us personally--I woke up one morning and there was a letter to the editor of The Dallas Morning News from Ken Hance thanking me for my service. It certainly got my attention that day and it certainly lifted by spirits. Whenever I get down with the things that are going on here in Washington, I think back to that day

when Ken Hance reached out a hand and helped lift me up, and hope I have been able to return the favor to others along the way. Mr. Hance, you have certainly showed me the way, and I am grateful, again, for your wise counsel and leadership through the years.

6:45 PM EDT

Randy Neugebauer, R-TX 19th

Mr. NEUGEBAUER. I thank the gentleman.

Mr. Speaker, one of the things about this evening, we had some other Members that were planning to be here tonight to honor the chancellor. But, as you know, there was a memorial service in Texas at Fort Hood today, so some of our Members have flown to Texas to participate in that. I have letters from some of those folks, and remarks, that I want to enter for the Record.

I have a very special letter here from the Speaker of the House, which I am going to put a part of in the Record. I won't read the whole letter. It is a very nice letter. It talks about all the many accomplishments of Chancellor Hance and his service here in Congress.

He closes that letter by saying:

Congratulations to Chancellor Hance as he moves on to a new chapter. I thank him for his leadership, his vision, and his lifetime of public service.

Here is another letter from the Governor of the State of Texas, Rick Perry, and I quote part of that. He says:

It is my pleasure to join your friends and colleagues in recognizing the remarkable job you have done as a leader of the Texas Tech University system.

You have presided over an incredible era for the Texas Tech system, highlighted by profound growth and positive change. With the addition of Angelo State University and the creation of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center--El Paso, the system has literally doubled in size since 2007. Enrollment has also increased dramatically, and students are graduating and joining the workforce at a faster rate, too. Nearly 10,000 degrees were earned in 2012, almost double the number that were awarded

a decade ago.

Many students have passed through Texas Tech's institutions during your tenure. These men and women will make incredible contributions to our communities, to our State, and to our Nation; some of them probably already have. You have furthered both individual success and collective achievement--and it is quite a legacy.

Anita and I thank you for your service to the State of Texas and wish you an enjoyable, fulfilling retirement.

Governor Rick Perry

Randy Sanders, who is a former editor at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal in Lubbock, wrote these remarks:

During the 6 years that I was editor of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal I would frequently call Hance when I was in the dilemma about an important editorial decision. Many times without taking a breath he would tell me: Well, let me tell you what I would do if I were in your shoes. Every time I would follow his advice and our editorial position would be spot on.

No one knows west Texas and west Texans better than Ken Hance. He knows how to cut to the chase and develop a plan that will serve west Texas and its citizens in the most beneficial possible manner.

One of the regents at Texas Tech, Regent Tim Lancaster, writes:

No matter where you start, how you prioritize, or how inclusive you become in including the vast number of accomplishments of Kent Hance, it has been a great and impactful career. There are few people that can be included in the same category as Kent Hance. Unfortunately, individuals like Kent do not come along often enough.

What a pleasure it has been for me to get to know and observe the impact of this great man.

One of our Senators, Senator John Cornyn, says this about Ken Hance:

I send my greetings and best wishes on the occasion of your retirement as chancellor after more than 8 years with Texas Tech University. [Page: H3131]

From your early career in the Texas senate, three terms in the U.S. Congress, chairmanship of the Texas Railroad Commission, and your current role as chancellor, you have dedicated your life and service to the betterment of Texas and its citizens. Your energy and experience have been an important force in ensuring access to quality higher education and expansion of research and innovation in Texas.

Our other Senator, Mr. Cruz, says:

On behalf of a grateful State, thank you for your service to the great State of Texas and Texas Tech University. As a native of Dimmitt, your west Texas roots, strong moral character, and entrepreneurial spirit have created a legacy that will not soon be forgotten.

The mayor of Lubbock writes:

On behalf of the city of Lubbock, let me offer my congratulations on your retirement as chancellor, and thank you for your service to west Texas, Lubbock, and Texas Tech.

Your love and dedication to Texas Tech has brought the university to new heights. From your graduation in 1965 to leading the way in raising over $1 billion, the time you have spent at Tech has left a lasting impression on the university. You strengthened ties between Texas Tech and the city of Lubbock, and your efforts to increase enrollment have led to new students and families now calling Lubbock home.

You are a true servant of the State, having served as a Texas senator, U.S. Congressman, and chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission. Thank you for the years of service you dedicated to making Lubbock and west Texas a better place to live.

Congressman Roger Williams is one of the Members that I mentioned who said he was originally going to be here, wanted to be here, is a good friend of Chancellor Hance, but he went down to be at the memorial service today at Fort Hood. He says:

Today I rise to recognize a good friend of mine, a great friend of Texas, and one of the finest examples of public servant, Texas Tech University System Chancellor Ken Hance.

In his nearly 8 years as head of Texas Tech, Chancellor Hance has become a staple in the community and beloved figure on the campus. Famous for knowing every Texas mascot, a trait that he and I share, students are often greeted by him with a fist bump and a quiz on high school mascots while on their way to class. From Itasca Wampus Cats to the Hamlin Pied Pipers, there is not a student on campus he hasn't won over with his down-to-Earth demeanor and palpable dedication to the students.

His quit wit, famous stories, and steadfast dedication to his alma mater will certainly be missed upon his retirement.

I wish my friend Ken Hance the best of luck in his next endeavor and thank him for his tremendous legacy he is still creating. From his early days in Texas politics

to his service in the U.S. Congress to a successful law firm, Chancellor Hance makes a difference everywhere he goes. He lives by his own motto: Dream no little dreams, and I look forward to seeing what his dreams have in store for him next.

Another Member that went down to the Fort Hood memorial service was Congressman John Carter. He says:

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to honor the distinguished career of Texas Tech University Chancellor Kent Hance. With his retirement approaching, he will soon close his incredible service to my alma mater and begin the next chapter of his life.

Congressman Carter is a Red Raider.

Chancellor Hance's dedication to public service began in politics with stints in the Texas senate, house, U.S. Congress, and eventually serving as chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission.

Since becoming chancellor in 2006, he has made incredible achievements at Texas Tech and the university continues to thrive because of the impacts he has made.

Retirement is to be celebrated and enjoyed. It's not the end of a career but rather the beginning of a new adventure. I speak for myself, as well as all of the Red Raider family, when I say Chancellor Hance's unconditional love for Texas Tech combined with his exceptional leadership leaves behind a legacy that will never be forgotten. I commend him for his dedication to Texas Tech and wish him the best in the years ahead.

One of the things is that Chancellor Hance is very hands-on and he gets involved with the students at Texas Tech. He greets them one-on-one and, in fact, teaches a leadership class there. So I think it is kind of fitting we asked some of the students that had known the chancellor. These are the people that he is working for and worked tirelessly for.

John Esparza, who is a Texas Tech Board of Regents 1997 graduate, said:

Let it be said that Chancellor Kent Hance has a deep and abiding love for the institution he has devoted the last 8 years of his life to. In reality, Chancellor Hance has given so much more than just those 8 years. Those who know him know his love affair with Texas Tech University began shortly after his parents dropped him off there in 1961. Since that time he has served his family and his constituents with honor, going all the way back to the late 1970s, when he served in this hallowed body.

As he is well known for saying to freshmen during their orientation, and to seniors at their graduation, ``I love Texas Tech.''

And truly Ken Hance loves Texas Tech.

I wanted to read a few quotes from Stephanie Addison, who interned in our office and works now in the chancellor's office. She says this about Chancellor Hance:

Chancellor Hance is dedicated to excellence in every area of his life. His enthusiasm is very evident in the impact that he has left on Texas Tech University, as well as everyone he meets. His passion for investing in the students and the alumni is second to none. It is hard to imagine Texas Tech without the chancellor. It has been a pleasure serving his office as student assistant, and I will carry this experience with me the rest of our lives.

Pat Campbell said:

You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. Chancellor Hance definitely goes above and beyond the call of duty as an administrator, and I am proud to call him a friend. When Chancellor Hance says he loves Texas Tech, he truly means it.

Lee Bobbitt, a former Student Government Association president at Texas Tech, writes this:

He had high expectations, not just for himself but all those who worked around him. In his time at Texas Tech, he devoted himself to improving the university, and through his work taught me and many others to be servant leaders, to be good listeners, and, more importantly, how to connect with people through the fine art of storytelling. Ken Hance is one of a kind, and I am lucky to have called him mentor and friend.

Mr. Speaker, I have many other letters here in testimony, which we will be glad to enter into the Record.

We have talked about Chancellor Hance as a former Member of Congress, a former State senator, and a former railroad commissioner. In his life of public service, obviously, he dreamed no little dream.

But just for a minute, I would like to talk about the Ken Hance that I know. It is not the one that I call chancellor; it is the Ken Hance that I call friend.

Over the years, Kent and I have had an opportunity to mentor and to talk to each other, and I consider his advice to be a treasure in my life. I can always call him up when there is an issue or something that I want to get his reflection on. He is always quick to take my call.

But it is not just what Ken Hance says. I think what we have heard tonight and what we have seen tonight, it is about how he lived his life. A lot of people out in west Texas, we say some people talk the talk, but some people that you really pay attention to are the people that walk the walk. What I would say about my friend Ken Hance is he dreamed no little dream, and he walked the walk. So it has been my pleasure tonight to recognize a good friend, a great American, a great Texan and a great

Red Raider--go Tech.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

RECOGNIZING THE HONORABLE KENT HANCE

6:57 PM EDT

Alan Lowenthal, D-CA 47th

Mr. LOWENTHAL. I want to thank the gentleman from Wisconsin for his work on the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget, the CPC budget, and for just being an all-around good guy.

[Time: 19:00]

The nondefense discretionary side of the budget has taken a beating in recent years with extreme cuts to its programs. The Ryan budget continues this damage with even deeper cuts to discretionary programs.

Now, what do I mean by discretionary programs? We are talking about education, public safety, clean drinking water, food safety, roads, bridges--our transportation system--air traffic controllers, medical research to find cures for diseases, among others.

The question I ask is: What is discretionary about any of these basic needs? What is discretionary about making sure that children can read or about making sure that drinking water is safe or that bridges don't collapse? There is nothing discretionary about these programs.

I think part of the problem is simply the word ``discretionary.'' We need to stop calling this discretionary, and we need to start calling this beleaguered side of the budget what it is, essential. These are the essential non-defense programs.

My dear friend, the main difference between the Ryan budget proposal and the CPC budget proposal is that Mr. Ryan believes that the government funding of these essential programs is a drain on the economy and a drain on taxpayers.

The CPC, however, recognizes that the investment in these essential programs is fundamental to the vitality of our country. It moves us forward, and as you pointed out, it creates millions of jobs--over 4.6 million jobs in the year 2014, almost 3 million in the year 2015 and close to 1.3 million in the year 2016.

It moves us forward, this investment in essential programs. It drives innovation. It creates jobs. It stimulates the economy. It puts our government and our country on a sustainable path to prosperity.

My friend Mr. Ryan's economic model of austerity contrasts sharply with our model of investment and progress in a fiscally responsible way. We believe that educating our workforce, building our infrastructure, ensuring access to a safe and healthy environment, which includes water and food safeguards, is the ticket to a secure future for our country. That is the difference between the Ryan budget and the CPC budget.

6:57 PM EDT

Mark Pocan, D-WI 2nd

Mr. POCAN. Mr. Speaker, I am glad to be here on behalf of the Progressive Caucus Special Order hour. We are going to be talking about the budget. Everyone is talking about the budget, the Paul Ryan Republican budget, the Democratic budget, the Progressive Caucus budget, and other budgets that we have had before us.

We have our own version of a budget. The Progressive Caucus has the Better Off Budget. It is a budget that invests in the economy, creates 8.8 million jobs, and does a tremendous job of dealing with issues that are at the forefront of what America needs to deal with.

But we have a huge contrast in the budget that we have in this body before us that the Republicans have introduced that we will be voting on this week, tomorrow, in this very body. Tonight we would like to have a little talk about that.

As you look at the Better Off Budget in blue versus the GOP budget, the Better Off Budget creates 8.8 million jobs by investing in infrastructure, investing in our schools, and investing in energy, and a number of programs across the country.

On the contrast, the Republican budget actually costs the economy 3.1 million jobs. That is as many people as the entire workforce of the State of Wisconsin getting fired in a simple budget.

One of the biggest issues about the budget is what we are doing about jobs and the economy. We have been told by the Congressional Budget Office that the number one issue this year, the number one thing that causes our deficit, three-quarters of the deficit in 2014, is caused by economic weakness, in other words, unemployment and underemployment. Our budget directly addresses that, and the GOP budget does just the opposite. It is an austerity budget.

I would like to yield some time to one of my colleagues, a strong member of the Progressive Caucus, an outstanding Member of our California delegation. I would like to yield some time to Mr. Alan Lowenthal.

6:59 PM EDT

Alan Lowenthal, D-CA 47th

Mr. LOWENTHAL. I want to thank the gentleman from Wisconsin for his work on the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget, the CPC budget, and for just being an all-around good guy.

[Time: 19:00]

The nondefense discretionary side of the budget has taken a beating in recent years with extreme cuts to its programs. The Ryan budget continues this damage with even deeper cuts to discretionary programs.

Now, what do I mean by discretionary programs? We are talking about education, public safety, clean drinking water, food safety, roads, bridges--our transportation system--air traffic controllers, medical research to find cures for diseases, among others.

The question I ask is: What is discretionary about any of these basic needs? What is discretionary about making sure that children can read or about making sure that drinking water is safe or that bridges don't collapse? There is nothing discretionary about these programs.

I think part of the problem is simply the word ``discretionary.'' We need to stop calling this discretionary, and we need to start calling this beleaguered side of the budget what it is, essential. These are the essential non-defense programs.

My dear friend, the main difference between the Ryan budget proposal and the CPC budget proposal is that Mr. Ryan believes that the government funding of these essential programs is a drain on the economy and a drain on taxpayers.

The CPC, however, recognizes that the investment in these essential programs is fundamental to the vitality of our country. It moves us forward, and as you pointed out, it creates millions of jobs--over 4.6 million jobs in the year 2014, almost 3 million in the year 2015 and close to 1.3 million in the year 2016.

It moves us forward, this investment in essential programs. It drives innovation. It creates jobs. It stimulates the economy. It puts our government and our country on a sustainable path to prosperity.

My friend Mr. Ryan's economic model of austerity contrasts sharply with our model of investment and progress in a fiscally responsible way. We believe that educating our workforce, building our infrastructure, ensuring access to a safe and healthy environment, which includes water and food safeguards, is the ticket to a secure future for our country. That is the difference between the Ryan budget and the CPC budget.

7:03 PM EDT

Alan Lowenthal, D-CA 47th

Mr. LOWENTHAL. That is exactly right. They think that you can cut these because these are nonessential. These are not nonessential. If you tell a child that his education is nonessential or if you tell a family that public health or health research to those families is discretionary or if you tell those scientists who are trying to find cures for some of the worst diseases that they are just discretionary, we will lose the momentum that this country has, and we will no longer be the world leader

in democracy and also no longer in innovation and job creation.

No, these are not discretionary programs. These are essential programs that are different than defense programs. To call them discretionary does a great disservice to the great importance and to the centerpiece of our budget that they really occupy and should occupy and that all Americans should understand.

7:04 PM EDT

Mark Pocan, D-WI 2nd

Mr. POCAN. Again, thank you, Mr. Lowenthal, for your service, for your hard work on this budget, and for all you do for the people of California.

When we talk about those discretionary funds, it is interesting because, when we had the sequester that made a huge cut to these programs and that affected people in all of our States, the Paul Ryan Republican budget doubles down on these sequester cuts, and it makes even deeper cuts in a number of areas.

I just want to go through a little bit of a chart. Unfortunately, I found out [Page: H3134]

that I can't use a marker on the House floor because that is against the rules, so we are going to use this in a little bit of a different way, to try to have you take a look at this and decide where the difference is and who winds up winning on the side of the GOP Paul Ryan budget and the Congressional Progressive Caucus Better Off Budget. I just want to go through a few examples

of programs that would matter.

Let's start with unemployed workers. Let's take a look at the two budgets. When you look at the Better Off Budget, as I showed before, 8.8 million jobs are created by the Better Off Budget. In the Republican budget, according to the Economic Policy Institute, it would cut 3 million jobs by the year 2016.

If you are someone who is unemployed, the Better Off Budget would make sure we extend emergency unemployment benefits. The GOP budget is silent--crickets. There is absolutely nothing to help people who--in a tough economy and who have worked hard all of their lives and who have played by the rules--have lost their benefits.

SNAP, for people who are getting help on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, by and large, two-thirds of those people are children, seniors, and people with severe disabilities.

If you add the working poor, you are at 92 percent of the people who receive these benefits. The Democrats restore the cuts that happened this year in the farm bill and previous cuts to the program. $31.50 a week is what someone was making on the SNAP program to help him in getting by with food. We know this program is one of the best programs to help lift people out of poverty, and we restore that funding.

What does the Paul Ryan budget do? You may remember the debate that we had on the farm bill. Originally, the Republicans wanted to cut the SNAP program by about $20 billion, and they couldn't get enough votes because Republicans wanted to cut it even more, so they finally cut it by $39 billion.

Now, when we got to the conference committee with the Senate, we were able to get that down to $8 billion of cuts, but these are cuts to, as I mentioned, children, seniors, people with severe disabilities, and the working poor--two-thirds of whom are seniors, children, and people with severe disabilities.

What does the Paul Ryan budget do? Does it cut the $20 billion that they couldn't pass originally? No. Does it cut the $39 billion like the Republicans ultimately passed? Oh, no, as it was not nearly enough.

There is a $125 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the Paul Ryan Republican budget.

Let's take a look at that for jobs. It costs 3 million jobs. It does nothing for the long-term unemployment extension, and it cuts assistance to the needy by $125 billion. I would say that the Progressive Caucus Democratic budget, by far, would win out in that category.

Let's next look at education. We have got pre-K, K-12, and college students. Let's look at each of these areas. The Better Off Budget invests $100 million into a stimulus for teachers and schools, so that we can help do what we need to in order to be competitive globally.

We need to be investing in our students through our teachers and our schools. We provide funding to rehire teachers who have lost their jobs through the bad economy in the last several years. We invest in early childhood development, which is crucial for someone to get a fair start in life, and we invest in job training. That is

what the Congressional Progressive Caucus Better Off Budget includes.

What does the Republican budget include? Let's start with pre-K. In pre-K, there is an $18 billion cut to early education programs. Right off the bat, are they investing more? There is an $18 billion cut. Once again, the Progressive Caucus budget leads us.

Next, on K-12, in which we invest in the hiring of teachers and invest in our schools, what does the Republican budget do? In the Republican budget, if you have a child in K-12 public education in this country, there is an $89 billion cut.

Again, $89 billion in cuts or investing in our teachers and schools? Once again, the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget outdoes the Republican budget.

How about college students? This is where you are going to see some really big differences. We invest in the very financial aid programs that people need. We invest in higher education because, in order to be competitive in a global economy, we have to have the most talented, the smartest, the most innovative people we can possibly have in the economy to create the jobs we need to for the future.

What does the Republican budget do? It cuts $205 billion in higher education services--$205 billion--and I am not even counting Pell grants. Pell grants, which help some of our neediest students get access to higher education, get a $145 billion cut. We are talking, overall, just in higher education, almost $350 billion.

We invest more in those educational opportunities, and the Republican budget cuts over $350 billion. Overall, in those three areas in education alone, the Republicans cut $871 billion to education. That is what we do for middle class families and those aspiring to be in the middle class in the budget that this House will very likely pass tomorrow.

Let's look at the next category, seniors. Seniors, you have put your entire lives into this country, and you have worked all of your lives. You expect to have a retirement that you have invested in, and you have put your hours in.

What is the difference in the budgets? The Congressional Progressive Caucus budget does a number of things. One, we protect Social Security and Medicare. We make future investments in those programs. We protect funding in the Medicaid program.

We allow Medicare to negotiate for better prescription drug prices, so that seniors can pay less on drugs that they have to pay a larger percent of their income on, so that they can get by in those years, and we help, overall, in putting America on a path towards offering a single-payer option.

What does the Republican budget do when it comes to seniors? First of all, they end Medicare as we know it. Under the Republican budget, you now have a voucher program. You don't get Medicare. You get a voucher, something you can trade in, hopefully, for something in the future, which will very likely be a cut in the very health care that you have now and that you receive.

They increase the costs for seniors on prescription drugs by reopening the doughnut hole, which is going to cost seniors $4.1 billion extra on prescription drugs. Seniors are going to pay more for the prescription drugs they need.

They raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67, and they put seniors who rely on Medicaid at risk because they are making big cuts to the Medicaid program, $732 billion in cuts to the Medicaid program.

Once again, for seniors, it is cuts, it is paying more for prescription drugs, and it is putting you at risk through the Medicaid and Medicare program. The Democrats and the Progressive Caucus protect all of those programs that the seniors rely on so very much.

Our next group, the vets; they have served our country with distinction. If it weren't for the veterans we have, we wouldn't be able to protect the very liberties and freedoms that we have as a citizenry.

What does the Progressive Caucus budget do? We adopt a cost-of-living adjustment that takes into account realistic retiree expenses, and we fully fund veterans programs in advance.

We are protecting the programs, so that they have the guarantee to the veterans, the guarantee that they have promised to them, as they have put their time in for this country. We protect those very programs to ensure that they will have those programs in the future.

With the Republicans, we hear a lot of lip service about veterans and about protecting veterans, especially around Memorial Day and Veterans' Day, but the proof is in the budget.

What do the Republicans do? By 2016, the Republicans actually cut funding for veterans by $1.7 billion. Now, we saw what they did back in the budget in December when they cut the pensions for families who are in the military, but now, in their budget in 2016, there is an additional $1.7 billion cut to veterans. [Page: H3135]

This is the sort of lip service that you get when a holiday comes up and when we show up. The reality is when we vote on it on this floor.

Once again, for veterans, they lose money under the Republican budget, and in our budget, we protect programs that veterans deserve.

The middle class, what does our budget have for the middle class, and what does the Republican budget have for the middle class?

There are a couple of things around taxes. One of the things that we have been very careful to do is to get rid of some of the tax loopholes that benefit special interests.

There are tax breaks for Big Oil and Big Gas and tax breaks that go to companies that send jobs overseas, which doesn't even make any sense, yet we incentivize those very companies that send those jobs overseas rather than create jobs in America.

[Time: 19:15]

We protect middle class taxpayers by going back to the Clinton-era tax rates for households who make more than $250,000, and we add new brackets at $1 million. That allows us to bring in revenues from those who can most afford to, but protecting the very middle class that are the backbone of this economy.

By doing that--and protecting health care, seniors, education, investing in infrastructure for the very roads and services that people count on--we are doing everything we can to protect the middle class. This is one area where the distinction could not be more clear.

The Republicans have given a lot of lip service about trying to protect the middle class. Once again, the proof is in their budget. The budget shows their real values.

What does it do? It lowers the top tax rate down to 25 percent. Do you know what percent of taxpayers are in that top bracket? Less than one-half of 1 percent.

So when Chairman Ryan described the budget in the Budget Committee, which I serve on--we spent 10 1/2 hours last Wednesday debating the budget--he said the budget was a win-win.

Well, if he meant it was a win for the top 1 percent and a win for the second percentile, I will agree. The other 98 percent of us pay for those two wins that are out there.

By lowering that rate to 25 percent, that gives the average millionaire a $200,000 tax break. Millionaires get big, big tax breaks.

How do you pay for that? Well, there is only one way: you are going to have to put the taxes onto the backs of the middle class. It is estimated it would be about $2,000 per middle class family to pay for those wealthiest few in the Nation.

So when it comes to the middle class, there is no question our budget does more for the middle class, and the Republican budget is a direct attack on the middle class by what we are able to do by making them pay for the very tax breaks that the wealthiest have put out there.

When you look at all this, there is one group that wins at the very bottom. I mentioned millionaires and billionaires. I have to give that edge to the Republican budget. You are going to get a great tax break--a great big check from Uncle Sam--at the courtesy of the middle class taxpayers in this country.

That is the only winner under the Republican budget. Clearly, in every other category, the Progressive Caucus and the Democratic budgets are superior to that budget introduced by the Republicans.

You are going to hear how it balances the budget in 10 years. That is the only talking point the Republicans have. They don't want to talk about the specifics because they lose in every single category, but the one thing that they claim they have is that they balance the budget in 10 years.

They don't mention it is on the backs of the middle class, but they say they are going to balance the budget in 10 years. Well, I wish their math were only as accurate as their rhetoric because the math simply doesn't add up. Let me tell you why. Let me give you one big glaring example of why the budget doesn't add up.

The Republican budget repeals the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, so it repeals all the positive things like the fact that, when you go to get insurance, if you have a preexisting condition, you now can get access.

You have got preventive care provided, so we can save long-term health costs. You don't have a lifetime cap on your insurance. Your children can stay on your policy until they are 26.

All these benefits were incorporated in the Affordable Care Act, and we just saw the success from the enrollment numbers. Millions of more people have access to health care.

It repeals those benefits, but get this: it keeps the revenues and the savings of the Affordable Care Act in order to make the numbers balance out for that allegedly 10-year balancing of the budget.

It doesn't take much more than a fourth-grader to understand that doesn't work out. You can't repeal a program, but still keep the revenue and the savings from that program, but the Republicans are trying to pass that off. They are trying to sell you a bill of goods.

Do you know how much that bill of goods is, that fuzzy math? Two trillion dollars is the amount that they are using in fuzzy math to try to claim their budget balances in 10 years. It doesn't take a lot to poke the holes in the fact that their budget doesn't balance out.

If their budget doesn't balance out, it doesn't benefit the middle class, and it only benefits the wealthiest, we have a really bad budget that this House will be voting on tomorrow. We are going to do everything we can to make sure that that budget doesn't pass.

I think one really important note that people have to realize from all that we describe that is in that budget is, even if it doesn't become the law of the land--thankfully, we have the Senate and the President still--it is the roadmap that the Republicans have if they were to take control.

If they were to keep the House of Representatives, if they were to take the U.S. Senate, if they were to take the Presidency, this is the fourth year in a row they have laid out this essential roadmap--this roadmap that benefits the top 1 or 2 percent and that every other person--every other American has to pay to subsidize those people.

We lose those important programs in health care and education, for veterans and for the unemployed and those struggling to get by in our society.

There is a very clear distinction between what the Democrats and the Progressive Caucus have put out as our budget that we have put forth to the American people and what the Republicans are actually offering.

They have warmed over austerity. Again, cuts, cuts, cuts will somehow make the economy work, and that is simply impossible to happen.

What I would like to do, at this time, is introduce another Member of the Progressive Caucus who has been a very hard worker on behalf of the middle class, not just in his district in the State of Pennsylvania, but across the country.

I yield to Representative Matt Cartwright from the great State of Pennsylvania.

7:21 PM EDT

Matt Cartwright, D-PA 17th

Mr. CARTWRIGHT. Thank you, Mr. Pocan.

Madam Speaker, I rise not only in support of the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget, but in opposition to the abomination that is this Ryan budget.

I am from Scranton, Pennsylvania. I represent the great northeast part of Pennsylvania in the 17th Congressional District.

I wanted to talk this evening a little bit about a couple of guys that came from Scranton. The first one is the Vice President of the United States, Joseph Biden.

I mention Vice President Biden tonight because it was Vice President Biden who intoned the phrase--and continues to do so--that there are a lot of people out there that love to talk about their values.

They will tell you all day about their values--their values on this, their values on that. They will wear you out. They will give you a good ear beating

about their values; but Vice President Biden says: look, don't tell me about your values. Show me your budget, and let me read it, and I will tell you about what your values are.

Because that is what a budget is, it is a statement of your values. It is a statement of your principles and priorities.

When we see something like this Ryan budget that cuts everything, like [Page: H3136]

pre-K education, what does it say? That says you don't care that much about educating young kids, even though you know that, if you start kids off behind all the other kids, they are going to be struggling the rest of their academic careers.

It is going to affect their self-confidence in their academic lives, and they are not going to go far in school. It has ripple effects. A higher percentage of them will get in trouble with the law. How much do we end up paying for all of those things?

If you don't devote money to pre-K, it says you don't care about those things. Those things are not included in your set of values.

I also want to talk about another fellow because, when you go and slash pre-K and K-12 and Pell grants for colleges and you turn your back on seniors and veterans and you favor the haves against the have-nots--and even the middle class--when you do those things, you do that all in the name of austerity and cutting because you are worried about the deficit and you are worried about $16 trillion--$17 trillion is higher than anybody has ever counted in the history of mankind; and so therefore, we

have to cut, cut, cut.

A lot of that is well-intentioned--it really is--because people are afraid, but you have to look at the current debt of this Nation in the context of what the gross domestic product is.

The truth is our national debt is not the highest it has ever been in connection with and comparison to the gross domestic product. It is not anywhere near the highest it has ever been. That is something pointed out by another fellow from Scranton, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.

Robert Reich is all of about 5 feet tall on his tiptoes, but he is a giant when it comes to labor policy and economics. He points out forcefully, time and time again, that if you compare the national debt to the gross domestic product, the highest it ever was in that ratio was after World War II.

It was after we defeated the Nazis, after we defeated the Axis powers, and after we had engineered the New Deal and brought this Nation out of the Great Depression, where upwards of 25 percent of people were unemployed, and we had done all of that.

Robert Reich remembers vividly his father saying to him in the late forties, into the early fifties:

It's this Roosevelt debt we have been left with. You are going to be paying this off the rest of your life, and your children will be paying that Roosevelt debt off the rest of your life and your grandchildren, too.

That is not what happened, though. Robert Reich happily tells the way it played out. The way it played out, what did we do? We believed in ourselves. We believed in the strength and the vision of Americans and we did things like the Marshall Plan, and we rebuilt Europe and Japan and built the interstate highway system in this country.

We sent the GIs to college under the GI Bill. For crying out loud, we sent a man to the Moon. We did all those things because we were bullish on America. We need to continue that approach, which is something that Robert Reich likes to point out.

He says that, by the late sixties, nobody could mention the Roosevelt debt with a straight face. So I am here to say, Madam Speaker and Mr. Pocan, that we need to do that again. We need to grow our way out of the debt.

It is nowhere near as bad as it was after World War II, but we still have to grow our way out of it by believing in ourselves by being bullish on America.

7:28 PM EDT

Mark Pocan, D-WI 2nd

Mr. POCAN. Thank you, again, Mr. Cartwright. The work you have done on behalf of the people not just of Scranton--I have heard you mention Scranton many times on the floor--but for all of Pennsylvania and the entire country, thank you for all your efforts. I really appreciate that.

In closing, for this part of the Progressive Caucus Special Order hour, I just want to hit the main point again when it comes to the budget.

We all know that the top three issues facing this country are jobs, jobs, jobs. There is such a difference between what the Democrats and the Progressives have proposed and what the Republicans have proposed.

Again, the Better Off Budget for the Progressive Caucus shows an 8.8 million increase in the number of jobs in this country. We invest in our infrastructure. We invest in our schools. We invest in job training. We create 8.8 million jobs.

The Republican budget, according to the Economic Policy Institute, would cost this country 3.1 million jobs. Those 3.1 million jobs are as many people as we have working in the entire State of Wisconsin. Think about firing every single person in the State of Wisconsin. That is the job loss that would come out of the Republican budget.

So it is an honor tonight to talk on behalf of the Progressive Caucus and our budget and to highlight the many problems that we are going to have tomorrow when this body votes on the Republican budget.

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

END

7:30 PM EDT

Donna F. Edwards, D-MD 4th

Ms. EDWARDS. I thank the gentleman for his remarks.

Madam Speaker, I want to rise this evening to discuss our annual budget. Congress has a number of responsibilities, but a big one is that Congress is tasked annually with developing a budget that lays out our Nation's priorities in spending and lays out a budget that reflects our values.

Democrats have been working to provide a fair shot for everyone to succeed by creating good-paying jobs and an opportunity for working families. Our country is, in fact, strongest when our economy grows from the middle out, and not from the top down.

Unfortunately the fiscal year 2015 Republican budget introduced by Paul Ryan takes the opposite approach. It benefits the few at the top by showering tax breaks on millionaires and corporate special interests, while shifting the burden of the Federal budget to middle class families.

Once again, Mr. Ryan and Republicans have been convinced that the best way to help working families is to stop helping working families. Unfortunately, the Ryan budget resolution would actually harm families, most especially, women and children.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, the Ryan budget would cost jobs and slow our recovery, costing 1.1 million jobs in fiscal year 2015, and rising to about 3 million in the following year.

Republicans are raising taxes on middle class families with children by an average of at least $2,000 a year in order to cut taxes for millionaires.

Now, let's just take a look at that, Madam Speaker. A recent analysis by Citizens for Tax Justice finds that, under the Ryan plan, taxpayers with income exceeding $1 million in 2015 would receive an average net tax decrease of over $200,000 in that fiscal year.

Now, let's balance this. Families with children would have to pay an additional $2,000, and millionaires would get the benefit of a decrease in their taxes of $200,000. $2,000 for working families, and $200,000 for millionaires.

Now, of course, the Ryan budget doesn't touch tax breaks for big oil and gas companies that ship jobs overseas. After all, you have to have priorities, priorities and budgets that are a statement of values.

So it is very clear that the Ryan priorities and the Ryan budget priorities benefit millionaires. It is very clear, unsurprisingly, that the Ryan budget also repeals, yet again, the Affordable Care Act, despite the fact that 9.3 million people now have health care as a result of the Affordable Care Act, that according to a Rand Corporation study.

Now, repealing the Affordable Care Act would allow insurance companies, once again, to treat a woman and being a woman as a preexisting condition, would once again enable insurance companies to charge women more than men.

Insurance companies would also be able to deny women coverage because of preexisting conditions, including a history of domestic violence, breast and cervical cancer, and C-sections.

Under this budget, millions of women and their families would be stripped of [Page: H3137]

the private marketplace health plans and expanded Medicaid coverage that they have obtained under the Affordable Care Act.

In fact, more than 47 million woman would again have to pay out-of-pocket-costs for lifesaving preventive health services like mammograms and cervical cancer screenings. Up to 4 million women seniors, that is right, 4 million women seniors would fall, once again, into the prescription drug doughnut hole, and they would have to start reaching back into their pockets once again to pay for their prescription drugs because the Ryan budget reopens the doughnut hole.

I want to repeat that for the American people. The Ryan budget reopens the doughnut hole that Democrats closed. As a result, seniors in the doughnut hole will pay an additional $18,000 over 10 years, on average, for their prescription drugs.

Look, women make up about 55 percent of Medicare enrollees, and they would suffer the most, frankly, when the Medicare guarantee is replaced, under the Ryan budget, with a voucher in 2024.

That is right. The Ryan budget wants to change the Medicare system, take away the Medicare guarantee for the 55 percent of the enrollees who are women, for all enrollees, with premiums for traditional Medicare going up about 50 percent on average. Think what that means for America's women who are seniors.

Indeed, the Republican plan would draw traditional Medicare into a death spiral. It would end it as we know it.

Not just that, but the Ryan budget also slashes Medicaid by $732 billion over 10 years, or nearly 25 percent in 2024, with the largest impact on women.

I will continue, because the Ryan budget does such devastation to America's women, that it bears repeating. But with that, I will yield some time to my colleague from Nevada (Ms. Titus).

7:36 PM EDT

Dina Titus, D-NV 1st

Ms. TITUS. Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my friend, Donna Edwards for organizing tonight's important colloquy and Special Order to talk about the Ryan Republican budget and its unacceptable impact on women.

For the fourth year in a row, Chairman Ryan has proposed an uncompromising budget plan that is out of touch with Nevada's priorities and the country's vision for the future.

Chairman Ryan has used a lot of gimmicks in this budget, but no amount of chicanery can hide what it means for women.

Instead of laying out a plan to strengthen and grow the middle class, Representative Ryan's budget disproportionately harms low-income women and the families they struggle to support. It also undermines the health and economic security of the elderly and the disabled, most of whom are women, as you have just pointed out.

It would repeal the Affordable Care Act and the critical protections and benefits this landmark legislation offers to women. Millions of women and their families would have to pay out of pocket for lifesaving preventive health services such as mammograms and cervical cancer screenings.

Insurance companies would be allowed, once again, to treat being a woman as a preexisting condition. And over 200,000 women in Nevada alone would lose access to affordable health insurance that is provided by the ACA.

The Ryan budget also threatens a laundry list of vital programs that help southern Nevada women and children, such as SNAP, WIC, Head Start, TANF, and Pell grants, just to name a few.

Currently, over 75,000 Nevada women and children rely on WIC, and 358,000 Nevadans depend on SNAP, 154,000 of whom are children. In addition, nearly 5,000 children in Nevada participate in Head Start, and 33,000 Nevada students benefit from Pell grants.

Under the Ryan budget, women could lose access to

these critical programs, programs that help them put food on the table and give their children access to the education they need to succeed.

The Ryan budget also eliminates the Brand USA program, which fosters international tourism, an industry that employs many women in service jobs in Nevada and around the country.

Instead of protecting women and children, Representative Ryan and the Republican Party would rather provide the richest one-tenth of 1 percent, those households making more than $3.3 million a year, with a $1.2 million tax cut.

Now, the Federal budget is a blueprint for our Nation's future. It is a statement of our priorities as a Nation, and it should provide a path forward that we can all be proud of.

My constituents in Las Vegas, and our constituents all around the country, deserve better than this rehashed Ryan budget which slashes programs for children, dismantles health care, eliminates the safety net for seniors, and defunds education and needed research and development.

This budget is not a road to prosperity, as Representative Ryan calls it; it is a road to ruin. And as someone said recently, it is like giving the middle finger to the middle class.

Instead, we need a balanced plan that protects women and their families while making investments in our future. Let's work on that kind of budget.

So, again, I want to thank my friends who have come to the floor tonight to point out these problems.

I yield back to the gentlewoman from Maryland (Ms. Edwards).

7:40 PM EDT

Donna F. Edwards, D-MD 4th

Ms. EDWARDS. I thank the gentlewoman from Nevada for pointing out the many ways in which the Ryan budget impacts the women of Nevada and impacts the women of this country.

The gentlewoman mentioned something that I think, again, bears repeating. The Ryan budget cuts food stamps by $137 billion over the next 10 years, which would, in fact, be devastating for millions of America's women, because 62 percent of adult food stamp recipients, in fact, are women.

And at least 200,000 women and children would be dropped from the special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children, if the 15 percent cut in 2016 non-defense appropriations was applied across the board.

The Ryan budget calls for at least $500 billion in cuts to income support programs like the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit, unemployment insurance, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and child nutrition programs, including school lunches. That is right: taking food right out of the mouths of our youngest children who need that nutrition in order to learn and be 21st century learners.

Sixty-six percent of individuals who depend on senior meals like Meals on Wheels are women. Those senior meals would be cut by 15 percent in 2016, if the GOP cut in non-defense appropriations was applied proportionately.

Up to 5.6 million women students would find college less affordable due to $145 billion in cuts to Pell grants under the Ryan budget.

Up to 170,000 children would lose access to Head Start, and up to 3.4 million disadvantaged children at 8,000 schools would lose vital Title I education programs.

I keep going on, and it seems incredibly devastating to America's families and, particularly, to America's women. It is almost as though the Ryan budget were a Mack truck just running right over top of America's women.

Now, Democrats have an agenda and a budget that, in fact, reflects our values of strengthening the middle class, of closing the opportunity gap, of enabling women and their families to succeed. It is a budget that helps women and families address some of the biggest economic challenges facing them.

It calls for raising the Federal minimum wage, for ensuring equal pay for equal work, for expanding family and medical leave, and for making child care more affordable.

In my home State of Maryland, child care costs for an infant can run to $12,936 a year for child care for one infant. In a lot of cases, that is more than you pay for a 4-year institution, or a community college, just to have your child in child care.

These are devastating for America's families. In fact, America's families are spending 35 percent of their income, of their family's income, in child care. That is more than we are spending on mortgages. It is certainly more than we are saving, Madam Speaker.

As we know, women make on average just 77 cents on a dollar a man makes. For African American women and Latinas, the gap is even larger. African American women earn just 64 cents, [Page: H3138]

and Latinas earn only 54 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men.

Two-thirds of the minimum wage earners in this country are women, and family and leave protections fail to cover nearly half of full-time employees.

[Time: 19:45]

The Democrats' budget, in fact, takes a look at these things and says, you know what, people are working hard, and they are trying to take care of themselves and their families; and, in fact, in this country, with so many women who are either principal breadwinners or, certainly, partner breadwinners in their families, the cuts envisioned by the Ryan budget would be devastating for America's women.

We know that child care expenses, for example, that are important to men and women are consuming so much of American families' income, and yet the Ryan budget would take $2,000 away from working families and enable millionaires to get the benefit of $200,000. Think about that--your average family, $2,000; millionaires, $200,000.

According to the Ryan budget, the budget actually fails to call for bills promoting equal pay for equal work for women. It fails to increase the minimum wage. It fails to provide for paid sick days for workers. The Ryan budget fails to help working families afford the cost of child care.

We do have solutions, as Democrats, to these challenges. I mean, after all, it is really true that, when women succeed, America succeeds. Our agenda ensures that women will have the tools they need to fully participate in the 21st century economy.

Madam Speaker, Republican priorities are making tax cuts for the wealthy permanent, and they are shrinking the size of government, regardless of the damage that it would cause.

As I have detailed, the Ryan budget doubles down on policies that, in fact, hurt working families. I think that it is time, Madam Speaker, for us to pay attention to what is happening to women--to women who are increasingly in the workplace, but are saddled with the burden of incomes that are not keeping pace, needing assistance to help them get by, not because they are not working, not because they are not contributing; and the Ryan budget does more devastation to America's women.

So I would urge my colleagues to, once again, take a look at this and to say, you know, in a country that has so much and that promises so much and where there really should be more opportunity for all, that we don't need a budget that just rips apart the lives of women and children and families, and the Ryan budget does just that.

I look today at the Congressional Progressive Caucus alternative budget. I voted for that because it is good for America. I looked at this Congressional Black Caucus budget. I voted for that because it is good for America.

I will look at the Democratic alternative to the devastating Ryan budget because it is good for America. It is good for America's families. It is good for America's women.

Madam Speaker, with that, I yield back the balance of my time.

END

7:48 PM EDT

Doug Collins, R-GA 9th

Mr. COLLINS of Georgia. Madam Speaker, it is an honor to always come to this floor and especially talk about needs, and I think this Republican majority speaks to the needs of our families, our moms and dads, and the struggles that they go through every day.

One of those areas that I have been concerned about since coming to Congress and finding out about it deals with our independent pharmacies, deals with the contracts, and deals with the pharmacy benefit managers.

These are things that need to be fixed because they are destroying some of the very fabric of our communities, and these community pharmacists are just asking for a chance, and right now, they seem to be on the outside looking in, when it comes to dealing with these.

Tonight, I am pleased to be joined by not only my good friend who I served with not only in Georgia, but up here in Washington as well, Congressman Austin Scott, who is a cochair of the Congressional Pharmacy Caucus; and I would love to have him be a part of this tonight.

7:49 PM EDT

Austin Scott, R-GA 8th

Mr. AUSTIN SCOTT of Georgia. Well, thank you, Mr. Collins. As you know, you and I served together and had a great relationship there in Georgia, where Democrats and Republicans worked together to balance the budget and solve the problems, and I sure wish we could get to that up here.

Tonight, we are here to talk about an issue that affects us all as well, and that is transparency in pharmacy pricing and highlighting the need for our rural pharmacist, our community pharmacist, and the challenges that they face with Medicare Part D programs.

Just recently, I met with a pharmacist from my district, Mr. Daryl Reynolds; and like many other pharmacists from the Eighth District, he runs a small store and has been hurt by the lack of transparency and pricing. Ultimately, that hurts his patients because it makes it hard for him to stay in business.

While the big pharmacy chains want to operate in the metropolitan areas--and that is wonderful--we in the rural parts of the country need our rural and community pharmacists, and pharmacists like Daryl are a vital component of our national health care system, for those of us who live great distances from the metropolitan areas.

They know us by name. They know our drug interactions. They are able to work with us and our physicians. They make sure that we are taken care of and that we are taking the right medications for the problems that we may have.

In order to continue these relationships, we need to make sure that the Medicare Part D plans that they work through to help our seniors have the pricing transparency with pharmacy benefit managers.

In many cases, our community pharmacists--because of the way the pharmacy benefit managers operate--are reimbursed at less than what the drug actually costs the small community pharmacy. These contracts are nonnegotiable. They are vague and opaque, and most of the time, it puts a small community independent businessman up against a multibillion dollar company.

These PBMs and their maximum allowable cost prices, they don't update them when the prices go up, and that leaves the pharmacist paying more, again, for the drug than they actually get reimbursed for the drug, and these are the pricing practices that need to be fixed for our community pharmacists.

I am here tonight with my colleague from Georgia

(Mr. Collins) to bring light to this issue. CMS recently proposed rules that would take an important step in addressing this need for generic drug pricing transparency.

How can transparency be a bad thing for Medicare Part D? The rule simply requires that Medicare Part D sponsors should agree in, their contracts with CMS, to update the prices in a timely manner to reflect the current market price.

In rural districts like mine, access to a community pharmacist is critical for people to receive the medications they need. It is imperative for the health and wellness of our rural communities.

I want to commend you, Mr. Collins, for your legislation. I look forward to working with you to pass that and thank you for being here tonight on behalf of community pharmacists.

7:52 PM EDT

Doug Collins, R-GA 9th

Mr. COLLINS of Georgia. I appreciate that, to my good friend from south Georgia.

You know, it is amazing. In those communities that you just spoke of, they need the help--not that they are asking for a handout. They are just asking for fairness, and I think that is what we miss so often today in our debates here on this floor, and they should be on this floor.

We talk about one group against the other, and really, Madam Speaker, this is about fairness. This is a simple issue of fairness and saying we in the government need to be in our proper constitutional role and to look at it in the framework of not tilting the scale one way or another, but saying what are we doing that helps the American people and also looking ahead to--especially in an area such as health care in which [Page: H3139]

we can find common ground; and

I believe we will as we go forward here.

So when we are talking about Medicare Part D and some of the proposed changes of CMS to Part D, it is really the need for generic drug reimbursement limits, known as maximum allowable costs, or MACs.

Generic drugs account for nearly 80 percent of prescriptions, but a community pharmacist is kept in the dark as to how pharmacy benefit managers determine MAC rates for these medications.

You see, Congress and CMS must step in to give pharmacists more transparency into this process, so they are empowered to evaluate if specific contracts would help them better serve our neighborhoods and families.

I am a big believer, Madam Speaker, that transparency is important, that one of the reasons in the basic underlying trust today, when you look out among the country and you see the unfortunateness of the low esteem that Congress is held in, I believe it goes back to a matter of trust.

It goes back to a matter of trust, of believing that what goes on here does not have their best interests at heart, and I think this is sort of what we are talking about tonight with our pharmacists.

Pharmacists, no matter where they work, are wonderful individuals who truly, I believe, have the best interest of the folks who come to see them at heart.

The problem is in the system, especially when it deals with pharmacy benefit managers and the inherent falseness and the inherent problems that are faced with the pharmacy benefit managers and our independent pharmacists.

Pharmacists need an appeals process when disputes over MACs arise and timely adjustments of MAC lists by PBMs to reflect rising drug costs and ensure consumers have the information they need regarding copays.

The status quo cannot continue because, right now, an amount a pharmacy is paid in the morning for a particular medication can change to a different rate for the same medication in the same afternoon.

For those who may be watching tonight or who will be watching: Can you believe this? We are not talking the price of OPEC here. This is not an oil commodity. This is a drug cost, and yet they can't get the help that they need just for simple transparency.

The uncertainty is devastating to pharmacies and the patients they serve. This process is further complicated by the fact that PBMs frequently maintain multiple MAC lists for the same health plan, one for the health plan and one for the pharmacy; one behind the mirror, one in front of the mirror; one outside, one inside.

Where is this going to stop? I have come to this floor many times, and it just still boggles the mind for me. How can you do this?

You know, I am concerned that this provides PBMs with the power to obtain significant revenues through deceptive practices without consumers being any the wiser.

My independent community pharmacies and chain pharmacies in northeast Georgia work long hours each and every day to provide care and advice to our families and our seniors, but they are frustrated and tired by the lack of transparency in generic drug pricing.

PBMs have a track record of refusing to divulge the method they use to determine generic prescription drug price reimbursements in the take-it-or-leave-it contracts pharmacists must sign to assist patients.

In addition, PBMs often fail to update MAC prices in a timely fashion. Conveniently, this often occurs when there is a price spike, wouldn't you guess. Oops, we forgot to update it, and by the way, the price went up.

When you consider that generic prescription drugs make up approximately 80 percent of all dispensed drugs, you can understand why pharmacies of all sizes and affiliations are frustrated.

I was pleased when CMS released its proposed rule for Part D on January 7 of this year because it included several positive provisions. Even though I did not support the rule in its entirety, I did support key provisions that would give independent community pharmacists the ability to try to compete in preferred pharmacy networks; provide important generic drug pricing transparency reforms, although they were not as strong as I would have liked to have seen them.

The proposed rule also contained measures documenting problems with mail order delivery delays and the difficulties beneficiaries have when trying to change their prescriptions over an automated telephone hotline.

Unfortunately, on March 10, CMS announced that it would be holding off on finalizing certain provisions in the rule, one of those provisions being the any willing clarification regarding preferred pharmacy networks.

This was a devastating blow to northeast Georgia pharmacies and the families that rely on them and, to be frank, to anyone listening, not just northeast Georgia, Madam Speaker. It is all over the country, and this is something that is disturbing to me and many others.

I continue to remain hopeful that the provisions on generic drug pricing transparency will be finalized when the rule is published. However, I don't believe simply hoping is enough. In this country, I think we have found out, over the past few years, that hope is not a plan and hope is not something I am going to sit by and watch when we look at this issue.

So this evening, along with my colleague from Iowa (Mr. Loebsack), I introduced H.R. 4437, the Generic Drug Pricing Fairness Act. This legislation will provide much-needed, although reasonable transparency, by doing a few things. Let me list those.

It will provide clarity to plan sponsors and pharmacies regarding how MAC pricing is determined. It will establish an appeals process in which a dispensing provider can contest a listed MAC price. It provides standardization for how products are selected for inclusion on MAC list, and it compels PBM disclosures about the use of multiple MAC lists and whether or not MAC pricing is utilized for mail order products.

More than 80 percent of the prescriptions that community pharmacists dispense that we talked about are generic, and that is good for both beneficiaries and for the solvency of the Part D program.

Pharmacies deserve to know what they will be reimbursed for when providing a service. When market factors cause the price of generics to change, pharmacies should also be informed of that change in a timely and efficient fashion.

Again, I started this conversation with my dear friend from Georgia about fairness, about simple fairness; and when there is a system set up in which a problem exists in which basically the system is picking winners and losers, the system is causing these unhealthy problems for our independent pharmacies, then that is when we need to act.

That is the government's role, is to remove the impediments toward a free market and be able to compete, and those pharmacists need to know that Washington cares.

[Time: 20:00]

When you understand what people are looking for, then you can begin to act as I think we were all elected to do, Madam Speaker, and that is to listen to our communities, that is to listen to our folks and understand that many times these kinds of situations affect the everyday lives of people getting up and just trying to make a living, just trying to get the drugs and the necessities that they need.

What they are not understanding is why their independent pharmacists are struggling to stay afloat, for one, and also struggling every day just to be able to provide basic care to them because they are under a system in which transparency is just not there.

You see, the additional topic that I would like to talk about not only concerns the transparency issues and the MAC pricing; it is what I hear from pharmacists back home, and that is the readiness of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CMS, to finalize the Medicaid drug reimbursement changes in July 2014 immediately upon implementing average manufacturer price-based, Federal upper limits for Medicaid drugs, as required under the act.

CMS expects States to view Medicaid reimbursement as a two-part formula where the movement toward cost-based drug reimbursement should also correspond with changes to dispensing fees [Page: H3140]

based on pharmacy costs. I believe that these dual goals are overly ambitious for July 2014.

A side note here, I think the entire ACA, or ObamaCare, is not only too optimistic but wrong for America, but that is another Special Order for another night.

When we look at this, the thing that I want to look at is that most States must take several time-consuming steps before implementation and corresponding dispensing fee changes.

First, many States require legislative or regulatory changes to implement the new Federal upper limits. For States that require legislative changes, there simply is not enough time to pass the necessary legislation. Moreover, in most States, budgets will be finalized before these Federal upper limits are scheduled to be published.

In November 2013, CMS stated that if States shift their Medicaid reimbursement methodologies, they either should or must conduct cost-of-dispensing fee surveys to determine fair and equitable total Medicaid drug reimbursement rates.

Finally, most States will need to file a State Plan Amendment with CMS prior to implementing the Medicaid reimbursement methodology changes. And again, this just adds extra and additional time to the process.

At the end of the day, it seems clear that most States will be unable to meet CMS' expectations by the July 2014 deadline. Accordingly, I joined with several of my colleagues here in the House to write a letter encouraging CMS to give States a 1-year transition period for implementation. States need to have more time to effectively transition to these new rates. As my colleagues and I wrote in the letter:

This change will likely represent immediate and significant cuts to Federal matching funds to the States for Medicaid drug product reimbursement and/or cuts to pharmacy Medicaid drug reimbursement.

Ultimately, such an instantaneous change could result in an unnecessary strain on State Medicaid budgets and Medicaid drug access problems for low-income Americans. Fair reimbursement for pharmacies is critical to ensuring that Medicaid beneficiaries and others maintain access to prescription drugs and pharmacy services.

Now, I want to take that for just a second, and as my friend from Georgia talked about when we actually had to pass a balanced budget in Georgia--what a unique concept. Most families do it every year. Governments ought to have to do that as well. In the State of Georgia, we just couldn't go out and print more money or borrow more money from foreign governments or anywhere else we are borrowing it from these days. We actually had to do an actual budget. We had to do actual spending plans that

actually balanced. And for most States, this is an issue that often goes untalked about because no one wants to talk about the perceived costs and the changes in the costs when State governments, who have to balance their budget--Madam Speaker, I know in many other States

they have to do this as well. You have to plan for this. You actually have to put money in the budget to do this. And we are not going to simply have time here, and to do so on States is just inherently, again--here is this word again--it is unfair. Fairness for all.

I am often struck--before I continue here, I look at this, and I talk to many of my independent pharmacists who went to pharmacy school, and they had opportunities to do a lot of things. Many of them went back to smaller communities to open up their local pharmacy, little, small pharmacies or medium-size pharmacies they may have taken over for a family member, or they bought a pharmacy out and they love the small town atmosphere, they love the rural atmosphere. They could have gone anywhere and

done a lot of things, but they chose to serve these communities in medium cities and small cities all across the Ninth District and all across the country. And when they do so, I think they were living up to our Founders' belief when it was stated that we come here in this country for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The pursuit of happiness is what we have to look at. Pursuit of happiness actually is not the guaranty of happiness. There are some in this Chamber who believe that the government ought to guaranty happiness. That is not what the Founders asked for. They said the pursuit of happiness. Life and liberty comes from that pursuit of happiness. And we have to provide those independent pharmacies and all who live in this arena fair and equitable transparency in reimbursement and time. It is about the

pursuit of happiness that we look for.

But also there is another important issue that I look forward to hearing back from CMS on. At this point, we are waiting patiently to hear from CMS.

I also recently sent a letter to Secretary of Health

and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius concerning the Medicare Part D rule proposed in January. As CMS makes their final decision as to the contents in the rule, we reiterated our support for the provisions of the rule that would make prescription drugs more affordable and preserve beneficiary access to Medicare Part D.

Specifically, our letter supported the proposal to: maintain pharmacy access by allowing any willing pharmacy to participate in plan networks and utilize preferred cost sharing; expand access to and eligibility for medication therapy management, leading to improved patient health outcomes and decreased health care spending; ensure prescription drug pricing transparency by providing pricing updates on a regular basis, allowing pharmacies to plan their business operations more efficiently.

As our letter stated:

Patients should be free to select a health plan that best fits their personal health needs and allows them to utilize accessible pharmacies.

At the same time, pharmacists deserve the clarity necessary to plan their business operations more efficiently to help achieve a more effective Part D program for beneficiaries.

It is my hope that CMS will adopt these proposals in their final rule. However, again, I don't live on hope. I do not believe hope is a plan. So if they do not, I believe Congress needs to act, and we will continue to look for solutions there.

I believe that, further, these changes that I have talked about will further strengthen the Medicare Part D program and make it even more successful than it is today. There are cost issues among everything. Medicare Part D is no exception. But we have got to make it in a way in which our local independent pharmacies and the health care system in general is helped by these pharmacists who simply want to help the people who walk in their door.

They want to be able to give them treatment. They want to be able to help in the eligibility and access to the medication therapy management programs. They want to be able to talk to their patients and be able to help them get the best pricing and the best plans for them. And they don't want to be locked out from a system in which pharmacy benefit managers are basically keeping them out.

As I have shared from this floor before, if we don't make changes and we don't start looking to our independent pharmacies all across this country, the sad part is one of the independent pharmacies told me, if we can't get some help, if we can't be allowed to participate in the program, then we are looking forward to a time in which independent pharmacies may disappear from the business landscape and the medical community landscape.

For me, as I look and as I think about those who serve me and my family, I can't think of a place in the Ninth District of Georgia or Hall County and the places that I serve or really anywhere else, Madam Speaker, in which our communities would be better off without these local men and women who run businesses, who get up every morning because they want to serve and they want to help.

When we look at that, is that not what America is about? Is that not what we were founded on, that pursuit of happiness, that getting up and doing something that fulfills us and that gives us the knowledge that we can go and do something that makes a difference? But, unfortunately, the position of our government in some of these programs right now is telling the independent pharmacist: you are not valued.

I will tell you this. This Member of Congress values them, and I believe there are a lot of other Members of this Congress that value them as well, and we are going to continue to fight hard for the changes that I spoke to tonight. As we look back on what we talked [Page: H3141]

about, I do appreciate my friend from Georgia coming, and I do ask that all of our Members look at H.R. 4437, the Generic Drug Pricing Fairness Act, and I would encourage them to be original

cosponsors and be a part of the bill that has just been dropped. We want them to be a part of this because this is a conversation that both sides of the aisle can have when it comes to dealing with our folks back home and all across this country.

Fairness is what it is all about.

With that, Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

END