12:35 PM EST

Betty McCollum, D-MN 4th

Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Speaker, this is the final amendment to the bill, which will not kill the bill or send it back to committee. If adopted, the bill will immediately proceed to final passage as amended.

Mr. Speaker, asbestos is a known carcinogen. Asbestos wreaks havoc on the health and livelihoods of the people exposed to it, killing approximately 10,000 Americans each year.

This deadly poison can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that an estimated 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with each year.

Once detected, mesothelioma victims may only survive 8 to 14 months. This was true for my predecessor, the late Congressman Bruce Vento. Bruce proudly served Minnesota's Fourth District for more than 20 years in this House, and many of you served with him in this Chamber.

Bruce died from mesothelioma in 2000, only months--only months--after he was diagnosed. I lost a friend and a mentor. His family lost a husband, a father, a son, and a brother. Since then, I have worked with mesothelioma patients and their families to fight this awful disease, and to hold those responsible for asbestos exposure accountable.

I can tell you, this legislation does not support the victims of asbestos. Asbestos trusts would be forced--forced--to release the private information of [Page: H208]

patients and their families on a public Web site. Listing a patient's name, their address, health and financial information, and the last four digits of their Social Security number exposes these patients to identity theft.

H.R. 1927 would also delay any compensation victims could receive with new, cumbersome, and unnecessary procedural hurdles, meaning many victims will not live long enough to get the justice they deserve or know that their families will not be burdened with medical costs.

This legislation is unacceptable for those seeking justice from asbestos exposure. It is especially outrageous when we know this legislation does not provide basic protection for children.

This amendment would protect children. This amendment will ensure that children exposed to asbestos will not have their personal information disclosed--children exposed to asbestos from the walls, the ceilings, and the floors of their classrooms, or even the possible exposure from crayons that they used that were manufactured in China.

Our children deserve protection. Their parents should have the peace of mind that their child's privacy is secure.

As a mother, I cannot imagine the anguish of worrying about my child's health as they suffer from asbestos exposure, and then add the burden of worrying that my child's private information was exposed on a Web site.

Without this amendment to the current bill, you will be voting to deliver sensitive information about children to criminals who could exploit them. Let me be clear: This information will be available to identity thieves and to sexual predators.

Congressman Vento was a dedicated public servant and an asbestos victim. I know Bruce would be horrified that this House would allow a child's personal information to be exposed in this incredibly irresponsible manner, and we should stop it from happening. We can stop it from happening.

Congress has a responsibility to find real solutions to help and support victims, especially children of asbestos exposure and their families. This bill falls far short of it.

The least we can do here today is to protect the privacy of innocent children who have already suffered enough. I urge my colleagues to pass this amendment and to protect the privacy of vulnerable children.

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

12:36 PM EST

Betty McCollum, D-MN 4th

Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Speaker, this is the final amendment to the bill, which will not kill the bill or send it back to committee. If adopted, the bill will immediately proceed to final passage as amended.

Mr. Speaker, asbestos is a known carcinogen. Asbestos wreaks havoc on the health and livelihoods of the people exposed to it, killing approximately 10,000 Americans each year.

This deadly poison can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that an estimated 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with each year.

Once detected, mesothelioma victims may only survive 8 to 14 months. This was true for my predecessor, the late Congressman Bruce Vento. Bruce proudly served Minnesota's Fourth District for more than 20 years in this House, and many of you served with him in this Chamber.

Bruce died from mesothelioma in 2000, only months--only months--after he was diagnosed. I lost a friend and a mentor. His family lost a husband, a father, a son, and a brother. Since then, I have worked with mesothelioma patients and their families to fight this awful disease, and to hold those responsible for asbestos exposure accountable.

I can tell you, this legislation does not support the victims of asbestos. Asbestos trusts would be forced--forced--to release the private information of [Page: H208]

patients and their families on a public Web site. Listing a patient's name, their address, health and financial information, and the last four digits of their Social Security number exposes these patients to identity theft.

H.R. 1927 would also delay any compensation victims could receive with new, cumbersome, and unnecessary procedural hurdles, meaning many victims will not live long enough to get the justice they deserve or know that their families will not be burdened with medical costs.

This legislation is unacceptable for those seeking justice from asbestos exposure. It is especially outrageous when we know this legislation does not provide basic protection for children.

This amendment would protect children. This amendment will ensure that children exposed to asbestos will not have their personal information disclosed--children exposed to asbestos from the walls, the ceilings, and the floors of their classrooms, or even the possible exposure from crayons that they used that were manufactured in China.

Our children deserve protection. Their parents should have the peace of mind that their child's privacy is secure.

As a mother, I cannot imagine the anguish of worrying about my child's health as they suffer from asbestos exposure, and then add the burden of worrying that my child's private information was exposed on a Web site.

Without this amendment to the current bill, you will be voting to deliver sensitive information about children to criminals who could exploit them. Let me be clear: This information will be available to identity thieves and to sexual predators.

Congressman Vento was a dedicated public servant and an asbestos victim. I know Bruce would be horrified that this House would allow a child's personal information to be exposed in this incredibly irresponsible manner, and we should stop it from happening. We can stop it from happening.

Congress has a responsibility to find real solutions to help and support victims, especially children of asbestos exposure and their families. This bill falls far short of it.

The least we can do here today is to protect the privacy of innocent children who have already suffered enough. I urge my colleagues to pass this amendment and to protect the privacy of vulnerable children.

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

12:40 PM EST

Blake Randolph Farenthold, R-TX 27th

Mr. FARENTHOLD. Mr. Speaker, I am stunned by how many people apparently have not read this 3-page bill. Nowhere in the bill does it say we are going to release addresses. Nowhere does it say we are going to release medical records. It is simply the name, the basis of the claim, and exposure.

Furthermore, this is designed to protect victims, especially children. There needs to be money in these trusts for future claims. We want to help the children, not the plaintiffs' attorneys.

This amendment is wholly unnecessary. If you look at rule 9037 of the Bankruptcy Code, by default, unless the court orders otherwise, information about a minor is restricted to only releasing, in any case, the last 4 digits of the Social Security number, the year of the individual's birth, the minor's initials, not the minor's name, and the last four digits of the financial account number.

This motion to recommit is just a waste of time and it is unnecessary. It is already covered by the Bankruptcy Code.

I yield back the balance of my time.

12:41 PM EST

Blake Randolph Farenthold, R-TX 27th

Mr. FARENTHOLD. Mr. Speaker, I am stunned by how many people apparently have not read this 3-page bill. Nowhere in the bill does it say we are going to release addresses. Nowhere does it say we are going to release medical records. It is simply the name, the basis of the claim, and exposure.

Furthermore, this is designed to protect victims, especially children. There needs to be money in these trusts for future claims. We want to help the children, not the plaintiffs' attorneys.

This amendment is wholly unnecessary. If you look at rule 9037 of the Bankruptcy Code, by default, unless the court orders otherwise, information about a minor is restricted to only releasing, in any case, the last 4 digits of the Social Security number, the year of the individual's birth, the minor's initials, not the minor's name, and the last four digits of the financial account number.

This motion to recommit is just a waste of time and it is unnecessary. It is already covered by the Bankruptcy Code.

I yield back the balance of my time.

12:48 PM EST

Martha McSally, R-AZ 2nd

Ms. McSALLY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today with my colleagues from Arizona and around the country to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the shooting that took place on January 8, 2011, in Tucson, Arizona.

On that sunny, chilly Saturday morning, six people were killed and 13 were wounded at a Congress on Your Corner event, hosted by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. The Congresswoman was among the injured, along with the member of her staff who would succeed her, Congressman Ron Barber.

For many, the pain of that day will always be with us, but Tucson has not languished in grief. As we remember the victims, we also remember how our community rose up with courage and unity to support those grieving and to honor their loved ones.

Signs of that courage are all around us. The January 8th Memorial Foundation is working to build a permanent tribute to the victims as well as to our community's response. Just feet below us in this building is the Gabriel Zimmerman Meeting Room, a lasting tribute to the congressional staffer who died while serving the men and women of southern Arizona.

Today and this weekend people around southern Arizona will be coming together to celebrate the lives of our friends and loved ones who were taken too soon and to celebrate the difference they made and continue to make. There are hikes, bike rides, runs, storytelling, discussions, gatherings, and much more.

While we know some wounds may never fully heal, by carrying on the legacy of those who died, we ensure their memories are never forgotten: Christina-Taylor Green, Dorothy Morris, Judge John Roll, Phyllis Schneck, Dorwan Stoddard, and Gabe Zimmerman.

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the House observe a moment of silence in remembrance of those we lost.

12:49 PM EST

Martha McSally, R-AZ 2nd

Ms. McSALLY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today with my colleagues from Arizona and around the country to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the shooting that took place on January 8, 2011, in Tucson, Arizona.

On that sunny, chilly Saturday morning, six people were killed and 13 were wounded at a Congress on Your Corner event, hosted by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. The Congresswoman was among the injured, along with the member of her staff who would succeed her, Congressman Ron Barber.

For many, the pain of that day will always be with us, but Tucson has not languished in grief. As we remember the victims, we also remember how our community rose up with courage and unity to support those grieving and to honor their loved ones.

Signs of that courage are all around us. The January 8th Memorial Foundation is working to build a permanent tribute to the victims as well as to our community's response. Just feet below us in this building is the Gabriel Zimmerman Meeting Room, a lasting tribute to the congressional staffer who died while serving the men and women of southern Arizona.

Today and this weekend people around southern Arizona will be coming together to celebrate the lives of our friends and loved ones who were taken too soon and to celebrate the difference they made and continue to make. There are hikes, bike rides, runs, storytelling, discussions, gatherings, and much more.

While we know some wounds may never fully heal, by carrying on the legacy of those who died, we ensure their memories are never forgotten: Christina-Taylor Green, Dorothy Morris, Judge John Roll, Phyllis Schneck, Dorwan Stoddard, and Gabe Zimmerman.

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the House observe a moment of silence in remembrance of those we lost.