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House Press Gallery

U.S. House of Representatives

March 17, 2017

 

 Proceedings of

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Friday, March 17, 2017

Met at 9:00 AM

[kjm]

On approval of the Journal:

Thompson (R), PA asked recorded vote.

Chair postponed vote – 9:01 AM

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Harper (R), MS led the House in the Pledge of Allegiance.

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One Minutes               9:02 AM

 

  1. Thompson (R), PA (Timber legislation)

  2. Lowenthal (D), CA (LGBT)

  3. Bost (R), IL (Healthcare reform)

  4. Huffman (D), CA (Healthcare reform)

  5. DeSantis (R), FL (Military tragedy/Constituent tribute)

  6. Maloney (D), NY (St. Patrick’s Day)

 

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H.Res. 173 Providing for the expenses of certain committees of the House of Representatives in the One Hundred Fifteenth Congress.

 

Debate             9:10 AM

 

  1. Harper (R), MS

  2. Brady (D), PA

 

AGREED TO - VOICE                     9:14 AM

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The House resolved into Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union for further consideration at 9:15 AM

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H.R. 1367 - To improve the authority of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to hire and retain physicians and other employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs

 

Amendments               9:16 AM

 

Wenstrup (R), OH Manager’s Amendment (# 1):

 

Extends the timeline to implement the fellowship program from 90 days to one year and extends the GAO reporting deadline from one to two years. Additionally, it removes the requirement to track a number of hiring effectiveness metrics, changes the establishment of a recruiting database from a “shall” to “may” authority, and stipulates that HR training be accomplished virtually.

 

ADOPTED - VOICE             9:20 AM

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Meng (D), NY Amendment (#2):

 

Makes clear that the Inspector General of the VA must report, pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 7412, on at least five clinical and five nonclinical VA occupations that have the largest staffing shortages, which then triggers special hiring authorities for the Secretary to address such shortages.

 

ADOPTED - VOICE             9:25 AM

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Sewell (D), AL Amendment (#3):

 

Allows the Secretary to select eligible employees for the Executive Management Fellowship Program who represent or service rural areas, to whatever extent practicable.

 

ADOPTED - VOICE             9:30 AM

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Hanabusa (D), HI Amendment (#4):

 

Strikes section 6, “Reemployment of Former Employees,” which would allow for the Secretary to appoint former employees at one grade higher than when they last separated, without having to go through the usual competitive application process

 

REJECTED - VOICE            9:33 AM

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Buck (R), CO Amendment (#5):

 

Prevents former political appointees at the VA from receiving non-political, competitively selected positions at the VA without having to go through the proper selection process.

 

ADOPTED - VOICE             9:37 AM

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Shea-Porter (D), NH Amendment (#6):

 

Requires the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs to list open mental health positions in the database established under the bill.

 

ADOPTED - VOICE             9:41 AM

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Brownley (D), CA Amendment (#7):

 

Clarifies that “medical facility” referenced in Sec. 10 includes each medical center, domiciliary facility, outpatient clinic, community-based outpatient clinic, and vet center.

 

ADOPTED - VOICE             9:45 AM

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Welch (D), VT Amendment (#8):

 

Adds an analysis of succession planning and hiring in rural areas, and requires a study on the ability to hire and recruit veterans in rural areas.

 

ADOPTED - VOICE             9:49 AM

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Gottheimer (D), NJ Amendment (#9):

 

Adds veterans who are recent graduates and/or recipients of Post-9/11 GI Bill Educational Assistance as a distinct category of individuals who are allowed for excepted service appointments.

 

ADOPTED - VOICE             9:54 AM

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Herrera-Beutler (R), WA Amendment (#10):

 

Strengthens anonymity protections for employees filling out exit surveys, and requires exit survey data to be compiled at the VISN level to identify and acknowledge regional differences.

 

ADOPTED - VOICE             9:59 AM

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Hanabusa (D), HI Amendment (#11):

 

Requires the total number of employees that voluntarily separated and the percentage of those employees that took the voluntary exit survey.

 

Walz (D), MN asked recorded vote.

Chair postponed vote - 10:02 AM

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Meng (D), NY Amendment (#12):

[jjs]

Encourages the transition of military medical professionals into employment with the Veterans Health Administration upon discharge or separation from the Armed Services.

 

ADOPTED - VOICE             10:05 AM

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Bost (R), IL Amendment (#13):

 

Directs VA to develop and implement a plan to hire a director for each VA medical center without a permanent director.

 

ADOPTED - VOICE             10:10 AM

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O'Rourke (D), TX Amendment (#14):

 

Allows the VA to offer physicians conditional job offers two years prior to the completion of their residency program. Requires VA recruiters or similar official to visit each teaching institution with a residency program at least once annually.

 

ADOPTED - VOICE             10:14 AM

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Chair declared the House in recess at 10:15 AM subject to the call of the Chair.

 

Chair reconvened the House at 11:02 AM

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Unfinished Business

 

On Hanabusa (D), HI Amendment (#11) (Regarding total number of employees that voluntarily separated and the percentage of those employees that took the voluntary exit survey):

Walz (D), MN asked recorded vote – 11:02 AM

[170]

 

YEAS 400       NAYS 8

 

ADOPTED                 11:29 AM

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On passage:

Wenstrup (R), OH asked recorded vote – 11:31 AM

[171]

 

YEAS 412       NAYS 0

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On approval of the Journal (de novo):

Roe (R), TN asked recorded vote - 11:37 AM

[172]

 

YEAS 246       NAYS 143      PRESENT  2

 

APPROVED              11:44 AM

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Here is next week’s schedule, as announced in the colloquy.

 

On Monday the House will meet at 12:00 PM for morning hour and 2:00 PM for legislative business, with votes postponed until 6:30 PM.

 

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the House will meet at 10:00 AM for morning hour and 12:00 PM for legislative business.

 

On Thursday, the House will meet at 9:00 AM for legislative business, with “late votes likely.”

 

The House will consider suspension bills and also consider:

 

H.R. 372 – Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017

 

H.R. 1101 - Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2017

 

FY 2017 Reconciliation – American Health Care Act

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Davidson (R), OH (Welfare Reform)

We should use a BRAC system to distill our 92 welfare programs into a smaller number.

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Jackson Lee (D), TX (Immigration)

We should remember on St. Patrick’s Day that the Irish came as immigrants.

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Shimkus (R) IL (Constituent Tribute)

Tribute to Todd Zobrist, whose quick action saved a baby rescued from a submerged SUV.

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Aguilar (D), CA (GOP Health Care Plan)

Many of my constituents are worried about losing coverage under a GOP repeal plan.

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Poe (R), TX (Sex Trafficking)

A Texas man forced his 16-year-old daughter into prostitution. Our daughters are not for sale.

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Meeks (D), NY (Obamacare)

Republicans have fought health care since the Clinton administration.

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LaMalfa (R), CA (VA Employees)

The House has taken action to make it easier for the VA secretary to remove bad employees.

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Sherman (D), CA (Constituent Tribute)

Tribute to Michael Grobstein, who died last week,

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Biggs (R), AZ (Veterans)

We should always honor those who have fought to protect this nation.

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Sablan (D), MP (Health Care)

Many of my constituents rely on Medicaid.

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Cohen (D), TN (Trump Wiretap Allegations)

Congress says the President’s allegations are absurd.

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Chair admonishes members against engaging in personalities or profanities with the President.

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Special Orders - 12:43 PM

 

  1. Gohmert (R), TX (Activist Judges)

  2. Gallego (D), AZ (Trumpcare)

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Chair admonished members not to engage in personalities with the President.

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Chair declared the House adjourned at 1:53 PM until 12:00 PM on Monday.