[Congressional Record: September 26, 2002 (House)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
WAIVING POINTS OF ORDER AGAINST CONFERENCE REPORT ON H.R. 2215, 21ST
CENTURY DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE APPROPRIATIONS AUTHORIZATION ACT
Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Madam Speaker, by direction of the Committee on
Rules, I call up House Resolution 552 and ask for its immediate
The Clerk read the resolution, as follows:
H. Res. 552
Resolved, That upon adoption of this resolution it shall be
in order to consider the conference report to accompany the
bill (H.R. 2215) to authorize appropriations for the
Department of Justice for fiscal year 2002, and for other
purposes. All points of order against the conference report
and against its consideration are waived. The conference
report shall be considered as read.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mrs. Biggert). The gentleman from Florida
(Mr. Diaz-Balart) is recognized for 1 hour.
Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Madam Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I
yield the customary 30 minutes to the gentleman from Florida (Mr.
Hastings), pending which I yield myself such time as I may consume.
During consideration of this resolution, all time yielded is for the
purpose of debate only.
(Mr. DIAZ-BALART asked and was given permission to revise and extend
Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Madam Speaker, House Resolution 552 is a standard
rule waiving all points of order against the conference report to
accompany H.R. 2215, the 21st Century Department of Justice
Appropriations Authorization Act and against its consideration.
It has been over 20 years since Congress last authorized
appropriations for the Department of Justice. This conference report
that we are preparing to consider takes the long overdue step of
putting our mark on the vital justice programs and funding levels that
we have addressed solely through appropriations, since the 96th
Congress. This conference report is a product of a careful deliberative
bipartisan process. Every member of the conference committee,
Republican and Democrat, House and Senate, has signed the conference
I believe that all of the conferees, especially the gentleman from
Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner), the chairman, and the gentleman from
Michigan (Mr. Conyers), the ranking member, should be commended for
The conference report establishes fundamental and budgetary
administrative authorities that simplify, harmonize, and clarify over 2
decades of statutory authorities. Few times in our national history has
it been so important that we update and provide direction to the
Department of Justice. The conference report helps the Department of
Justice to adjust to the new century and the new challenges facing
America. As President Bush has noted, ``We are today a Nation at risk
to a new and changing threat.''
The Department of Justice has played and obviously will continue to
play a very important, a pivotal role, in securing our Nation against
the possibility of terrorist attacks.
Importantly, the conference report also reasserts congressional
oversight of the Department. The administration has gone to
extraordinary lengths to secure the Nation, while respecting the free
and open society which we are privileged to live in.
Nevertheless, Congress is designed to serve as a check on the actions
of the executive branch, to oversee the executive branch, that is
obviously as fundamental a role for Congress as is legislating; and
this conference report reaffirms our oversight responsibility.
This conference report is not by any means limited to the
streamlining and strengthening of the Department of Justice's law
enforcement responsibility or congressional oversight of its actions.
The conference report provides 94 additional U.S. Attorneys to work
with State and local law enforcement to enforce existing Federal laws,
firearms laws, for example, especially in and around schools.
The conference report also provides eight new permanent Federal
judgeships in the State of Florida. Also in my State and that of the
gentleman from Florida (Mr. Hastings), it creates a new temporary
Federal District Court judgeship for the Southern District to ease the
extraordinary burden on our Federal courts.
The conference report provides an increase in funds for the Boys and
Girls Club, which will allow them to increase outreach efforts and
increase membership throughout the Nation.
I think it is also worth a commendation that the conference report
establishes a permanent, separate, and independent Violence Against
Women Office in the Department of Justice. The office will be headed by
a director who reports directly to the Attorney General and has final
authority over all grants and cooperative agreements and contracts
awarded by the office.
The conference report contains important provisions regarding drug
abuse prevention and treatment, safeguarding the integrity of the
criminal justice system, and providing for the enactment of juvenile
justice and delinquency prevention legislation.
Madam Speaker, the conference report before us I believe is an
extremely important piece of bipartisan legislation that will serve the
Nation in innumerable ways.
The conference report, and I believe the rule, obviously, providing
for its consideration, deserve our support. Accordingly, I urge all of
my colleagues to support this rule and this very important underlying
Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I
Madam Speaker, I rise today in full support of the conference report
for H.R. 2215, the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations
As my colleagues know, H.R. 2215 passed the House of Representatives
in July, 2001, by a voice vote. I am quite certain that my colleagues
will join us today and approve the conference report in an overwhelming
Madam Speaker, while sitting in the Committee on Rules yesterday
afternoon, and in reviewing the conference report, I am in true
admiration of the bipartisanship that was shown by the committee's
chairman, the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner), and the
ranking member, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers). I applaud
the bipartisanship that the two of them showed while working on this
report, and thank the conferees for their inclusion of many Democratic
As the House works on a variety of contentious issues in the coming
days, I urge my colleagues to heed the bipartisan lessons of the
chairman and ranking Democrat of the Committee on the Judiciary.
Many Members of the House were here this morning and spoke about the
words that are being slung around on homeland security, and faulting
the other body for delays in that regard. I would remind my colleagues
that we have not completed the appropriations process, and all of us
need to be about that business.
Madam Speaker, H.R. 2215 authorizes funding to the Department of
Justice for the current fiscal year and the following one, which begins
next Tuesday. In addition to authorizing dollars to the Department for
the salaries of the Federal judges, attorneys, and support staff, the
report also authorizes funding for many important programs utilized by
millions of Americans every year.
As the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Diaz-Balart) says, he and I are
happy to report that the Southern District of Florida will be the
recipient of one of the judges authorized under this legislation.
Additionally, H.R. 2215 serves as a commitment to keeping drugs off
of our streets and out of our schools. While much of the Nation focuses
on the war on terrorism and a possible
war with Iraq, we cannot and should not forget a war that we have been
fighting for more than three decades: the war on drugs.
As we seek to stabilize Afghanistan, we cannot and should not forget
that prior to and during Taliban rule, Afghanistan was one of the
world's largest producers of poppy, an integral ingredient of heroin.
Thus, economic stability in this renewed democracy must provide
alternate means of income to Afghans who once depended on poppy sales
for a living.
Further, we cannot and should not forget that the war on drugs has no
definitive end. The dollars authorized in this bill, albeit limited,
serve as Congress' continued commitment to fighting the war on drugs. I
do, however, urge the authorizing committee to increase spending for
this fight in the coming years. In my lifetime in south Florida I have
seen hundreds of lives ruined and ended because of drugs. We cannot
allow this trend to continue into the 21st century.
Madam Speaker, in addition to authorizing funding for the war on
drugs, this legislation also funds the Immigration and Naturalization
Service, an agency that my office works with every day. Nearly 30
percent of everything we do in the Fort Lauderdale office deals with
While Congress continues to address the obvious shortcomings of this
poorly funded, understaffed, and overworked agency, the United States
remains a Nation created by immigrants. Those who enter our borders
legally and pose no threat to our security should be afforded equal
opportunity to excel and prosper. They should enjoy the benefits that
those of us born here take for granted.
To many, the United States remains a land where the streets are paved
with gold. It is those we let in legally, not those we do not, who will
help us extend this street of gold to the rest of the world.
Finally, among many things, the conference report also establishes a
national Violence Against Women Office. This is a plan that I and many
of the Members have supported for years. Domestic violence remains a
disgusting reality in our society, and the establishment of this office
is a step in the right direction toward protecting women and punishing
those who believe violence is an acceptable practice.
Madam Speaker, the Department of Justice should always be America's
voice of justice. Though I do not always agree with its policies today,
or its practices, I do agree with its charter.
This conference report is a good one, and so is the rule. I urge my
colleagues to support both of them.
Additionally, prior to the consideration of the rule, my very good
friend, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Holden), will make a
motion for the previous question. I ask my colleagues to consider his
motion, as well.
Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that
all Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and
extend their remarks on House Resolution 552.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mrs. Biggert). Is there objection to the
request of the gentleman from Florida?
There was no objection.
Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Madam Speaker, I am more than pleased to
yield such time as he may consume to my good friend, the gentleman from
Pennsylvania (Mr. Holden).
Mr. HOLDEN. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding time to
At the conclusion of this debate, I will seek to defeat the previous
question on this rule. If the previous question is defeated, I will
then offer an amendment to the rule that will instruct the Enrolling
Clerk to add to the conference report language to permanently extend
Chapter 12 bankruptcy protections for family farmers.
This is not a proposal that should be considered controversial. In
fact, this House has voted overwhelmingly three times in the last 18
months to extend these bankruptcy protections for family farmers.
Chapter 12 was enacted in 1986 as a temporary measure to allow family
farmers to repay their debts according to a plan under court
supervision. It prevents a situation from occurring where a few bad
crop years lead to the loss of the family farm.
In the absence of Chapter 12, farmers are forced to file for
bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code's other alternatives, none
of which work quite as well for farmers as Chapter 12.
Chapter 11, for example, will require a farmer to sell the family
farm to pay the claims of creditors. How can a farmer be expected to
come up with the money to pay off his debts without his farm? Chapter
11 is an expensive process that does not accommodate the special needs
Since its creation, Chapter 12, family farmer bankruptcy protection,
has been renewed regularly by Congress and has never been
controversial. In 1997, the National Bankruptcy Review Commission
recommended that Chapter 12 be made permanent.
In this Congress, H.R. 333, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and
Consumer Protection Act of 2001, includes a provision that permanently
extends Chapter 12. Just like previous versions of this bill in
previous Congresses, H.R. 333 is a bill plagued with controversy and a
bill whose passage is an uncertainty, at best.
For 5 years now, family farmers have been held hostage by the
contentious debate surrounding the larger bankruptcy issue. For 5
years, they have been made to sit on pins and needles waiting to see if
Congress will extend these protections for another 11 months, 4 months,
8 months, or whatever length of time we feel it will take us for the
next legislative hurdle on the larger bankruptcy issue.
Madam Speaker, family farmers have waited long enough. The games must
stop. Right now, family farmers are making plans to borrow money based
on next year's expected harvest in order to be able to buy the seeds
needed to plant the crops for that harvest. As these farmers leverage
themselves, they need to have the assurance that Chapter 12 family
farmer bankruptcy protections are going to be there for them on a long-
term basis. Sporadic and temporary extensions do not do the job.
Attaching Chapter 12 bankruptcy protections for family farmers to the
Department of Justice authorization conference report will give farmers
the kind of protections they desperately need, the kind of protections
we have already voted three times in the 107th Congress.
On February 21, 2001, we voted 408 to 2 to retroactively extend
Chapter 12 for 11 months. On June 6, 2001, we voted 411 to 1 to extend
Chapter 12 for an additional 4 months. Most recently, on April 16 of
this year, we voted 407 to 3 to extend Chapter 12 for yet an additional
8 months. So Members can see, extending Chapter 12 by no means is a
Madam Speaker, Chapter 12 is scheduled to expire at the end of this
year. If we do nothing today, Members of the House will be home in
their districts enjoying the holidays with their families while once
again family farmers are put at risk. Let us end this cliffhanger once
and for all. Let us give family farmers the assurance of permanent
protection they deserve and close this chapter for good.
Members should understand that a no vote will not stop the House from
considering and approving this conference report, but it will allow us
to extend once and for all, and provide the permanent extension of
Chapter 12 family farmer bankruptcy protection that farmers so
desperately need. However, a yes vote on the previous question will
prevent the House from adding this noncontroversial farmer-friendly
I urge all my colleagues to be consistent with their three earlier
votes in this Congress and vote no on the previous question.
Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that the text of this
amendment be printed in the Record immediately before the vote on the
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the
gentleman from Pennsylvania?
There was no objection.
Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Madam Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume
to the gentleman from California (Mr. Dreier), the distinguished
chairman of the Committee on Rules.
Mr. DREIER. Madam Speaker, I thank my dear friend, the gentleman from
Miami, Florida, for yielding me this time.
Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of both this rule and the
Department of Justice conference report. It has been over two decades,
22 years to be precise, since we have actually had a Department of
Justice authorization bill. This has been done through the
appropriations process in the past.
I believe that if we look at the issues that the Committee on the
Judiciary and others involved in this process have been able to
address, I believe that it is a very, very good measure.
We have in Southern California tremendous problems with overburdened
courts because of drug cases. I am very pleased that the State of
California, and specifically southern California, will be benefiting
from five new judgeships for southern California, six overall for the
State of California. I believe that that will go a long way towards
dealing with the challenge that we have of our overburdened court
system in California.
Another issue that has an impact on California that is included in
this measure, which is not California-specific, however, is the very
balanced approach to the H-1B visa program. We know that as we deal
with the challenges of the 21st century economy, Madam Speaker, one of
the problems that we have had is the inability to get the best
expertise possible for our high-tech sector of the economy, and other
sectors, quite frankly.
The fact that we have had a bureaucracy dealing with this has been a
challenge, but I am pleased that through legislation that we have been
able to get through in the past, we have been able to increase the
number of H-1B visas. It was the high-skilled workers who have been
able to come in and who filled this need so that the United States of
America can remain on the cutting edge technologically.
There has been, as I said, a bureaucratic mess that has existed for
some. And so in this conference report we see the inclusion of a 1-year
period, a grace period which will allow for those who were holding H1B
visas to be here to continue their very important work. And so, Madam
Speaker, this is a very good rule, it is a very good conference report,
and I urge my colleagues to support it.
Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Madam Speaker, first I would like to offer
an apology to my good friend from Florida (Mr. Diaz-Balart). I
indicated to him that we had but one speaker, but that was before two
others showed up.
Madam Speaker, I yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the gentlewoman from
Wisconsin (Ms. Baldwin).
Ms. BALDWIN. Madam Speaker, as a member of the Committee on the
Judiciary and the conference committee that produced the underlying
bill, I am very pleased with much of the work reflected there. But I do
think there is one enormous omission, and I rise to speak to that
I urge my colleagues to defeat the previous question on the rule so
that we can take immediate action to protect our Nation's family
farmers and family fishermen. The gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr.
Holden), the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Phelps), the gentleman from
Massachusetts (Mr. Delahunt), and I have introduced H.R. 5348 to
permanently extend Chapter 12 bankruptcy protection. It is long past
time for us to do so.
Madam Speaker, it is increasingly evident that we will not see
comprehensive bankruptcy reform this session. As in the last 5 years,
it has stalled. Whatever one thinks of the merit of that bill, we have
broad agreement of making Chapter 12 farmer and fishermen protection
permanent as a good idea and good public policy. By defeating the
previous question today, we can consider this important question now.
During this current session of Congress, we have extended Chapter 12
bankruptcy three times, most recently as part of the farm bill. It is
now due to expire again at the end of this year. The next 2 weeks may
be our final chance to renew it before it expires once again, and we
should do that today.
Madam Speaker, it is time to stop using our farmers as pawns in the
push for bankruptcy reform. It is time to stop pretending that this
important protection has in any way helped win support for the
comprehensive bankruptcy reform bill. It is time to protect our family
A farmer who has a dairy farm in Belleville, Wisconsin, in my
district contacted me recently about this issue. He has been farming
like his dad before him most of his life. He milks 70 cows to make his
living. Milk prices have remained low for most of the time he has been
in farming. Now milk prices are again reaching historic lows. He simply
cannot stay in business because he is losing money every day. He is
scared he is going to lose his farm to his creditors and let his whole
Madam Speaker, let us amend this rule right now so we can take up my
bill, H.R. 5348, and give all our family farmers and our family
fishermen another chance to reorganize their debts and keep their farms
or fishing operations in their families. I urge my colleagues to defeat
the previous question and support this rule.
Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Madam Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to my good friend,
the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Greenwood).
Mr. GREENWOOD. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me
Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of this rule and adoption of
the conference report on H.R. 2215, the Department of Justice
Appropriations Authorization Act. I am elated to report that after more
than 6 years of working on legislation to reauthorize the Juvenile
Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, we finally have a real
opportunity for reauthorization of the act to become a reality.
This conference report includes the language embodied in H.R. 1900,
my legislation, which overwhelmingly passed the House 1 year ago on
September 20 of last year.
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention was created
by Congress in 1974 to help communities and States prevent and control
delinquency and to improve their juvenile justice systems. This office
has not been reauthorized since 1994, although a similar bill has
passed the Congress by overwhelming margins twice since then.
The nature and extent of juvenile delinquency has changed
considerably since the office was created, and this reauthorization has
taken that into account. It is an extraordinarily difficult task to
create a juvenile justice system in each of the States and each of the
counties that can respond to the very, very different young people in
our society who get caught up in the law. But I believe that this
bipartisan bill represents good policy.
The bill successfully strikes a balance in dealing with children who
grow up and come before the juvenile justice system who are already
very vicious and dangerous criminals, and other children who come
before the juvenile justice system who are harmless and scared and
running away from abuse at home.
The legislation is designed to assist States and local communities to
develop strategies to combat juvenile crime through a wide range of
prevention and intervention programs. We acknowledge that most
successful solutions to juvenile crime are developed at the State and
local level of government by those individuals who understand the
unique characteristics of youth in their area. By combining the current
discretionary programs into prevention block grants to the States and
allowing States and local communities discretion in how such funds are
used, we allow the local officials to use their own good judgment based
on the realities of each situation. We have found a way to provide the
additional flexibility that our local officials need, still protect
society from dangerous teenagers, while protecting scared kids from
overly harsh treatment in our juvenile justice system.
Madam Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman from Virginia (Mr.
Scott) for joining me in this effort. This is virtually the same
legislation that the gentleman and I successfully negotiated on a
bipartisan basis last Congress.
Madam Speaker, I also want to thank the chairman of the Committee on
Education and the Workforce, the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Boehner); and
the ranking member, the gentleman from California (Mr. George Miller);
the chairman of the Subcommittee on Select Education of the Committee
Education and the Workforce, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr.
Hoekstra); and the ranking member, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr.
Roemer), for their valued assistance in guiding the legislation through
committee. Finally, a special thank you to the chairman of the
Committee on the Judiciary, the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr.
Sensenbrenner), and the ranking member, the gentleman from Michigan
(Mr. Conyers), for their willingness to work with us to include this
bill in the H.R. 2215 conference report.
Madam Speaker, I also want to thank my legislative director, Judy
Borger, who has lived this thing for many, many years and who has done
yeoman's work for both committees. I urge all my colleagues to join me
in supporting the rule.
Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Madam Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the
gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson-Lee), my good friend.
(Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas asked and was given permission to revise
and extend her remarks.)
Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Madam Speaker, I want to thank the
distinguished gentleman from Florida (Mr. Hastings) for his leadership,
but as well his yielding me time. I rise to acknowledge the very hard
work that was done on this legislation and to suggest that we have made
strides. Particularly, let me note that as the ranking member on the
Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims of the
Committee on the Judiciary, I think the fact that we have kept the H-
1B's responsive, those visas, in light of September 11 when many people
will equate immigration issues to terrorism, that is not the case. And
I think it is important that we allow talented individuals to be able
to come into this country and share their talents. And certainly we
want to make sure that Americans have the same access to technology and
computer knowledge and software knowledge, but it is important to have
this talent. So I applaud the legislation, therefore the rule, of this
particular initiative because that is in it.
Likewise, let me acknowledge, as my colleague from Pennsylvania (Mr.
Greenwood) just noted, the consequences for juvenile offenders, a bill
that I was very happy to support, that was worked on and co-sponsored
by the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Greenwood) and the gentleman
from Virginia (Mr. Scott), came through the Subcommittee on Crime,
Terrorism and Homeland Security of the Committee on the Judiciary. And
might I say that this is an important statement for our young people,
that our young people are not throw-aways, that they can be
rehabilitated. And many people will tell you they are our future. I
tell you that juveniles, young people today, those young people in
middle schools and high schools around America are our today. And it is
important to realize that if we incarcerate and lock up a youngster in
their teenage years, we are only perpetrating their ways of violence
and ill acts. And it is very important that we have these
rehabilitative measures, we intervene and it is a very important point.
I would like to acknowledge, as well, the importance of violence
against women's office. We stabilized it, if you will, allowed it to be
free-standing, and supported it by funding; and I believe that is
But I believe, Madam Speaker, that we have some concerns, some more
work that could have been done and that is my dilemma today as we come
forward. We could have passed 245i that again reinforces family
reunification with those who are in this country or seeking to reunite
their families who happen to be immigrants. Just this past week I faced
a very troubling situation in my own district where nine members of a
Palestinian family were about to be deported and not looking at the
humanitarian grounds of them having come to this country from a
tumultuous region seeking asylum and yet not being able to do so. We
were able to provide some remedy for them, and they had a 9-year-old
citizen, their daughter who was born in this country; but because she
was not of the age of majority, she could not petition for their
relief. So we have these problems. We did not do anything in this
legislation on that.
We did not fix 1996 immigration laws to keep families together so we
do not have these large numbers of individuals being deported to places
they have never lived. I believe we should have looked at trying to fix
that. And the same thing with the comprehensive immigration bill that I
and the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers) have authored. It fixes
the immigration system in its totality. It recognizes that we must be
safe but at the same it fixes some of the major loopholes that we have
in our immigration system.
I believe, Madam Speaker, as well we have not done ourselves proud by
not including the hate crimes legislation that has 206 sponsors so that
we would have to result to a discharge petition to try to get that on
the floor of the House. How much more do Members have to say when 206
Members believe that we should get rid of hate crimes and have laws
against it, legislation authored by the gentleman from Michigan (Mr.
Conyers); and yet we cannot get that to the floor of the House. This
should have been included in this legislation.
I am glad to see that we did not codify the TIPS program, neighbors
spying on neighbors. Yes, we believe in the security of this Nation,
but I also believe Americans believe in civil liberties. I am glad that
that is not in this legislation.
Let me conclude, Madam Speaker, on this point, and that is the civil
rights office that I believe certainly there are good intentions there
but there are issues of police brutality around this Nation. In fact,
in my own district we have some incidents of a Hispanic being shot in
the back and the medical examiner declared it was a homicide and no
action was taken against any of those involved in this case. Another
African American shot in the back, unarmed and no action taken against
I am a supporter of law enforcement, but I am supportive of law. And
I believe the civil rights division should be invigorated with funding
and they should be utilized for what they are utilized for regardless
of whether it is a Republican or Democratic administration.
School desegregation orders. I represent a district that is now
trying to get rid of their school desegregation order, and they still
have the same violations. The Justice Department should not be engaged
in being on the side of a school district that is fighting to get rid
of their desegregation order when they are still failing our children.
These problems should be addressed in this legislation and more
funding should be given to the civil rights division in order to fix
these problems. I believe this is a good piece of legislation, but we
could have done more.
Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I
Madam Speaker, in closing I will invite the Members' attention to the
matter discussed earlier by the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr.
Holden). Defeating the previous question as proposed by the gentleman
will allow us to permanently extend Chapter 12 protection for farmers.
The House has already voted on three separate occasions in this
Congress to extend these bankruptcy protections for farmers. Sporadic
and temporary extensions leave farmers uncertain of their future. Even
as they face record drought, and the gentleman from Montana (Mr.
Rehberg) from the other side and I have a drought bill that a
substantial number of Members have joined on that we consider critical
for our Nation's farmers, and when they experience poor harvest in many
regions of the country.
In the absence of Chapter 12, farmers are forced to file bankruptcy
under much less favorable terms. Permanent extension as proposed by the
gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Holden) will ease these pressures. I
ask our membership to defeat the previous question.
Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Madam Speaker, I want to reiterate my support,
strong support for this rule and the underlying legislation. It is very
important underlying legislation. It has been over 20 years since we
have in effect authorized the needed expenditures of the Department of
Justice, and so I urge,
again, support for the rule and the underlying measure.
Mr. PHELPS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to move to defeat the previous
question on H.R. 2215--Department of Justice Authorization Conference
Report. I am very disappointed that the permanent extension of Chapter
12 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code was not included in this legislation.
Mr. Speaker, Chapter 12 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code gives farmers
much needed bankruptcy protections. This is an issue I have been
working on for some time now and was disappointed to see it was not
included in this conference report. On April 10th, I offered a motion
to Instruct Conferees on the Farm Bill which asked conferees to accept
language in the Senate Bill that would make Chapter 12 of the
Bankruptcy Code permanent. My motion passed overwhelmingly, but was not
included in the final version of the bill.
H.R. 333, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act
of 2001 includes a permanent extension of Chapter 12, but like its
predecessor in previous Congresses, H.R. 333 is a bill whose passage is
uncertain. Since 1997, farmers have been told to wait for the
Bankruptcy Reform Act to pass and they would be protected forever. For
five years, farmers have been waiting for this to happen. Farmers have
waited too long and need protection now.
Including a permanent extension of Chapter 12 in the DOJ
Authorization Conference Report would have given farmers the kind of
family farmer bankruptcy protections, on a permanent basis, that we
have already voted for three times this Congress. As farmers harvest
their crops for this year, they will soon have to borrow against next
year's harvest to plant next year's crops. They need to know that the
legal protections Congress enacted in 1986 will be there for them if
something goes wrong. Unfortunately, they have seen Congress let
Chapter 12 lapse several times in the last five years and, despite
repeated promises, no permanent relief is in sight. The inability to
plan and know that if the worst happens they can save their family farm
. . . especially in these uncertain times . . . is devastating.
I do not think that there is any controversy whatsoever that Chapter
12 works well, that it protects our family farmers who are in distress,
that it properly balances the legitimate needs of financially troubled
farmers and their creditors, and that it preserves the family farm.
The material previously referred to by Mr. Holden is as follows:
Previous Question for H. Res. 552, H.R. 2215, 21st Century Department
of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act
At the end of the resolution, add the following:
``Sec. 2. Upon adoption of this resolution, the House shall
be considered to have adopted a concurrent resolution (H.
Con. Res. 488) directing the Clerk of the House to correct
the enrollment of H.R. 2215.''
At an appropriate place insert the following (and make such
technical and conforming changes as may be appropriate):
SEC. ____. FAMILY FARMERS AND FAMILY FISHERMEN PROTECTION ACT
(a) Short Title.--This section may be cited as the ``Family
Farmers and Family Fishermen Protection Act of 2002''.
(b) Permanent Reenactment of Chapter 12.
(A) In general.--Chapter 12 of title 11, United States
Code, as reenacted by section 149 of division C of the
Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental
Appropriations Act, 1999 (Public Law 105-277), is hereby
reenacted, and as here reenacted is amended by this section.
(B) Effective date.--Subsection (a) shall take effect on
the date of the enactment of this Act.
(2) Conforming amendment.--Section 302 of the Bankruptcy
Judges, United States Trustees, and Family Farmer Bankruptcy
Act of 1986 (28 U.S.C. 581 note) is amended by striking
(c) Debt Limit Increase.--Section 104(b) of title 11,
United States Code, is amended by inserting ``101(18),''
after ``sections'' each place it appears.
(d) Certain Claims Owed to Governmental Units.--
(1) Contents of plan.--Section 1222(a)(2) of title 11,
United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
``(2) provide for the full payment, in deferred cash
payments, of all claims entitled to priority under section
``(A) the claim is a claim owed to a governmental unit that
arises as a result of the sale, transfer, exchange, or other
disposition of any farm asset used in the debtor's farming
operation, in which case the claim shall be treated as an
unsecured claim that is not entitled to priority under
section 507, but the debt shall be treated in such manner
only if the debtor receives a discharge; or
``(B) the holder of a particular claim agrees to a
different treatment of that claim;''.
(2) Special notice provisions.--Section 1231(b) of title
11, United States Code, as so designated by this section is
amended by striking ``a State or local governmental unit''
and inserting ``any governmental unit''.
(e) Definition of Family Farmer.--Section 101(18) of title
11, United States Code, is amended--
(1) in subparagraph (A)--
(A) by striking ``$1,500,000'' and inserting
(B) by striking ``80'' and inserting ``50''; and
(2) in subparagraph (B)(ii)--
(A) by striking ``$1,500,000'' and inserting
(B) by striking ``80'' and inserting ``50''.
(f) Elimination of Requirement That Family Farmer and
Spouse Receive Over 50 Percent of Income From Farming
Operation in Year Prior to Bankruptcy.--Section 101(18)(A) of
title 11, United States Code, is amended by striking ``for
the taxable year preceding the taxable year'' and inserting
``(i) the taxable year preceding; or
``(ii) each of the 2d and 3d taxable years preceding;
the taxable year''.
(g) Prohibition of Retroactive Assessment of Disposable
(1) Confirmation of Plan.--Section 1225(b)(1) of title 11,
United States Code, is amended--
(A) in subparagraph (A) by striking ``or'' at the end;
(B) in subparagraph (B) by striking the period at the end
and inserting ``; or''; and
(C) by adding at the end the following:
``(C) the value of the property to be distributed under the
plan in the 3-year period, or such longer period as the court
may approve under section 1222(c), beginning on the date that
the first distribution is due under the plan is not less than
the debtor's projected disposable income for such period.''.
(2) Modification of plan.--Section 1229 of title 11, United
States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
``(d) A plan may not be modified under this section--
``(1) to increase the amount of any payment due before the
plan as modified becomes the plan;
``(2) by anyone except the debtor, based on an increase in
the debtor's disposable income, to increase the amount of
payments to unsecured creditors required for a particular
month so that the aggregate of such payments exceeds the
debtor's disposable income for such month; or
``(3) in the last year of the plan by anyone except the
debtor, to require payments that would leave the debtor with
insufficient funds to carry on the farming operation after
the plan is completed.''.
(h) Family Fishermen.--
(1)Definitions.--Section 101 of title 11, United States
Code, is amended--
(A) by inserting after paragraph (7) the following:
``(7A) `commercial fishing operation' means--
``(A) the catching or harvesting of fish, shrimp, lobsters,
urchins, seaweed, shellfish, or other aquatic species or
products of such species; or
``(B) for purposes of section 109 and chapter 12,
aquaculture activities consisting of raising for market any
species or product described in subparagraph (A);
``(7B) `commercial fishing vessel' means a vessel used by a
family fisherman to carry out a commercial fishing
(B) by inserting after paragraph (19) the following:
``(19A) `family fisherman' means--
``(A) an individual or individual and spouse engaged in a
commercial fishing operation--
``(i) whose aggregate debts do not exceed $1,500,000 and
not less than 80 percent of whose aggregate noncontingent,
liquidated debts (excluding a debt for the principal
residence of such individual or such individual and spouse,
unless such debt arises out of a commercial fishing
operation), on the date the case is filed, arise out of a
commercial fishing operation owned or operated by such
individual or such individual and spouse; and
``(ii) who receive from such commercial fishing operation
more than 50 percent of such individual's or such
individual's and spouse's gross income for the taxable year
preceding the taxable year in which the case concerning such
individual or such individual and spouse was filed; or
``(B) a corporation or partnership--
``(i) in which more than 50 percent of the outstanding
stock or equity is held by--
``(I) 1 family that conducts the commercial fishing
``(II) 1 family and the relatives of the members of such
family, and such family or such relatives conduct the
commercial fishing operation; and
``(ii)(I) more than 80 percent of the value of its assets
consists of assets related to the commercial fishing
``(II) its aggregate debts do not exceed $1,500,000 and not
less than 80 percent of its aggregate noncontingent,
liquidated debts (excluding a debt for 1 dwelling which is
owned by such corporation or partnership and which a
shareholder or partner maintains as a principal residence,
unless such debt arises out of a commercial fishing
operation), on the date the case is filed, arise out of a
commercial fishing operation owned or operated by such
corporation or such partnership; and
``(III) if such corporation issues stock, such stock is not
``(19B) `family fisherman with regular annual income' means
a family fisherman whose annual income is sufficiently stable
and regular to enable such family fisherman
to make payments under a plan under chapter 12 of this
(2) Who may be a debtor.--Section 109(f) of title 11,
United States Code, is amended by inserting ``or family
fisherman'' after ``family farmer''.
(3) Chapter 12.--Chapter 12 of title 11, United States
Code, is amended--
(A) in the chapter heading, by inserting ``OR FISHERMAN''
after ``FAMILY FARMER'';
(B) in section 1203, by inserting ``or commercial fishing
operation'' after ``farm''; and
(C) in section 1206, by striking ``if the property is
farmland or farm equipment'' and inserting ``if the property
is farmland, farm equipment, or property used to carry out a
commercial fishing operation (including a commercial fishing
(4) Clerical Amendment.--In the table of chapters for title
11, United States Code, the item relating to chapter 12, is
amended to read as follows:
``12. Adjustments of Debts of a Family Farmer or Family Fisherman with
Regular Annual Income...................................1201''.....
(e) Applicability.--Nothing in this subsection shall
change, affect, or amend the Fishery Conservation and
Management Act of 1976 (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.).
(i) Effective Date; Application of Amendments.--This
section and the amendments made by this section shall take
effect on the date of the enactment of this Act and shall not
apply with respect to cases commenced under title 11 of the
United States Code before such date.
Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time,
and I move the previous question on the resolution.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on ordering the previous
The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that
the ayes appeared to have it.
Mr. HOLDEN. Mr. Speaker, I object to the vote on the ground that a
quorum is not present and make the point of order that a quorum is not
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Evidently a quorum is not present.
The Sergeant at Arms will notify absent Members.
Pursuant to clause 9 of rule XX, the Chair will reduce to 5 minutes
the minimum time for electronic voting, if ordered, on the question of
adoption of the resolution and then on the Speaker's approval of the
Journal and on the motion to instruct conferees offered by the
gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Eddie Bernice Johnson).
The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 208,
nays 199, not voting 25, as follows:
[Roll No. 416]
Davis, Jo Ann
Johnson, E. B.
Messrs. CRAMER, REYES, BARRETT of Wisconsin, TAYLOR of Mississippi,
ACKERMAN, BEREUTER, Ms. WOOLSEY, and Ms. ESHOO changed their vote from
``yea'' to ``nay.''
Mr. ISSA and Mr. BILIRAKIS changed their vote from ``nay'' to
So the previous question was ordered.
The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mrs. Biggert). The question is on the
The resolution was agreed to.
A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.
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