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June 25, 2011

Congress Last Week



House Votes - Libya

H.Res. 328: Providing for consideration of H.J. Res. 68 and H.R. 2278

On Passage
Passed by 73 votes: 240-167, 24 not voting

H.J.Res. 68: Authorizing the limited use of the United States Armed Forces in support of the NATO mission in Libya

On Passage
Failed by 173 votes: 123-295, 13 not voting

H.R. 2278: To limit the use of funds appropriated to the Department of Defense for United States Armed Forces in support of North Atlantic Treaty Organization Operation Unified Protector with respect to Libya, unless otherwise specifically authorized by law.

On Passage
Failed by 59 votes: 180-238, 13 not voting

House members surprised with who voted how on Libya mission votes
Known to vote and dash on Fridays, lawmakers remained planted on the House floor to watch the tally board.

June 24, 2011

House Votes - H.R. 1249: America Invents Act

H.Res. 316: Providing for consideration of H.R. 2021 and H.R. 1249

H.R. 2021 Votes

House Report 112-111

On Question of Consideration of the Resolution
Passed by 26 votes: 215-189, 27 not voting

On Ordering the Previous Question
Passed by 46 votes: 230-184, 17 not voting

On Passage
Passed by 53 votes: 239-186, 6 not voting

H.R. 1249: America Invents Act
To amend title 35, United States Code, to provide for patent reform.


An amendment numbered 1 printed in Part B of House Report 112-111 to make technical edits and a few necessary changes to more substantive issues, such as prior user rights and an additional oversight requirement for the PTO.
Agreed to by 143 votes: 283-140, 8 not voting

An amendment numbered 2 printed in Part B of House Report 112-111 to insert language to move the United States to a first to file system only upon a Presidential finding that other major patent authorities have adopted a similar one-year grace period.
Failed by 212 votes: 105-316, 10 not voting

An amendment numbered 3 printed in Part B of House Report 112-111 to strike Section 5, the `prior user rights' language, and conform H.R. 1249 to H.R. 1908, as passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on September 7, 2007, and S. 23, as passed by the U.S. Senate on March 8, 2011.
Failed by 262 votes: 81-342, 8 not voting

An amendment numbered 9 printed in Part B of House Report 112-111 to restore language for calculation of 60-day period for application of patent term extension that the managers amendment strikes.
Agreed to by 25 votes: 223-198, 10 not voting

An amendment numbered 12 printed in Part B of House Report 112-111 to strike Section 3 of the legislation, which would convert the U.S. patent system from `first-to-invent' to `first-to-file.'.
Failed by 167 votes: 129-295, 7 not voting

An amendment numbered 13 printed in Part B of House Report 112-111 to eliminate the ability of the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to set fees, retaining that authority for Congress.
Failed by 238 votes: 92-329, 10 not voting

An amendment numbered 12 printed in Part B of House Report 112-111 to eliminate the burden of post-grant reviews and reexaminations on individual inventors and small businesses with 100 or fewer employees.
Failed by 262 votes: 81-342, 8 not voting

An amendment numbered 15 printed in Part B of House Report 112-111 to strike section 18 of H.R. 1249, the Transitional program for covered business method patents.
Failed by 105 votes: 158-262, 11 not voting

On Passage
Passed by 187 votes: 304-117, 10 not voting

Senate Votes - S. 679: Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act

S. 679: Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011

Motion to proceed to consideration of measure agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent. (consideration: CR S3991)


To end the appointments of presidential Czars who have not been subject to the advice and consent of the Senate and to prohibit funds for any salaries and expenses for appointed Czars.
Amendment Rejected by 5 votes: 47-51, 2 not voting (3/5 required)

To strike the provision relating to the Director, Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Amendment Rejected by 17 votes: 41-57, 2 not voting

June 23, 2011

House Votes - H.R. 2021: Jobs and Energy Permitting Act

H.Res. 316: Providing for consideration of H.R. 2021 and H.R. 1249

H.R. 1249 Votes

House Report 112-111

On Question of Consideration of the Resolution
Passed by 26 votes: 215-189, 27 not voting

On Ordering the Previous Question
Passed by 46 votes: 230-184, 17 not voting

On Passage
Passed by 53 votes: 239-186, 6 not voting

H.R. 2021: Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011


H.Amdt. 481 by Rep. Speier [D-CA12]
An amendment numbered 1 printed in Part A of House Report 112-111 to strike section 2 of H.R. 2021.
Failed by 73 votes: 176-248, 7 not voting

H.Amdt. 482 by Rep. Hastings [D-FL23]
An amendment numbered 2 printed in Part A of House Report 112-111 to direct emission sources from the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to title I of the Clean Air Act, ensuring that the vessels often responsible for the majority of the OCS's emission sources are not left unregulated.
Failed by 88 votes: 167-254, 10 not voting

An amendment numbered 3 printed in Part A of House Report 112-111 to require all permit applications to include data on federal oil subsidies received by the company applying for the permit.
Failed by 56 votes: 183-238, 10 not voting

An amendment numbered 4 printed in Part A of House Report 112-111 to require that all completed applications include data on bonuses provided to the executives of the applicant from the most recent quarter.
Failed by 92 votes: 167-258, 6 not voting

An amendment numbered 5 printed in Part A of House Report 112-111 to allow the Administrator to provide additional 30-day extensions if the Administrator determines that such time is necessary to meet the requirements of this section, to provide adequate time for public participation, or to ensure sufficient involvement by one or more affected States.
Failed by 82 votes: 172-253, 6 not voting

An amendment numbered 6 printed in Part A of House Report 112-111 to strike underlying text that eliminates the ability of the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) to remand or deny the issuance of Clean Air Act permits for offshore energy exploration and extraction.
Failed by 79 votes: 173-251, 7 not voting

An amendment numbered 7 printed in Part A of House Report 112-111 to preserve access to local courts by striking a provision which requires permit decisions to be litigated in the DC Circuit in Washington D.C.
Failed by 58 votes: 183-240, 8 not voting

An amendment numbered 8 printed in Part A of House Report 112-111 to preserve state authority over OCS sources where states have been delegated authority to issue air permits for offshore drilling activities.
Failed by 63 votes: 180-242, 9 not voting

An amendment numbered 9 printed in Part A of House Report 112-111 to require a report that details how the amendments made by this Act are projected to increase oil and gas production and lower energy prices for consumers.
Failed by 53 votes: 186-238, 7 not voting

An amendment numbered 10 printed in Part A of House Report 112-111 to prohibit any permits issued under the Clean Air Act for oil or natural gas drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) off the coast of Oregon.
Failed by 103 votes: 160-262, 9 not voting

On Motion to Recommit with Instructions
Failed by 69 votes: 177-245, 9 not voting

On Passage
Passed by 87 votes: 253-166, 12 not voting

House Suspension Vote - H.R. 672: Election Assistance Commission Termination

H.R. 672: To terminate the Election Assistance Commission, and for other purposes
Failed by 48 votes: 235-187, 9 not voting (2/3 required)

June 22, 2011

House Suspension Votes

H.R. 1632: To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 5014 Gary Avenue in Lubbock, Texas, as the “Sergeant Chris Davis Post Office”
Passed by 396 votes: 396-0, 36 not voting (2/3 required)

H.R. 771: To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1081 Elbel Road in Schertz, Texas, as the “Schertz Veterans Post Office”
Passed by 398 votes: 398-0, 34 not voting (2/3 required)

S. 349: To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 4865 Tallmadge Road in Rootstown, Ohio, as the “Marine Sgt. Jeremy E. Murray Post Office”
Passed by 397 votes: 397-0, 35 not voting (2/3 required)

Senate Cloture Vote - S. 782: Economic Development Revitalization Act

S. 782: Economic Development Revitalization Act of 2011

Previous Votes

Motion to Invoke Cloture on S. 782
Cloture Motion Rejected 49-51 (3/5 required)

June 21, 2011

Teen Voices

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  • [Begin Insert]

Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I ask to have printed in the Record the remarks of my friend Donna Brazile at the 20th anniversary celebration for Teen Voices. Teen Voices is a journalism mentoring and leadership development program for teen girls which was founded in Cambridge, MA, and creates publications which reach hundreds of thousands of young women across the world. Donna's words do great justice to what a terrific program Teen Voices is as they celebrate an important milestone, and I believe this occasion deserves special recognition in the Congressional Record.

[Page: S3916]

The information follows.

Remarks of Donna Brazile, April 14, 2011

Now, Karen, I noticed that as soon as I started speaking you turned the music off. It reminded me of a few weeks ago when I was at the White House--let me start by bringing greetings from President Obama, who's in Chicago tonight. President Obama is having a rally tonight and he wanted to know why I couldn't come to Chicago to introduce him. I said, ``I'm going to be hanging out with Teen Voices and trust me, I want to be in Boston tonight, Mr. President.'' But I was invited a few weeks ago and some of you who are young enough to remember the Motown sounds, the President invited me, and it was one of those weekends when I wanted to see my sisters. I have five sisters. So I said, ``I really need three tickets.'' And he looked at me and said, ``Donna, this is Motown. Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, John Legend, Arthur Rees,'' and the list went on and on and on. So I said, ``Well, alright, then give me four tickets!'' And he said, ``Well I'm only going to give you one ticket. One for yourself, and one for a guest.''

Well, I have six sisters. I mean five of us and you know, my brothers. I said, ``Please give me a couple extra tickets.''

He said, ``Sorry, you know, we have rules. And you cannot get but one ticket.''

So I waited, I called the next week. And they said this was the public liaison office so they gave me one ticket. So I called the political engagement office. I thought, clearly they must have an extra ticket. And they gave me another ticket! So I called my sister, Lisa, and I said, ``Lisa, you can come.'' I already told my older sister she could come. And then I have another sister. She's number--Sheryl, Sheila, Donna--she's number seven! So I said, ``Dmitri, guess what, you can come!'' So there were four Brazile women in the house. So of course, we got there right before the performances. And then they said, ``Well, you all have to go back there.'' And I'm like, ``No, no, no. That's not right. We don't care. Because we're going to dance.'' And of course, they seated us way in the back. But the performers had to come out. So as John Legend came out my sisters were blowing kisses. They didn't want autographs (we're not into autographs from Louisiana). We want hugs. So the Jonas Brothers came out, and I whisper, ``That's Nick Jonas!''

``What! What! My daughter loves him! Hey baby!''

I said, ``No, this is the White House, you don't do that. This is a dignified place, this place has been here for 200 years.'' And so the night went on and on. And you know, back in the day, for those of you who are a little young, every time a new song came out--we had to twists and we did the jerks. And then with Jackson 5--I want you back, I want you back. So we knew all of the songs. Well, one song came on and of course, this was a rendition of ``Dancing in the Street'' and my sister decided this was her moment to do a dance that I had never seen. And a dance the Secret Service had never seen. So, the reason why, when the music started playing, I just wanted to give you all a warning, if my sisters were here, they would have come up with a song. So it's now like midnight, and I say ``Girls, the President has gone up. I know Stevie Wonder is still here, but we've got to go home, so come on, let's go.''

And my sister goes, ``Ain't no party like a White House party, like a White House party don't stop.''

I said, ``Where'd you all get that?'' And then the Marine Band, who knew the Marine band could actually play jazz tunes, and then she's teaching the Marine Band--``Ain't no party like a White House party, like a White House party don't stop.''

The next day I saw the President, I was at a meeting and I was trying to pretend I didn't know those women. I said, ``I know Mr. President was taped so hopefully you can edit my sisters out.'' Of course, when it was on PBS, they didn't edit us out. Alright, my sisters--I just wanted to let you all know if you go to the White House and decide to hang out for a party or an event just remember--``Ain't no party like a White House party, like a White House party don't stop.'' But ..... I'm chair of the Democratic Party. My dad is 80 years old. I called him and I said, ``Guess what. I'm chair of the Democratic party, one of the oldest political parties in the country.''

He said, ``It's a job.''

I said, ``Well, but it doesn't pay.''

He said, ``Well, that's like most jobs.''

There are some perks and I took advantage of one of them just a night ago. I just want to let everyone know a little bit about it. And you know, some people want a car to drive. Not me. First of all, I want a man dropping me off. So it's bad enough I live one block from the head of the CIA and I have to explain to people who visit me why the cops are outside. I say, ``No, nothing's going on at the house. It's the CI--wait, never mind--it's okay, just come on in, it's alright.'' So no, I don't want a car to drive. That's too tacky, that's not me. I mean, I'm a girl from New Orleans. I can roll.

So they say, ``Well, do you want a phone?''

I mean, well, I worked for Al Gore. He created the Internet; of course I want a phone. ``So what do you have?''


``No, no, no. Dropped service. I'll stick with Verizon.'' And so they start listing all these other things, and I say no letterhead, no business card, no office, no secretary, no assistant.

They say, ``Donna, what do you want?''

I say, ``I hear you have tickets for the Easter egg roll.'' And, I want to tell you this story because when I worked for Bill Clinton and Al Gore back in the 1990s, I was involved with the inaugural as well as the campaign. I went into the office one day and they said, ``Donna, what do you want?''

I said, ``All of the leftover tickets.'' Some people didn't make it; they didn't sell all the seats, and so on. So here you have rows of all the dignitaries all in the diplomatic core, all these people from the government, all these people looking good. And then you have rows of little kids. Rows and rows. And that was me. I said, ``Absolutely. I'm going across the bridge to Southeast, Washington D.C., and I am going to give tickets out to kids, who like myself, their parents are not rich. They don't have connections. But one day, one of these kids, one, maybe one, will grow up and become President of the United States.'' And I want to say that I gave them a ticket. I gave them an opportunity. So when President Obama won, and you all know I'm one for tickets--This is not my speech, I'm going to get to my speech. But I just wanted to let everyone know how I roll.

And so, this is why, at my age of 51, I have 300 children, don't ask me how I did it. I did it, I got 300, they are really well taken care of, different daddies; it's a long story. But when you've worked on as many campaigns--Karen mentioned my 7 presidential, my 58 congressional, and my 19 state and local campaigns, I worked on campaigns in 48 states. I've lived here twice in my life, 2 more states and I will become Miss USA. I've done a lot of work in my life, okay? I mean, I've worked in Alaska, I was up there. I was in Juneau. I've been to Utah, I've seen the mountains. So I've been all over the place, but I still keep it real. I'm still that little girl, that little girl who grew up poor. To a mother who was a maid, a father who was a janitor. And I was proud of my parents, my parents worked very hard. They wanted us to have everything; they wanted us to have the best of life. Sometimes, they couldn't afford it. But often times, they would put a little away. That's why I tell people I can wait. My mother used to say, ``It's a little away. How fast you need it?''


``Oh, no, no, no. How fast you need it?''

I'd say, ``Okay, next month.''

She'd say, ``Oh, I'll get it out by next month, don't worry.'' And then, my mother, or my father, would go out and work an additional job or longer hours so that we could get what we needed in order to be the people that we are, or the kids that we wanted to be, the grown-ups that we wanted to be as well.

But, I would get my tickets, so my kids would come in, and I'd say, ``Hey B.'' And by the way, I used to carry a big purse. Whenever you see my carrying a big purse, I'm coming after some tickets. That's not a bag, that's a ticket basket. And I would walk into (something?) headquarters--you heard the song ``Ain't too proud of the bag.'' I need it for my kids. So I had 700 tickets from the President, and let me tell you, everybody, every dignitary was hitting me up. They'd say, ``Donna, got tickets?''

I'd say, ``No I don't.''

Ohhh she's lying! And then I learned how to, for my purple ticket, oh so you want my purple give me 2 of your golds! Why! Because my purple ticket gets you up front but you give me 2 so think about it! I would get those big tickets so I could get 5 smaller tickets so I could get more people in. All I cared about was getting more people in. So I thought about it the other day, because I'm always into tickets. I'm a ticket person--so I said, ``How many tickets can I get as the chair of the Democratic Party? I need my tickets.'' And then I learned I got 10 tickets, I thought, oh thank you, Lord, I got 10. Now you all know I'm starting at 10. Watch me. Now the chair gets 10, how many does the Vice Chair get? I'm still Vice Chair!

And then I'm going to call my congresswoman, and then I'm going to call the congress people from Alaska. Nobody's coming here for an Easter egg hunt. And Washington State; and you know you can always hit up California; you know I'm going to hit up Kansas. I can't hit up Hawaii because that's where the President is from. But I'm going to get my tickets and you know, I'm giving them to the kids, like myself, kids who have grown up poor, kids who need to be able, because they live in Washington, D.C., to say that ``I went to the White House. I was at the White House and I saw the President, I saw the First Lady, I saw his two little daughters, and I met Bo.'' That's the dog, for those of you who don't know.

But I'm honored to be here with you, I had to tell my tickets stories. Everyone who knows me back in DC calls me the ticket lady. And I love tickets--not parking tickets--but tickets. But it is an honor to join you tonight as you celebrate 20 years. I've had some time to read up on Jenny and all of the work that you all have done and have committed to do. You are an inspiration. You have empowered millions of young girls who not only read your magazine but those who also contribute to it and those who want to be a part of it. You are a source of inspiration and extortion of empowerment and I want to thank the Board. I'd like to thank Lisa. I'd like to thank all the sponsors and of

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course Denise and Seema. And yeah, I've been checking out your shoes. They come in size 11, baby?

But I also want to thank you for helping young girls find their voices and helping them amplify their message and lifting them up. Your message is one of hope and change. I want to say, I remember what it's like to be young--it was just 2 weeks ago--the grey hair may throw you off a little bit, but the truth is, I'm still 15 at heart. Now, notice I said 15, not 18. Fifteen not 13. Because, I believe at 15, I had a life-changing, what I call, experience.

My grandmother, who took time to raise most of us, because my parents were busy working, she got sick that year. And throughout our childhood, Grandma was the rock; she was the foundation in our house. My grandmother was from Mississippi. She was the daughter of former slaves. And though she had lived to see so many changes take place in her lifetime, she had 12 kids. In fact, my daddy was number 12. My grandmother had my father when at the age of 48--yeah I guess that's made him the way he is.

But my grandmother, in my judgment, was my role model. She was my rock. She was my inspiration. I wanted to be just like Ramon, because she knew everything. I would get up in the morning at 4 o'clock--``Ramon, what are you doing?''

She'd say, ``I'm soaking the clothes.''

``Well, okay.''

``We going to go hang them up outside.''

``Well, okay.'' I did that. At 5:30, she was in the kitchen making buttermilk biscuits. As you can tell, I ate a couple of them. They were the best buttermilk biscuits in the world. She made her biscuits from scratch. But by 7:00, before we went off for school, Ramon told me that I had to read the newspaper with her. Her eyesight was failing. So I would read the newspaper, from front to back. The classified section, the sports section, and of course, I read the opinion columns. I was excited to know what was going on in the world and Grandma even taught me how to read the comics, and of course, her horoscope--every day.

But when Ramon took sick, it really changed my life. All of a sudden, I had to grow up. All of a sudden, I had to learn how to take care of her. Along with two of my other siblings, we took turns watching over her, bringing her soup, bringing her water, helping her get up, and of course, helping her put on her petticoat and slippers so that she could sit in her rocking chair. A few months before we were to return back to school, Ramon took a turn for the worst. And my mother and father sat down along with Dr. Beam and said ``Ramon Frances has to go into a nursing home. We can't afford to take care of her--you're going back to school, and she will need help.'' And so I talked to my baby sister, Lisa, and I said, ``Lisa, you like to comb hair. I can help bathe her. Sheryl can make sure that her clothes--my grandmother liked all her clothes ironed, we could not just put on anything. After all, she did make our slips.'' She made everything but our underwear.

She was the most important person in my life because she taught me responsibility at a very young age. But, she also taught me to pursue my dreams, and not to be afraid of what was out of our homes. Ramon was one who believed in the future; she was one who taught us not to be fearful of anyone. One of the best pieces of advice I've ever received, and God knows if it comes in handy now, is she said, ``Donna, it's not what they call you. It's what you answer to.'' And so, as a cable call girl on CNN, when they call, I go! I got called last night--MSNBC--for three weeks, I can go on MSNBC and Fox, so I'm having fun. Anderson called me last night, ``I miss you!''

``Baby, I know you're my boo, but I'm going to see what's going on at MSNBC and Lawrence O'Donnell and Debbi Gregrory, and George Will-Karen.'' I told George the other day, ``I wanna see you in jeans before you retire.'' I want to tell you all something about conservative men. If any of you all are in the room, I know your secret--it is Victoria, it's out. George Will, George Will has a soft spot. His soft spot is that he is really a baseball fan, he loves sports. And George Will loves anyone who knows sports. And so I often bring in my baseball metaphors and my football metaphors and that's how I get George to really warm up to me. And then I do my zingas.

But my grandmother taught me another important lesson. And at a very early age, she taught me that lesson. She taught me to listen. She taught me to listen to what other people were saying. So I know what it's like to grow up in a household where people don't talk to you, or listen to you. I know what it's like to grow up and not know what it is you wish to do with your life. I know what it's like to be silenced, even when I'm screaming my head off sometimes to get people to listen--I know what it's like to have people think that you have nothing to say. And I know what it's like, because I experienced it also as a child growing up down in the segregated deep South.

I can remember when I was often the youngest person because I was so active in politics back in my native state of Louisiana. So often they would invite young people in the room just so the picture would look right but they really didn't want us to say a word. They didn't want us to even give our input. And it used to drive me crazy when I was growing up, to just be out in the world not knowing if I could make a difference, not knowing what the sound of my voice would do if I was able to contribute. But it was my grandmother who kept pushing me and others out the door. And she gave me all of the courage I needed to go out there and to try to make change in the world.

So I want to first of all say to all the teens in the room, and those who still, like myself, are young at heart--you have so much to give. The world is waiting for you. The world needs you. And why you? Because there's no one better. And why now? Because tomorrow is not soon enough. This is your moment. This is your time. This is a time that not only can you find your voice but you can find it in ways that will allow you to soar and to make a difference.

I didn't wait until I was 18 before I decided to find my voice. I started writing poems at an early age hoping that someone would discover me. Perhaps I didn't know the rhymes at the time but I had a story, I had something to say and I wanted to share it. I wanted someone to listen to me. Then again, my mother bought a tape recorder one year for Christmas. She said, ``What do you want Donna?'' I said, ``Donna wants a tape recorder.'' And so my nickname became ``Tape Recorder.'' And I recorded every conversation and then I put music to it and made it a soap opera for everyone to listen to.

And so I wanted to be in the world, I wanted my voice heard. And so this is your moment to begin the dream about your future. And what kind of future are you looking to have? And what do you want to do with your life?

You have to begin thinking about all of these questions early because the world is not going to wait for you to catch up with it. You have to begin to hurry history and catch up with the world, especially now with all of the technology at our disposal. We can talk to someone on Skype all the way across the world. We can text right now and reach out to people standing in line waiting for a (something). And yes, we can find out with our own Twitter accounts and Facebook that we can be part of a revolution taking place thousands and thousands of miles away from here. So you are the future, and it's time that you learn that ``the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.'' The First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, when she said that, she could not envision that we would live to see so many changes in this country, yet we still have a long way to go.

So I want to leave you with some ingredients, and I want to pour them into you right now. Because this is the moment for you, many of you, who are ready to enter the world, ready to make a difference, ready to use your voice, out there to try to stir things up. When I was a young girl, I used to tell my grandmother, ``Ramon, I want to be like Harriet Tubman.'' Harriet Tubman was one of my favorites. I figured anyone who ran away from slavery was a good role model to have.

So I said to Ramon I wanted to be a leader. I wanted to be a leader like Harriet Tubman. So some of you are probably thinking, ``Wow, how can I become a leader?'' So this is what I knew about being a leader. A leader is defined as someone who is in command, as someone who guides, a person in a position of influence or importance, a role model. Now let me say, I'm a leader. Not only am I elected to an office that allows me to help guide the oldest political party in the country, I'm also a party leader that helps devise political strategy, a campaign consultant who has also helped to organize and manage campaigns at every level. But I'm also an owner of a small business that employs staff, consultants, and interns, I also teach at a major college. So the foundation of good leadership is being honest and fair. A leader is someone who listens as well as asks questions. A leader has courage and a leader treats others with respect and dignity. A leader admits to mistakes and takes responsibility for his or her actions. And a leader has integrity and can be trusted. A leader also inspires and motivates others to take action in the pursuit of the common good. Now, there are more traits; leaders are often problem-solvers because they seek solutions and leaders are also visionaries because they help to set long-term goals.

So it's important to learn how to use your voice to become a leader, and that you begin to see yourself as a leader and as someone who can become successful because you are important and because we need you. We need more young women, more young women willing to serve in public office. We need more young women willing to write news articles, tweet, posting blogs and stories on Facebook, and not just that stuff that makes your friends happy. But the stuff that can really make other people think. And so, here are my other ingredients.

Believe in the power of your dreams. If you don't, no one else will.

Second, be true to yourself. I've done a lot in my life because someone else wanted me to do it or I thought about it. Sometimes it turned out well, sometimes of course it hasn't, but I have never ever given up on any of my dreams. I keep working toward them. And when I finished writing that first book, I will see a minority or woman as president and four years later, we have our first bi-racial president. And if I continue to work hard, one day, you all will be invited to the White House as we inaugurate our first female president, or Hispanic, Asian-American, person of color, and so on.

So you have to live your dreams, you just can't dream and then walk out of the room and expect someone to stir up all the ingredients. You gotta go into the arena and stir

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it up. Sometimes, you have to bring your own pot and sometimes you have to bring your own fire. It's called Tabasco, for those of you who don't know.

Number three: Never accept no as a final answer. I've been told ``no, no, no;'' I know ``no'' in just about every language. I often tell people after they say no, ``That's a yes, isn't it?'' Nah, figure out a way. Go around it, go beneath it, go above it, go below it, just find a way. Find a way, find a path. If you really want to do something, go for it. You can't stop at no. A friend used to tell me that no is just a prelude to yes. Now, when I hear no, I think ``Good, now I'm just one step closer to yes.''

Now number four: When you stumble get back up. I have stumbled a lot. My knees are good, my elbows are even better, sometimes I've had to work my way up, because I've had some hits. I have fallen. But you get back up, it's as simple as that. You're gonna fall, you're gonna fail, you're gonna make mistakes, people will not always listen to you--I've got three minutes left, I am not Baptist--I am Catholic; I need five, and Ill wrap it up in four.

Number five: Keep a little spice handy. Life gets boring. It is really boring sometimes. But never be afraid to spice it up. Were all unique, no two of us are exactly alike--but think about your limits. And then push them a bit. What makes you uncomfortable? Sometimes you gotta know that so you can just add those missing ingredients that might give you some spice. For me, I was scared of horses. I had to spice up my life and I had to ask myself--why? What's keeping me from embracing something that I'm scared of? It was fear. Took me until I was in my mid-40s, but I conquered that fear. I had that horse following me, and I didn't even have an apple.

And let me tell you number six. Courage isn't the absence of fear; courage is facing your fear and overcoming it. Sometimes, you know what you're scared of before you even know what you like! Don't let your fears stand in the way of your success.

And then there's number seven. This is about faith. Because when I was a little girl I had so many people invest what I would call and consider now a lot of energy into me. They'd say, ``Donna, you gotta do this.'' I'd respond, ``Okay!'' They'd say, ``Donna, can you make this happen?'' I'd say, ``Yes!'' And they would run off, and I'd be thinking----AHH! I would freak. But I remember when Dr. Martin Luther King, who inspired me as a little girl, said ``Faith is taking one step, even when you cannot see the entire staircase.'' And for me, I often have to just take that one step, and then it comes right there. It just, it appears.

And Mrs. King, his wife, I was just over 21 when I met her and worked for her as a young girl. And Mrs. King said, ``Donna, we want to make the birthday a national holiday.'' And I said, ``Okay!'' Everybody else, from the time Dr. King died in 1968 'til 1981, they just said, ``We'll, maybe,'' and then Ronald Reagan was elected and they'd say, ``Well that'll never happen.'' And a bunch of us, we were all young, were just out of college, we said, ``We have time.'' We'll do it.'' And within 18 months, we had a holiday because we had faith.

And so, let me close up a little bit by saying that I learned growing up, with a large family, with brothers and sisters, with parents, grandparents and others, with neighbors who loved us, and with friends who would always stand by our side--I learned that I could really go to the next step. That I could move beyond the limitations placed on me simply because of where I was born. I knew that when I was a kid that no matter what people said about my skin color, what they said about my hair, what my sisters continue to say about my hair. I'm like, ``Will you all stop?'' They say, ``Donna, it looked like (something) last night.'' And I say, ``Your TV, maybe you should get HDTV. Maybe you should get rid of that box.'' But I know they're telling me with love to get myself to the beauty parlor. But I learned as a little kid, it's not what people say, and it's not what people see about you. My grandmother was right. It's what you believe in. It's not what they call you, it's what you answer to.

So let me close with a poem that continues to inspire me every time I read it. It's Maya Angelou, called ``Still I Rise.'' And I close with her words:

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise .....
Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

To my friends, to the young ladies, to the sponsors, to all the supporters of this great organization, it's now your turn to let these young women rise, to give them the wings that they need so that they will soar and make a difference. To rise up to your full potential, to rise until you feel the air surrounding you. Rise up, rise high, and make us all proud. Thank you and God bless Ðyou.

  • [End Insert]

Recognizing and Congratulating the God's Child Project

[Page: S3936]  GPO's PDF 


Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Judiciary Committee be discharged from further consideration of S. Res. 141 and the Senate proceed to its immediate consideration.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The clerk will report the resolution by title.

The legislative clerk read as follows:

A resolution (S. Res. 141) recognizing the efforts and accomplishments of the GOD'S CHILD Project and congratulating the GOD'S CHILD Project on its 20th anniversary.

[Page: S3937]  GPO's PDF

There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the resolution.

Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the preamble be considered, the Conrad amendment to the preamble, which is at the desk, be agreed to, the preamble, as amended, be agreed to; the resolution be considered, the Conrad amendment, which is at the desk, be agreed to, and the resolution, as amended, be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate, and any statements relating to the matter be printed in the Record.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The amendment (No. 492) was agreed to, as follows:

(Purpose: To improve the preamble)

In the preamble, on page 2, in the first clause, strike ``, the hometown of Patrick Atkinson''.

In the preamble, on page 3, in the clause immediately preceding the resolved clause, strike ``and Patrick Atkinson have received numerous accolades recognizing their service'' and insert ``has received numerous accolades recognizing its service''.

The preamble, as amended, was agreed to.

The amendment (No. 491) was agreed to, as follows:

(Purpose: To improve the resolved clause)

On page 3, beginning on line 11, strike ``volunteers,'' and all that follows through line 13 and insert ``volunteers and staff of the GOD'S CHILD project.''.

The resolution (S. Res. 141), as amended, was agreed to.

The resolution, as amended, with its preamble, as amended, reads as follows:

S. Res. 141

Whereas international educator, human rights leader, and native of the State of North Dakota Patrick Atkinson, deeply concerned about the plight of poor and exploited children around the globe, established the nonprofit GOD'S CHILD Project in 1991 with the mission of breaking the bitter chains of poverty through education and information;

Whereas the GOD'S CHILD Project has a global presence, serving the most vulnerable women and children on 3 continents, with operations in El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Malawi, and the United States;

Whereas the international GOD'S CHILD Project, true to its roots, maintains its global headquarters in Bismarck, North Dakota;

Whereas more than 5,000 orphaned, abandoned, and impoverished children and nearly 8,700 widowed, abandoned, and single mothers and their dependents receive care from, and are educated by, the GOD'S CHILD Project;

Whereas since the GOD'S CHILD Project was founded, more than 18,000 parentless children and thousands more women have been given hope by the GOD'S CHILD Project;

Whereas the GOD'S CHILD Project, taking a comprehensive view of helping the destitute and exploited break free from poverty and oppression, operates schools, a family clinic, social work department, psychology clinic, domestic violence program, legal aid department, and a center for malnourished children;

Whereas in response to the transnational problem of human trafficking, the GOD'S CHILD Project established the Institute for Trafficked, Exploited, and Missing Persons in 2001 to address the issues of human trafficking and exploitation, which are particularly severe in Central America;

Whereas the GOD'S CHILD Project is often 1 of the first organizations to respond to devastating natural disasters, including Tropical Storm Agatha, which ravaged Central America in 2010, taking nearly 180 lives and destroying the homes of thousands;

Whereas each year, approximately 2,500 volunteers and 45 homebuilding groups from around the world join with the GOD'S CHILD Project staff to compassionately serve their brothers and sisters in need; and

Whereas the GOD'S CHILD Project has received numerous accolades recognizing its service to the poor from United States and foreign organizations, including the Guatemalan Congressional Medal of Honor, Guatemala's Goodwill Ambassador For Peace, and the 2010 Humanitarian Award from the Bismarck City Human Rights Commission: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) congratulates the GOD'S CHILD Project on its 20th anniversary;

(2) commends the GOD'S CHILD Project for its charitable service to the poor and its efforts to help thousands break the bonds of poverty and exploitation; and

(3) recognizes those individuals who have served impoverished children and women throughout the world under the auspices of the GOD'S CHILD Project, including the volunteers and staff of the GOD'S CHILD Project.

(Senate - June 20, 2011)


[Page: S3910]  GPO's PDF 


Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, it was about 10 years ago that I received a call to my office in Chicago from a Korean-American mother who was concerned about her daughter. Her daughter had been brought to the United States at the age of 2, had grown up in the United States, all her brothers and sisters were born here as well, and her daughter had been accepted on a music scholarship. Turns out she was an extraordinarily talented concert pianist. She was graduating from high school and had been accepted at Juilliard School of Music and Manhattan Observatory School of Music, and in filling out the application, there was a question about her daughter's citizenship. Since she brought her daughter here on a visitor's visa at the age of 2 and never filed any papers, she wanted to know her daughter's status.

It turns out her daughter's status was very clear. She was undocumented, and the law was also very clear; that this 18-year-old girl who had lived here for 16 years was told she had to leave America. There was no recourse. She was not even being sent back to Korea because her family transited from Korea to Brazil to the United States. They wanted to ship her to Brazil, a country she was not even aware of with a language she did not speak, Portuguese. In that situation, her mother said: What can we do? I checked with the law, and it turned out there was no place to turn. Her daughter was without a country. That is when I introduced the DREAM Act.

The DREAM Act is legislation which says if you came to the United States as a child, if you have been a long-term resident of the United States, you have good moral character, and you graduate from high school, we will give you two chances to become legal in America. You can either enlist in our military or you can finish at least 2 years of college. That was 10 years ago. I am still working to pass that legislation. Over the period of time I have worked on it, I have met hundreds, maybe more, of people like that young girl I just described. They are young people who have that kind of excited look in their eyes, they want to be part of this world. Most of them are college students or college graduates, but they cannot make the first move toward the life they want to live because they are undocumented.

That is why I continue to come to the floor of the Senate each week and tell their stories, urging my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, in the name of justice, to give these kids a chance. We have a pretty basic principle in America. We do not hold kids responsible for the wrongdoing of their parents. We tell kids you are responsible for your own life. Do the right thing. Go to school. Don't get in trouble, study, aspire to greatness. Go to college, and they do. These kids do too. But they have an obstacle most children in America do not have. They have no country.

Senator Menendez of New Jersey, my friend and colleague, had a great statement on the floor, and I have used it many times. I credited the Senator the first time, but I will credit him again because he is here. He tells of these young people getting up every day and putting their hands to their heart and pledging allegiance to the United States of America, going to events where they sing along with the only National Anthem they know, and in the eyes of the law, in the eyes of America, they are not part of us. They are somewhere in the middle.

Is that right? Is it fair? Is it a standard we want to establish in this country when it comes to justice? I don't think so. We need these young people. They are not only bright and energetic, they can become tomorrow's leaders in our military. That is why Secretary Robert Gates, who is retiring this month as Department of Defense Secretary, supports this legislation. That is why so many others have stepped up in both political parties and said this is a smart thing to do, give these young people a chance to prove themselves.

I just had a discussion in my office about H-1B visas. These are visas we offer to foreigners, people who were not born in the United States, to come here and work because we need their talent pool to be part of an expanding American economy. What about the talent pool of these DREAM Act students? As I have told their stories on the floor, these are students who are extraordinary: chemical engineers, mechanical engineers, teachers, aspiring attorneys, but they cannot do any of those things because they have no citizenship status in America.

I wish to share the story of two of them and I know Senator Menendez is

[Page: S3911]  GPO's PDF
on the floor and this will not take long. The first is Diana Banda. This is her photo. Diana was brought to the United States in 1993 at the age of 3. She grew up in Oregon and dreamed of being a first responder. She volunteered with the American Red Cross at her community emergency response team. During her senior year in high school, Diana was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Thankfully, after a long struggle, she is cancer free. After her recovery, Diana is more determined than ever to pursue her dream. She is enrolled in a firefighting and paramedic program at the community college in Salem, OR. These students qualify for no Federal assistance. When they go to college, they pay for it out of their pockets. They sacrifice more than many students because they are determined to get an education.

Diana sent me a letter. This is what she said about her dreams for the future:

Although I love Mexico because it is the place I was born, I could not pack my things and move back to a place I know nothing about, a place I only know through old baby pictures and family stories.

Diana says:

America is my home. This is the place I love where everyone and everything I know is. I know nothing outside the United States. Whatever punishment I must pay, I am willing to do. All I ask for is a chance. Better yet I beg for a chance to prove that I am not a criminal, that I have much to offer this beautiful place.

Should we deport Diana Banda, a cancer survivor, a future paramedic, back to Mexico, a country she left behind when she was just a toddler? Should we accept her invitation to punish her? For what? For being part of the family who brought her here at the age of 3? It was not her decision; it was her parents' decision. Rightly or wrongly, she is in the United States. When you look at this photo and realize she could be part of our future, we realize what the DREAM Act is all about.

Let me introduce you to another dreamer. This is Monji Dolon. Monji's parents brought him here from Bangladesh in 1991 at the age of 5. As he grew up in his new home, Monji immersed himself in the study of computers and technology.

Monji wrote me a letter and said as follows:

For as long as I can remember, I have had an intense passion for technology. In middle school, that passion led to spending many nights constructing remote-controlled model and Van de Graaff generators. In high school, I fell in love with computers and the Internet, spending my senior year creating an online newspaper for my school.

Monji did not know about his immigration status until he started applying for college. He asked his parents what he should say in terms of his immigration status. That is when Monji learned he was undocumented. In 2008, Monji graduated

from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an outstanding school. Again, let me put in the record, these students who graduate from college do it facing sacrifices many students don't. They get no Federal assistance, none. Monji's prospects are limited, even though he graduated from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, an outstanding school, and he is being courted by the technology industry. They want to hire this bright young man. He has even been offered a job as a lead engineer for a startup company in Silicon Valley. Monji's prospects are constricted because of his immigration status. The DREAM Act would give him a chance to pursue his dreams and contribute his talent to the only country he has ever called home.

Here is what he told me:

I've turned down several great job offers from reputable companies because of my status. The DREAM Act would let me take my passion for technology to the next level by allowing me to move to Silicon Valley and pursue my dream as an Internet entrepreneur.

When you look at some of the most amazing technology in America today, you will find that many times it is the product of immigrants who came to this country and created companies that employ thousands of people. I do not know if Monji will be one of those persons. I think he deserves a chance. Would America be better off if we sent him back to Bangladesh, a country he has not been to in 20 years? Of course not.

There is so much discussion about America's economic future in the 21st century. Every year, with all these H-1B visas, we bring in talented people from overseas while at the same time our laws banish these talented people I just talked about back to countries they have never known as they have grown up.

We could use people with Monji's talents in America. We can use them in technology, as we can use Diana's talents in the field of medicine.

I first introduced this bill 10 years ago. Since then I have met so many immigrant students who would qualify. As are Diana Banda and Monji Dolon, they are America's heart. They are willing to serve our country, even risk their lives for our country, if we would just give them a chance.

I urge my colleagues in this political town, this partisan town, on this issue: Let's put it aside. Let's support basic justice and fairness. Let's give these kids a chance. I am willing to stake my reputation as a Senator on the fact that America will be a better place when the DREAM Act becomes law.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Jersey.

Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, first of all, I didn't come to the floor for this purpose, but I would be remiss if I didn't thank the distinguished Senator from Illinois, the Democratic whip, for his incredible commitment and passion to this issue. I have seen him just about every session take time out of every day to both dramatize and put a human face on this opportunity to turn some of America's greatest prospects into opportunity and prosperity for this entire country. I am thrilled he has adopted various of my lines, and I am honored by it.

It is true; these young people came to this country through no choice of their own. The only country they have ever known is the United States of America. They put their hands on their hearts and pledge allegiance to the United States, and the only National Anthem they have ever learned to sing or believe in is ``The Star-Spangled Banner.''

We have a tremendous opportunity. I wish to thank the distinguished Senator for his incredible commitment to this issue. I appreciate it very much.

(Senate - June 20, 2011)

June 20, 2011

Congress This Week

The House will likely consider four bills this week. The Patent Reform BIll will come up after being pulled from the floor the previous week. The House will also take up the Department of Defense Appropriations Bill and the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act. Finally, the House with either consider a short term extension of the current FAA reauthorization or the conference report of a new FAA reauthorization that was passed in different forms in each house.

Major Floor Action

  • HR 1249 – America Invents Act
  • HR 2219 – Department of Defense Appropriations Act
  • HR 2021 – Jobs and Energy Permitting Act
  • HR 658 – FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act

Major Committee Action:

  • The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on “Medicare/Medicaid Dual Eligibles.”
  • The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on the “Social Security Trustees Report.”
  • The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on “Next Steps in Iran and Syria.”
  • The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on the “Impact of IPAB on Medicare.”
  • The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies will hold a hearing on “Health Care Overhaul Implementation.”
  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the “Impact of Regulations.”

Senate Cloakroom: June 20-24

Analysis: The Senate will return to business on Tuesday, June 21 to vote on the nomination of Michael Simon to be the US District Judge for the District of Oregon at noon. From there the Senate will move to the nomination of Leon Panetta to be Secretary of Defense. Debate on his nomination will begin at 2:15pm and wrap up with a vote at 4:15pm. The Senate will then attempt to move to a vote on the Economic Development Agency reauthorization. Should that fail they will move on to the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act, a bill which would reduce the number of executive branch positions which require confirmation by the Senate.

Major Floor Action

  • S 679 – The Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act
  • S 782 – Economic Development Revitalization Act

Major Committee Action

From The Foundry

June 19, 2011

House Schedule - H.R. 1249: America Invents Act

H.R. 1249: America Invents Act
To amend title 35, United States Code, to provide for patent reform.

Since fiscal year 2004, the Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations bill has included the Weldon amendment that ensures the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) does not issues patents that are directed to or encompassing a human organism. This effectively bans human cloning by removing any profit motivation.

Now, H.R. 1249 is set to remove USPTO funding from the annual appropriations process and instead funds it and the issuance of patents through user fees. Since USPTO would no longer be funded through the appropriations process, no policy restrictions in any appropriations bill would apply to USPTO, including the Weldon amendment.

Thus, the current ban on human cloning would disappear.

The House floor manager's amendment to H.R. 1249 is expected to include language to permanently codify the Weldon Amendment into law to preserve the ban on human cloning.

Related Senate action on patent reform

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