May 31, 2011

National Foster Care Month

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Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to S. Res. 203, submitted earlier today.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the resolution by title.

The bill clerk read as follows:

A resolution (S. Res. 203) recognizing ``National Foster Care Month'' as an opportunity to raise awareness about the challenges of children in the foster care system, and encouraging Congress to implement policy to improve the lives of children in the foster care system.

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

Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble 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 resolution (S. Res. 203) was agreed to.

The preamble was agreed to.

The resolution, with its preamble, reads as follows:

S. Res. 203

Whereas ``National Foster Care Month'' was established more than 20 years ago to bring foster care issues to the forefront, to highlight the importance of permanency for every child, and to recognize the essential role that foster parents, social workers, and advocates have in the lives of children in foster care throughout the United States;

Whereas all children deserve a safe, loving, and permanent home;

Whereas the primary goal of the foster care system is to ensure the safety and well-being of children while working to provide a safe, loving, and permanent home for each child;

Whereas there are approximately 420,000 children living in foster care;

Whereas there are 115,000 children in foster care awaiting adoption;

Whereas 57,000 children are adopted out of foster care each year;

Whereas children of color are more likely to stay in the foster care system for longer periods of time and are less likely to be reunited with their biological families;

Whereas the number of available foster homes is declining, and there are only 2.8 foster homes for every 10 children in foster care;

Whereas children entering foster care often confront the widespread misperception that children in foster care are disruptive, unruly, and dangerous, even though placement in foster care is based on the actions of a parent or guardian, not the child;

Whereas foster care is intended to be a temporary placement, but children remain in the foster care system for an average of 2 years;

Whereas children in foster care experience an average of 3 different placements, which often leads to disruption of routines, and the need to change schools and move away from siblings, extended families, and familiar surroundings;

Whereas more than 29,000 youth ``age out'' of foster care without a legal permanent connection to an adult or family;

Whereas the number of youth who ``age out'' of foster care has steadily increased for the past decade;

Whereas children who ``age out'' of foster care lack the security or support of a biological or adoptive family and frequently struggle to secure affordable housing, obtain health insurance, pursue higher education, and acquire adequate employment;

Whereas on average, 8.5 percent of the positions in child protective services remain vacant;

Whereas due to heavy caseloads and limited resources, the average tenure for a worker in child protection services is just 3 years;

Whereas States, localities, and communities should be encouraged to invest resources in preventative and reunification services and post-permanency programs to ensure that more children in foster care are provided with safe, loving, and permanent placements;

Whereas the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-351; 122 Stat. 3949) provides for new investments and services to improve the outcomes of children and families in the foster care system; and

Whereas much remains to be done to ensure that all children have a safe, loving, nurturing, and permanent family, regardless of age or special needs: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) recognizes ``National Foster Care Month'' as an opportunity to raise awareness about the challenges that children in the foster care system face;

(2) encourages Congress to implement policy to improve the lives of children in the foster care system;

(3) supports the designation of May as ``National Foster Care Month'';

(4) acknowledges the special needs of children in the foster care system;

(5) honors the commitment and dedication of the individuals who work tirelessly to provide assistance and services to children in the foster care system; and

(6) reaffirms the need to continue working to improve the outcomes of all children in the foster care system through title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) and other programs designed to help children in the foster care system reunite with their biological parents or, if the children cannot be reunited with their biological parents, find permanent, safe, and loving homes.

(Senate - May 26, 2011)

May 30, 2011

100th Anniversary: Indianapolis 500 Mile Race

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Mr. LUGAR (for himself and Mr. COATS) submitted the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to:

S. Res. 190

Whereas the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the largest spectator sporting facility in the world, with more than 250,000 permanent seats;

Whereas founders Carl G. Fisher, Arthur C. Newby, Frank H. Wheeler, and James A. Allison pooled their resources in 1909 to build the Indianapolis Motor Speedway 5 miles from downtown Indianapolis as a testing ground to support the growing automotive industry of Indiana;

Whereas on August 14, 1909, the first motorized races, using motorcycles, took place on the recently completed 2.5-mile oval, which had a racing surface composed of crushed stone and tar;

Whereas on August 19, 1909, the first 4-wheeled automobile races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway took place;

Whereas for 63 days in late 1909, 3,200,000 paving bricks, each weighing 9.5 pounds, were laid on top of the crushed stone and tar surface to upgrade the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, leading the facility to be nicknamed ``The Brickyard'';

Whereas a 3-foot horizontal strip of that original brick remains exposed at the start and finish line, known as the ``Yard of Bricks'';

Whereas on May 30, 1911, the first Indianapolis 500 Mile Race took place and was won by Ray Harroun at an average speed of 74.602 miles per hour;

Whereas the Indianapolis 500, the largest single-day spectator sporting event in the world, has occurred on every Memorial Day weekend since 1911, except during the involvement of the United States in world wars from 1917 through 1918 and 1942 through 1945;

Whereas in 1977, Janet Guthrie became the first woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500;

Whereas in 1991, Willy T. Ribbs became the first African-American driver to compete in the Indianapolis 500;

Whereas the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, by hosting the IZOD IndyCar Series, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the MotoGP Series, and the Formula One Series, is the only facility in the world that has played host to these 4 elite worldwide racing series;

Whereas every May since 1981 the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has served as the backdrop for the annual Armed Forces Induction Ceremony, in which citizens of Indiana who have volunteered to serve in the Armed Forces are administered the oath of enlistment;

Whereas in 1987, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was officially listed on the National Park Service list of National Historic Landmarks as the oldest continuously operated automobile racecourse; and

Whereas the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race has played an enormous part in shaping and defining the City of Indianapolis, the State of Indiana, United States motorsports, and the United States automobile industry, and is a great source of pride to all citizens of Indiana: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate recognizes the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

(Senate - May 18, 2011)

May 29, 2011

National Cancer Research Month

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Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the HELP Committee be discharged from further consideration of S. Res. 172 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 bill clerk read as follows:

A resolution (S. Res. 172) recognizing the importance of cancer research and the contributions made by scientists and clinicians across the United States who are dedicated to finding a cure for cancer, and designating May 2011, as ``National Cancer Research Month.''

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

Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that Senator Cardin be added as a cosponsor.

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

Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I further ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate, and any statements related to the resolution be printed in the Record.

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

The resolution (S. Res. 172) was agreed to.

The preamble was agreed to.

The resolution, with its preamble, reads as follows:

S. Res. 172

Whereas in 2011, cancer remains one of the most pressing public health concerns in the United States, with 1,500,000 Americans expected to be diagnosed with cancer and more than 500,000 expected to die from the disease;

Whereas the term ``cancer'' refers to more than 200 diseases that collectively represent the leading cause of death for Americans under age 85, and the second leading cause of death for Americans overall;

Whereas the national investment in cancer research has yielded substantial returns in research advances and lives saved, with a scholarly estimate that every 1 percent decline in cancer mortality saves the United States economy $500,000,000,000;

Whereas advancements in the understanding of the causes, mechanisms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer have led to cures for many types of cancers and have converted other types of cancers into manageable chronic conditions;

Whereas the 5-year survival rate for all cancers has improved during the 30 years prior to the date of approval of this resolution to more than 65 percent, and as of 2011, there are more than 12,000,000 cancer survivors living in the United States;

Whereas partnerships with research scientists and the general public, survivors and patient advocates, philanthropic organizations, industry, and Federal, State, and local governments have led to advanced breakthroughs, early detection tools that have increased survival rates, and a better quality of life for cancer survivors; and

Whereas advances in cancer research have had significant implications for the treatment of other costly diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, HIV/AIDS, and macular degeneration: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) recognizes the importance of cancer research and the invaluable contributions of the researchers in the United States and worldwide and who are dedicated to reversing the cancer epidemic;

(2) designates May 2011 as ``National Cancer Research Month''; and

(3) supports efforts to make cancer research a national and international priority so that one day the more than 200 diseases known as cancer are eliminated.

(Senate - May 26, 2011)

May 28, 2011

Iron Horse Bicycle Classic

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  • [Begin Insert]

Mr. BENNET. Mr. President, today I recognize the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic in which bicyclists race the steam-powered Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad from Durango to Silverton. May 28, 2011 will mark the 40th anniversary of this race which is an institution in my home State of Colorado.

This year's race has attracted some 2,500 racers from 44 States and 5 countries and 3,500 riders participating in all of the weekend's many cycling related events.

This race is the third oldest continuously sanctioned bike race in the United States and probably the most grueling of them all. The Iron Horse Classic is a 50-mile race that takes riders over two beautiful mountain passes in Colorado's awe inspiring San Juan Mountains. The race course tops out at 10,860 feet and has a vertical climb of some 6,600 feet for every racer.

The race is one that many professional bike racers compete in at some point in their career with many Olympians, National and World Champions riding in the race over the decades.

Organized for decades by cycling legend Ed Zink of Durango, the Iron Horse Classic is a tremendous asset to all of southwest Colorado. The race's economic impact on our economy is around $2 million each year and it has donated around $500,000 to local causes over the years.

As I am sure you can imagine, this is a grueling event for which all riders put in many long months of training.

I am proud to recognize all the riders, staff, volunteers and community members from southwest Colorado who have made the Iron Horse Classic into a premier Colorado cycling event on this its 40th anniversary.

[End Insert]

(Senate - May 26, 2011)

May 27, 2011

100th Birthday: Hubert H. Humphrey

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Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the Judiciary Committee be discharged from further consideration of S. Res. 184, and the Senate proceed to its immediate consideration.

The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The clerk will report the resolution by title.

The legislative clerk read as follows:

A resolution (S. Res. 184) recognizing the life and service of the Honorable Hubert H. Humphrey, distinguished former Senator from the State of Minnesota and former Vice President of the United States, upon the 100th anniversary of his birth.

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

Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that unless I am already a cosponsor, I be added as a cosponsor.

The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so ordered.

Mr. DURBIN. I ask unanimous consent that the Sessions amendment which is at the desk be agreed to, the resolution, as amended, be agreed to, the preamble 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 ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The amendment (No. 322) was agreed to as follows:

AMENDMENT NO. 322

On page 4, strike lines 10-14.

The resolution (S. Res. 184), as amended, was agreed to.

The preamble was agreed to.

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

S. Res. 184

Whereas Hubert H. Humphrey was born in Wallace, South Dakota, on May 27, 1911;

Whereas Hubert Humphrey, from his early years, recognized the importance of public service by becoming a registered pharmacist and serving his friends and neighbors in the Humphrey Drug Store in Huron, South Dakota, from 1933 to 1937;

Whereas Hubert Humphrey received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Minnesota in 1939 and a Masters of Arts degree from Louisiana State University in 1940, subsequently teaching political science at Macalester College from 1943 to 1944 and at Macalester College and the University of Minnesota from 1969 to 1970;

Whereas Hubert Humphrey served in a variety of leadership positions in Minnesota during World War II, dealing with war production, employment, and manpower;

Whereas Hubert Humphrey served as Mayor of Minneapolis from 1945 to 1948, and during his tenure as mayor, he drove organized crime from the city and, among other achievements, created the Nation's first municipal equal employment opportunity commission;

Whereas Hubert Humphrey was a driving force behind the creation of the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party in Minnesota and was a founding member of Americans for Democratic Action in the aftermath of World War II;

Whereas Hubert Humphrey led forces at the 1948 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in support of the minority platform plank on civil rights and equal opportunity, challenging the delegates to ``walk out of the shadow of States' rights into the bright sunshine of human rights,'' resulting in the convention's adoption of the minority plank;

Whereas in 1948, Hubert Humphrey became the first Democrat from Minnesota elected to the Senate;

Whereas during his total 23 years of service in the Senate (including service from 1949 to 1964 and service from 1970 to 1978), Hubert Humphrey compiled a record of accomplishment virtually unmatched in the 20th century, encompassing, among other issues, civil and human rights, workforce development, labor rights, health care, arms control and disarmament, the Peace Corps, small business assistance, education reform, wilderness preservation, immigration reform, and agriculture;

Whereas his service as floor leader during the Senate's consideration of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was essential to the eventual passage of the Act in the aftermath of breaking the filibuster against this historic legislation;

Whereas Hubert Humphrey, although a dedicated leader of the Democratic Party, always sought bipartisan support for his legislative goals and routinely shared credit with other Senators for his legislative victories;

Whereas Hubert Humphrey, as Vice President of the United States, loyally served President Lyndon Baines Johnson and successfully carried out a number of domestic and overseas assignments;

Whereas Hubert Humphrey, as the Democratic Party's nominee for President of the United States in 1968, waged one of the most courageous and hard-fought campaigns in the history of the United States, losing to Richard Nixon by less than 1 percentage point of the popular vote when he started the campaign some 15 points behind;

Whereas Hubert Humphrey was reelected by the people of Minnesota (in 1970 and 1976) to 2 additional terms in the Senate, thereby continuing his extraordinary record of legislative achievement with passage of such bills as the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act;

Whereas Hubert Humphrey, terminally ill with cancer, pursued his active public life with great courage, fortitude, and good humor, and in the memorable words of Vice President Walter F. Mondale at Hubert Humphrey's memorial observance in the rotunda of the United States Capitol, ``Hubert Humphrey taught us how to live and he taught us how to die''; and

Whereas the life and service of Hubert Humphrey were posthumously honored by Congress with the presentation of the Congressional Gold Medal, and by the President of the United States with the award of the Medal of Freedom: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) honors the life, achievements, and distinguished career of Senator and Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey upon the occasion of his 100th birthday;

(2) recognizes that Hubert H. Humphrey's legislative achievements helped resolve many of this Nation's most polarizing issues, such as civil rights, equal opportunity, and nuclear arms control.

(Senate - May 19, 2011)

May 25, 2011

50 Years Ago Today: "Urgent National Needs"



President John F. Kennedy: "Finally, if we are to win the battle that is now going on around the world between freedom and tyranny, the dramatic achievements in space which occurred in recent weeks should have made clear to us all, as did the Sputnik in 1957, the impact of this adventure on the minds of men everywhere, who are attempting to make a determination of which road they should take."

"Now it is time to take longer strides. Time for a great new American enterprise. Time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement which in many ways may hold the key to our future on earth."

"I therefore ask the Congress, above and beyond the increases I have earlier requested for space activities to provide the funds which are needed to meet the following national goals: First, I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal before this decade is out of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind or more important for the long-range exploration of space. And none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish."

"In conclusion, let me emphasize one point. It is not a pleasure for any President of the United States, as I am sure it was not a pleasure for my predecessors, to come before the Congress and ask for new appropriations which place burdens on our people. I came to this conclusion with some reluctance. But in my judgment, this is a most serious time in the life of our country and in the life of freedom around the globe, and it is the obligation, I believe, of the President of the United States to at least make his recommendations to the Members of the Congress, so that they can reach their own conclusions with that judgment before them. You must decide yourselves, as I have decided. and I am confident that whether you finally decide in the way that I have decided or not, that your judgment—as my judgment—is reached on what is in the best interests of our country."

Full Speech (Full Transcript), 9-Minute Excerpt Video and Transcript

Urgent national needs: then and now?


This Week in Space:
Fifty years ago this week, President Kennedy challenged the nation to “landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth” before the end of the decade. The goal was especially bold considering America’s total spaceflight experience at the time consisted of Alan Shepard’s fifteen-minute suborbital flight.

Five years to the day after Kennedy’s challenge, NASA unveiled the rocket that would ultimately take astronauts to the Moon. Although not intended to fly, the AS-500-F full-scale Saturn V test vehicle was used to verify the launch facilities, train launch crews, and develop pre-launch checkout procedures. Seen here leaving the Vehicle Assembly Building for the first time, the Saturn V rollout confirmed the incredible progress that had been made in just five short years.

May 21, 2011

National Kids to Parks Day

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Mr. UDALL of Colorado (for himself, Mr. BURR, Mr. BINGAMAN, and Ms. MURKOWSKI) submitted the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to:

S. Res. 192

Whereas the first National Kids to Parks Day will be celebrated on May 21, 2011;

Whereas the goal of National Kids to Parks Day is to empower young people and encourage families to get outdoors and visit the parks of the United States;

Whereas on National Kids to Parks Day, rural and urban Americans alike can be reintroduced to the splendid National, State, and neighborhood parks that are located in their communities;

Whereas communities across the United States offer a variety of natural resources and public land, often with free access, to individuals seeking outdoor recreation;

Whereas the United States should encourage young people to lead a more active lifestyle, as too many young people in the United States are overweight or obese;

Whereas National Kids to Parks Day is an opportunity for families to take a break from their busy lives and come together for a day of wholesome fun; and

Whereas National Kids to Parks Day aims to broaden the appreciation of young people for nature and the outdoors: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) designates May 21, 2011, as ``National Kids to Parks Day'';

(2) recognizes the importance of outdoor recreation and the preservation of open spaces to the health of the young people of the United States; and

(3) calls on the people of the United States to observe the day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

(Senate - May 19, 2011)

May 20, 2011

National Public Works Week

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Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Judiciary Committee be discharged from further consideration of S. Res. 177.

The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The clerk will report the resolution by title.

The legislative clerk read as follows:

A resolution (S. Res. 177) designating May 15 through May 21, 2011, as ``National Public Works Week.''

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

Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate, and any statements relating to this matter be printed in the Record.

The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The resolution (S. Res. 177) was agreed to.

The preamble was agreed to.

The resolution, with its preamble, reads as follows:

S. Res. 177

Whereas public works infrastructure, facilities, and services are of vital importance to the health, safety, and well-being of the people of the United States;

Whereas the public works infrastructure, facilities, and services could not be provided without the dedicated efforts of public works professionals, including engineers and administrators, who represent State and local governments throughout the United States;

Whereas public works professionals design, build, operate, and maintain the transportation systems, water infrastructure, sewage and refuse disposal systems, public buildings, and other structures and facilities that are vital to the people and communities of the United States; and

Whereas understanding the role that public infrastructure plays in protecting the environment, improving public health and safety, contributing to economic vitality, and enhancing the quality of life of every community of the United States is in the interest of the people of the United States: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) designates the week of May 15 through May 21, 2011, as ``National Public Works Week'';

(2) recognizes and celebrates the important contributions that public works professionals make every day to improve--

(A) the public infrastructure of the United States; and

(B) the communities that public works professionals serve; and

(3) urges individuals and communities throughout the United States to join with representatives of the Federal Government and the American Public Works Association in activities and ceremonies that are designed--

(A) to pay tribute to the public works professionals of the United States; and

(B) to recognize the substantial contributions that public works professionals make to the United States.

(Senate - May 16, 2011)

May 19, 2011

National Police Week

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Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I rise to honor the service of our Nation's law enforcement officers on the occasion of National Police Week, which is taking place this year from May 15 through May 21.

Every day, in cities and towns across America, police officers put their lives on the line to protect their fellow citizens. As a State and Federal prosecutor, I was proud to work alongside so many fine law enforcement officers in Rhode Island. I saw their hard work, their dedication to protecting the public, their commitment to upholding the rule of law, and the sacrifices they made for their communities.

During National Police Week, we remember those officers who have fallen in the line of duty, and we honor their families. It is a tragedy for a single officer to be killed in the line of duty. Yet according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, there were 162 law enforcement fatalities in America last year, a jump of nearly 40 percent from the year before. In 2011, the statistics are even more upsetting: as of May 12, there have already been 69 officer fatalities, a 17-percent increase from this time a year ago.

Here in the Nation's Capital, we are marking the service and loss of our country's fallen police officers through the events of National Police Week. Yesterday more than 20,000 officers gathered in Washington, DC, to observe National Peace Officers Memorial Day. I was proud to join with Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Grassley, and other members of the Senate in cosponsoring a resolution recognizing that day, and commemorating the dedication of those officers killed or injured in the line of duty.

I also wanted to highlight for my colleagues two recent events to honor this occasion in my home State.

Earlier this month, Newport hosted the 28th annual Aquidneck Island National Police Parade. Hundreds of officers from nearly every police agency in Rhode Island marched alongside more than 1,000 fellow police officers from across the Northeast and Canada.

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The marchers in Newport included Robert Shaw, the father of Providence police Sergeant Steven Shaw, who was killed in the line of duty in 1994. Mr. Shaw has been an active leader of Concerns of Police Survivors, COPS, an organization that has provided so much support to the loved ones, families, and former comrades of fallen officers. I am pleased to have joined with Senator Murkowski and other Senators on both sides of the aisle in cosponsoring a resolution recognizing the work of this organization and designating May 14, 2011, as National Police Survivors Day.

Last week, another group of Rhode Island police officers embarked on a longer march. Thirteen officers from Woonsocket marched for 4 1/2 days in the 11th annual COPSwalk to Washington, under the leadership of Sergeant Ed Cunanan. Their dedication has raised thousands of dollars to provide financial support for the families of fallen police officers.

Once again, I thank the officers across Rhode Island and our country who protect our kids, secure our communities, and bring criminals to justice. They are public servants of the highest order who have given so much of themselves for the benefit of us all. I look forward to working with my colleagues to make sure we do all we can to protect their safety as they fulfill their vital responsibilities.

Mrs. McCASKILL. Mr. President, I rise today to pay tribute to the thousands of peace officers who tirelessly serve our country and our communities. Having just commemorated Peace Officers Memorial Day on May 15, I want to specifically acknowledge the 162 officers killed in 2010, including 5 from my home State of Missouri, who laid down their lives in service to others.

This past week in our Nation's Capital thousands of police officers, deputy sheriffs, State troopers, investigators, and agents gathered in fellowship as brothers and sisters united by a bond of service and sacrifice. Every year, they gather to commemorate their fallen at the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial where the names of nearly 19,000 officers who have been killed in the line of duty are etched. Nationally, the average age of the officers killed in 2010 was 41; the average length of their law enforcement service was nearly 12 years; and, on average, each officer left behind 2 children. While there is no way we can fully restore the families, the coworkers, and the communities of our fallen law enforcement professionals, we can offer solace and tribute in the hope that they know we honor them and their sacrifice.

The profession of a being a peace officer in this country is unique in many ways and its challenges are many. We expect our officers, deputies, troopers, agents, and investigators to uphold the law of the land without compromise and without blemish. We expect them to run toward the sounds of gunfire, to transform chaos into order, to provide comfort to the afflicted and injured, to protect the vulnerable, and to facilitate justice for the victimized. We ask them to do this at every hour of the day, every day of the year, in every climate and place where the American flag flies. The most amazing thing is that our peace officers exceed every one of these expectations, and for this we remain eternally grateful.

Much like our military, peace officers are ordinary men and women who choose to answer a call to become extraordinary heroes. They are our moms, our dads, our brothers, our sisters, our neighbors, and our friends. Our peace officers understand duty before self. They understand what it means to miss holiday meals with their loved ones. They understand that long hours of calm may turn into moments of intense violence. They understand they are sentinels, standing in the gap between our loved ones and those who would do them harm.

In closing, I offer my humblest and sincerest gratitude to the families and loved ones of our wonderful peace officers. They, too understand sacrifice and commitment, and without their enduring support, the men and women behind the badge would not be able to accomplish all they do. To those who wear the badge and answer the call to serve, I humbly say thank you, and I ask my fellow Senators to join me in acknowledging them.

(Senate - May 16, 2011)

May 18, 2011

Today is 60 Days - Libya and the War Powers Resolution

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(Mr. ROONEY asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute.)

Mr. ROONEY. Mr. Speaker, it's been 25 days since the President began kinetic military action in Libya without congressional authorization. He made this decision despite the fact that the conflict in Libya did not represent an imminent threat to the United States. Instead, the President sought the approval of the United Nations and the Arab League before taking military action, and not Congress. This sets a terrible precedent.

By seeking only U.N. approval, the President is transferring authority that should rest with the American people through their Congress, not with an international community. The U.N. resolution is nice, but it is not a substitute for congressional authorization.

Under the War Powers Resolution, the President needs to seek congressional approval within 60 days. I have introduced a resolution expressing the sense of Congress that President Obama must adhere to the War Powers Resolution. Whether you call it a kinetic military action or war, this Congress must authorize it. If we don't, we will be setting the precedent that we are irrelevant, and the President need only seek approval from international bodies outside of the jurisdiction of the American people.

(House of Representatives - April 13, 2011)

May 17, 2011

Commemoration of the Days of Remembrance of Victims of the Holocaust

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Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that the Committee on House Administration be discharged from further consideration of House Concurrent Resolution 33 and ask for its immediate consideration in the House.

The Clerk read the title of the concurrent resolution.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from California?

Ms. ZOE LOFGREN of California. Reserving the right to object, and I will not object, I would just like to commend the gentleman for bringing this measure and how important it is that the Holocaust be remembered right here in the heart of our Capitol.

Mr. Speaker, I withdraw my reservation.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from California?

There was no objection.

The text of the concurrent resolution is as follows:

H. Con. Res. 33

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring),

SECTION 1. USE OF ROTUNDA FOR HOLOCAUST DAYS OF REMEMBRANCE CEREMONY.

The rotunda of the Capitol is authorized to be used on May 17, 2011, for a ceremony as part of the commemoration of the days of remembrance of victims of the Holocaust. Physical preparations for the ceremony shall be carried out in accordance with such conditions as the Architect of the Capitol may prescribe.

  • [Begin Insert]

Mr. BRADY of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I urge passage of House Concurrent Resolution 33, to allow the Capitol Rotunda to be used on May 17 for the purpose of the annual commemoration of the Holocaust.

This year's theme is ``Justice and Accountability in the Face of Genocide: What Have We Learned?'' It is important that as we reflect on one most notable tragedies in human history, we honor the memory of those who died so senselessly by not forgetting that there can be no tolerance for prejudice, oppression and hatred and pledge anew to stop those seeds of oppression from leading to atrocities like genocide.

  • [End Insert]

The concurrent resolution was agreed to.

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

(House of Representatives - April 12, 2011)


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Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of H. Con. Res. 33.

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

The clerk will report.

The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

A concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 33) permitting the use of the rotunda of the Capitol for a ceremony as part of the commemoration of the days of remembrance of victims of the Holocaust.

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

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Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the concurrent resolution be agreed to, that the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table, there be no intervening action or debate, and that any statements related to this matter be printed in the Record.

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

The concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 33) was agreed to.

(Senate - April 14, 2011)

May 15, 2011

30th Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service

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Mr. DENHAM. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure be discharged from further consideration of House Concurrent Resolution 46 and ask for its immediate consideration in the House.

The Clerk read the title of the concurrent resolution.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from California?

There was no objection.

The text of the concurrent resolution is as follows:

H. Con. Res. 46

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring),

SECTION 1. USE OF THE CAPITOL GROUNDS FOR NATIONAL PEACE OFFICERS' MEMORIAL SERVICE.

(a) In General.--The Grand Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police and its auxiliary (in this resolution referred to as the ``sponsor'') shall be permitted to sponsor a public event, the 30th Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service (in this resolution referred to as the ``event''), on the Capitol Grounds, in order to honor the law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty during 2010.

(b) Date of Event.--The event shall be held on May 15, 2011, or on such other date as the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Rules and Administration of the Senate jointly designate.

SEC. 2. TERMS AND CONDITIONS.

(a) In General.--Under conditions to be prescribed by the Architect of the Capitol and the Capitol Police Board, the event shall be--

(1) free of admission charge and open to the public; and

(2) arranged not to interfere with the needs of Congress.

(b) Expenses and Liabilities.--The sponsor shall assume full responsibility for all expenses and liabilities incident to all activities associated with the event.

SEC. 3. EVENT PREPARATIONS.

Subject to the approval of the Architect of the Capitol, the sponsor is authorized to erect upon the Capitol Grounds such stage, sound amplification devices, and other related structures and equipment, as may be required for the event.

SEC. 4. ENFORCEMENT OF RESTRICTIONS.

The Capitol Police Board shall provide for enforcement of the restrictions contained in section 5104(c) of title 40, United States Code, concerning sales, advertisements, displays, and solicitations on the Capitol Grounds, as well as other restrictions applicable to the Capitol Grounds, in connection with the event.

The concurrent resolution was agreed to.

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

(House of Representatives - May 11, 2011)

May 14, 2011

Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Day

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Mr. BENNET. Mr. President, today I honor the National Association of Letter Carriers' Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. Every year, on the second Saturday in May, letter carriers across the country collect nonperishable food as part of the Nation's largest one-day food drive, distributing the donations to local food banks. In these difficult economic times--as families continue to make ends meet and food banks deal with tightening budgets--these efforts are especially important.

The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is just one example of how letter carriers work to make a difference in the lives of those they serve. Since the food drive was launched 19 years ago, they have collected a billion pounds of food, including 77.3 million pounds last year alone. They do all of this in service of the communities in which the live and work. And the work they do remains essential. Even in today's electronic society, millions of us depend on letter carriers to deliver everything from birthday cards to life-saving prescription medications.

In recognition of all letter carriers, their hard work and their commitment to their communities, I ask that all of us join with them in support of their one-day food drive and make a donation of nonperishable food items this Saturday, May 14, 2011, the National Association of Letter Carriers' Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Day.

(Senate - May 10, 2011)

May 12, 2011

National Military Appreciation Month

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(Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend her remarks.)

Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight to recognize our men and women in uniform and join our community in celebrating National Military Appreciation Month. The month of May encompasses a number of celebratory days linked to our Armed Forces, their families, and our Nation's proud history. From Military Spouse Appreciation Day to Victory in Europe Day, and from Loyalty Day to Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day, the month of May is a time for our Nation to come together and give praise to our most heroic citizens.

Our Nation traditionally recognizes our troops' sacrifice in a somber manner on Memorial Day, but National Military Appreciation Month allows us to not only appreciate those who have given their lives for our freedom, but also to celebrate the resolve of our Nation through its most difficult times.

I welcome our Nation to join in recognizing the contribution of our servicemen and -women, past and present, for all that they have done to preserve our freedom and our way of life.

(House of Representatives - May 11, 2011)

National Police Week

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(Mr. PAULSEN asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. PAULSEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to our Nation's law enforcement officers, the brave men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting our communities.

This week is National Police Week, and thousands of officers from across the country will gather here in Washington to pay tribute to those who have fallen in the line of duty. Sadly, in the past year, 162 officers have died in the line of duty, including two from Minnesota, Sergeant Joseph Bergeron of Maplewood and Mahnomen County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Dewey.

As we remember these officers, Mr. Speaker, I want to call attention to legislation that I have introduced that would help protect those who protect us. H.R. 1789, the State and Local Law Enforcement Discipline, Accountability, and Due Process Act, would guarantee law enforcement officers have basic rights during disciplinary actions.

I ask and urge my colleagues to sign on to this legislation so we can also help protect our law enforcement officers.

(House of Representatives - May 11, 2011)

60th Anniversary of the 1951 U.N. Refugee Convention

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The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Chu) for 5 minutes.

Ms. CHU. Madam Speaker, I rise today in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Convention related to the Status of Refugees. The Convention was historic in spelling out a set of basic human rights that should be afforded a refugee. It was initially directed toward European refugees in the aftermath of World War II, but was expanded in 1967 to include refugees from all around the world. The U.N. Convention defines who a refugee is, and outlines assistance that refugees should receive. It stipulates that refugees should not be returned to a country where they fear persecution.

My district in the San Gabriel Valley of California is home to a large and diverse refugee population who fled persecution from countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. In Los Angeles County they come from places as far as Iran to El Salvador.

Since arriving on our shores, many of the refugees have established themselves as civic leaders, small business owners and hardworking Americans. Some are working with resettlement agencies to help new refugee populations integrate, settle their families, and restart their lives.

The open arms with which our Nation welcomes refugees from around the world reaffirms America's commitment to human rights. And on this 60th anniversary, I look forward to continuing the U.S. commitment to human rights through strengthening of our refugee resettlement program.

(House of Representatives - May 11, 2011)

May 10, 2011

Jewish American Heritage Month

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(Mr. CICILLINE asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute.)

Mr. CICILLINE. Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor and recognize the rich history of the Jewish American experience in the United States as we mark Jewish American Heritage Month.

It is fitting that the words of the Jewish American poet, Emma Lazarus, are immortalized on the Statue of Liberty, ``Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,'' because here in the United States we recognize the powerful impact of the Jewish American experience--people who escaped persecution, arrived here as immigrants and prospered.

Jewish Americans formed strong communities, became involved in their neighborhoods, and have made lasting contributions to our country. Jewish Americans represent some of this country's, and indeed the world's, foremost innovators in health and science, business and industry, politics and government, arts and culture. This spirit is also found in many Jewish Americans who work tirelessly to seek a better life for future generations.

In celebrating the many milestones of Jewish Americans this month, we honor the lives, work, and rich history of Jewish Americans throughout our Nation. And that's why this month we take time to remember the unique Jewish American identity, steeped in history and faith, and their tremendously important contributions to our Nation.

(House of Representatives - May 4, 2011)

May 9, 2011

National Inventors Month

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Mr. LEAHY (for himself, Mr. GRASSLEY, and Mr. COONS) submitted the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to:

S. Res. 161

Whereas the first United States patent was issued in 1790 to Samuel Hopkins of the State of Vermont for a process to make better fertilizer;

Whereas American inventors have contributed to advances in life sciences, technology, and manufacturing;

Whereas the Constitution specifically provides for the granting of exclusive rights to inventors for their discoveries;

Whereas the United States patent system is intended to implement that constitutional imperative and incentivize inventions;

Whereas American inventors benefit from an up-to-date and efficient patent system and the economy, jobs, and consumers of the United States benefit from the inventions;

Whereas the next great American invention could be among the 700,000 patent applications pending as of the date of approval of this resolution in the United States Patent and Trademark Office;

Whereas the last changes to the United States patent system were made nearly 60 years ago;

Whereas an updated patent system will unleash innovation and create jobs in the United States without adding to the deficit;

Whereas every May, a new class of inventors is inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame;

Whereas in the 112th Congress, a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives entitled the ``America Invents Act'' (H.R. 1249) to make reforms to the United States patent system; and

Whereas the Senate on March 8, 2011, passed the bill entitled the ``America Invents Act'' (S. 23), which will make the first comprehensive reforms to the United States patent system in nearly 60 years: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate designates May 2011, as ``National Inventors Month''.

May 8, 2011

The 66th Anniversary of V-E Day, the End of World War II in Europe

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Mr. JOHANNS (for himself, Mr. BEGICH, and Mr. LAUTENBERG) submitted the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to:

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S. Res. 166

Whereas on December 11, 1941, 4 days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States;

Whereas on November 8, 1942, United States and Allied forces began Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa;

Whereas German and other Axis forces in North Africa surrendered on May 13, 1943;

Whereas in July of 1943, United States and Allied forces landed in Sicily;

Whereas on September 8, 1943, Italy surrendered to United States and Allied forces, although German troops in Italy continued to fight until May of 1945;

Whereas more than 150,000 Allied soldiers landed in France on June 6, 1944, known thereafter as ``D-Day'';

Whereas on August 25, 1944, United States and Allied forces liberated Paris;

Whereas from mid- to late- December, during the Battle of the Bulge, United States troops heroically resisted a major German offensive in Belgium and France;

Whereas United States troops crossed the Rhine River at Remagen on March 7, 1945;

Whereas Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Western Allies at Reims on May 7, 1945, and to the Soviet Union on May 9, 1945, in Berlin;

Whereas during World War II, an estimated 292,000 members of the United States Armed Forces were killed in action and more than 400,000 members of the United States Armed Forces died; and

Whereas United States President Harry S. Truman declared May 8, 1945, ``V-E day'', the end of World War II in Europe, although war with Japan continued until August 14, 1945: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) recognizes the historic contribution made by United States veterans of World War II to human liberty and the safety of the United States and its allies;

(2) honors veterans who served in the European Theatre of Operations and elsewhere during World War II;

(3) remembers with gratitude the members of the United States Armed Forces who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II; and

(4) commemorates May 8, 2011, as the 66th anniversary of V-E Day, the end of World War II in Europe.

(Senate - May 5, 2011)

World War II Remembrance

The Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War (May 8 and May 9) is an annual international day of remembrance designated by Resolution 59/26 of the United Nations General Assembly on November 22, 2004. The resolution urges to honor the memory of World War II.

It begins on May 8, the anniversary of the date when the World War II Allies accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich.

May 7, 2011

National Train Day

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Mr. LAUTENBERG (for himself, Mr. Rockefeller, Mrs. Hutchison, Ms. Mikulski, Mr. Lieberman, Mr. Durbin, Mr. Wyden, Mr. Carper, Mr. Sanders, Mr. Blumenthal, Mr. Coons, and Mr. Merkley) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation:

S. Res. 171

Whereas Amtrak was founded on May 1, 1971, bringing together the passenger train operations of 20 separate rail companies;

Whereas Amtrak is celebrating its 40th anniversary of providing passenger rail service to the country;

Whereas Amtrak introduced high-speed Acela Express service, the fastest train in North America, to the Northeast Corridor in 2000;

Whereas Amtrak ridership increased in each of the 17 months between November 2009 and March 2011;

Whereas in 2011, Amtrak will send an ``exhibit train'' to travel the country with educational exhibits and historical styling to showcase the railroad's history to the public;

Whereas Amtrak trains and infrastructure carry commuters to and from work in congested metropolitan areas, providing a reliable rail option and reducing congestion on roads and in the skies;

Whereas for many rural Americans, Amtrak represents the only major intercity transportation link to the rest of the country;

Whereas passenger trains provide a more fuel-efficient transportation system, cleaner transportation alternatives, and energy security;

Whereas on a per-passenger-mile basis, intercity passenger rail was 25 percent more energy efficient than airplanes and 30 percent more energy efficient than automobiles in 2008;

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Whereas Amtrak provided intercity passenger rail travel to 28,700,000 Americans in 46 States during fiscal year 2010;

Whereas community railroad stations are a source of civic pride, a gateway to over 500 of our Nation's communities, and a tool for economic growth;

Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate supports the goals and ideals of National Train Day, as designated by Amtrak.

(Senate - May 5, 2011)

Space Day

2011 Space Day Family Day
May 7, 2011

National Air and Space Museum
Washington, D.C.

"A Celebration of 50 Years of Human Space Flight"

Space Day Family Day, an annual event sponsored by Lockheed Martin is scheduled for Saturday, May 7 at the National Air and Space Museum. Space Day welcomes kids, parents and museum enthusiasts who enjoy engaging demonstrations, creative hand-on activities, and incredible exhibits, as well as stimulating conversations and presentations with astronauts, aerospace industry engineers and subject matter experts on all things space!!!

A live hookup with astronauts will give visitors a unique opportunity to chat and ask questions with someone on the International Space Station. Numerous interactive, space-related educational activities hosted by Lockheed Martin, NASA and NASM will provide plenty to do for families, tourists, and child of all ages. Visitors will be able to launch “Alka-Seltzer” rockets, construct their own International Space Station, design a Mission Patch, and build a Hubble Space Telescope.

Once again, the Space Day Family Day at the National Air & Space Museum promises to be a “can’t miss” event in the D.C. Area!


Space Day in the U.S. and Around the Globe

In the U.S. Student activities include: participation in a simulated mission to Mars - discussions about the Space Shuttle program - exploration of constellations – investigations on the life cycle of a star - learning how to protect planet Earth - exploring space career opportunities - aerodynamics and paper airplane contests - signing Signatures in Space posters - viewing lunar and meteorite samples...click for more

May 6, 2011

1968: Lunar Landing Research Vehicle Crash

Neil Armstrong was nearly killed when the LLRV crashed.



This Week in Space

National Charter Schools Week

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Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the HELP Committee be discharged from further consideration of S. Res. 158 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 assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

A resolution (S. Res. 158) congratulating the students, parents, teachers, and administrators of charter schools across the United States for ongoing contributions to education, and supporting the ideals and goals of the 12th annual National Charter Schools Week.

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

Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, I rise to make a few brief remarks about the fact that this week we are celebrating National Charter Schools Week in America and in the Senate. I am pleased to join my colleague, Lamar Alexander, in cosponsoring this resolution, which I hope will be hotlined tonight, and that means passed unanimously without the need to bring it to the floor for debate because there are so many Members of the Senate, both Democrats and Republicans, who recognize the value of high-quality charter schools and the difference they are making in the advancement of education reform and the extraordinary achievements being reached by students and teachers in communities because of them.

I wish to make a brief statement on the Senate floor and then share some interesting and exciting statistics from my own experience in the city of New Orleans, which is the city that has the highest percentage of children in charter schools in America today.

As a parent of two precious and delightful children, I know firsthand the value of a quality education to secure their futures. Many American families are fortunate to live in places where public schools provide engaging and effective instruction and a culture of achievement that inspires students to aim high and thrive. Other families have the financial means to provide their children with a top-notch private school education. The Presiding Officer knows, whether it is in Missouri or Louisiana or Texas or right here in DC, that education can be quite expensive in our top private elementary and secondary schools in our country. Sometimes tuition can reach up to $25,000 a year and beyond. As hard as that might be for some to believe, that is true. Unfortunately, too many Americans are left without either option for their children, and their children are falling through the cracks. This cannot continue if America is going to maintain a leadership role and produce young adults who have the knowledge and skills to compete and win in this new worldwide marketplace.

Fortunately, in a growing number of communities, including several in Louisiana and particularly in New Orleans, there is another exciting option for parents and students: high quality public charter schools.

This week, as I said, we celebrate the 12th annual National Charter School Week. It is a good time to take stock of how successful many charter schools have been and what we can do to replicate them across the country and, more importantly, what we can do to improve them; what we can do to eliminate poor charter schools and strengthen the great ones and make the good ones even better. Charter schools are public schools that receive public funding and serve the same neighborhood students as traditional public schools.

Currently, it may surprise people to know there are over 5,000 charter schools in our country serving more than 1.6 million children. These schools are required to meet the academic student achievement accountability requirements under all of our laws and in the same manner as traditional public schools. However, they differ from traditional public schools in several important ways. Charter schools operate free from many of the district rules and regulations so they have more freedom to innovate, to experiment, to explore, to think outside of the box, to try new approaches. Charter schools have autonomy in areas such as the length of the school day and year, as well as principal and teacher recruitment, selection, and development. With this freedom, however, comes greater accountability for improved student achievement. Unlike public schools in many places, charter schools that aren't successful can actually lose their charter, be forced to close, or be forced to transition to a new model. There are countless examples of high-performing charter schools that are producing impressive results, and they continue to show that our students, including--and most importantly--our low-income and minority students and disadvantaged students can and are rising to great academic heights.

In my home State of Louisiana, there are 90 public charter schools, including 61 in the city of New Orleans, representing almost 72 percent of our city's student population--a higher proportion than any other school system in the United States. The city's Sci Academy is one remarkable example of a successful charter school, and I had the great pleasure to skype with some of their students earlier this morning.

Sci Academy opened in 2008 with 90 ninth graders entering a rigorous and inspiring environment. More than half of the ninth graders who entered Sci Academy's inaugural class had failed State promotional performance tests, and more than 70 percent read well below the ninth grade level. Many of these students had missed a full year of school because of Hurricane Katrina and were significantly behind other students of their age.

Incredibly, that same freshman class later scored 76 percent on our State's test, making it the third most successful high school in New Orleans. The other high schools that beat it out actually had selective enrollment. What is extraordinary about Sci Academy is that it is open enrollment, focusing on the quality of teachers and the quality of teaching. It is remarkable.

Right here in the District of Columbia--and I am proud to have had a hand in the development of this in the District of Columbia as a former chair of a subcommittee and a partner with Eleanor Holmes Norton and others who have worked so hard with the District on its reform efforts--charter schools are an integral part of improving educational outcomes in this city, our Nation's Capital.

Starting with two small campuses in 1996, DC public charter schools now educate almost 40 percent of the school-aged children in the District, and they are serving the highest percentage of low-income and minority students in the city's most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. DC's public charter schools outperform the city's traditional public schools from the fifth grade up, and they graduate 84 percent of their students--higher than both the city and the national average.

Where quality charter schools exist, parents have real choices, exciting choices, and they are overwhelmingly choosing public charter schools. Many of these schools have long waiting lists. In fact, more than 50 percent of charter schools report having waiting lists, and the total number of students on these waiting lists is enough to fill more than 1,100 average-sized charter schools--quite a number on these waiting lists.

Over the past 17 years, Congress has provided $1.6 billion in funding to the promising charter school movement throughout the country through grants for planning, program design, initial implementation, replication, expansion, dissemination, evaluation, and for improving facilities. Our efforts at the national level are beginning to show real results. Maintaining and increasing where possible funding for charter schools is a winning proposition for parents, for students, for their teachers, for our community, and, may I say, for our Nation, for our workforce of the future, and for our economic security.

Make no mistake. America will only go as far as our collective talent and ability will take her. Our future will continue to be shaped by how well we prepare today's students for tomorrow's challenges. Parents who are doing everything they can to give their children an opportunity for success deserve not only a quality choice but a solution to the challenges of our educational system. Successful charter schools provide that choice, and in many areas they provide the solution. Now it is time to make them a central component of our educational strategy all over the country.

Senator Lamar Alexander and I are pleased to chair the charter caucus in the Senate, to join with President Obama and Secretary Arne Duncan in a focus on quality education for all children in America. President Obama and Secretary Duncan often say charter schools are one tool, not the only tool, to get us from failing and mediocre public schools to great and exciting public schools in our country that are making a real difference.

I wish to share some extraordinary results that were given to me just this week as I hosted a roundtable with staffers and Senators about the accomplishments of charter schools. This comes from a wonderful group in New Orleans, New Schools for New Orleans,

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that is one of the leaders in the charter school movement nationally. They are helping the city of New Orleans and many of our organizations, in partnership with all sorts of funders and philanthropies, and the city of New Orleans, the mayor, and the city council, and others who are so supportive of what is going on. Our universities, I might say, including the University of New Orleans, Tulane University, Dillard, and Xavier have also been on the forefront of this movement as well.

Let me share these results because they are quite extraordinary. This chart shows that in 2005, 62 percent of students in the city of New Orleans--not 15 percent, not 20 percent, but 62 percent--were academically unacceptable. Based on standards set by our State and by the Federal Government, in 2005 basically 62 percent of all the students in New Orleans were failing. They were not up to just basic educational levels in reading and math.

We had a terrible event happen, as many people will remember. In 2005 we had Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the crashing of our levee system, the failing of our levee system, and 100 of our 146 public schools were virtually destroyed and remain unusable. Through the great efforts of local leaders, State leaders, and Federal leaders, and with FEMA's help and some new, out-of-the-box thinking, we were able to pool the money the Federal Government was going to reimburse each individual school and present one check to the city of New Orleans and the school board and the recovery district, and we have been building a new school system ever since.

Charter schools are the foundation of that rebuilding.

It is quite extraordinary that in only 5 years, when you look at the same population, virtually--there have been some families who have not yet come back, but they are on their way; there have been some families who left and are not coming back--it is a population still of a great number of minority students and disadvantaged and lower middle-class students, as well as middle-class and some wealthy students in our public school system, and we have moved from 62 percent unacceptable to only 17 percent unacceptable in 5 years. I do not know of any other group of schools anywhere in the country that has made such remarkable gains. So when people question, do charter schools work, let me say that the evidence is in. Quality charter schools work. In every place they exist, they outperform even their suburban counterparts and in large measure suburban counterpart public schools that are among some of the best.

Many of these charter schools are in rural areas where there is not a lot of opportunity for White, Black, Hispanic, or Asian kids. Some of them are in intercities that do not have the same opportunities.

We, again, have taken 62 percent of our population who were underperforming and now it is only 17 percent.

As it says on this chart, I have in the Chamber, the New Orleans students' test scores demonstrate the first significant improvement in the city's history--a 30-percent increase--and, finally, closing the achievement gap between New Orleans' schools and State schools by more than 50 percent.

A Thomas B. Fordham Institute study ranked 30 major cities on six critical reform categories. New Orleans, I am proud to say, was ranked the No. 1 reform-friendly city in the country, followed by Washington, DC, New York, Denver, and Jacksonville.

But the great news is that there are cities and counties and States waking up to the exciting opportunities of education reform. We know that in America today, it should be unacceptable in some of our communities where 50, 60, 70 percent of our children are failing to get out of high school. We should be ashamed that even when some of our children walk across that stage and get that diploma that signifies they have graduated, they are leaving truly, in many places, without the skills to get the job that will give them a living or saving wage because our schools have been handing out diplomas that are not worth the paper on which they are written. That has to come to an end. That is what we are fighting for. That is what charter schools help us to do.

Now, is it possible for public schools that are not charters to achieve this success? Yes. And that is also happening. But I found in my own experience, trying to work with a system that was unwilling to make too much change, that charter schools provide the kind of competition and spark and challenge to an otherwise system that is run by a monopoly. This provides a diverse set of providers to education. It encourages new kinds of educators to come in as teachers. It gives the schools the freedom they need to make it work for the students who walk through that front door and want so desperately to walk across that stage with a diploma that means something and a future ahead of them.

I am proud to help lead this effort here in the Senate. I thank my colleagues for supporting this effort for the 12th year--a resolution commending high-quality charter schools in America.

Let me say in conclusion that we are not resting on our laurels. I have introduced a bill, along with others. Senator Durbin and Senator Kirk have introduced a companion bill, if you will. Both bills are in an effort to take the bar even higher, to say to the country: Let's get rid of our low-performing charter schools. Let's focus on strengthening the authorizers of these charter schools. We do not want authorizers out there who are giving out charters to run schools to people who have no idea what they are doing.

We do not want this movement to fail. We want this movement--we know it can be successful. We know it can be a real choice for parents. Think about it. Think about the value of a quality education. If you have to pay for it in the private sector, you are paying $25,000 to $30,000 a year in some of our communities. Maybe you are lucky enough to be in a Catholic school, an Episcopal school, where the tuition is subsidized and you can get the student in and out for $6,000 to $10,000 a year, but for many families with four children or five children, that is out of reach. They cannot possibly afford that. So having quality public schools is essential in every community in our country.

I believe that if we can do this in New Orleans, which is one of the poorest cities--not the poorest, but we struggle, as you know, in the city of New Orleans; we have a very broad demographic population--if we can do it here, trust me, it can be done anywhere with political will and with the support of your State and local governments, and, of course, the Federal Government.

So I am pleased to cosponsor the ALL-STAR bill, which is a grant program for growth and replication of high-quality charter schools, and to have introduced my own bill, the Charter School Quality Act. I am going to be working very closely with Senator Harkin, who has been open in many ways to these new ideas, and working with him as we authorize the Elementary and Secondary Act, and be reminded of the great success charter schools are having.

Ultimately, we would like to have 100 percent of the public schools in the city of New Orleans be charters, with some of the most exciting charter providers, some of the best in the world operating our schools, challenging our kids, giving parents real choices where they want to send their kids based on the personalities of the children and the desires and dreams of that family. That is really what America is all about--competition, choice, and opportunity. We just are not quite doing enough in this regard in our country today. But perhaps the success of this movement can show us a way forward.

I thank the Presiding Officer, and I hope we can get that resolution adopted without further delay tonight. Again, I wish to congratulate everyone who has worked so hard on making this National Charter School Week a success here in DC, in our Nation's Capital, and around our country.

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

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

The amendment (No. 318) was agreed to, as follows:

Strike the 14th whereas clause.

The resolution (S. Res. 158) was agreed to.

[Page: S2752]  GPO's PDF

The preamble, as amended, was agreed to.

The resolution, with its preamble, as amended, was agreed to.

S. Res. 158

Whereas charter schools deliver high-quality public education and challenge all students to reach their potential;

Whereas charter schools promote innovation and excellence in public education;

Whereas charter schools provide thousands of families with diverse and innovative educational options for their children;

Whereas charter schools are public schools authorized by a designated public entity that--

(1) respond to the needs of communities, families, and students in the United States; and

(2) promote the principles of quality, accountability, choice, and innovation;

Whereas in exchange for flexibility and autonomy, charter schools are held accountable by their sponsors for improving student achievement and for the financial and other operations of the charter schools;

Whereas 40 States, the District of Columbia, and Guam have passed laws authorizing charter schools;

Whereas in 2011, close to 5,000 charter schools are serving more than 1,600,000 children;

Whereas in the past 17 fiscal years, Congress has provided a total of more than $2,600,000,000 in financial assistance to the charter school movement through grants for planning, program design, initial implementation, replication, expansion, dissemination, evaluation, and facilities;

Whereas numerous charter schools improve the achievements of students and stimulate improvement in traditional public schools;

Whereas charter schools are required to meet the student achievement accountability requirements under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.) in the same manner as traditional public schools;

Whereas charter schools often set higher and additional individual goals than the requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.) to ensure that charter schools are of high quality and truly accountable to the public;

Whereas charter schools--

(1) give parents the freedom to choose public schools;

(2) routinely measure parental satisfaction levels; and

(3) must prove their ongoing success to parents, policymakers, and the communities served by the charter schools;

Whereas more than 50 percent of charter schools report having a waiting list, and the total number of students on all such waiting lists is enough to fill more than 1,100 average-sized charter schools;

Whereas the 12th annual National Charter Schools Week is scheduled to be held May 1, through May 7, 2011: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) congratulates the students, parents, teachers, and administrators of charter schools across the United States for--

(A) ongoing contributions to education;

(B) the impressive strides made in closing the persistent academic achievement gap in the United States; and

(C) improving and strengthening the public school system in the United States;

(2) supports the ideals and goals of the 12th annual National Charter Schools Week, a week-long celebration to be held May 1 through May 7, 2011, in communities throughout the United States; and

(3) encourages the people of the United States to hold appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities during National Charter Schools Week to demonstrate support for charter schools.

(Senate - May 5, 2011)

Military Spouse Appreciation Day

[Page: S2625]  GPO's PDF 

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Mr. BURR (for himself, Mrs. FEINSTEIN, and Mrs. BOXER) submitted the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to:

S. Res. 160

Whereas the month of May marks ``National Military Appreciation Month'';

Whereas military spouses provide vital support to men and women in the Armed Forces and help to make the service of such men and women in the Armed Forces possible;

Whereas military spouses have been separated from loved ones because of deployment in support of overseas contingency operations and other military missions carried out by the Armed Forces;

Whereas the establishment of ``Military Spouse Appreciation Day'' is an appropriate way to honor the spouses of members of the Armed Forces; and

Whereas May 6, 2011, would be an appropriate date to establish as ``Military Spouse Appreciation Day'': Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) designates May 6, 2011, as ``Military Spouse Appreciation Day'';

(2) honors and recognizes the contributions made by spouses of members of the Armed Forces; and

(3) encourages the people of the United States to observe ``Military Spouse Appreciation Day'' to promote awareness of the contributions of spouses of members of the Armed Forces and the importance of the role of military spouses in the lives of members of the Armed Forces and veterans.