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EMERGENCY SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2005--Continued -- (Senate - April 21, 2005)

On page 169, between lines 8 and 9, insert the following:

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   PERMANENT MAGNET MOTOR

    SEC. 1122. It is the sense of the Senate that of the amounts appropriated by this Act under the heading ``RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, TEST, AND EVALUATION, NAVY'', $15,000,000 should be made available for the continuing development of the permanent magnet motor.

   AMENDMENT NO. 484, AS MODIFIED

(Purpose: To express the sense of the Senate on funding for the procurement of man-portable air defense (MANPAD) systems)

    On page 169, between lines 8 and 9, insert the following:

   SENSE OF SENATE ON PROCUREMENT OF MAN-PORTABLE AIR DEFENSE SYSTEMS

    SEC. 1122. It is the sense of the Senate that, of the amounts appropriated by this Act, $32,000,000 may be available to procure MANPAD systems.

   AMENDMENT NO. 502, AS MODIFIED

(Purpose: To express the sense of the Senate on funding for the replenishment of medical supply needs within the combat theaters of the Army)

    On page 169, between lines 8 and 9, insert the following:

   SENSE OF SENATE ON MEDICAL SUPPORT FOR TACTICAL UNITS

    SEC. 1122. It is the sense of the Senate that, of the amount appropriated by this Act under the heading ``OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE, ARMY'', $11,500,000 should be made available for the replenishment of medical supply and equipment needs within the combat theaters of the Army, including bandages and other blood-clotting supplies that utilize hemostatic, wound-dressing technologies.

   AMENDMENT NO. 565

(Purpose: To express the sense of the Senate that Congress should enact an increase in the period of continued TRICARE coverage of children of members of the uniformed services who die while serving on active duty for a period of more than 30 days and make such increased period applicable to children of members who have died since the commencement of military operations in Afghanistan)

    On page 169, between lines 8 and 9, insert the following:

   SENSE OF SENATE ON INCREASED PERIOD OF CONTINUED TRICARE COVERAGE OF CHILDREN OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WHO DIE WHILE SERVING ON ACTIVE DUTY FOR A PERIOD OF MORE THAN 30 DAYS

    SEC. 1122. It is the sense of the Senate that--

    (1) Congress should enact an amendment to section 1079 of title 10, United States Code, in order to increase the period of continued TRICARE coverage of children of members of the uniformed services who die while serving on active duty for a period of more than 30 days under that section such that the period of continued eligibility is the longer of--

    (A) the three-year period beginning on the date of death of the member;

    (B) the period ending on the date on which the child attains 21 years of age; or

    (C) in the case of a child of a deceased member who, at 21 years of age, is enrolled in a full-time course of study in a secondary school or in a full-time course of study in an institution of higher education approved by the administering Secretary and was, at the time of the member's death, in fact dependent on the member for over one-half of the child's support, the period ending on the earlier--

    (i) the date on which the child ceases to pursue such a course of study, as determined by the administering Secretary; or

    (ii) the date on which the child attains 23 years of age; and

    (2) Congress should make the amendment applicable to deaths of members of the Armed Forces on or after October 7, 2001, the date of the commencement of military operations in Afghanistan.

   AMENDMENT NO. 566

(Purpose: To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide for entry of nationals of Australia)

    On page 231, between lines 3 and 4, insert the following new section:

   RECIPROCAL VISAS FOR NATIONALS OF AUSTRALIA

    SEC. 6047. (a) Section 101(a)(15)(E) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(E)) is amended--

    (1) by adding at the end ``or (iii) solely to perform services in a specialty occupation in the United States if the alien is a national of the Commonwealth of Australia and with respect to whom the Secretary of Labor determines and certifies to the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State that the intending employer has filed with the Secretary of Labor an attestation under section 212(t)(1);''; and

    (2) in clause (i), by striking ``or'' after ``national;''.

    (b) Section 202 of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1152) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

    ``(f) Special Rule for Australia.--The total number of aliens who may acquire nonimmigrant status under section 101(a)(15)(E)(iii) may not exceed 5000 for a fiscal year.''.

    (c) Section 214(i)(1) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1184(i)(1)) is amended by inserting ``, section 101(a)(15)(E)(iii),'' after ``section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b)''.

    (d) Section 212(t) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(t)), as added by section 402(b)(2) of the United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Public Law 108-77; 117 Stat. 941), is amended--

    (1) by inserting ``or section 101(a)(15)(E)(iii)'' after ``section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b1)'' each place it appears;

    (2) in paragraph (3)(C)(i)(II), by striking ``or'' in the third place it appears;

    (3) in paragraph (3)(C)(ii)(II), by striking ``or'' in the third place it appears; and

    (4) in paragraph (3)(C)(iii)(II), by striking ``or'' in the third place it appears.

   Mr. STEVENS. I move to reconsider the vote, and I move to lay that motion on the table.

   The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.

   AMENDMENT NO. 487, AS MODIFIED

   The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Mississippi.

   Mr. COCHRAN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that amendment No. 487 be modified so as to appear on page 187 after line 18. This request only changes the placement of the amendment in the bill. It does not change the text of the amendment.

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

   The amendment, as modified, is as follows:

    On page 187, after line 18, insert the following:

   CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION

   Salaries and Expenses

    For an additional amount for ``Salaries and Expenses'', for hiring border patrol agents, $105,451,000: Provided, That the amount provided under this heading is designated as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 402 of the conference report to accompany S. Con. Res. 95 (108th Congress).

   Construction

    For an additional amount for ``Construction'', $41,500,000, to remain available until expended: Provided, That the amount provided under this heading is designated as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 402 of the conference report to accompany S. Con. Res. 95 (108th Congress).

   Reduction in Funding

    The amount appropriated by title II for ``Contributions to International Peacekeeping Activities'' is hereby reduced by $146,951,000 and the total amount appropriated by title II is hereby reduced by $146,951,000.

   AVIAN FLU AND THE EMERGENCY SUPPLEMENTAL FOR IRAQ

   Mr. OBAMA. I see that the distinguished ranking member of the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, Senator LEAHY is here on the Senate floor. I am wondering it he would take just a moment to discuss with me the critical issue of the avian flu.

   Mr. President, an outbreak of the avian flu would be an international calamity. In this age when you can get on a plane in Bangkok and arrive in Chicago or Burlington in hours, we must face the reality that this threat is not a problem isolated half a world away, but is one that could affect people in Illinois, Vermont, and all across America. The director of the Centers for Disease Control recognized the grave consequences this virus could pose to international health when she recently stated that ``this is a very ominous situation for the globe ..... [this is] the most important threat we are facing right now.'' It is something that is clearly an emergency and is appropriately addressed in the Iraq Supplemental.

   At this point, humans contract the virus overwhelmingly by coming into contact with infected animals, and once contracted, the virus is extremely deadly--a 65 to 75 percent mortality rate for humans--especially because there is no proven vaccine for the H5N1 strain. Further, effective treatments for this strain of the virus are not widely available and must be delivered within 24 hours.

   The recent trends with respect to the spread of the avian flu are very alarming. Over the last few months, there is growing evidence which suggests that the virus may be mutating and could eventually result in a form that is transmittable from human to human. If this were to occur, it could cause the deaths of millions of people, seriously damage economic activity in Southeast Asia, and cause panic and instability throughout the region. Moreover, because of the dynamic nature of Southeast Asia, with all sorts of commerce and transport in and out of the region, the virus would likely spread around the world--including to the United States, in a matter of hours or days.

   I would ask my good friend, the senior Senator from Vermont, who has a

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long history of leadership on international health issues. for his assessment of what needs to be done.

   Mr. LEAHY. I would say to the Senator from Illinois that, earlier this year, the World Health Organization convened a conference on this issue. The WHO

   concluded that the international community does not possess sufficient plans and resources to effectively respond to an outbreak of the avian flu and that additional resources and attention to this issue are urgently needed. The WHO called for $100 million in new resources from the international community to prevent, and if necessary, respond to an outbreak of the avian flu.

   Mr. OBAMA. Just for the record, the $100 million figure is important for our purposes here today. Before the Appropriations Committee put together the supplemental, we discussed the importance of immediately addressing the avian flu before the situation spirals out of control, and that $25 million is an appropriate amount to deal with this critical emergency. I am correct?

   Mr. LEAHY. Yes, the Senator is correct. When the Appropriations Committee was putting together the Supplemental, the Majority and Minority, working together, included $25 million to prevent and respond to an outbreak of the avian flu, because of the urgent nature of the situation in southeast Asia.

   I would also add that $25 million is one-fourth of the WHO appeal, and as we know, the traditional U.S. share of such multilateral efforts is one-fourth of the total cost. I would also point out that this is the amount that has been authorized in S. 600, the Foreign Assistance Authorization bill that was debated in the Senate last week.

   Mr. OBAMA. I also know that USAID has already formulated a rapid response plan to use this $25 million, if it is ultimately appropriated.

   Mr. LEAHY. That is correct. The administration urgently needs this money and it will be well spent if appropriated. In fact, the money will be used to address the avian flu and build lasting mechanisms and networks to address other viruses that will undoubtedly arise in southeast Asia. The $25 million to combat the avian flu is important for Southeast Asia and the United States.

   ENSURING THE MILITARY DEATH BENEFIT IS TAX FREE

   Ms. MIKULSKI. Mr. President, I rise to speak on my amendment No. 497 to ensure that increased military death benefits are tax free.

   We know that more than 1,700 servicemen and women have made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan. We don't always focus on the families that have to live their lives without a husband or wife, without a son or daughter, without a father or mother, without a brother or sister.

   Already in March, Newsweek estimated that 1,043 American children had lost a parent in Iraq. The stories of these children trying to cope with the reality that a parent isn't coming home will break your heart. But the families of those who die for their country also have to struggle with more mundane challenges, like the loss of the main breadwinner.

   Staff Sargeant Kendell Waters-Bey was a 29-year-old Marine from Baltimore. He was one of the first American servicemembers to die in Iraq, among 12 people killed in a helicopter crash.

   Michael and Angela Waters-Bey lost their only son; that's hard enough. But 10-year-old Kenneth lost his father. My Maryland colleague in the House, Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, helped to set up a trust fund to pay for Kenneth's college education.

   Another Marylander, Naval Reserve Lieutenant Kylan Jones-Huffman, was killed by small arms fire in Iraq. Lieutenant Jones-Huffman was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, and he returned there to teach history before being deployed to Iraq.

   These are just two of the many families in Maryland and across the Nation that experience the sacrifices of this war every day. They deserve our gratitude--not just words, but deeds.

   I'm proud to be a member of the Appropriations Committee. We did what is right to support our troops by reporting out a strong emergency supplemental bill to meet the needs of our men and women in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world. We did what is right by increasing the military death benefit immediately paid to the family of a member of our military who is killed.

   This bill will raise the military death benefit from just over $12,000 to $100,000.

   The supplemental bill also provides a benefit to make the increase retroactive to October 7, 2001, the start of the war in Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks.

   The Senate has also rightly adopted the Kerry amendment to ensure that the death benefit increase covers all soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who die on active duty.

   I also appreciate the Senate's adoption of the Salazar amendment, to me the so-called death gratuity as fallen heroes compensation. While we understand that no compensation can make up for the loss of a family member, the new name adopted by the Senate recognizes that we are helping the families of our fallen heroes.

   I believe just about every Senator shares my view that the military death benefit should not be taxed.

   We need to make sure that the full amount is paid to the family of a service member who dies for our country. We are a grateful Nation, and this is one of the ways we express our gratitude.

   Under our tax law, the death benefit is excluded from gross income. That means families don't have to pay income tax on it. We don't want the family of a hero who died for our country to be handed the American flag from the casket in one hand, and get a bill from the IRS in the other.

   My amendment will make sure that the payments to make the death benefit increase retroactive are not taxed.

   I appreciate the support of the National Military Family Association for my amendment.

   I also appreciate the support of the Senator from New Jersey, Senator CORZINE, who is a cosponsor of this amendment.

   I hope that the Senate will send a strong message that we intend the military death benefit to be tax-free.

   Mr. GRASSLEY. I want to thank my friend, Senator MIKULSKI, for her work on this issue. You have called attention to a solemn and critically important issue, and I commend you and join with you in your commitment to ensure that we provide a real and meaningful death gratuity to the families of our brave young men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. And I also share your commitment to ensure that those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice are not forced to pay again--to the IRS, in the form of taxation of these gratuity payments.

   Unfortunately, addressing the tax treatment of these payments on this bill could raise procedural hurdles to getting this bill signed into law as quickly as possible. But as Chairman of the Finance Committee, I pledge to work with you, Senator BAUCUS in his role as ranking member, and the rest of the Finance Committee and Congress to ensure that these gratuity payments will not be subject to Federal tax and to enact any necessary changes at the earliest possible date on the first available vehicle. I look forward to working with the gentlelady to resolve this issue expeditiously.

   Mr. BAUCUS. Mr. President, I rise to support the efforts of my friend and colleague Senator MIKULSKI to protect payments to the families of our brave Americans serving and dying for this country. There are currently 1,254 Montanans deployed overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan with one-third of those deployed coming from our guard and reserve forces. We have lost seven service members since the

   war on terrorism began and with each sacrifice I am made more aware of the strength and commitment of our military families.

   Senator MIKULSKI has wisely offered an amendment to ensure that the additional death gratuity benefits would not be subject to taxes, just as other death gratuity benefits for military families are tax-free. It is certainly my hope that such an amendment is not needed. However, I have promised to work with Senator MIKULSKI and my good friend, Chairman GRASSLEY, to clarify that this is the case, should there be any question in the future about the tax-free status of these payments. Certainly, for these families who have already given so much to this country, it is the right thing to do.

   Ms. MIKULSKI. Mr. President, I would like to thank the chairman of

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the Finance Committee, Senator GRASSLEY, and the ranking member, Senator BAUCUS, for their support of ensuring that death benefits paid to the families of those who give their lives for our country are tax-free. I appreciate their commitment to getting this done through appropriate tax legislation, if necessary, as soon as possible. And I appreciate the help of their staff on the Finance Committee, who worked with my staff on this issue.

   Given these commitments from Chairman GRASSLEY and Senator BAUCUS, I will not proceed with my amendment on this critical supplemental appropriations bill to meet the needs of our troops.


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