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    Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014

    by Former Representative John D. Dingell

    Posted on 2013-12-12

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    DINGELL. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.J. Res. 59.

    While this legislation is far from perfect, I will reluctantly support it. It is a small step forward towards funding our government and giving the American people a degree of certainty. In addition, I believe that the bipartisan and bicameral fashion in which it was crafted is a path that we absolutely must pursue in order to move this country forward. I remind my colleagues that compromise is not a dirty word; rather it is the cornerstone of our democracy.

    Again, this measure is not perfect. I have genuine and very serious concerns regarding certain aspects of the bill, namely a lack of extension of unemployment benefits, its changes to aspects of pension contributions of Federal employees, as well as its revision of cost-of- living calculations for military retirees.

    But I cannot allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good, and I thus will support this compromise in order to move this measure forward and continue the much needed debate over what we must do to keep our government up and running and best serving the American people. The legislation also includes a three-month fix of the Sustainable Growth Rate, and it remains my hope that this will allow us enough time to work towards a permanent, bipartisan solution.

    While House Republicans have already put the solvency of our Nation's finances in turmoil this year by putting politics ahead of people and shutting down our government for seventeen days in October, I believe we must not allow that to happen again, and Senator Murray and Representative Ryan have taken this small but productive step towards doing just that today. It is my hope that Majority Leader Reid will have the Senate take up this legislation--including an extension of emergency unemployment benefits--before December 28 in order to prevent some 1.3 million Americans from losing their benefits just one week after Christmas.

    At its core, this compromise is a step in the right direction to averting the harmful effects of the sequester, restoring a degree of economic certainty, and beginning to return this Congress to a time where crossing the aisle was rightly seen as an admirable and necessary act to bring about compromise, tackle the great issues of the day, and best serve the proud people of this Nation.

    Mr. BACHUS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2013. Allow me to thank Chairman Ryan for his hard work in producing this important agreement. It is my belief that we must begin to address our debt and deficit problem on a bipartisan basis.

    To that end, I would like to briefly discuss Section 203 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. This section establishes a program under which the Secretary of Commerce restricts access to the information contained in the Death Master File for a three-year period beginning on the date of the individual's death, except to persons who are certified under a program to be established by the Secretary of Commerce.

    The purpose of this provision of the law is to prevent misuse of the Death Master File that leads to waste, fraud and abuse committed against the Internal Revenue Service and other government agencies. The law is designed to achieve this purpose by restricting access to information contained in the Death Master File for three years after the date of a person's death. In fact, my office has been contacted by a woman who has been struggling with basic functions of life such as opening a bank account or obtaining a driver's license because the Death Master File proclaims her dead when she is in fact alive. It is my firm belief that in addition to this step the Social Security Administration must improve its systems to ensure that death information is accurately updated on the Death Master File.

    At the same time, the law also is designed to ensure that persons, companies, financial institutions, government agencies, and other types of entities continue to have access to the DMF in order to facilitate legitimate commerce and business purposes.

    The law requires the Department of Commerce to set up a program to certify entities that are permitted access to the Death Master File. The intent is that the certification criteria contained in the law encompass the range of important functions that the DMF helps to facilitate.

    The use of the Death Master File has important purposes such as preventing fraud, authenticating individuals, and preventing unauthorized transactions. Using the Death Master File for these important purposes helps to protect consumers from fraud and identity theft. Businesses and government agencies need access to the Death Master File to carry out these and other legitimate responsibilities.

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