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    Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

    by Former Senator John D. Rockefeller, IV

    Posted on 2013-03-06

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    ROCKEFELLER (for himself, Mr. Manchin, Ms. Warren, and Mr. Brown): S. 468. A bill to protect the health care and pension benefits of our nation's miners; to the Committee on Finance.



    Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Mr. President, in West Virginia, we revere our miners--the men and women who put their lives on the line every single day to provide for their families and bring light and heat to millions. Their grit, their courage and their determination are inspirational to each of us. The work they do every day provides nearly half of our Nation with power and it helps underpin the economy of the State we call home.

    For their hard work in these grueling jobs mineworkers receive promised pensions and lifetime health benefits. Health care for all retirees is important. But, in many cases, it is even more so for retired miners, who have stared the possibility of injury or illness in the face every day. Unfortunately, today there are looming threats to the pensions of more than 100,000 mineworkers and to the healthcare benefits of nearly 12,000 miners and their dependents.

    The miners' pension fund is on the road to insolvency. It has been hit by the perfect storm--the recent financial crisis, the smaller number of active mineworkers who provide the funding base for the pension plan, and the large number of ``orphans'' who receive their pensions under the plan. These ``orphans'' are retired mineworkers for whom a company no longer makes contributions to the pension fund, typically because the company is out of business.

    Additionally, the bankruptcy of one coal company is threatening the health benefits of nearly 12,000 miners and their dependents, the vast majority of whom never worked for the company that is actually going bankrupt. So despite the fact that they were promised lifetime healthcare benefits by their employers when they gave their lives to this industry doing the hardest work imaginable under that sacred pledge they are now losing those benefits because a company they never worked for is going bankrupt. That is unfair and unjust.

    That is why today I am introducing the Coalfield Accountability and Retired Employee Act. This legislation protects pensions for more than 100,000 mineworkers by taking excess funds from the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program and transferring that money to the miners' 1974 pension plan. The Coalfield Accountability and Retired Employee Act also would protect retiree health benefits by making any retiree who loses benefits following the bankruptcy or insolvency of his or her employer eligible for the health benefits provided by the COAL Act. And, importantly this legislation would hold employers accountable for the commitments they make to their workers. That is just basic fairness.

    Supporting our Nation's miners is not a new issue for our country and it is not a new fight of mine. Dating back to President Harry Truman, the Federal Government has assumed a responsibility to our mineworkers. In 1992, I was deeply proud to work on the passage of the COAL Act, through which we recommitted to our miners that a promise made would be a promise kept. That bill allowed the transfer of interest accruing to the unappropriated balance of the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund to be used to provide health care for a large number of orphaned miners and their widows. This helped avert a nationwide coal strike and it preserved health benefits for 200,000 retired miners and their widows. This Federal commitment was renewed in the 2006 amendments to the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program that again protected the healthcare plans of miners from insolvency.

    Now, 20 years after passing the COAL Act, I am again renewing my commitment to the hardest working people I have ever known with the Coalfield Accountability and Retired Employee Act. We must preserve the solvency of our miners' pension plans and protect the healthcare benefits they need, earned and were rightfully promised. This is about human decency, it is about doing what is right, and it is about having the backs of those who have ours deep underground.

    ______ By Mr. HARKIN (for himself and Mr. Blunt): S. 475. A bill to reauthorize the Special Olympics Sport and Empowerment Act of 2004, to provide assistance to Best Buddies to support the expansion and development of mentoring programs, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

    Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the Record.

    There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows: S. 475 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act''.

    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as follows: Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

    TITLE I--REAUTHORIZATION OF SPECIAL OLYMPICS ACT Sec. 101. Reauthorization.

    TITLE II--BEST BUDDIES Sec. 201. Findings and purpose.

    Sec. 202. Assistance for Best Buddies.

    Sec. 203. Application and annual report.

    Sec. 204. Authorization of appropriations.

    TITLE I--REAUTHORIZATION OF SPECIAL OLYMPICS ACT SEC. 101. REAUTHORIZATION.

    Sections 2 through 5 of the Special Olympics Sport and Empowerment Act of 2004 (42 U.S.C. 15001 note) are amended to read as follows: ``SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

    ``(a) Findings.--Congress finds the following: ``(1) Special Olympics creates the possibilities of a world where everybody matters, everybody counts, and every person contributes.

    ``(2) The Government and the people of the United States recognize the dignity and value the giftedness of children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

    ``(3) The Government and the people of the United States recognize that children and adults with intellectual disabilities experience significant health disparities, including lack of access to primary care services and difficulties in accessing community-based prevention and treatment programs for chronic diseases.

    ``(4) The Government and the people of the United States are determined to end the isolation and stigmatization of people with intellectual disabilities, and to ensure that such people are assured of equal opportunities for community participation, access to appropriate health care, and inclusive education, and to experience life in a nondiscriminatory manner.

    ``(5) For more than 40 years, Special Olympics has encouraged skill development, sharing, courage, and confidence through year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

    ``(6) Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and competitive opportunities to more than 4,200,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities in 30 individual and team sports and plans to expand the benefits of participation through sport to more than a million additional people with intellectual disabilities within the United States and worldwide over the next 5 years.

    [[Page S1231]] ``(7) Research shows that participation in activities involving both people with intellectual disabilities and people without disabilities results in more positive support for inclusion in society, including in schools.

    ``(8) Special Olympics has demonstrated its ability to provide a major positive effect on the quality of life of people with intellectual disabilities, improving their health and physical well-being, building their confidence and self- esteem, and giving them a voice to become active and productive members of their communities. In the United States, for example, adults with intellectual disabilities who have participated in Special Olympics have a 100 percent greater chance of being employed than adults with intellectual disabilities who have not.

    ``(9) In society as a whole, Special Olympics has become a vehicle and platform for reducing prejudice, improving public health, promoting inclusion efforts in schools and communities, and encouraging society to value the contributions of all members.

    ``(10) The Government of the United States enthusiastically supports the Special Olympics movement, recognizes its importance in improving the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and their families, and recognizes Special Olympics as a valued and important component of the global community.

    ``(b) Purpose.--The purposes of this Act are to-- ``(1) provide support to Special Olympics to increase athlete participation in, and public awareness about, the Special Olympics movement, including efforts to promote broader community inclusion; ``(2) dispel negative stereotypes and establish positive attitudes about people with intellectual disabilities; ``(3) build community engagement through sports and related activities; and ``(4) promote the extraordinary gifts and contributions of people with intellectual disabilities.

    ``SEC. 3. ASSISTANCE FOR SPECIAL OLYMPICS.

    ``(a) Education Activities.--The Secretary of Education may award grants to, or enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with, Special Olympics to carry out each of the following: ``(1) Activities to promote the expansion of Special Olympics, including activities to increase the full participation of people with intellectual disabilities in athletics, sports and recreation, and other inclusive school and community activities with people without disabilities.

    ``(2) The design and implementation of Special Olympics education programs, including character education and volunteer programs that support the purposes of this Act, that can be integrated into classroom instruction and community settings, and are consistent with academic content standards.

    ``(b) International Activities.--The Secretary of State, acting through the Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, may award grants to, or enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with, Special Olympics to carry out each of the following: ``(1) Activities to increase the participation of people with intellectual disabilities in Special Olympics outside of the United States.

    ``(2) Activities to improve the awareness outside of the United States of the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities and the unique contributions that people with intellectual disabilities can make to society, and to promote active support for sports programs for people with intellectual disabilities.

    ``(c) Healthy Athletes.-- ``(1) In general.--The Secretary of Health and Human Services may award grants to, or enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with, Special Olympics for the implementation of on-site health assessments, screening for health problems, health education, community-based prevention, data collection, and referrals to direct health care services.

    ``(2) Coordination.--Activities under paragraph (1) shall be coordinated with appropriate health care entities, including private health care providers, entities carrying out local, State, Federal, or international programs, and the Department of Health and Human Services, as applicable.

    ``(d) Limitation.--Amounts appropriated to carry out this section shall not be used for direct treatment of diseases, medical conditions, or mental health conditions. Nothing in the preceding sentence shall be construed to limit the use of non-Federal funds by Special Olympics.

    ``SEC. 4. APPLICATION AND ANNUAL REPORT.

    ``(a) Application.-- ``(1) In general.--To be eligible for a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement under subsection (a), (b), or (c) of section 3, Special Olympics shall submit an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary of Education, Secretary of State, or Secretary of Health and Human Services, as applicable, may require.

    ``(2) Content.--At a minimum, an application under this subsection shall contain each of the following: ``(A) Activities.--A description of activities to be carried out with the grant, contract, or cooperative agreement.

    ``(B) Measurable goals.--A description of specific measurable annual benchmarks and long-term goals and objectives to be achieved through specified activities carried out with the grant, contract, or cooperative agreement, which specified activities shall include, at a minimum, each of the following activities: ``(i) Activities to increase the full participation of people with intellectual disabilities in athletics, sports and recreation, and other inclusive school and community activities with people without disabilities.

    ``(ii) Education programs that dispel negative stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities.

    ``(iii) Activities to increase the participation of people with intellectual disabilities in Special Olympics outside of the United States and promote volunteerism on behalf of such activities.

    ``(iv) Health-related activities as described in section 3(c).

    ``(b) Annual Report.-- ``(1) In general.--As a condition on receipt of any funds for a program under subsection (a), (b), or (c) of section 3, Special Olympics shall agree to submit an annual report at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary of Education, Secretary of State, or Secretary of Health and Human Services, as applicable, may require.

    ``(2) Content.--At a minimum, each annual report under this subsection shall describe-- ``(A) the degree to which progress has been made toward meeting the annual benchmarks and long-term goals and objectives described in the applications submitted under subsection (a); and ``(B) demographic data about Special Olympics participants, including the number of people with intellectual disabilities served in each program referred to in paragraph (1).

    ``SEC. 5. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    ``There are authorized to be appropriated-- ``(1) for grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements under section 3(a), $9,500,000 for fiscal year 2014, and such sums as may be necessary for each of the 4 succeeding fiscal years; ``(2) for grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements under section 3(b), $4,500,000 for fiscal year 2014, and such sums as may be necessary for each of the 4 succeeding fiscal years; and ``(3) for grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements under section 3(c), $8,500,000 for fiscal year 2014, and such sums as may be necessary for each of the 4 succeeding fiscal years.''.

    TITLE II--BEST BUDDIES SEC. 201. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

    (a) Findings.--Congress finds the following: (1) Best Buddies operates the first national social and recreational program in the United States for people with intellectual disabilities.

    (2) Best Buddies is dedicated to helping people with intellectual disabilities become part of mainstream society.

    (3) Best Buddies is determined to end social isolation for people with intellectual disabilities by promoting meaningful friendships between them and their typical peers in order to help increase the self-esteem, confidence, and abilities of people with and without intellectual disabilities.

    (4) Since 1989, Best Buddies has enhanced the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for 1-to-1 friendships and integrated employment.

    (5) Best Buddies is an international organization spanning 1,500 middle school, high school, and college campuses.

    (6) Best Buddies implements programs that will positively impact more than 700,000 individuals in 2013.

    (7) The Best Buddies Middle Schools program matches middle school students with intellectual disabilities with other middle school students and supports 1-to-1 friendships between them.

    (8) The Best Buddies High Schools program matches high school students with intellectual disabilities with other high school students and supports 1-to-1 friendships between them.

    (9) The Best Buddies Colleges program matches adults with intellectual disabilities with college students and creates 1-to-1 friendships between them.

    (10) The Best Buddies e-Buddies program supports e-mail friendships between people with and without intellectual disabilities.

    (11) The Best Buddies Citizens program pairs adults with intellectual disabilities in 1-to-1 friendships with other people in the corporate and civic communities.

    (12) The Best Buddies Jobs program promotes the integration of people with intellectual disabilities into the community through supported employment.

    (13) The Best Buddies Ambassadors program educates and empowers people with intellectual disabilities to be leaders and public speakers in their schools, communities, and workplaces. Best Buddies Ambassadors prepares people with intellectual disabilities to become active agents of change.

    (14) Best Buddies Promoters empowers youth to become advocates for people with intellectual disabilities. Students who take part in Best Buddies Promoters are introduced to the disability rights movement and the importance of inclusion through local awareness events.

    (b) Purpose.--The purposes of this title are to-- (1) provide support to Best Buddies to increase participation in and public awareness about Best Buddies programs that serve people with intellectual disabilities; (2) dispel negative stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities; and [[Page S1232]] (3) promote the extraordinary contributions of people with intellectual disabilities.

    SEC. 202. ASSISTANCE FOR BEST BUDDIES.

    (a) Education Activities.--The Secretary of Education may award grants to, or enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with, Best Buddies to carry out activities to promote the expansion of Best Buddies, including activities to increase the participation of people with intellectual disabilities in social relationships and other aspects of community life, including education and employment, within the United States.

    (b) Limitations.--Amounts appropriated to carry out this title may not be used for direct treatment of diseases, medical conditions, or mental health conditions.

    (c) Rule of Construction.--Nothing in this title shall be construed to limit the use of non-Federal funds by Best Buddies.

    SEC. 203. APPLICATION AND ANNUAL REPORT.

    (a) Application.-- (1) In general.--To be eligible for a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement under section 202(a), Best Buddies shall submit an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary of Education may require.

    (2) Content.--At a minimum, an application under this subsection shall contain the following: (A) A description of activities to be carried out under the grant, contract, or cooperative agreement.

    (B) Information on specific measurable goals and objectives to be achieved through activities carried out under the grant, contract, or cooperative agreement.

    (b) Annual Report.-- (1) In general.--As a condition of receipt of any funds under section 202(a), Best Buddies shall agree to submit an annual report at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary of Education may require.

    (2) Content.--At a minimum, each annual report under this subsection shall describe the degree to which progress has been made toward meeting the specific measurable goals and objectives described in the applications submitted under subsection (a).

    SEC. 204. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Education for grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements under section 202(a), $4,000,000 for fiscal year 2014 and such sums as may be necessary for each of the 4 succeeding fiscal years.

    ______ By Mr. CARDIN (for himself and Ms. Mikulski): S. 476. A bill to amend the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Development Act to extend to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park Commission; to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

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