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Patrick L.
Democrat VT

About Sen. Patrick
  • Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

    by Senator Patrick J. Leahy

    Posted on 2013-02-13

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    LEAHY (for himself, Ms. Collins, Mr. Schumer, Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Blumenthal, and Ms. Baldwin): S. 296. A bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate discrimination in the immigration laws by permitting permanent partners of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents to obtain lawful permanent resident status in the same manner as spouses of citizens and lawful permanent residents and to penalize immigration fraud in connection with permanent partnerships; to the Committee on the Judiciary.



    Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, today I am reintroducing the Uniting American Families Act, UAFA, which grants same-sex bi-national couples the same immigration benefits heterosexual couples have long enjoyed. This is the sixth Congress in which I have introduced this legislation, and I am proud to be joined this year by Senator Collins, a strong champion for American families. She cosponsored this bill last Congress, and I thank her for her leadership as she joins me as an original cosponsor today.

    Preserving family unity is central to our immigration policy. President Obama understands that, which is why I was so pleased to see that he included UAFA as a core tenet of the immigration principles he outlined last month.

    Even as American attitudes are changing about the civil rights of gay and lesbian Americans, the so-called Defense of Marriage Act forces many Americans to choose between the country they love and being with the people they love. This destructive policy tears families apart and forces hardworking Americans to make the heart-wrenching choice no American should have to make. Families from Maine to California experience this hardship. In Vermont, I have seen firsthand the unfairness that couples have endured as a result of our current laws and have spoken at length on their struggles in this Chamber. I have heard from a number of Vermonters who have had to make the difficult decision to leave their work and homes in Vermont in order to be able to live with their spouses in more welcoming countries; some whole spouses are legally in the U.S. temporarily but worry daily when they will be required to leave the U.S.; and some who suffer the heartbreak of a long-distance marriage when their spouses are denied even a visitor visa to spend some time with their spouses in the U.S. The Senate Judiciary Committee heard directly from families like these as well.

    Over the past decade, Americans have begun to reject the notion that U.S. citizens who are gay or lesbian should not have their committed relationships recognized by the law and the protections that provides. As of last month, the District of Columbia and nine states, including Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Washington, and my home state of Vermont, have legalized same-sex marriage. At the end of the 111th Congress, bipartisan votes in both the Senate and the House reversed the Military's ``Don't Ask, Don't Tell'' policy, a 17-year-old stricture that barred gay and lesbian service men and women from openly serving in the military. Consistent with the repeal of the ``Don't Ask, Don't Tell'' policy, just last week the Pentagon signaled that it will begin providing benefits to the same-sex spouses of military personnel. As they have many times in our past and will continue in the future, prevailing American attitudes are progressing toward fairness and justice. The Supreme Court is poised to decide the fate of the Defense of Marriage Act and whether that law, which deprives same-sex couples of over 1,000 Federal benefits and responsibilities, is consistent with our constitutional values.

    [[Page S710]] Many of our friends around the world have embraced immigration equality for same-sex families. Today at least 25 nations, including some of our closest allies, offer immigration benefits to same-sex couples. America should join Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom in leading on this issue of civil rights and respect for the dignity of all families. I hope that Senators who supported this important advancement in our military policy will join me in calling for similar fairness and equality in our immigration laws.

    Some opponents of the United American Families Act have argued that it would increase the potential for visa fraud. Of course I share the belief that all immigration applications should be screened for fraud, but I am confident that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will have no more difficulty identifying fraud in same-sex relationships than they do in heterosexual marriages. The penalties for fraud under this bill would be the same as the penalties for marriage fraud. These are very strict penalties: a sentence of up to 5 years in prison, $250,000 in fines for the U.S. citizen partner, and deportation for the foreign partner. In addition, in order to qualify as a bi-national couple under UAFA, petitioners must prove that they are at least 18 years of age and in a committed, lifelong relationship with another adult. The advancement of American ideals that respect human relationships and family bonds need not and should not be impeded by such fears.

    Among developed countries with cultures of respect for human rights and fairness, the United States policy in this regard is not living up to our great traditions of equal treatment under the law. We can and should do better. I hope all Senators will agree that the United States should not have a policy that forces Americans to choose between their country and the ones they love, and I urge members of this body to join Senator Collins and me in this effort.

    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. 296 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; AMENDMENTS TO IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Uniting American Families Act of 2013''.

    (b) Amendments to Immigration and Nationality Act.--Except as otherwise specifically provided in this Act, if an amendment or repeal is expressed as the amendment or repeal of a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to be made to that section or provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.).

    (c) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as follows: Sec. 1. Short title; amendments to Immigration and Nationality Act; table of contents.

    Sec. 2. Definitions of permanent partner and permanent partnership.

    Sec. 3. Worldwide level of immigration.

    Sec. 4. Numerical limitations on individual foreign states.

    Sec. 5. Allocation of immigrant visas.

    Sec. 6. Procedure for granting immigrant status.

    Sec. 7. Annual admission of refugees and admission of emergency situation refugees.

    Sec. 8. Asylum.

    Sec. 9. Adjustment of status of refugees.

    Sec. 10. Inadmissible aliens.

    Sec. 11. Nonimmigrant status for permanent partners awaiting the availability of an immigrant visa.

    Sec. 12. Conditional permanent resident status for certain alien spouses, permanent partners, and sons and daughters.

    Sec. 13. Conditional permanent resident status for certain alien entrepreneurs, spouses, permanent partners, and children.

    Sec. 14. Deportable aliens.

    Sec. 15. Removal proceedings.

    Sec. 16. Cancellation of removal; adjustment of status.

    Sec. 17. Adjustment of status of nonimmigrant to that of person admitted for permanent residence.

    Sec. 18. Application of criminal penalties to for misrepresentation and concealment of facts regarding permanent partnerships.

    Sec. 19. Requirements as to residence, good moral character, attachment to the principles of the Constitution.

    Sec. 20. Naturalization for permanent partners of citizens.

    Sec. 21. Application of family unity provisions to permanent partners of certain LIFE Act beneficiaries.

    Sec. 22. Application to Cuban Adjustment Act.

    SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS OF PERMANENT PARTNER AND PERMANENT PARTNERSHIP.

    Section 101(a) (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)) is amended-- (1) in paragraph (15)(K)(ii), by inserting ``or permanent partnership'' after ``marriage''; and (2) by adding at the end the following: ``(52) The term `permanent partner' means an individual 18 years of age or older who-- ``(A) is in a committed, intimate relationship with another individual 18 years of age or older in which both individuals intend a lifelong commitment; ``(B) is financially interdependent with that other individual; ``(C) is not married to, or in a permanent partnership with, any individual other than that other individual; ``(D) is unable to contract with that other individual a marriage cognizable under this Act; and ``(E) is not a first, second, or third degree blood relation of that other individual.

    ``(53) The term `permanent partnership' means the relationship that exists between 2 permanent partners.''.

    SEC. 3. WORLDWIDE LEVEL OF IMMIGRATION.

    Section 201(b)(2)(A)(i) (8 U.S.C. 1151(b)(2)(A)(i)) is amended-- (1) by ``spouse'' each place it appears and inserting ``spouse or permanent partner''; (2) by striking ``spouses'' and inserting ``spouse, permanent partner,''; (3) by inserting ``(or, in the case of a permanent partnership, whose permanent partnership was not terminated)'' after ``was not legally separated from the citizen''; and (4) by striking ``remarries.'' and inserting ``remarries or enters a permanent partnership with another person.''.

    SEC. 4. NUMERICAL LIMITATIONS ON INDIVIDUAL FOREIGN STATES.

    (a) Per Country Levels.--Section 202(a)(4) (8 U.S.C. 1152(a)(4)) is amended-- (1) in the paragraph heading, by inserting ``, permanent partners,'' after ``spouses''; (2) in the heading of subparagraph (A), by inserting ``, permanent partners,'' after ``Spouses''; and (3) in the heading of subparagraph (C), by striking ``and daughters'' inserting ``without permanent partners and unmarried daughters without permanent partners''.

    (b) Rules for Chargeability.--Section 202(b)(2) (8 U.S.C. 1152(b)(2)) is amended-- (1) by striking ``his spouse'' and inserting ``his or her spouse or permanent partner''; (2) by striking ``such spouse'' each place it appears and inserting ``such spouse or permanent partner''; and (3) by inserting ``or permanent partners'' after ``husband and wife''.

    SEC. 5. ALLOCATION OF IMMIGRANT VISAS.

    (a) Preference Allocation for Family Members of Permanent Resident Aliens.--Section 203(a)(2) (8 U.S.C. 1153(a)(2)) is amended-- (1) by striking the paragraph heading and inserting the following: ``(2) Spouses, permanent partners, unmarried sons without permanent partners, and unmarried daughters without permanent partners of permanent resident aliens.--''; (2) in subparagraph (A), by inserting ``, permanent partners,'' after ``spouses''; and (3) in subparagraph (B), by striking ``or unmarried daughters'' and inserting ``without permanent partners or the unmarried daughters without permanent partners''.

    (b) Preference Allocation for Sons and Daughters of Citizens.--Section 203(a)(3) (8 U.S.C. 1153(a)(3)) is amended-- (1) by striking the paragraph heading and inserting the following: ``(2) Married sons and daughters of citizens and sons and daughters with permanent partners of citizens.--''; and (2) by inserting ``, or sons or daughters with permanent partners,'' after ``daughters''.

    (c) Employment Creation.--Section 203(b)(5)(A)(ii) (8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(5)(A)(ii)) is amended by inserting ``permanent partner,'' after ``spouse,''.

    (d) Treatment of Family Members.--Section 203(d) (8 U.S.C. 1153(d)) is amended-- (1) by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``section 101(b)(1)''; and (2) by inserting ``, permanent partner,'' after ``the spouse''.

    SEC. 6. PROCEDURE FOR GRANTING IMMIGRANT STATUS.

    (a) Classification Petitions.--Section 204(a)(1) (8 U.S.C. 1154(a)(1)) is amended-- (1) in subparagraph (A)-- (A) in clause (ii), by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse''; (B) in clause (iii)-- (i) by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse'' each place it appears; and (ii) in subclause (I), by inserting ``or permanent partnership'' after ``marriage'' each place it appears; (C) in clause (v)(I), by inserting ``permanent partner,'' after ``is the spouse,''; and [[Page S711]] (D) in clause (vi)-- (i) by inserting ``or termination of the permanent partnership'' after ``divorce''; and (ii) by inserting ``, permanent partner,'' after ``spouse''; and (2) in subparagraph (B)-- (A) by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse'' each place it appears; and (B) in clause (ii)-- (i) in subclause (I)(aa), by inserting ``or permanent partnership'' after ``marriage''; (ii) in subclause (I)(bb), by inserting ``or permanent partnership'' after ``marriage'' the first place it appears; and (iii) in subclause (II)(aa), by inserting ``(or the termination of the permanent partnership)'' after ``termination of the marriage''.

    (b) Immigration Fraud Prevention.--Section 204(c) (8 U.S.C. 1154(c)) is amended-- (1) by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse'' each place it appears; and (2) by inserting ``or permanent partnership'' after ``marriage'' each place it appears.

    SEC. 7. ANNUAL ADMISSION OF REFUGEES AND ADMISSION OF EMERGENCY SITUATION REFUGEES.

    Section 207(c) (8 U.S.C. 1157(c)) is amended-- (1) in paragraph (2)-- (A) by inserting ``, permanent partner,'' after ``spouse'' each place it appears; and (B) by inserting ``, permanent partner's,'' after ``spouse's''; and (2) in paragraph (4), by inserting ``, permanent partner,'' after ``spouse''.

    SEC. 8. ASYLUM.

    Section 208(b)(3) (8 U.S.C. 1158(b)(3)) is amended-- (1) in the paragraph heading, by inserting ``, permanent partner,'' after ``spouse''; and (2) in subparagraph (A), by inserting ``, permanent partner,'' after ``spouse''.

    SEC. 9. ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS OF REFUGEES.

    Section 209(b)(3) (8 U.S.C. 1159(b)(3)) is amended by inserting ``, permanent partner,'' after ``spouse''.

    SEC. 10. INADMISSIBLE ALIENS.

    (a) Classes of Aliens Ineligible for Visas or Admission.-- Section 212(a) (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)) is amended-- (1) in paragraph (3)(D)(iv), by inserting ``permanent partner,'' after ``spouse,''; (2) in paragraph (4)(C)(i)(I), by inserting ``, permanent partner,'' after ``spouse''; (3) in paragraph (6)(E)(ii), by inserting ``permanent partner,'' after ``spouse,''; and (4) in paragraph (9)(B)(v), by inserting ``, permanent partner,'' after ``spouse''.

    (b) Waivers.--Section 212(d) (8 U.S.C. 1182(d)) is amended-- (1) in paragraph (11), by inserting ``permanent partner,'' after ``spouse,''; and (2) in paragraph (12), by inserting ``, permanent partner,'' after ``spouse''.

    (c) Waivers of Inadmissibility on Health-Related Grounds.-- Section 212(g)(1)(A) (8 U.S.C. 1182(g)(1)(A)) is amended by inserting ``, permanent partner,'' after ``spouse''.

    (d) Waivers of Inadmissibility on Criminal and Related Grounds.--Section 212(h)(1)(B) (8 U.S.C. 1182(h)(1)(B)) is amended by inserting ``permanent partner,'' after ``spouse,''.

    (e) Waiver of Inadmissibility for Misrepresentation.-- Section 212(i)(1) (8 U.S.C. 1182(i)(1)) is amended by inserting ``permanent partner,'' after ``spouse,''.

    SEC. 11. NONIMMIGRANT STATUS FOR PERMANENT PARTNERS AWAITING THE AVAILABILITY OF AN IMMIGRANT VISA.

    Section 214(r) (8 U.S.C. 1184(r)) is amended-- (1) in paragraph (1), by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse''; and (2) in paragraph (2), by inserting ``or permanent partnership'' after ``marriage'' each place it appears.

    SEC. 12. CONDITIONAL PERMANENT RESIDENT STATUS FOR CERTAIN ALIEN SPOUSES, PERMANENT PARTNERS, AND SONS AND DAUGHTERS.

    (a) Section Heading.-- (1) In general.--The heading for section 216 (8 U.S.C. 1186a) is amended by striking ``and sons'' and inserting ``, permanent partners, sons,''.

    (2) Clerical amendment.--The table of contents is amended by amending the item relating to section 216 to read as follows: ``Sec. 216. Conditional permanent resident status for certain alien spouses, permanent partners, sons, and daughters.''.

    (b) In General.--Section 216(a) (8 U.S.C. 1186a(a)) is amended-- (1) in paragraph (1), by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse''; and (2) in paragraph (2)-- (A) in subparagraph (A), by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse''; (B) in subparagraph (B), by inserting ``permanent partner,'' after ``spouse,''; and (C) in subparagraph (C), by inserting ``permanent partner,'' after ``spouse,''.

    (c) Termination of Status if Finding That Qualifying Marriage Improper.--Section 216(b) (8 U.S.C. 1186a(b)) is amended-- (1) in the subsection heading, by inserting ``or Permanent Partnership'' after ``Marriage''; and (2) in paragraph (1)(A)-- (A) by inserting ``or permanent partnership'' after ``marriage''; and (B) in clause (ii)-- (i) by inserting ``or has ceased to satisfy the criteria for being considered a permanent partnership under this Act,'' after ``terminated,''; and (ii) by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse''.

    (d) Requirements of Timely Petition and Interview for Removal of Condition.--Section 216(c) (8 U.S.C. 1186a(c)) is amended-- (1) in paragraphs (1), (2)(A)(ii), (3)(A)(ii), (3)(C), (4)(B), and (4)(C), by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse'' each place it appears; and (2) in paragraph (3)(A), (3)(D), (4)(B), and (4)(C), by inserting ``or permanent partnership'' after ``marriage'' each place it appears.

    (e) Contents of Petition.--Section 216(d)(1) (8 U.S.C. 1186a(d)(1)) is amended-- (1) in subparagraph (A)-- (A) in the heading, by inserting ``or permanent partnership'' after ``marriage''; (B) in clause (i)-- (i) by inserting ``or permanent partnership'' after ``marriage''; (ii) in subclause (I), by inserting before the comma at the end ``, or is a permanent partnership recognized under this Act''; and (iii) in subclause (II)-- (I) by inserting ``or has not ceased to satisfy the criteria for being considered a permanent partnership under this Act,'' after ``terminated,''; and (II) by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse''; and (C) in clause (ii), by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse''; and (2) in subparagraph (B)(i)-- (A) by inserting ``or permanent partnership'' after ``marriage''; and (B) by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse''.

    (f) Definitions.--Section 216(g) (8 U.S.C. 1186a(g)) is amended-- (1) in paragraph (1)-- (A) by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse'' each place it appears; and (B) by inserting ``or permanent partnership'' after ``marriage'' each place it appears; (2) in paragraph (2), by inserting ``or permanent partnership'' after ``marriage''; (3) in paragraph (3), by inserting ``or permanent partnership'' after ``marriage''; and (4) in paragraph (4)-- (A) by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse'' each place it appears; and (B) by inserting ``or permanent partnership'' after ``marriage''.

    SEC. 13. CONDITIONAL PERMANENT RESIDENT STATUS FOR CERTAIN ALIEN ENTREPRENEURS, SPOUSES, PERMANENT PARTNERS, AND CHILDREN.

    (a) In General.--Section 216A (8 U.S.C. 1186b) is amended-- (1) in the section heading, by inserting ``, permanent partners,'' after ``spouses''; and (2) in paragraphs (1), (2)(A), (2)(B), and (2)(C), by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse'' each place it appears.

    (b) Termination of Status if Finding That Qualifying Entrepreneurship Improper.--Section 216A(b)(1) (8 U.S.C. 1186b(b)(1)) is amended by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse'' in the matter following subparagraph (C).

    (c) Requirements of Timely Petition and Interview for Removal of Condition.--Section 216A(c) (8 U.S.C. 1186b(c)) is amended, in paragraphs (1), (2)(A)(ii), and (3)(C), by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse''.

    (d) Definitions.--Section 216A(f)(2) (8 U.S.C. 1186b(f)(2)) is amended by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse'' each place it appears.

    (e) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents is amended by amending the item relating to section 216A to read as follows: ``Sec. 216A. Conditional permanent resident status for certain alien entrepreneurs, spouses, permanent partners, and children.''.

    SEC. 14. DEPORTABLE ALIENS.

    Section 237(a)(1) (8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(1)) is amended-- (1) in subparagraph (D)(i), by inserting ``or permanent partners'' after ``spouses'' each place it appears; (2) in subparagraphs (E)(ii), (E)(iii), and (H)(i)(I), by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse''; (3) by inserting after subparagraph (E) the following: ``(F) Permanent partnership fraud.--An alien shall be considered to be deportable as having procured a visa or other documentation by fraud (within the meaning of section 212(a)(6)(C)(i)) and to be in the United States in violation of this Act (within the meaning of subparagraph (B)) if-- ``(i) the alien obtains any admission to the United States with an immigrant visa or other documentation procured on the basis of a permanent partnership entered into less than 2 years before such admission and which, within 2 years subsequent to such admission, is terminated because the criteria for permanent partnership are no longer fulfilled, unless the alien establishes to the satisfaction of the Secretary of Homeland Security that such permanent partnership was not contracted for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws; or ``(ii) it appears to the satisfaction of the Secretary of Homeland Security that the alien has failed or refused to fulfill the alien's permanent partnership, which the Secretary of Homeland Security determines was made for the purpose of procuring the alien's admission as an immigrant.''; and (4) in paragraphs (2)(E)(i) and (3)(C)(ii), by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse'' each place it appears.

    SEC. 15. REMOVAL PROCEEDINGS.

    Section 240 (8 U.S.C. 1229a) is amended-- (1) in the heading of subsection (c)(7)(C)(iv), by inserting ``permanent partners,'' after ``spouses,''; and (2) in subsection (e)(1), by inserting ``permanent partner,'' after ``spouse,''.

    [[Page S712]] SEC. 16. CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL; ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS.

    Section 240A(b) (8 U.S.C. 1229b(b)) is amended-- (1) in paragraph (1)(D), by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse''; and (2) in paragraph (2)-- (A) in the paragraph heading, by inserting ``, permanent partner,'' after ``spouse''; and (B) in subparagraph (A), by inserting ``, permanent partner,'' after ``spouse'' each place it appears.

    SEC. 17. ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS OF NONIMMIGRANT TO THAT OF PERSON ADMITTED FOR PERMANENT RESIDENCE.

    (a) Prohibition on Adjustment of Status.--Section 245(d) (8 U.S.C. 1255(d)) is amended by inserting ``or permanent partnership'' after ``marriage''.

    (b) Avoiding Immigration Fraud.--Section 245(e) (8 U.S.C. 1255(e)) is amended-- (1) in paragraph (1), by inserting ``or permanent partnership'' after ``marriage''; and (2) by adding at the end the following: ``(4)(A) Paragraph (1) and section 204(g) shall not apply with respect to a permanent partnership if the alien establishes by clear and convincing evidence to the satisfaction of the Secretary of Homeland Security that-- ``(i) the permanent partnership was entered into in good faith and in accordance with section 101(a)(52); ``(ii) the permanent partnership was not entered into for the purpose of procuring the alien's admission as an immigrant; and ``(iii) no fee or other consideration was given (other than a fee or other consideration to an attorney for assistance in preparation of a lawful petition) for the filing of a petition under section 204(a) or 214(d) with respect to the alien permanent partner.

    ``(B) The Secretary shall promulgate regulations that provide for only 1 level of administrative appellate review for each alien under subparagraph (A).''.

    (c) Adjustment of Status for Certain Aliens Paying Fee.-- Section 245(i)(1)(B) (8 U.S.C. 1255(i)(1)(B)) is amended by inserting ``, permanent partner,'' after ``spouse''.

    SEC. 18. APPLICATION OF CRIMINAL PENALTIES TO FOR MISREPRESENTATION AND CONCEALMENT OF FACTS REGARDING PERMANENT PARTNERSHIPS.

    Section 275(c) (8 U.S.C. 1325(c)) is amended to read as follows: ``(c) Any individual who knowingly enters into a marriage or permanent partnership for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws shall be imprisoned for not more than 5 years, fined not more than $250,000, or both.''.

    SEC. 19. REQUIREMENTS AS TO RESIDENCE, GOOD MORAL CHARACTER, ATTACHMENT TO THE PRINCIPLES OF THE CONSTITUTION.

    Section 316(b) (8 U.S.C. 1427(b)) is amended by inserting ``, permanent partner,'' after ``spouse''.

    SEC. 20. NATURALIZATION FOR PERMANENT PARTNERS OF CITIZENS.

    (a) In General.--Section 319 (8 U.S.C. 1430) is amended-- (1) in subsection (a)-- (A) by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse'' each place it appears; and (B) by inserting ``or permanent partnership'' after ``marital union''; (2) in subsection (b)-- (A) in paragraph (1), by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse''; and (B) in paragraph (3), by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse''; (3) in subsection (d)-- (A) by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse'' each place it appears; and (B) by inserting ``or permanent partnership'' after ``marital union''; (4) in subsection (e)(1)-- (A) by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse''; (B) by inserting ``by the Secretary of Defense'' after ``is authorized''; and (C) by inserting ``or permanent partnership'' after ``marital union''; and (5) in subsection (e)(2), by inserting ``or permanent partner'' after ``spouse''.

    (b) Savings Provision.--Section 319(e) (8 U.S.C. 1430(e)) is amended by adding at the end the following: ``(3) Nothing in this subsection may be construed to confer a right for an alien to accompany a member of the Armed Forces of the United States or to reside abroad with such member, except as authorized by the Secretary of Defense in the member's official orders.''.

    SEC. 21. APPLICATION OF FAMILY UNITY PROVISIONS TO PERMANENT PARTNERS OF CERTAIN LIFE ACT BENEFICIARIES.

    Section 1504 of the LIFE Act Amendments of 2000 (division B of Public Law 106-554; 114 Stat. 2763-325) is amended-- (1) in the heading, by inserting ``, PERMANENT PARTNERS,'' after ``SPOUSES''; (2) in subsection (a), by inserting ``, permanent partner,'' after ``spouse''; and (3) in each of subsections (b) and (c)-- (A) in each of the subsection headings, by inserting ``, Permanent Partners,'' after ``Spouses''; and (B) by inserting ``, permanent partner,'' after ``spouse'' each place it appears.

    SEC. 22. APPLICATION TO CUBAN ADJUSTMENT ACT.

    (a) In General.--The first section of Public Law 89-732 (8 U.S.C. 1255 note) is amended-- (1) in the next to last sentence, by inserting ``, permanent partner,'' after ``spouse'' the first 2 places it appears; and (2) in the last sentence, by inserting ``, permanent partners,'' after ``spouses''.

    (b) Conforming Amendment.--Section 101(a)(51)(D) (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(51)(D)) is amended by striking ``or spouse'' and inserting ``, spouse, or permanent partner''.

    ______ By Ms. LANDRIEU: S. 311. A bill to direct the Secretary of the Interior to study the suitability and feasibility of designating sites in the Lower Mississippi River Area in the State of Louisiana as a unit of the National Park System, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

    Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce legislation entitled the Lower Mississippi River National Historic Site Study Act. This bill will direct the Secretary of the Interior to study the suitability and feasibility of designating sites in Plaquemines Parish along the Lower Mississippi River Area as units of the National Park System. I know there are several of my colleagues across the aisle that do not want to authorize such studies because they only target one area, or because it potentially will cost the Federal Government a modest amount to conduct such a study. I can appreciate those sentiments, but the good news with this particular study, is that the local government feels this is so important to get done, they are willing to pay for all or some of the study if necessary, because they know these sites deserve Federal recognition as a unit of the National Park Service.

    This area in Southeastern Louisiana has contributed much to our Nation's history, and there are many stories that have yet to be preserved for future generations. Unless Congress acts to preserve these historical assets, they will be lost forever. That is why I am again for the fourth time, introducing this legislation. It is important that this legislation become law and I look forward to working with my colleagues to enact it.

    In order to be designated as a unit in the National Park System, the Department of the Interior must first conduct a special resources study to determine whether an area possesses nationally significant natural, cultural or recreational resources to be eligible for favorable consideration.

    This is exactly what my bill does--it asks the Department of the Interior to take the first step in determining what I already know-- that the Lower Mississippi River Area would be a suitable and feasible asset to the National Park Service.

    As many from Louisiana are already aware, this area has vast historical significance with cultural history. In the 1500s, Spanish explorers traveled along the banks of the river. In 1682, Robert de LaSalle claimed all the land drained by the area. In 1699, the site of the first fortification on the Lower Mississippi river, known as Fort Mississippi. Since then, it has been home to ten different fortifications, including Fort St. Phillip and Fort Jackson.

    Fort St. Philip, which was originally built in 1749, played a key role during the Battle of New Orleans when American soldiers blocked the British Navy from going upriver. Fort Jackson was built at the request of General Andrew Jackson and partially constructed by famous local Civil War General, P.G.T. Beauregard. This fort was the site of the famous Civil War battle known as the ``Battle of Forts'' which is also referred to as the ``night the war was lost.'' As you can see, from a historical perspective, this area has many treasures that provide a glimpse into our past. These are treasures that have national significance and they should be maintained and preserved.

    In addition, there are many other important and unique attributes to this area. This area is home to the longest continuous river road and levee system in the U.S. It is also home to the ancient Head of Passes site, to the Plaquemines Bend, and to two National Wildlife Refuges.

    Finally, this area has a rich cultural heritage. Over the years, many different cultures have made this area home, including Creoles, Europeans, Indians, Yugoslavs, African-Americans and Vietnamese. These cultures have worked together to create the infrastructure for the transport of our Nation's energy, which is being produced by these same people off our shores in the Gulf of Mexico. They have also created a vibrant fishing industry that contributes to Louisiana's economy.

    [[Page S713]] I think it is easy to see why this area would make an excellent addition to the National Park Service. However, the longer Congress takes to act, the greater the opportunity for these treasures and their rich history to erode away. Unfortunately, this area has weathered the passing of several hurricanes, including Katrina and most recently Isaac, and is now suffering from the impacts of the BP oil spill. All of these events threaten to destroy these historical assets, but this need not be the case. These assets need protection and this is the first step in securing it. That is why I am re-introducing this bill-- to conduct a study to determine the suitability and feasibility of including this area in the system and ultimately to begin the process of adding this area as a unit of the National Park Service. I look forward to working with my colleagues to quickly enact this bill.

    ______ By Mr. JOHANNS (for himself and Mrs. Fischer): S. 317. A bill to require the Inspector General of the Environmental Protection Agency to include certain assessments in reports; to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.

    Mr. JOHANNS. Mr. President, I rise today to discuss changes needed at the Environmental Protection Agency to rebuild public trust and transparency.

    The reviews of this agency are almost unanimous from my constituents in Nebraska. Quite frankly, my constituents are frustrated, and sometimes just plain angry. While the details and specific issues will vary from one industry to another, the theme seems to always be the same: Nebraskans think EPA doesn't understand domestic businesses, nor do they understand job creation--from specific industries, to their employees, to their customers. They think the agency is not transparent, is arrogant, and oftentimes unresponsive. I hear this from ag producers, I hear it from the construction industry, I hear it from electricity providers, I hear it from city managers and mayors.

    Do you know what else. These folks don't speak with an R or a D beside their name but, rather, an A for American. Their message is loud, it is very clear, and it is unmistakable: EPA is overreaching, overbearing, and overstepping boundaries that have long existed. The request is always the same. They ask: Senator, what can you do? What can you do to change how they act? Nebraskans' frustration is driven by both what EPA is trying to do-- meaning the content of their rules and standards--as well as how the agency is making its decisions. So today I will be introducing several proposals to address these two areas.

    My first proposal addresses how EPA conducts business by increasing transparency in policy decisions. I am introducing a bill that brings agency guidance documents under the coverage of the Congressional Review Act. As currently written, the CRA covers only substantial agency rules. Meanwhile, EPA has made use of what they call guidance documents to simply circumvent the accountability that comes with the rulemaking process, while still making major policy changes. Using guidance documents also shields the policy change from being reversed by Congress under the Congressional Review Act.

    Perhaps, though, the most obvious example was the use of a guidance document to expand the regulatory reach of EPA and the Corps of Engineers over bodies of water not currently covered. They did this by expanding the definition of ``waters of the United States'' under the Clean Water Act. The changes are extremely controversial, so the agencies chose a path that intentionally minimized oversight and legal responsibility. In other words, they did an end-run around us--they did an end-run around the American people and Congress.

    My bill closes this loophole by ensuring that guidance documents are covered by the Congressional Review Act just as similar regulations would be.

    Senators Barrasso, Grassley, Paul, Coats, and Fischer have agreed to cosponsor this commonsense change, and I want to say thank you to them for this critical support.

    The idea behind this is simple and straightforward: Major policy changes pursued through the use of guidance documents need to come here. They need to have our scrutiny, the scrutiny of the public, and the congressional oversight rules need to apply. It is that straightforward.

    My second proposal likewise promotes transparency by addressing how the agency responds to our States. It says simply this: If a State is developing its plan to implement a rule or a standard established by the EPA under the Clean Air Act, any reasonable request that a State makes to the agency for technical support, data, or modeling must be honored.

    Here is why this is important: State governments are equal partners in much of the work the EPA does. That is the law. In fact, the law specifically recognizes the prominent role States have. Section 101 of the Clean Air Act, for example, notes that: . . . air pollution control at its source is the primary responsibility of States and local governments.

    The law further declares that its purpose is, in part: . . . to provide technical and financial assistance to State and local governments in connection with the development and execution of their air pollution prevention and control programs.

    Also, section 101 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act declares: It is the policy of the Congress to recognize, preserve, and protect the primary responsibilities and rights of States to prevent, reduce, and eliminate pollution . . .

    Unfortunately, the EPA is not honoring that language--although it is abundantly clear--and is instead treating State agencies as second- class citizens. For evidence of this, we need look no farther than the text of a recent court opinion.

    In a case last year involving the Clean Air Act, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately struck down an EPA rule known as the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule or the transport rule. Here is what the court said: (t)he Federal Government sets air quality standards for pollutants. The States have the primary responsibility for determining how to meet those standards and regulating sources within their borders.

    Well, the trouble, according to the opinion, is that the EPA ignored the law. That is truly what the court ruled: EPA snubbed their nose at us, Congress, and therefore the law. It did not give the States the time needed to develop a plan to meet the standards. Instead, EPA tried to force-feed States the implementation plan EPA developed.

    I can say with some certainty that my home State of Nebraska is much better off when allowed to develop a plan tailored to our State, rather than to accept a ``one size fits all,'' ``my way or the highway,'' overreaching Federal plan.

    The court explained it this way: . . . (t)he Clean Air Act affords States the initial opportunity to implement reductions required by EPA under the good neighbor provision. But here, where EPA quantified States' good neighbor obligations, it did not allow the States the initial opportunity to implement the required reductions with respect to sources within their borders.

    The court's conclusion in turn was absolutely and abundantly clear: . . . EPA's Transport Rule violates federal law. Therefore, the rule must be vacated.

    That is the holding of the court.

    My bill targets the relationship between EPA and the States, and takes steps to restore the equal footing that has been eroded over the past several years by the EPA. My bill says, very simply, if a State has a question about the data or the modeling driving a standard, the EPA cannot shut them out or slow-walk their request. They have to be responsive. So no more hiding the ball, as the saying goes, just simple transparency and a true partner working relationship.

    The third good government bill I am introducing addresses broad frustration with what I would call the EPA bombshells. By that I mean the agency's failure to obey current law directing them to publish regulatory agendas. This is remarkable. It is remarkable that EPA continues to struggle with telling the public what rules are coming. But they do.

    As a child, I always enjoyed birthday parties and all the surprises. But EPA regulations are no party for people, and they shouldn't come as a surprise.

    Well, it turns out that several executive orders and existing statutes instruct EPA to tell the public what exactly is on its regulatory agenda. Section 602 of the Regulatory Flexibility [[Page S714]] Act, for example, requires the agencies to publish: During the months of October and April of each year . . . a regulatory flexibility agenda which shall contain a brief description of the subject area of any rule which the agency expects to propose . . .

    Also, Executive Order 12866 requires the EPA to update its regulatory agenda twice a year.

    These updates are supposed to be published in a document known as the Unified Agenda. It seems clear to me; unfortunately, not clear to EPA. EPA has ignored these requirements. It failed to publish an agenda in the spring of 2012, it published nothing in October, and then waited until December 2012 to publish anything at all. That is not acceptable. The administration simply played hide-the-ball until after the election.

    My bill instructs the EPA Office of Inspector General--known as EPA's OIG--to assess whether EPA obeys the law and publishes its regulatory agenda according to deadlines. The OIG is tasked with reviewing what EPA does and reporting on problems, abuses, and efficiencies. My legislation simply directs the OIG to include in its reports a tally of whether EPA has met its legal requirements to publish planned regulations.

    My point here is that EPA simply needs to meet its legal requirements. It needs to be transparent, which means simply to be honest with the American people about new regulations it is planning.

    My fourth and final EPA bill puts some teeth behind my request that the agency deal with the American people in an honest way. It shouldn't be needed, but it is. It simply says we will reduce EPA's budget if the agency fails to meet its legal deadlines for regulatory agenda setting. If a deadline passes and the agency has not published its agenda, then the Office of the Administrator loses $20,000 per week until the deadline is met. If this approach sounds familiar, that is because this bill is modeled after a provision in the highway bill that passed with substantial bipartisan margins in both the Senate and the House last year. Section 1306 of the highway bill authorizes the rescission of $20,000 per week from agencies that fail to complete documents required by transportation projects. The rationale is straightforward and accepted by Congress: If an agency does not complete its work according to reasonable schedules, then the budget gets decreased.

    I have outlined four commonsense solutions designed to respond to reasonable concerns of real people and to respond to their heartfelt frustration with this agency. But, above all, they promote transparency and they promote responsible government.

    I urge my colleagues to assist and cosponsor these proposals that bring transparency and a dose of reality to an out-of-control Federal agency.

    ______ By Mr. DURBIN (for himself and Mr. Cochran): S. 323. A bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for extended months of Medicare coverage of immunosuppressive drugs for kidney transplant patients and other renal dialysis provisions; to the Committee on Finance.

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