[Congressional Record Volume 169, Number 84 (Thursday, May 18, 2023)]
[Pages H2444-H2448]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 9, 2023, the gentleman from Arkansas (Mr. Hill) is recognized 
for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.

                             General Leave

  Mr. HILL. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and 
include extraneous material on the topic of this Special Order.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Arkansas?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. HILL. Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentlewoman from Virginia (Mrs. 
Kiggans), my friend.

                        Honoring Law Enforcement

[[Page H2445]]


  Mrs. KIGGANS of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in honor of 
National Police Week. I am proud to stand with Virginia's police 
officers, not just during National Police Week but each and every day.
  Our brave men and women in blue selflessly confront danger to protect 
us and our families, and I firmly believe it is only right to recognize 
all they do to keep our communities safe.
  Unfortunately, as Americans face a rise in violent crime across the 
Nation, law enforcement officers have faced significant challenges and 
grave threats that have jeopardized the safety of those sworn to 
protect our communities.
  These challenges range from increased violence against officers, 
efforts to defund police departments, lagging technology, recruitment 
and retention issues, and rising mental health concerns.
  Last year, 246 law enforcement officers were tragically killed in the 
line of duty. This year, there have already been 41 officers killed in 
the line of duty serving their communities.
  We must do more to support brave men and women of our Nation's law 
enforcement who serve our communities with courage, dedication, and 
strength. This week, I was proud to vote for several bills that showed 
them that we have their backs just like they have ours.
  Whether it is through legislation or simple actions, we must 
prioritize appreciation of the men and women in blue who put themselves 
in harm's way to protect their communities.
  The people of Virginia's Second District do an excellent job of 
showing our support for our men and women in law enforcement. This 
week, members of my team attended the annual National Police Week 
ceremony at the Virginia Beach Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The 
ceremony and memorial serve as a solemn reminder of what our police 
officers put on the line every day when they wake up and go to work to 
protect our community.
  Mr. Speaker, please join me and the people of Virginia's Second 
District in recognizing the brave men and women of our law enforcement 
community for putting their lives on the line to keep us safe.
  Mr. HILL. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from Virginia for her 
support of police and for her service representing the people of her 
  Mr. Speaker, the United States is close to defaulting on its debt. 
That would be the first time in our Nation's history.
  The situation we face today was fully avoidable. The Biden 
administration's reckless spending and economic illiteracy over the 
past 2 years have propelled our debt crisis and driven inflation to a 
40-year high.
  The American people have directly felt the impact of this 
administration's negligence toward an effective and practical economic 

                              {time}  1130

  It is well past time for our government to rein in reckless spending 
and work together toward returning to a balanced budget, a concept that 
both parties used to agree to strongly for decades.
  Through the years, policy negotiations were a key part of many debt 
ceiling agreements. Throughout our Nation's history, we have negotiated 
spending deals and reforms many times by using the debt ceiling vote as 
a constructive catalyst to action.
  Yet, for over 100 days, despite promises to the contrary, President 
Biden has refused to take this opportunity and willingly and 
effectively negotiate with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
  Over the past 3 months, while the President has been unresponsive, 
Speaker McCarthy has been hard at work, alongside House Republicans and 
with support from our Republican colleagues in the Senate, to ensure 
that we address this debt crisis in a timely, responsible manner.
  We have done our part here in the House by passing the Limit, Save, 
Grow Act, which responsibly raises the debt ceiling while addressing 
the other key issues our Nation faces today.
  Finally, in recent hours, with less than 2 weeks to go, President 
Biden has surfaced and engaged in a conversation with Speaker McCarthy. 
This is good news.
  President Biden, join House Republicans in a sensible and responsible 
agreement this week and avoid driving our Nation even further into 
economic chaos.

              President Al-Assad Readmitted to Arab League

  Mr. HILL. Mr. Speaker, recently Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was 
invited back into the Arab League after 12 years of being in exile. I 
can't tell you how incredibly frustrating and disappointing this is to 
many, particularly the innocent people of Syria who have endured more 
than a decade of war, murder, and torture.
  Assad's readmittance to the Arab League sends the wrong signal. It 
sends the signal to the rest of the world that his atrocious war crimes 
against his own citizens over the past 12 years are acceptable.
  A recent Reuters article had the headline ``Arabs Bring Syria's Assad 
Back into Fold but Want Action on Drugs Trade.'' Well, that is rich, 
because the only reason that there is an epidemic in the drug trade in 
the Gulf and the region is because of Assad.
  Assad turned to Russia and Iran to maintain his death machine, and 
now the Captagon drug trade led by his cousins, led by his military, is 
providing an independent source of funding for his regime while he 
poisons his neighbors, takes their money and fuels terrorism in the 
region; and yet he is invited back to the Arab League meeting. It is 
  My bill that passed in last year's National Defense Authorization Act 
was called the CAPTAGON Act and requires the U.S. Government to develop 
a multilateral and all-of-government approach to disrupting and 
dismantling the production of the Captagon drug right in the heart of 
  Recently the Treasury Department, along with our ally, the United 
Kingdom, took steps to sanction key actors in Assad's inner circle who 
are producing and trafficking Captagon. This is a good step, but it is 
months late, Mr. Speaker.
  It is in the right direction of disrupting and dismantling the 
trafficking networks associated with this illicit drug, but it is just 
a start, and it comes years after we know the deadly impact of Captagon 
on the region, on families, but also the fueling of terror by Assad 
through the billions of dollars transferred from that illicit 
  It is critical that governments across the globe continue to show 
their support for the Syrian people by denouncing those who seek to 
normalize relations with this repulsive regime. Granting Assad 
admittance to the Arab League once again sends the opposite message. It 
rewards barbaric behavior.
  The United States Government has an obligation to sanction Assad in 
our efforts to dismantle the Captagon drug trade and hold Assad 
accountable for his war crimes. That is why I am pleased this week to 
cosponsor the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia Subcommittee 
Chairman   Joe Wilson's new bill, H.R. 3202, the Assad Regime Anti-
Normalization Act.
  This bill was passed this week unanimously in the House Foreign 
Affairs Committee. Congress will act where this administration has 
continuously failed to consistently do so. I look forward to supporting 
this bill on the House floor and seeing it signed into law.

 Commemorating 70-Year Alliance Between United States and Republic of 

  Mr. HILL. Mr. Speaker, I rise to commemorate the 70th anniversary of 
the alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea.
  To commend this momentous occasion, Speaker McCarthy and Leader 
McConnell invited Republic of Korea President Yoon to visit the House 
Chamber and address Congress in a joint meeting.
  From the ashes of the Korean conflict to now one of the world's 
largest and most successful economies, the Republic of Korea is a 
testament to America's dedication to support market economics and 
  The successful alliance between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea 
has maintained peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific 
region for those past seven decades.
  Now more than ever, it is critical that the U.S. continue to support 
our ally in their efforts to protect their vibrant democracy and 
prosperous economy from the daily threats from North Korea and the 
growing aggression from the Chinese Communist Party.

[[Page H2446]]

  I thank President Yoon for his leadership, for the tenacity of the 
Korean people to come from an authoritarian republic to truly a 
democratic one and for building one of the top 10 largest economies in 
the world. That is an amazing transformation over those seven decades.
  Together, we will continue to promote freedom and prosperity in the 
Indo-Pacific region and around the world.

                    Arkansas Tornado Relief Efforts

  Mr. HILL. Mr. Speaker, I rise to commend the efforts of central 
Arkansas during the recovery period after a devastating tornado hit our 
district last month.
  Our neighbors immediately began to work hand in hand, neighbor to 
neighbor to rebuild our community. Many volunteered and worked 
tirelessly to set up emergency shelters in our local schools and 
churches to ensure those impacted by this severe storm had safe housing 
in the wake of the tornado.
  The response of our leaders at the State, county, and city level was 
invaluable and to be commended. The incredible efforts and active 
emergency response from Governor Sarah Sanders, Pulaski County Judge 
Barry Hyde, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr., Mayor Terry Hartwick of 
North Little Rock, Mayor Jeff Elmore of Jacksonville, and Mayor Mary Jo 
Heye-Townsell of Sherwood, and many, many others all saved lives and 
accelerated the recovery process.
  Not only did we witness their outstanding response and an outpouring 
of local volunteers, but we saw the swift action of our first 
responders and essential businesses.
  Entergy Arkansas began repairs to the local power grid as soon as the 
storms passed, and many of our linemen and -women worked countless 
hours to restore power even when they themselves were affected. One 
lineman I met with was in his bed at the time of the tornado, and the 
roof was torn off his apartment. After a day off from that tragedy, he 
was out there working 16 hours a day to connect the power to his 
neighbors. Countless time was put in neighbor for neighbor.
  Entergy Arkansas' corporate office also donated $50,000 to the 
American Red Cross to be used toward tornado recovery efforts, with an 
additional pledge of up to $50,000 matching employee donations.
  The Arkansas Foodbank did an incredible job of delivering food, 
water, and other necessary items throughout our communities to ensure 
those affected by the storms were supported with necessary goods.
  Additionally, our local restaurants and businesses all donated 
hundreds of meals and supplies to those in need.
  I thank our community for demonstrating generosity and thoughtfulness 
during a time of great need. They simply demonstrated that core value 
that we all take pride in as Arkansans and Americans.

             Congratulating Frank Thomas on His Retirement

  Mr. HILL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to highlight the exceptional 
career of Frank Thomas, who retired in March from Stephens, Inc., a 
financial services firm headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas.
  Frank graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1976 and was the 
first news director at KUAF, the local Razorback radio station.
  He quickly rose from local radio to national politics, working for 
former U.S. Senator David Pryor as his chief of staff.
  After Frank's time in public service, he felt drawn home to Arkansas 
and has worked for Stephens for the past 27 years.
  Stephens has long believed that Arkansas is truly the land of 
opportunity, and Stephens has invested in and benefited from its long 
association with our State. In fact, Stephens helped a little-known 
company called Walmart launch their initial public offering and become 
the largest retailer in the world.
  I thank Frank for his service and his lifelong commitment to Arkansas 
and the Second Congressional District and our Nation. I wish Frank, his 
wife, and his family many, many happy years ahead.

 Congratulating Cathy Owen on Her Induction Into Arkansas Women's Hall 
                                of Fame

  Mr. HILL. Mr. Speaker, today I rise to congratulate my dear friend of 
some five decades, Cathy Owen, on her induction into the Arkansas 
Women's Hall of Fame.
  Cathy is a trailblazer and role model for women in banking in 
Arkansas, having served the banking community for over 50 years. She 
has been with Eagle Bank for over 40 of those years in various roles, 
most recently as chairwoman since 2012.
  During her time at Eagle Bank, she has worked tirelessly to build the 
bank into a large, respected community bank. Over the years, she and 
her team have been dedicated to customer service and developing 
outstanding products and services.
  Outside of her achievements in the banking industry, she remains an 
active leader in our community. She is a generous volunteer and 
supporter of Baptist Health Foundation, Fifty for the Future, and the 
North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, among many other endeavors.
  I have had the privilege of working with Cathy in the industry for 
decades during my time in banking. I am proud to call Cathy a friend. I 
thank her for her many years of outstanding service in the community 
and congratulate her on this well-deserved induction into the Arkansas 
Women's Hall of Fame.

   Command Sergeant Major Steven Veazey Retiring From Arkansas Army 
                             National Guard

  Mr. HILL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate my friend and a 
true example of a leader, Command Sergeant Major Steven Veazey. I wish 
him a happy and healthy retirement.
  Command Sergeant Major Veazey, an Arkansas native, has been serving 
in the Arkansas Army National Guard since 1979, and has retired after 
44 years of service.
  The positive impact he has made in the Arkansas Army National Guard 
is undeniable, and he has set the standard for what it means to be a 
noncommissioned officer.
  Over the years, the command sergeant major deployed to Bosnia and 
Iraq. His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the 
Bronze Star Medal with one oak-leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service 
Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal with two oak-leaf clusters.
  Steven exemplifies leadership, not only as a command sergeant major, 
but as a leader in our community, serving as a member of the East Union 
Missionary Baptist Church, The American Legion, and as past president 
of the Sheridan Rotary Club.
  His wife, Leanna, has been his steadfast partner for the past 43 
years and the cornerstone of support. Together they have raised two 
children, Tasha and Steven.
  Over the past 9 years, I have been so grateful for his friendship and 
leadership. I treasure our time together since my service in Congress, 
from paying tribute to a young soldier or an airman for a job well done 
or saluting those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
  My best wishes, Steven, for your well-deserved retirement.

                 Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts Reopening

  Mr. HILL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the reopening of our 
magnificent Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts. The museum, located in 
downtown Little Rock, reopened on April 22 after almost 4 years since 
closing for renovation and expansion.
  After years of planning, the museum has been reimagined into a 
beautiful work of art itself. The architecture firm Studio Gang led the 
design which preserves historic elements of the building but includes 
other critical interesting and tasteful elements, making it into one of 
the most influential museums in the country.

                              {time}  1145

  The museum has much to offer from the visual and performing arts to 
full art educational experiences. The goal is to create a cultural 
space where our community can engage with a diverse portfolio of 
artistic perspectives and come together to see the beautiful temporary 
exhibitions and participate in the wonderful array of educational 
  I thank all involved for their efforts in making this renovation 
possible and congratulate the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts for this new 
chapter in their history in our State.

                        Congratulating Jim Keet

  Mr. HILL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate my friend Jim 
Keet on being named Arkansan of the Year.
  Throughout his life, Jim has been an outstanding and active member of 

[[Page H2447]]

State civic affairs, and particularly in central Arkansas.
  Jim served both in the Arkansas House of Representatives and in the 
Arkansas State Senate in the 1990s.
  In addition to his years of public service, he is one of our State's 
most successful entrepreneurs. He is president of the Keet Management 
Company and chairman of JTJ Restaurants, where he has operated 155 
restaurants over the past five decades.
  Beyond his success in business and politics, he has served on the 
board of directors for 20 years at Easterseals Arkansas. Easterseals is 
an organization that seeks to empower those with disabilities to have 
fulfilling lives and to become active members of their communities.
  As the founder of the Arkansan of the Year award while with 
Easterseals Arkansas, this honor comes full circle now for Jim.
  His tremendous work ethic and dedication to improving the lives of 
Arkansans deserves this recognition. I am proud to call Jim a friend 
and congratulate him on this exceptional honor.

          Army National Guard International Sniper Competition

  Mr. HILL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Staff Sergeant 
Benjamin Cotten and Staff Sergeant Allen Smith of the Arkansas Army 
National Guard for winning this year's International Sniper 
  This competition allows soldiers to display their abilities in a 
rigorous environment designed to put their extensive training to the 
test against 35 international teams.
  The team, including New Mexico Army National Guard member Erik 
Vargas, competed three days straight testing their shooting skills, 
physical endurance, and problem solving as they took on a variety of 
scenarios with multiple weapon systems.
  Staff Sergeant Smith enlisted in 2003 and Staff Sergeant Cotten in 
2006. Both have deployed to Iraq, and they have served as sniper team 
leaders and marksmanship instructors with Army National Guard.
  In addition to serving their country, they serve our communities as 
firefighters. Their leadership abilities and mental fortitude earned 
them this competition, and I am honored to add these men to my 
recognition for this outstanding accomplishment across 35 very 
competitive international teams.

                      Congratulating Mack McLarty

  Mr. HILL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate my friend Mack 
McLarty for receiving the Legacy of Leadership Award at the 35th annual 
Arkansas Business of the Year ceremony.
  Mr. McLarty is chairman of The McLarty Companies and was White House 
chief of staff under President Bill Clinton. Mack also served on the 
National Petroleum Council and the Council on Environmental Quality at 
the request of President George H.W. Bush.
  While chief to President Clinton, Mack advised on a wide range of 
international and domestic issues, such as the 1993 deficit reduction 
package, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and multiple trips as 
it relates to attending the G7 economic summits.
  Today, Mack is a respected senior adviser in both the public and 
private sectors and a prominent public speaker who shares his thoughts 
and experiences in the realm of U.S. trade and foreign policy.
  Along with this recognition for his public service, Mr. McLarty was 
awarded the Secretary of State's Distinguished Service Medal and the 
Center for the Study of the Presidency Distinguished Service Award.
  I congratulate Mr. McLarty on this recognition and thank him for his 
lifetime of public service at the national level and at home in 

                   Arkansas State Coding Competition

  Mr. HILL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the Arkansas School 
for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts, Conway High School, eStem 
Charter High School, Little Rock Central High School, and North Little 
Rock Center for Excellence for advancing to the State coding 
  Out of more than 160 teams, these five are part of the 16 teams that 
were selected to advance to the State competition.
  The top three finishing teams will receive monetary awards of $2,000 
for first place, $1,000 for second place, and $500 for third place for 
each member of the team.
  The money will be placed in a 529 college savings plan account to 
help those students with their journey toward earning a college degree.
  I thank ARCodeKids for providing the grant money for the winning 
teams, and I congratulate the students for qualifying for the State 
competition. I wish them the best of luck.

                     Congratulating Steven Helmick

  Mr. HILL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Steven Helmick of 
Donald R. Roberts Elementary in Little Rock for being named the 2023 
Arkansas Elementary School Principal of the Year.
  Mr. Helmick is known for his outgoing personality and willingness to 
do whatever it takes to inspire his students, including running a mile 
for each of the 168 fifth graders at his elementary school and camping 
out on the school's roof.

  Steven Helmick has turned Roberts elementary into one of the highest 
achieving elementary schools in Arkansas receiving a grade of A from 
the State education leadership.
  I congratulate Mr. Helmick on his well-deserved award and the 
outstanding work as principal of Roberts Elementary.

                      Recognizing Margaret Gaines

  Mr. HILL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Margaret Gaines who 
celebrated her 100th birthday on February 19 of this year.
  Margaret Gaines has been a resident of central Arkansas her entire 
life. She grew up in Griffithville, Arkansas, and currently resides in 
Searcy where she has lived for the past 62 years.
  Throughout her life, Margaret has seen and remembers many historic 
events, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and 
President John F. Kennedy's visit to Arkansas to dedicate the Greers 
Ferry Dam in Heber Springs.
  Mrs. Gains believes the secret to her long life is plenty of exercise 
from gardening, which she learned to do during the Great Depression. 
She still grows a garden every year.
  Mr. Speaker, I wish Margaret Gaines a very happy 100th birthday.

                        Recognizing James Chance

  Mr. HILL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the fire chief from 
the Enola Area Fire Department, James Chance, who is preparing to 
  James is no ordinary fire chief. He is a volunteer who has been with 
the Faulkner County department since 1973 and became chief in 1983.
  When James first started at the Enola Area Fire Department, they had 
a single brush truck to use as an engine, tanker, and rescue, and the 
department did not have an ISO rating. Now, the department has three 
stations, 11 fire trucks, and has an ISO rating of five.
  According to his peers, James responded to every emergency, despite 
how urgent or not it was. He spent two nights at 2 a.m. putting up 
barricades on flooded roads during bad storms or responding to the 
tenth false medical alert alarm in the middle of the night.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank Mr. Chance for over 50 years of selfless service 
to the citizens of Faulkner County, and I congratulate him on his 

                      International Paper Company

  Mr. HILL. Mr. Speaker, I rise to commemorate 125 years of the 
International Paper Company.
  International Paper, IP, was founded in January 1898, and they 
celebrated their 125th anniversary in January--an incredible milestone 
in our Nation.
  Their company is committed to providing essential products that 
people depend on, including being one of the world's largest producers 
of fiber-based products.
  Essential paper and paper products are important in our everyday 
lives, ensuring goods are protected and keeping consumers safe. They 
are a driver of local economic development in our great State. There 
are over 550 IP employees and 6 facilities throughout Arkansas, 150 of 
which work at the Conway Graphics Plant.
  I congratulate International Paper for their 125 years of service, 
and I look forward to their continued impact on Arkansas and around the 
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

[[Page H2448]]