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Conaway presents presidential papers to JBS library - Odessa American: News

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Conaway presents presidential papers to JBS library

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Posted: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 5:30 am

Volumes of public presidential papers from the Library of Congress were presented to the Presidential Archives and Leadership Library at the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute Monday by U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway.

Included were 18 volumes from President George W. Bush, 17 volumes from President William J. Clinton and two volumes each from Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Presidential Papers such as these contain most of these President’s public messages, statements, speeches, news conference remarks and memos.

There also were volumes of memorial tributes delivered to Congress on presidents Harry Truman, Gerald Ford and Reagan.

Conaway, R-Midland, said there wasn’t a better place in his district, District 11, for these volumes to be housed than the Presidential Archives and Leadership Library.

“These books will be part of the overall collection for the library and folks have access to those to do research on a variety of issues,” Conaway said.

He added that any speech a president makes and any letter he writes is captured in these volumes and allows people to try to understand what was happening on a day-to-day basis during that time.

The 16-year span that presidents Clinton and Bush were in office is contiguous and covers everything from the dot.com boom and bust to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and many other events, Conaway said.

He added that these things will be of great importance to students and scholars studying that period of time.

The history gives people a fuller understanding of what we might be facing, what others have faced that is similar to this time period and how it worked out, or didn’t work out, for them, Conaway said.

He added that people in the United States typically take their history for granted, but travel anywhere else in the world, and they have a “much deeper appreciation of the history of their country than sometimes we do here in America.”

Conaway said presenting the books himself offers a promotional benefit for the Library of Congress. He added that the Presidential Archives and Leadership Library is a “real treasure in our community.”

And the more people that can be drawn to the archives and library, the better, he said.

The memorial tributes delivered to Congress is when members go to the floor and give extended speeches or place written remarks into the Congressional Journal.

“That’s a collection of those tributes to each those presidents that passed away. Some of those are just the personal in the sense they have may have served when Reagan was there. They may have had a personal relationship with him. They can reflect that and others who have served later are simply reflecting perhaps what Reagan meant to them in their public service,” Conaway said.

JBS Public Leadership Institute Executive Director Robert Brescia said this completes the Presidential Archives and Leadership Library’s collection. The papers can be read by visitors and UTPB students, but cannot be checked out.

“We get thousands of visitors here every year. I think some of those visitors will want to go through these — not reading them cover to cover, of course, but scanning and taking certain articles and speeches out that they’re interested in. That’s an enriching experience, so we’re happy about it,” Brescia said.

On some other Washington matters:

  • >> Conaway said the committee investigating a connection between the campaign of President Donald Trump and Russia interviewed Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President Obama, for more than three hours Oct. 13.

He said the investigation is moving along.

  • >> On healthcare, Conaway said the House is waiting for the Senate.

Meanwhile, Trump has taken action that such as being able to buy insurance plans across state lines, association healthcare plans and ending subsidies paid to insurers by the federal government to help lower consumers’ deductibles and co-pays, an Associated Press article said.

“From a legislative standpoint, we’ve done our work in the House. Until the Senate does something, we’re really stuck in kind of limbo. It’s up to the senators to find 51 of them that can agree on some path forward with respect to healthcare. We’re all anxiously awaiting,” Conaway said.  

>> On tax reform, Conaway said the imperative to take action is here.

“There there’s not anybody really out there that’s saying don’t do it. The current code is perfect. It’s doing exactly what we want it to do. The issue will be the details. Every deduction, every credit, every special tax treatment has an advocacy group attached to it. And when the details get out and many of those are going away, many of those groups will come forward and try to … present why their deduction, credit or special treatment should survive this round. That will be the real issue going forward,” Conaway said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said he wants that chamber to get its work done before Christmas break.

“I’m confident we can do that. The Ways and Means Committee is ready as soon as the Senate passes a budget that allows for the reconciliation tool to be created with the House and Senate budget. Once that’s done and we know it’s there … the Ways and Means committee will take it to committee. They will get it out relatively quickly and it will go to the floor and we’ll get it passed. Timing in the Senate is always anybody’s guess, but I think we can deliver on the House side pretty quickly as soon as the Senate, again, gets their version of the budget done,” Conaway said.  

  • >> Chances of getting something passed on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are really good, Conaway said.

“Obviously, president’s given us a limited amount of time to get that fixed. It really is Congress’ responsibility to come up with the right legislation to address a really difficult issue of children who were brought here unwittingly, or by their parents and how do we cope with that. The speaker has brought a group of eight diverse members together to try to come up with something that will make sense and I’m anxiously waiting what they bring to see kind of where we’re going. But this is a tough area that we need to get done and it is Congress’ responsibility to make that happen,” Conaway said.

He said the broader question of immigration reform falls behind tax reform, healthcare reform and infrastructure. U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., on the Judiciary Committee, has a “good bill that tries to create a new H2C program for agricultural workers across this country,” Conaway said.

Conaway said Goodlatte’s legislation would come up about the same time as Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas’, e-verify bill. “I think those would go a long way to addressing the ag worker program that we’re struggling with right now,” he said.

H2C would cover a worker who is in the United States under a legal status that would allow him to work in production agriculture and direct processing — those who are slaughtering in the slaughterhouses and dairymen, for example.

Once the e-verify program is implemented, it would help assure that if a worker is in the United States illegally, they couldn’t work. Conaway said it works not, but it’s not mandatory. Smith’s bill would make it mandatory.

“Lamar’s bill would roll it in over a certain period of time — big businesses first, medium businesses and then ag last. It would apply to new hires, so anybody newly hired would have to go through it,” Conaway said.

Construction and oil and gas workers would have to be tackled separately, he said.

“Hopefully there will be pressure to get these done so we get an immigration and naturalization policy program in place. It starts with border security, border control and then moves to the policies” that are in America’s best interest, he said.


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