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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
Remembering Frederick Charles “Bulldog” Becker Iv June 23, 2016
Lisa Murkowski, R-AK
"As Bulldog joins Betty, his beloved wife of 51 years, in Heaven, he leaves a strong, multigenerational family legacy of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren."
Honoring Baker County Commissioner Tim Kerns For His Years Of Dedicated Service To Oregon June 21, 2016
Greg Walden, R-OR
"With federal lands making up more than 51% of Baker County, plenty of hurdles exist in the path to economic growth. Despite these hurdles, I know I can count on Tim’s work ethic and knowledge of Baker County to help work through these issues and make sure that the needs of the local communities will not be ignored by the federal government. Whether it was stopping the EPA from regulating a local cement plant out of existence and killing hundreds of jobs, or some of the ongoing problems such as the red tape cutting off Baker County miners from being a part of a rich local mining history, or attempts to limit local access to national forests, I knew I could count on Tim to provide valuable input as we craft solutions."
Preventing Irs Abuse And Protecting Free Speech Act June 14, 2016
Sander Levin, D-MI
"According to the Center for Responsive Politics, political spending by such tax-exempt groups at this point in the current election cycle is five times the amount spent at the same point during the 2012 cycle. Spending during the 2012 Presidential election cycle by 501(c)(4)s and 501(c)(6)s soared to more than $300 million, up from $100 million in 2008 and just $6 million in 2004, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And the three largest 501(c)(4) spenders from the 2012 cycle, representing fully 51 percent of the total, have special meaning to this House majority."
Bridging The Divide: A Call To Action By The Congressional Black Caucus To Eliminate Racial Health Disparities June 13, 2016
Joyce Beatty, D-OH
"The 1985 Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health, released by then Secretary of Health and Human Services Margaret Heckler, documented significant disparities in the burden of illness and mortality experienced by blacks and other minority groups in the U.S. population compared with whites (41). The report laid out an ambitious agenda, including improving minority access to high-quality health care, expanding health promotion and health education outreach activities, increasing the number of minority health care providers, and enhancing federal and state data collection activities to better report on minority health issues. In the 30 years since the Heckler Report, national efforts to improve minority health through outreach, programming, and monitoring have included the formation of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health in 1986 (42); the annual National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports first issued in 2003 (43); the adoption of disparities elimination as an overarching goal of Healthy People 2010 (44); and most recently, an HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities—a comprehensive federal commitment to reduce and eventually eliminate disparities in health and health care (45). Race is a social construct influenced by a complex set of factors (46,47). Because of the complexity and difficulty in conceptualizing and defining race, as well as the increasing representation of racial and ethnic subgroups in the United States, racial classification and data collection systems continue to evolve and expand. In 1977, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) required that all federal data collection efforts collect data on a minimum of four race groups (American Indian or Alaskan Native, black, Asian or Pacific Islander, and white) and did not allow the reporting of more than one race (48). In 1997, in response to growing interest in more detailed reporting on race and ethnicity, OMB mandated data collection for a minimum of five race groups, splitting Asian or Pacific Islander into two categories (Asian, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander) (49). In addition, the 1997 standards allowed respondents to report more than one race. A minimum of two categories for data collection on ethnicity, “Hispanic or Latino” and “Not Hispanic or Latino,” were also required under the 1997 OMB standards. Consequently, whereas the Heckler Report primarily documented black-white differences in health and mortality due to data limitations, this Special Feature is able to report on more detailed racial and ethnic groups. For example, Figures 19-21 display trends in infant mortality and low-risk cesarean section deliveries, and the current data on preterm births for five Hispanic-origin groups. At the time of the Heckler Report, 22.3% of the population were considered racial or ethnic minorities (Table 1). Current Census (2014) estimates identify 37.9% of the population as racial or ethnic minorities (50). In 2014, Hispanic persons, who may be of any race, comprised 17.4% of the U.S. population. Non-Hispanic multiple race persons were 2.0% of the population. For the single race groups, non- Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native persons were 0.7%, non-Hispanic Asian persons were 5.3%, non-Hispanic black persons were 12.4%, non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander persons were 0.2%, and non-Hispanic white persons were 62.1% of the U.S. population in 2014 (50). Understanding the demographic and socioeconomic composition of U.S. racial and ethnic groups is important because these characteristics are associated with health risk factors, disease prevalence, and access to care, which in turn drive health care utilization and expenditures. Non-Hispanic white persons are, on average, older than those in other racial and ethnic groups, with a median age of 43.1 years, and Hispanic individuals are the youngest, with a median age of 28.5 years in 2014 (50). About one-quarter of black only persons (26.2%) and Hispanic persons (23.6%) lived in poverty compared with 10.1% of non-Hispanic white only persons and 12.0% of Asian only persons in 2014 (51). Non-Hispanic black only children and Hispanic children were particularly likely to live in poverty (37.3% and 31.9%, respectively, in 2014) (52). However, Hispanic individuals are often found to have quite favorable health and mortality patterns in comparison with non-Hispanic white persons and particularly with non-Hispanic black persons, despite having a disadvantaged socioeconomic profile—a pattern termed the epidemiologic paradox (53). HHS defines a racial or ethnic health disparity as “a particular type of health difference that is closely linked with social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantage. Health disparities adversely affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater obstacles to health based on their racial or ethnic group” (54). There are many different ways to measure racial and ethnic differences in health and mortality, which can lead to different conclusions (55-58). This Special Feature on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities (Special Feature) uses the maximal rate difference, one of three overall measures used in Healthy People 2020 to measure differences among groups of people (see Technical Notes). The maximal rate difference is an overall measure of health disparities calculated as the absolute difference between the highest and lowest group rates in the population for a given characteristic (59). The identification of groups that experience the highest and lowest rates in this Special Feature was based on observed rates and was not tested for a statistically significant difference against other rates. Ties in highest or lowest rates were resolved by examining decimal places. With respect to changes in health disparities over time, tracking the maximal rate difference over time enables one to determine whether the absolute difference between the highest and lowest group rates is increasing, decreasing, or stable. The Special Feature charts that follow provide detailed comparisons of key measures of mortality, natality, health conditions, health behaviors, and health care access and utilization, by race, race and ethnicity, or by detailed Hispanic origin, depending on data availability. A majority of the 10 graphs in this year’s Special Feature present trends in health from 1999-2014. Results indicate that trends in health were generally positive for the overall population and several graphs illustrate success in narrowing gaps in health by racial and ethnic group. Differences in life expectancy, infant mortality, cigarette smoking among women, influenza vaccinations among those aged 65 and over, and health insurance coverage narrowed among the racial and ethnic groups. For example, the absolute difference in infant mortality rates between infants born to non-Hispanic black mothers (highest rate) and infants born to non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander mothers (lowest rate) narrowed between 1999-2014. Differences by racial and ethnic group in the prevalence of high blood pressure and smoking among adult men remained stable throughout the study period, with non- Hispanic black adults more likely to have high blood pressure than adults in other racial and ethnic groups throughout the period, and non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic white males more likely to be current smokers than Hispanic and non- Hispanic Asian men. For low-risk cesarean sections, influenza vaccinations among adults aged 18-64, and unmet dental care needs, the gap widened among the racial and ethnic groups between 1999-2014. Despite improvements over time in many of the health measures presented in this Special Feature, disparities by race and ethnicity were found in the most recent year for all 10 measures, indicating that although progress has been made in the 30 years since the Heckler Report, elimination of disparities in health and access to health care has yet to be achieved."
Recognizing The Historical Significance And The 50Th Anniversary Of The “James H. Meredith March Against Fear” June 10, 2016
Roger Wicker, R-MS
"On June 6, Mr. Meredith and his small band of supporters encountered gunshots about 1 mile south of Hernando, MS. James Meredith was shot three times on that day and was taken to a hospital. Although he would recover, Meredith was unable to complete his March Against Fear, and the leadership was taken over by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Floyd McKissick, and Stokely Carmichael. By the time the march reached the city limits of Canton, the number of marchers had doubled to 250. By the time it concluded in Jackson, there were 15,000 people in attendance. This overwhelming turnout made it the largest civil rights demonstration in the history of the State of Mississippi. More than 4,000 African Americans were registered to vote from rallies and drives during the march along U.S. Highway 51."

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