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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
American Savings Promotion Act September 15, 2014
Michael Fitzpatrick, R-PA
"Studies show that Americans are not saving enough, whether for an emergency or for their retirement. This lack of savings is more pronounced among those with lower incomes. H.R. 3374 seeks to reverse this trend and encourage savings by offering depositors chances to win prizes based on their deposit activity."
Examination And Supervisory Privilege Parity Act Of 2014 July 29, 2014
Ed Perlmutter, D-CO
"Under the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, similar protections exist for banks which benefit from express legal protection that provides the confidence and legal certainty to turn over privileged information and documents at the request of their regulators."
Nomination Of Pamela Harris To Be United States Circuit Judge For The Fourth Circuit—Continued July 24, 2014
Ted Cruz, R-TX
"President Obama proposed a $3.7 billion supplemental plan. Mind you, he did not have time to visit the border, to visit the children, to see the suffering, but he proposed yet more spending. The $3.7 billion supplemental is an HHS social services bill. It spends a whole bunch of money. By the way, to give you a sense of just how much $3.7 billion is, for $3.7 billion we could purchase a first-class airplane ticket for each one of these 90,000 children to return them home—first class—sitting in the front row of a commercial airline. After doing so, we could deposit $3.6 billion back in the Federal Treasury. It is a massive amount of money he has asked for, and what is striking, less than 5 percent of it goes to border security."
Securing Energy Critical Elements And American Jobs Act Of 2014 July 22, 2014
Eric Swalwell, D-CA
"Shenzhen, China.—When U.S. Rare Earths Inc. begins mining on the border of Montana and Idaho about two years from now, the U.S. will gain a new domestic, non-Chinese source of minerals essential to making electronic devices and weaponry components. But at the moment, there’s virtually no place for these minerals to be processed into something useful—except China. China’s share of global rare-earth output has been shrinking recently as miners elsewhere capitalized on fears the country controls too much global supply. Even so, China still dominates the complex—and often polluting—middle steps that turn mined material into useful ingredients, including metals and magnets. For example, China supplies about 80% of the specialized magnets produced with rare-earth ingredients like neodymium that are used in everything from elevators to cruise missiles. “It’s amazing people haven’t connected these dots,” said U.S. Rare Earths Chief Executive Kevin Cassidy. His company plans to build facilities in the U.S. to handle difficult middle-stage processes, but that will be expensive and require numerous regulatory approvals. Three years ago China shocked high-technology industries by tightening export controls on a group of 17 elements called rare earths that sent their prices rising as much as tenfold, prompting then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to dub the scare a “wake up call.” Miners responded by racing to find new rare-earth sources in the U.S. and elsewhere. Industry authority Dudley Kingsnorth says those new sources already cut China’s share of global supply to 86% from 93% between 2011 and 2012. China’s export policies are the subject of a continuing dispute between Beijing, Washington and others before the World Trade Organization. The WTO in October ruled illegal certain restrictions on Chinese rare-earth exports, though Beijing is expected to appeal the largely symbolic decision. But when it comes to processing rare earths, China faces little competition—and Wang Qin’s greasy hands illustrate why. The 45-year-old machinist for Feller Magnets Corp. in the southern city of Shenzhen runs dozens of machines that slice magnetic blocks made with rare earth into razor-thin discs that his company says will be installed in mobile phones. While his computerized saws can meet precision specifications for Feller’s high-technology customers, the machines also slick its factory floors with oil. Basins of acids and extreme heat feature in other parts of the facility. The company, which says half its output is sold in China compared with only 30% in recent years, didn’t respond to a request for comment on factory conditions. China’s dominance in a field with a poor environmental record illustrates one way it plays key roles more generally in global manufacturing. China tops world output of chemicals and fertilizers, as well as making lead-acid batteries and harvesting of scrap computer parts for metal. Business executives say that China’s backbone in intermediate industries, including rare-earth processing, allows it to draw in related businesses that depend on the products and thereby deepening its importance to production supply chains from computers to automobiles. In 2010 Beijing significantly crimped exports of rare-earth minerals citing environmental reasons to clean up a chaotic industry. Seeing prices of the elements soar, investors funded dozens of mine exploration projects around the world. Since then, a California mine and one in Australia have ramped up, with others in South Africa, Vietnam, India and Kazakhstan now in the construction phase, according to Gareth Hatch, an industry investor and principal at Illinois-based Technology Metals Research LLC. But he said many prospectors who rushed after 2010 to bring new supplies to market wrongly assumed, “if you build the mine, the downstream supply chain will magically appear outside of China.” A number of U.S. defense contractors declined to comment on industry trends. Northrop Grumman Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp. referred questions to the Aerospace Industries Association, which pointed to a September report from the U.S. Congressional Research Service that said “most rare earth materials’ processing is performed in China, giving it a dominant position that could affect world-wide supply and prices.” A Defense Department spokesman said the military continually monitors the situation while citing an “increasingly diverse and robust domestic and global supply chain for rare earth materials.” A March 2012 military report highlighted positive trends “for a market capable of meeting future U.S. Government demand.” While Mr. Kingsnorth, executive director of Industrial Minerals Company of Australia, estimates China’s share of world production could slide to 63% by 2016, he points out that China continues to dominate the nine steps between mining rare earths and producing something with the material. After ore is pried from the ground and unwanted minerals are sifted away to make a concentrate of minerals, complex acid and chemical treatments are required to separate individual rare earths into quantities that are useful. Many of the 17 rare earths share such similar physical properties that separating individual elements can require several months and 1,000 chemical treatments. Outside China, few places have the industrial capacity to separate the elements. Companies in the U.S., Russia, France, Japan and elsewhere handle some of these steps, but China is the only place that has the industrial capacity to do them all. Among those producing fresh output is U.S.-based Molycorp Inc. Yet Molycorp exports some of the neodymium and samarium from its giant deposit in California’s Mojave Desert to its processing facilities in China. “The downstream does take longer to develop,” says Constantine Karayannopoulos, who until this month was Molycorp’s interim chief executive officer and is now vice chairman. Molycorp said it spent $1.5 billion to build a separation facility in California, and Mr. Karayannopoulos estimates a quarter to a third of that cost is related to ensuring the plant operates to high environmental standards, which include recycling wastewater. Still, Molycorp says it is cheaper to make some of its materials at its facilities in China. Mr. Karayannopoulos also estimates around 60% of that output is sold to multinational companies already in China. “I can’t overemphasize how complex supply chains are,” said Mr. Karayannopoulos. A big effort to reduce China’s role in the intermediate steps of processing rare earths is being undertaken by Australia’s Lynas Corp. with a plant opened last year in Malaysia to handle separation processes. But local environmentalists decry the facility as dangerous, and Lynas says it has processed only a fraction of its output there this year. Lynas says none of its material is being sent to China for separation. Increasingly, China is taking steps to expand into more profitable aspects of the rare-earth business that follow the separation processes, instead of exporting those raw materials. Mr. Kingsnorth likens such efforts to European winemakers: “France doesn’t sell any grapes,” he said."
Financial Services And General Government Appropriations Act, 2015 July 15, 2014
Alan Grayson, D-FL
"If you can’t afford the first month’s rent and security deposit you need in order to rent an apartment, you may get stuck in an overpriced residential motel. If you don’t have a kitchen or even a refrigerator and microwave, you will find yourself falling back on convenience store food, which—in addition to its nutritional deficits— is also alarmingly overpriced. If you need a loan, as most poor people eventually do, you will end up paying an interest rate many times more than what a more affluent borrower would be charged. To be poor—especially with children to support and care for—is a perpetual high-wire act."

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