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An update from the office of
U.S. Representative Michael E. Capuano
8th Congressional District of Massachusetts

Congressman Capuano's
E-UPDATE

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March 23, 2007

Recent Votes

Iraq

Today the House voted on H.R. 1591: the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health and Iraq Accountability Act of 2007. After a great deal of reflection, I decided to support this legislation. With today's vote, we have taken an important step toward ending the war in Iraq and bringing our troops home. As I have told you before, this legislation does not go far enough for me. I pushed for a vote on a course of action that would have gotten us out of Iraq much sooner and stipulated that all funding go toward drawing down troops. The House Rules Committee did not allow a vote on this position, and even if they had, I know that there are not enough votes to support it.

Today's vote was a very difficult one for me and as you know I have been carefully weighing the impact of this legislation for weeks. In the final analysis, I decided that H.R. 1591 carried enough practical and symbolic weight that if it needed my vote to pass the House, then I should support it.

For me, the most important component of this legislation is that it stipulates the withdrawal of troops must begin no later than March 1, 2008 and be completed within 180 days. It also establishes specific benchmarks that the Iraqi government must meet, benchmarks that mirror the criteria President Bush himself set forth in his 2007 State of the Union address. If real progress on these benchmarks is not made by July 1, 2007, then U.S. troop redeployment will begin immediately and must be completed within 180 days.

President Bush has been threatening to veto this bill for weeks and I fully expect he will do so if it reaches his desk in its current form. Regardless, the House sent an important message to the President today by passing this legislation. In the weeks and months ahead, I will continue to do everything I can to end this war. There may not have been enough votes today to bring a faster end to this war, but there were enough to establish a date certain for withdrawal. With today's vote in the House we are closer than we have ever been to ending this war. I voted YES. The entire vote is recorded below:

 

YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

2

198

0

1

DEMOCRAT

216

14

1

2

TOTAL

218

212

1

3

 

 

 

 

 

MASSACHUSETTS

10

0

0

0

I had the opportunity on Friday to preside over the House during debate and the vote on H.R. 1591. Members of the Majority Party routinely perform this function on behalf of the Speaker. Although I have served in this capacity before, today's vote was a difficult one and we expected that the Republicans would engage in numerous parliamentary maneuvers. I am honored that Speaker Pelosi entrusted me with the responsibility of overseeing today's historic debate.

Other Floor Action

This week the House considered H.R. 1227: The Gulf Coast Hurricane Housing Recovery Act of 2007. This legislation will help to address unmet housing needs for those impacted by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. It speeds up the construction of housing units in the affected areas and helps preserve affordable housing by requiring HUD to grant speedy approval for the use of rental assistance vouchers. The legislation also establishes an additional 4,500 housing vouchers and requires HUD to authorize a replacement voucher for every affordable housing unit that is not replaced. The legislation also authorizes reimbursement for communities and landlords for assistance provided to evacuees in the aftermath of the hurricanes. I voted YES. The entire vote is recorded below:

 

YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

72

125

0

4

DEMOCRAT

230

0

0

2

TOTAL

302

125

0

6

 

 

 

 

 

MASSACHUSETTS

10

0

0

0

The House also considered H.R. 1433: the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2007 although a vote on final passage was postponed because Republicans tried to attach an amendment that would have repealed a ban on handguns in DC. This legislation gives a voice to the residents of the District of Columbia. For over 200 years, the residents of the District have been without a voting elected Representative to the House. Consequently, the residents of D.C. have been subject to "taxation without representation". This legislation corrects that injustice. Some have argued that this bill is unconstitutional, and they may be right but I will leave it to the courts to apply the constitutional tests. I hope that we will have an opportunity to vote on this bill next week.


What's Up Next

Next week, the House is expected to consider the Fiscal Year 2008 budget resolution.


Congressman Mike Capuano
8th District, Massachusetts
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee on Financial Services
Committee on House Administration

District Offices:

110 First Street, Cambridge, MA 02141
and
Roxbury Community College, Campus Library, Room 211

District Office Phone:

(617) 621-6208

DC Office:

1414 Longworth Building, Washington, DC 20515

DC Office Phone:

(202) 225-5111

Website and e-mail:

capuano.house.gov



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