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

Congressman Capuano's

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February 8, 2008

Economic Stimulus

On Thursday the House considered a revised version of H.R. 5140: Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act of 2008. This legislation contains additional Senate passed provisions so another House vote was required.

For most working Americans, this economic stimulus package provides up to $600 per individual and $1200 per married couple plus an additional $300 per child in the form of rebate checks. The rebates are gradually phased out for individuals with income exceeding $75,000 and couples with an income over $150,000. Low-income seniors and disabled veterans are also eligible for a rebate.

I do have some concerns about passing such a large package without offsetting the cost but after consultations with economists I am convinced that this can help to prevent a recession. The Senate accepted the House's provision to increase the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan limit from the current $367,000 to $729,750. As a result, H.R. 5140 will help to make affordable mortgages available to more home buyers, especially in regions where the cost of housing is high such as Boston. A provision that I have been working on for several years, to further increase the FHA loan limit for two, three and four family homes, was also included in the stimulus package.

H.R. 5140 passed again in the House and is ready for the President's signature. I voted YES and the entire vote is recorded below:



























The President's Fiscal Year 2009 Budget

On Monday, President Bush released his FY 2009 budget and, not surprisingly, it was a disappointing blueprint for the next year. Once again, the President does not fully account for expenses related to the war in Iraq, requesting only a fraction of what the Administration acknowledges would be necessary under the President's policies. The President again seeks to make his tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans permanent, while at the same time cutting valuable domestic programs. The budget proposes $556 billion in Medicare cuts over ten years and $570 billion in cuts to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for 2009. The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program is not funded at all in the President's FY 2009 budget.

In the weeks and months ahead, as the budget for the next year is shaped in the Congress, you can rest assured that many of us will ignore some of the President's most troubling proposals and instead craft a budget that responds more adequately to the needs of the American people.

Higher Education Reauthorization

Also this week, the House considered H.R. 4137: The College Opportunity and Affordability Act. This legislation reauthorized the Higher Education Act for the first time in ten years. It contains a number of provisions to help make college more affordable, including increasing the maximum Pell grant to $9,000 a year and offering grants to part-time students.

In response to some of the unethical arrangements between lenders and schools revealed in the past year, the bill prohibits lenders from offering financial incentives to schools in order to get on a "preferred lender list". H.R. 4137 also authorizes loan forgiveness of up to $2,000 a year for 5 years for teachers, national service participants, certain medical professionals and public sector employees if they are serving in a high-need area. The measure seeks to lower the rising costs of textbooks by making it easier for faculty to consider cost information when making purchasing decisions, and by including an early notification provision so students are aware of textbook costs.

I voted YES. H.R. 4137 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:



























What's Up Next

Next week, the House is expected to consider legislation relating to public housing.

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

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