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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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July 18, 2008

Home Heating Oil

This week I joined other members of the New England Congressional Delegation in sending a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking that she consider measures to increase access to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) either through separate legislation or as part of a second economic stimulus package. We are asking for both an increase in LIHEAP funds and an expansion of eligibility requirements so that more families will qualify for assistance. We are also requesting additional funding for Weatherization Assistance programs. Although we are in the midst of the summer season, it won't be long before cold weather returns. The cost of heating one's home has already increased and is expected to continue rising. It is important that we act now to further fund this vital program so that the assistance will be available when it is most needed.

Medicare

On Tuesday the House and Senate both overrode President Bush's veto of H.R. 6331: Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act. This bill stops a pending 10% Medicare payment reduction to physicians in the program for 18 months. It improves services for Medicare beneficiaries with an income level below $14,010 by increasing the amount of assets they can have while still qualifying for extra assistance and by reducing seniors' personal costs for mental health care. H.R. 6331 also requires Medicare plans to make payments to pharmacies within 14 days and to update reimbursement prices weekly so pharmacies have current pricing information. It also postpones the Durable Medical Equipment (DME) competitive bidding program.

I voted to override the veto and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

230

0

0

6

REPUBLICAN

153

41

0

5

TOTAL

383

41

0

11

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

9

0

0

1

Energy

On Thursday the House considered H.R. 6515: Drill Responsibly in Leased Lands (DRILL) Act. This legislation seeks to increase the domestic supply of oil as a way to increase supply and ease high prices. Currently 75% of federal land that is already leased by oil companies for drilling is not being used. Some of this land is in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), which has already been open to drilling for 26 years. Despite this, only 14% of the land is leased and only 4 lease sales have been held since 1999. This legislation requires the Secretary of the Interior to offer at least one lease sale a year in the NPR-A. H.R. 6516 also includes "Use or Lose It" legislation previously considered by the House, which simply requires oil producers to drill on the leases they already possess or give them up so another company will have access to the land. It also prohibits the export of Alaskan oil. It is estimated that the NPR-A will yield 10.6 billion barrels of oil. The NPR-A is separate from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), an area currently protected by law as an environmental preservation area.

I voted YES. H.R. 6515 was considered under the suspension of the rules, which requires a 2/3 affirmative vote rather than a simple majority for passage. Although a majority of Members voted YES, the bill did not garner the 2/3 vote necessary for passage. The entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

218

11

0

7

REPUBLICAN

26

162

0

11

TOTAL

244

173

0

18

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

10

0

0

0

What's Up Next

Next week, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 3221: the American Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 and H.R. 3999: the National Highway Bridge Reconstruction and Inspection Act of 2008.


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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