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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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March 20, 2009

Regulatory Reform Roundtable

On Monday I hosted a roundtable focused on the need for regulatory reform of our financial services system. During two forums I hosted previously on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and the stimulus package, broad agreement emerged on the need for an enhanced regulatory system. Because of this, I thought it would be fruitful to devote a session exclusively to this topic. Nearly 20 participants from academia, labor and industry took time out of their busy schedules to share their opinions and I am grateful for the opportunity to hear from them.

The House Financial Services Committee, on which I serve, has already begun the process of considering regulatory reform. The first major focus is to create a systemic risk regulator to monitor any risks that could cause widespread difficulties in the financial system. We expect to complete legislation on this sometime this year. In addition, Congress is considering several other reforms to our current system. However, not surprisingly there are differences of opinion over how to best accomplish that goal. I think it is very clear that many existing regulations were too weak, and in some cases regulation was simply nonexistent. Moving forward, we must strike the right regulatory balance, focusing on increasing transparency and restoring faith in our financial system.

AIG and Bonuses

On Thursday the House considered H.R. 1586: Bonus Recoupment Tax Bill. This measure establishes a 90% tax on bonuses paid to workers from companies that have received more than $5 billion in TARP funds from the federal government. The tax would also apply to bonuses paid out by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The outrage over $165 million in bonuses paid to AIG employees was the catalyst for drafting and passing H.R. 1586. Earlier this week, the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities and Government Sponsored Enterprises, of which I am a member, had the opportunity to question the CEO of AIG on the decision to distribute the bonuses.

Like many of you, I am angered that some of the people who caused the current problems at AIG received bonuses. As far as I am concerned, they should have left AIG long ago, not been the recipients of fat bonus checks. I voted YES on H.R. 1586, it passed the House and the entire vote is recorded below:






















For those of you who have not already heard, I am pleased to report that President Obama appointed retired Air Force Maj. Gen. J. Scott Gration as the United States Special Envoy to Sudan. You may recall that I recently wrote to the President urging that such action be taken immediately. I think the President's action sends a clear message to indicted Sudanese President Omar al Bashir that the United States is deeply committed to bringing peace to the region and ending the atrocities there.

Since Bashir's March 4th indictment, the Government of Sudan, under his orders, expelled 13 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), accusing them of cooperating with the International Criminal Court's investigation of his actions. These organizations offer an invaluable service, providing close to 50% of the aid coming into Darfur. In response to this disturbing action, I worked with my colleague, Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, in sending letters to leaders with close ties to Bashir: President Hu Jintao of China, Secretary-General Amre Moussa of the Arab League of States, and Chairman Muammar Qadhafi of the African Union. We urged them to persuade Bashir to let the NGOs back into Darfur.

These NGOs are vital to the survival of so many innocent people and we are hoping that this will persuade the three leaders to talk to their friend. So far, Mr. Bashir has turned a deaf ear on the suffering of his own people. Perhaps he will listen to those he does business with on a regular basis.

Telephone Community Meeting

On Tuesday March 24th from 6:40-7:40 PM, I am hosting a telephone community meeting. Anyone interested in participating may dial 1-877-229-8493 and use access pin 13034 at the scheduled time to listen in. This is my first telephone community meeting of the year and I am interested in hearing what's on your mind. If you cannot call in on the 24th, I am hosting another meeting on the 31st at the same time, with the same call-in number and pin. We will also post an audio file of the meetings on our website.

What's Up Next

Next week the House is expected to consider Senate amendments to H.R. 146: Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 as well as H.R. 1404: the Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement Act.

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

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

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