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Congressman Capuano's
An update from the office of U.S. Representative Michael E. Capuano
8th Congressional District of Massachusetts
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October 16, 2009

Capitol Security

On Wednesday, I chaired a hearing in Capitol Security Subcommittee of the Committee on House Administration: "Securing Personally Identifiable Information Within the U.S. Capitol Police." Personally Identifiable Information — or PII — is information that can be used to distinguish an individual's identity (such as a social security number) either alone or in combination with other identifying facts like date or place of birth. The Capitol Police's Inspector General produced an audit earlier this year that discovered serious deficiencies in both security protocol for PII and the implementation of an overall security program. Our hearing gave the oversight committee an opportunity to ensure that the Capitol Police are taking proper steps to create a security program for identity data and, moreover, that they will designate a staff member to be responsible for its maintenance. The Chief of Police testified that his department has begun the necessary actions to better control PII and make certain that there are no breaches. The Inspector General confirmed the Capitol Police's progress, and the Ranking Member of the subcommittee and I were able to get a fuller picture of what information the police department holds and how its protection will be prioritized. I have every confidence that the Capitol Police will continue to address the weaknesses identified by the Inspector Generalís report in a timely and responsible manner.

Homeland Security Appropriations

On Thursday, the House considered the conference report on H.R. 2892: Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010. The bill originally passed the House in late June, and the Senate passed its version shortly later in July. The conference report provides $44 billion, which is a 6% increase over FY09 funding. This amount includes $10.1 billion for Customs & Border Patrol, $5.7 billion for Customs & Immigration Enforcement, $10.1 billion for the Coast Guard, and $7.7 billion for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Border fencing was one issue that had to be resolved between the two chambers in the conference committee — ultimately it was agreed that the bill would provide $800 million for this purpose but would not include a Senate provision that called for a double-layered fence along 700 miles of the Mexican border.

I voted YES. The conference report on H.R. 2892 passed the House and the entire vote is recorded below:





















Social Security

This week, I joined as a cosponsor of H.R. 3810: The Emergency Senior Citizens Relief Act. Introduced by my colleague Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), H.R. 3810 would provide a one-time payment of $250 in 2010 to all Social Security recipients to help mitigate costs numerous seniors are struggling to meet at this time. Because the economy is suffering right now, the inflation rate is -1.3%, which means there will be no Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for Social Security in 2010. While the decrease in inflation is in many respects a good thing, many seniors are nonetheless having trouble keeping pace with their monthly bills. The payment proposed in H.R. 3810 would go a long way toward helping those on fixed incomes make ends meet. President Obama has himself endorsed the idea of such a payment, and I think many of my colleagues in the House will agree. I'm proud to support this bill as it moves forward through the legislative process.

What's Up Next

Next week the House is expected to consider H.R. 3585: Solar Technology Roadmap Act of 2010 and H.R. 3619: Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010.

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

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