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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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June 18, 2010

East Boston Neighborhood Health Center

On Monday, I participated in a groundbreaking ceremony at the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC). $12 million in federal stimulus funds helped make this project possible and will give the center the ability to expand to meet growing needs. In addition to construction jobs, the enhanced facility will employ more medical personnel, and a larger staff will provide its patients with more and better medical and preventative services. As co-founder and co-chair of the Community Health Centers Caucus, I have long argued that these facilities are on the front lines of our health care system and need our support. I was honored to attend the groundbreaking and look forward to the day when the center's expansion is complete.

McKay School in East Boston

Before the groundbreaking, I went to the Donald McKay School in East Boston to talk with 7th graders working on a class project about the genocide and civil unrest in Sudan. As part of their assignment the students decided to contact me because of my role as co-chair and co-founder of the Sudan Caucus. The students were well informed about the geography of the region as well as the social and moral implications of civil war, slavery and genocide. We had a thoughtful and substantive conversation and I urged them to stay involved in the world around them, not just on matters of war and peace but also with issues pertaining to their education and their own communities. I was very impressed with the students and the faculty at the McKay School and commend them for the obvious effort they made on this assignment.

Piers Park, East Boston

I had a few minutes between my East Boston commitments this week so I visited my nephew, Chris Evans, who was filming scenes for his new movie, “What's Your Number?” in nearby Piers Park. It was good to see this East Boston recreational resource getting some Hollywood screen time.

Small Business Lending

On Thursday the House considered H.R. 5297: the Small Business Lending Fund Act of 2010. This legislation makes funding available to small businesses through community banks. It establishes a $30 billion lending fund for banks that have assets below $10 billion. In turn, those banks will lend funds to eligible small businesses. This will create stability and growth opportunities, which in turn create jobs. Because the funds are provided in the form of loans, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that this program will save taxpayers approximately $1 billion over ten years. The money will be paid back with interest. I voted YES. H.R. 5297 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:





















Oil Spill

I recently joined several dozen colleagues in calling on BP officials to take upcoming dividend payments and instead direct them to an escrow account. Funds in that escrow account would then be used to repair the damage caused by the devastating Gulf oil spill, including compensating those who have been directly impacted by this disaster. This week, during a meeting with President Obama, BP CEO Tony Hayward agreed to suspend dividend payments for the rest of the year and to establish a $20 billion escrow account. I am encouraged by this action. I hope it represents just one step in BP's commitment to take responsibility for what happened in April.


In my capacity as co-founder and co-chair of the Sudan Caucus, I attended a meeting Wednesday with Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson and Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration, hosted by Speaker Pelosi. The two men recently joined Vice President Biden on his trip to Africa where Sudan was a major focus, and they briefed key Members of Congress on the U.S.'s ongoing efforts. On January 9, 2011, Southern Sudan is scheduled to hold a key referendum in which its people will decide whether to remain part of a united Sudan or become an independent country. Certain agreements — such as oil wealth sharing, border demarcation, and citizenship rights — and resources need to be in place regardless of the outcome of the referendum. Ambassador Carson and Special Envoy Gration emphasized that the U.S. is working to ensure that outstanding issues are addressed. I joined my fellow Sudan Caucus co-chair Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) in pressing for the Obama Administration's attention to Southern Sudan's air defense systems, which could help serve as a deterrent to any impending violence or a return to civil war.

What's Up Next Week

Next week the House is expected to consider several bills, including possibly the DISCLOSE Act.

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

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