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An update from the office of U.S. Representative Michael E. Capuano
8th Congressional District of Massachusetts
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May 6, 2011

War on Terror

The killing of Osama bin Laden represents a pivotal moment in the war on terror. The United States has been engaged in this war since bin Laden masterminded the worst attacks on American soil in our history. Thousands of Americans died, and many citizens of other countries as well, who had come seeking opportunity here. My thoughts are with the families of the September 11th victims. I know nothing can ever bring your loved ones back but I hope you find some small measure of comfort knowing that bin Laden will never again cause the loss of innocent lives. To our men and women in uniform and those in our intelligence community who have sacrificed so much and devoted countless hours to this moment, please know that you have the thanks of our nation.

I am deeply troubled by the fact that Osama bin Laden was able to remain in Pakistan undetected and undisturbed for so long. He wasn't hiding in a remote location, far from populated communities. He was living in a compound surrounded by high walls, not far from a major army base and close to the capital city of Islamabad. He had apparently lived there for years.

In April of 2008 I and other Members of Congress traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan and we met with the Prime Minister. At that time, we asked him specifically about bin Laden and the Prime Minister assured us that he was not in Pakistan.

The United States has a complicated relationship with Pakistan, one that has gotten decidedly murkier. We send billions of dollars to Pakistan to help them combat terror and the discovery of bin Laden's compound raises many questions. One of the most important: how is it possible that the most wanted terrorist in the world could live for years basically within the midst of the Pakistani military? I am not going to presume the answer to that question, but it is one of many questions I have. During those years thousands of Pakistani soldiers, police, and civilians were killed in terror attacks, so I hope Pakistani officials too are seeking answers. I am keeping an open mind, but I am very skeptical at this moment.


In the aftermath of September 11th, I voted to go into Afghanistan because that is where we believed Osama bin Laden was hiding. The Taliban were protecting and supporting the terrorists who murdered so many of our citizens on that terrible day. They made it very clear that they would continue to do so. President Bush rightfully authorized military action in Afghanistan to go after the terrorists. That goal has been largely achieved the terrorists have been driven from Afghanistan, and that is why our military engagement there should come to an end. That doesn't mean we should declare victory in the war on terror and turn our backs. We should seek out the terrorists where we think they are currently hiding, not where they once were.

As you know, I have been advocating for withdrawal from Afghanistan for more than a year, and I hope the death of bin Laden in Pakistan will result in advancing this goal. Yesterday I signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 1735, the Afghanistan Exit and Accountability Act. This legislation requires the President to detail the Administration's exit strategy for Afghanistan, provide a firm date for withdrawal and report to Congress every 90 days on the progress of this withdrawal. It is long past time to bring our men and women home.

Floor Votes

This week the House considered H.R. 3: No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. Funny, I thought Republican leadership meant it when they pledged to focus on creating jobs and stabilizing the economy. Instead, the House continues to spend time voting on bills that the Senate won't take up; the President will veto, and don't have much to do with jobs or the economy. H.R. 3 is particularly pointless and exasperating because existing law already prohibits federal taxpayer funding for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. What this bill really does is place restrictions on women who are using private dollars to purchase private insurance. For example, small business owners would not be eligible for certain small business tax credits if the health plans they offer cover abortion. Currently, 87% of employer-provided insurance plans include abortion coverage. If H.R. 3 becomes law, it will be cheaper for small businesses to offer one of the plans that does not cover this procedure. Women would lose the comprehensive coverage they currently have and it might cost them more than they are currently paying. I voted NO. H.R. 3 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:





















The House this week also considered H.R. 1230: Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act. This legislation seeks to address rising gas prices by allowing more domestic drilling for oil. The bill is unnecessary because the Obama Administration is already planning additional drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico, ones that will receive careful environmental review. H.R. 1230 rushes those leases to approval, grants additional leases and opens up the East Coast to drilling by making available a lease for the coast of Virginia. The additional leases would be granted this year, and instead of conducting new environmental reviews, would rely on old ones done before the Deepwater Horizon disaster. I voted NO. H.R. 1230 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:





















What's Up Next Week

The House is expected to consider H.R. 754, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011.

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

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