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Congressman Capuano's
E-UPDATE
An update from the office of U.S. Representative Michael E. Capuano
8th Congressional District of Massachusetts
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May 27, 2011

Health Care

This week the House considered H.R. 1216: Converting Teaching Health Centers GME Program to Discretionary Spending. The Republican-led House is committed to repealing health care reform. They started with an attempt to completely repeal the bill, which passed in the House but isn't going anywhere in the Senate. So now they are working to eliminate or weaken pieces of health care reform. That's what H.R. 1216 is all about. It takes mandatory funding for primary care training and converts it to discretionary funding. There is currently a shortage of primary care doctors and that shortage is expected to grow in the coming years. This program makes funding available to train primary care doctors in community health centers. By making it discretionary, there is no guarantee that any money will go toward this important health care initiative. I voted NO. H.R. 1216 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

231

4

0

4

DEMOCRAT

3

181

0

8

TOTAL

234

185

0

12

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

10

0

0

Defense Authorization

The House this week also considered H.R. 1540: FY 2012 Defense Authorization. This legislation provides funding authorization for the programs and agencies of the Defense Department for Fiscal Year 2012. While I certainly support some provisions in this measure such as additional funding for military readiness, I could not vote yes on this bill for two primary reasons. First, H.R. 1540 contains an overly broad Authorization of the Use of Military Force that is intended to replace the Authorization of Use of Military Force that passed right after the September 11th terrorist attacks — an authorization that I supported and voted for originally. The updated language is open-ended. It contains no restrictions on how long the authorization would last or where it would apply. Because of the way it is written, the authorization could apply indefinitely and in any part of the world. It also gives the President the authority to hold any "belligerents" until all "hostilities" have ended. That could be forever.

I also can't support H.R. 1540 because it doesn't contain any directive to bring our men and women in uniform home from war. My colleague, Rep. McGovern, offered an amendment that would have required the President to submit a plan to Congress detailing a timeframe for the transition of military operations in Afghanistan from U.S. forces to Afghan forces. It also called for the Director of National Intelligence to submit a report to Congress and the President on the status of al-Qaeda, including its current leadership and possible locations. The amendment made clear that none of its language limits the President from going after al-Qaeda. I supported that amendment and was happily surprised when 204 Members voted for it. Unfortunately, it was not quite enough for passage, but it's certainly closer than we've ever been. I voted NO on H.R. 1540 which passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

277

6

0

6

DEMOCRAT

95

90

0

7

TOTAL

322

96

0

13

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

1

8

0

1

USA PATRIOT Act

Three provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act were expiring at midnight yesterday so the House and Senate took votes to extend them for four years. The three provisions are: the "lone wolf" provision, roving wiretaps and access to business records. In 2001, I voted against the Patriot Act because I believed very strongly that it failed to protect our cherished civil liberties. I have opposed subsequent extensions of the Patriot Act for the same reason, and I opposed this one as well. The "lone wolf" provision permits surveillance of non-U.S. persons believed to be engaged in international terrorism without first requiring evidence that they are linked somehow to a terrorist organization. The roving wiretap provision allows law enforcement to obtain a wiretap for a single line, which then applies to all phone lines associated with the subject of the wiretap, such as a cell phone or a business phone. The third provision, access to business records, is often referred to as the "library provision". It gives law enforcement access to "any tangible things" during an investigation, including a list of items that a subject has checked out of the library. This provision enlarges the scope of documents that can be sought and lowers the standard requiring a court order for the production of the documents in question.

I have always believed that we must give law enforcement the tools they need to pursue criminals. However, we can do that and still protect civil liberties. In my opinion, current law does not do that and we shouldn't be extending these provisions. I voted NO. S. 990 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

196

31

0

12

DEMOCRAT

54

122

0

16

TOTAL

250

153

0

28

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

2

7

0

1

What's Up Next Week

Next week the House is expected to take a vote on the debt ceiling.


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

P.S. I welcome your feedback on our e-Updates. Please let me and my staff know what you think of this service by e-mailing our office.


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:

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