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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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July 8, 2011

Defense Appropriations

This week the House considered H.R. 2219: the Department of Defense Appropriations Act. This bill provides $530 billion for the Department of Defense as well as an additional $119 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I could not support this bill for several reasons. With passage of H.R. 2219, defense spending is expected to be about 60% of all federal discretionary spending for FY 2012. I am committed to reducing our federal deficit and there is much more we can do to cut defense spending. According to the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, the amount of money the U.S. is expected to spend on defense for this fiscal year is more than the rest of the world combined. We clearly have room to reduce spending.

I am also concerned because this bill includes money for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I recognize that it takes time and money for a troop drawdown, but it is just taking far too long to bring our men and women in uniform home to their families.

H.R. 2219 was amended to address military operations in Libya and I voted in support of those amendments. As you know, I believe that the President was required by the Constitution to come to Congress for authorization and he has not done so. H.R. 2219 now prevents any of the money appropriated from being used for actions that run counter to the War Powers Act and it prohibits funds from being used for ground troops unless those troops are rescuing American soldiers. While I am pleased that the House again went on record with respect to Libya, I could not support the overall bill for the reasons outlined above. I voted NO. H.R. 2219 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:






















Tomorrow, July 9th, South Sudan will officially declare and celebrate its independence from Sudan. The birth of the world's newest country has been quite a long time in coming. Since its emergence from colonial rule, Sudan has been wracked by civil wars. The most recent lasted from 1983-2005, claimed over 2 million lives, and was settled by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The CPA finally gave the people of South Sudan the opportunity to vote in a referendum for secession.

Independence marks a milestone for South Sudan. Here in America, we just celebrated the Fourth of July, a day to reflect on the principles upon which our country was founded: that we are all created equal and endowed with unalienable rights. Now, we welcome to the community of nations, another country founded upon the same principles: every person, regardless of race, creed, gender, language, or tribe, has an equal right to freedom, dignity, and self-determination.

South Sudan's path forward is fraught with difficulty. Many arrangements called for in the CPA have not yet been settled including agreements on oil and wealth sharing, citizenship, Abyei, and full border demarcation and the new country must work to overcome a lack of infrastructure and basic services, as well as corruption and over-reliance on oil revenues.

As co-chair of the Sudan Caucus, I have been involved in seeking peaceful solutions for Sudan for years. Violence still threatens the people of Sudan and South Sudan and success is by no means guaranteed for the country of South Sudan. Nonetheless, the people of South Sudan have long struggled and fought for this new freedom, and I will do all I can to help them succeed in their democratic endeavor.

I briefly spoke on the House floor about South Sudan's independence. You may watch my remarks here.

Help for Homeowners

Last year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the expansion of the Emergency Homeowner's Loan Program (EHLP) which helps jobless homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure make mortgage payments. The application deadline is Friday, July 22nd. Unemployed homeowners can qualify for up to $50,000 in zero interest loans over two years to help them stay current on their mortgage payments while they are searching for a job.

To apply for funding, interested homeowners must submit a Pre-Applicant Screening worksheet, which is due on July 22nd. If eligible, homeowners can receive a 0% interest forgivable loan to help with past-due mortgage payments or future mortgage payments.

I wrote about this program last year, and wanted to remind readers about it because the application deadline is fast approaching. Interested applicants should fill out this worksheet to determine their eligibility:

If you would like more information about the program, you may visit

What's Up Next Week

Next week the House is expected to consider the Energy and Water appropriations bill.

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

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