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

12,456 subscribers

January 20, 2012

Hearing from You

I wanted to take a moment today to thank you for your interest in this newsletter and for all the feedback we received over the past year, via email, Facebook and other avenues. 2011 was a record year for us in terms of correspondence. We responded to over 41,000 letters and emails sent by constituents on a wide range of topics, from the economy to education and the military. This is close to 17,000 more than 2010 — and that was the year Congress passed health care reform. I am grateful and I am energized by the depth of conviction that is so evident in the calls, letters and emails we receive. It is an honor to represent this district. I hope you will keep writing, calling and posting on Facebook. I know we won’t always agree but I very much appreciate hearing your thoughts on the issues we are facing as a nation. Happy New Year.

Citizens United

This week I asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to establish rules requiring a shareholder vote before corporate general treasury funds are used for political campaigns. The Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (FEC) changed the campaign landscape by classifying corporations as persons, allowing them to spend freely on political campaigns.

You may recall that in of July 2011, I reintroduced H.R. 2517, the Shareholder Protection Act. This bill would require in statute what I asked the SEC to implement this week: a shareholder vote to authorize corporate political spending. H.R. 2517 would require an annual shareholder vote to approve a political spending budget. The corporation would then disclose to shareholders and the SEC the amounts spent and for what purposes. SEC action is another way to accomplish this goal.

In my letter I also asked the SEC to hold roundtable discussions to analyze the impact of the Citizens United decision. That decision has already heavily impacted the 2012 election cycle through the numerous super-PACs that have emerged, many of which do not disclose funding. I am committed to finding ways to address the impact of Citizens United so that the voice of the individual voter is not diminished.


Many constituents contacted us this week to express their opinions about H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). For those who didn’t have the opportunity to check in, I wanted to let you know that I am opposed to this bill. The intent of SOPA is to address online copyright infringement. The legislation is particularly aimed at websites not registered in the United States. SOPA would allow the Department of Justice to shut down access to suspected offending sites for users in the U.S. I am concerned about copyright infringement and we should work together to find ways to protect intellectual property. This bill, however, goes too far. Freedom of expression in America is a fundamental principle and until we can find a balanced way to achieve these goals, I will oppose attempts to limit free speech.

The Debt Ceiling

The House this week considered H.J. Res. 98, Resolution of Disapproval of Increase in the Debt Limit. Under the Budget Control Act passed in August, the President was required to come to Congress when the national debt was within $100 billion of the debt ceiling and to request that the ceiling be raised. However all of the spending cuts imposed by that August legislation are already required by statute. This vote is just a way for some Republicans to vote against raising the debt ceiling even though many of them already voted to raise it last summer when they supported the Budget Control Act. A YES vote on H.J. Res. 98 was a vote to disapprove of the President’s request and a vote against raising the debt ceiling. I voted NO on this resolution because if the debt ceiling does not get raised, we will have to make even more cuts on top of the cuts already mandated. The entire vote is recorded below:





















What’s Up Next Week

Next week the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 1370, legislation to repeal part of health care reform.

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

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