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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

April 27, 2012

Student Loans

Today the House considered H.R. 4628: Interest Rate Reduction Act. The current student loan interest rate stands at 3.4%. It is scheduled to double on July 1st and H.R. 4628 delays that action for one year, at a cost of $6 billion. The increase is paid for by repealing the Prevention and Public Health Fund which is used for initiatives such as breast and cervical cancer screenings, childhood immunizations and screenings for birth defects. This effort is just another attempt to weaken the important reforms in health care achieved by the Affordable Care Act. Bill drafters could have just taken $6 billion from the fund, but in the interest of “deficit reduction”, they chose to eliminate it altogether. You may recall that last week the House passed a 20% tax cut on all businesses with less than 500 employees, which represents 99.6% of all businesses in the country. That tax cut costs $46 billion for one year — and it wasn't offset one penny. The President has already stated that he will veto H.R. 4628. Congress should delay this interest rate increase and there are other proposals to do just that — they would pass easily and leave health care reform alone. House leaders should take up one of those measures instead of a bill that they know is a nonstarter. I voted NO. H.R. 4628 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:





















Cyber Intelligence

Yesterday the House considered H.R. 3523: Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. This legislation requires that procedures be developed to facilitate the sharing of information regarding cyber threats between private entities and the government. H.R. 3523 also gives the private sector the authority to determine how much information it will share with the government and other entities. I could not support this bill because of my concerns over personal privacy. The bill simply does not provide enough safeguards over the personal information that would be shared and it doesn't properly define limits placed on the government when it comes to the use of that information. President Obama has also threatened to veto this bill. I voted NO. H.R. 3523 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:





















Environmental Business Council

On Monday I attended the Environmental Business Council of New England's (EBC) legislative affairs briefing. The Environmental Business Council is an association of environmental and energy companies established to encourage the growth of the environmental industry. Member businesses range in size from one person initiatives to companies with more than 1,000 employees. I spoke with the group about what is happening in Washington, particularly with respect to energy, the environment and climate change. I also participated in a question and answer session, with topics ranging from the state of environmental legislation to the economy and the climate in Washington. I always enjoy exchanges like these and I thank the EBC for the invitation.

Maintaining Competitiveness

This week MIT invited me to participate in the Science, Engineering and Technology Congressional Visits Day Breakfast. Members of the scientific community gathered on Capitol Hill to advocate for continued research and innovation. Participants from all over the country urged the importance of maintaining funding for scientific research, technology and engineering. Such investments create jobs and help the U.S. stay competitive. Those in attendance included scientists, engineers and educators. I appreciated the invitation to talk with forum attendees. Several weeks ago, I also had the chance to meet with a group of MIT students who came to DC with a similar message. They were participating in Stand with Science, an effort to generate support for scientific and research funding. I am a strong supporter of this funding because of the clear impact it can have on our economy, particularly in Massachusetts. Growth through innovation has always been vital to our nation and it will undoubtedly play a role in our economic recovery.


This morning, I joined several other members of the House Sudan Caucus in meeting with Ambassador Susan Rice, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and Ambassador Princeton Lyman, the U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan. As you may know, tensions between Sudan and South Sudan have increased dramatically in the last few weeks as both countries have engaged in military attacks as well as heightened rhetoric. I am particularly concerned about the impact a return to war could have on the people of both Sudans, given that so many are already suffering from food insecurity and a lack of access to basic services. Ambassador Rice has been a strong leader on this issue and has used the U.S. presidency of the Security Council for the month of April to press for negotiations. I spoke with both ambassadors about the influence China and Russia have on the process, and I emphasized my skepticism about the willingness of the regime in Khartoum to deal in good faith. The Sudan Caucus is grateful for the work Ambassador Rice and Ambassador Lyman have been doing, and we remain committed to working for peace in the Sudans.

What's Up Next

A District Work period has been scheduled for next week. Votes will take place in the House on Monday May 7th.

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

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