An update from the office of U.S. Representative Michael E. Capuano 7th Congressional District of Massachusetts
May 30, 2014
Our veterans have sacrificed for our country and they deserve the best care our nation can provide. I am very disturbed about reports of unacceptable levels of service at some VA facilities around the country. Now that Secretary Shinseki has stepped aside, any distractions related to his leadership have been removed and attention should rightfully be focused on our veterans. I hope and expect that officials can work quickly to determine the cause and extent of the problems. Most important, they must make sure that nothing like this ever happens again.
This week the House continued consideration of Fiscal Year 2015 appropriations bills with H.R. 4660, FY 2015 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations. The bill provides $398 million less than last year. Although I am encouraged by some of the billís provisions, such as increases in National Science Foundation (NSF) funding, I could not support it because of some of the other cuts. For example, juvenile justice grants were cut by 12%. H.R. 4660 also provides no funding for the fishery habitat restoration program, which is an important initiative for Massachusetts. The legislation greatly reduces the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) funding for climate research and would go as far as prohibiting funds for the National Climate Assessment and numerous other scientific studies on these issues. More funding should be dedicated to understanding climate change, not less. In addition, an amendment was added on the floor that prohibits any trade agreements establishing limits on greenhouse gas emissions. I am also concerned about some of the gun provisions in this bill. For example, H.R. 4660 specifically prohibits the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) to enforce requirements that federal firearm licensees (FFLs) conduct periodic inventories of their stock to determine if anything is unaccounted for. This requirement means that law enforcement will have faster access to information about missing firearms. I voted NO. H.R. 4660 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:
The House also considered H.R. 4681, the Fiscal Year 2014 and 2015 Intelligence Authorization Act. I simply could not support this bill. I think most of you know how I feel about the steady erosion of our privacy rights. H.R. 4681 does nothing to balance privacy and security. There are no changes to current government policy when it comes to acknowledging the privacy rights of U.S. citizens. The legislation simply funds intelligence programs at current or higher levels. In my opinion U.S. policies on privacy have been of great concern, under both the Bush and Obama Administrations. Unless serious action is taken, our precious civil liberties will slowly erode and it will become even more difficult to strike the proper balance between privacy and security. I voted NO. H.R. 4681 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:
Whatís Up Next Week
A District Work period has been scheduled. The next House votes will take place on Monday June 9th.
Congressman Mike Capuano
7th District, Massachusetts
Committee on Ethics
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee on Financial Services
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