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Congressman Capuano's
E-UPDATE
An update from the office of U.S. Representative Michael E. Capuano
7th Congressional District of Massachusetts


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July 11, 2014

Green Line Extension

This week we received more good news on the Green Line Extension (GLX). The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) notified the state it approved reimbursement for work that the MBTA is doing on the GLX in advance of getting final FTA approval. This means there won’t be a break in construction on this expanded transit line while the Full Funding Grant Agreement is pending. It represents one more welcome step forward in work to bring the GLX through Somerville and into Medford.

Appropriations

This week the House continued consideration of Fiscal Year Appropriations bills with H.R. 4923, Energy and Water Appropriations. While this bill does contain some provisions that I support, such as additional funding for Army Corps of Engineer projects, I had too many concerns with other portions of it. In particular, H.R. 4923 prevents the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from updating the definition of “navigable water” which has an impact on whether or not they are subject to protection under the Clean Water Act. The bill prohibits the Army Corps of Engineers from including mining and excavation waste in the categories covered under the Clean Water Act. H.R. 4923 also reduces funding for important initiatives such as the research and development of renewable energy. I voted NO. H.R. 4923 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

218

11

0

4

DEMOCRAT

35

159

0

5

TOTAL

253

170

0

9

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

Bonus Depreciation

The House also considered H.R. 4718, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to Modify and Make Permanent Bonus Depreciation. This legislation increases the deficit because its cost is not offset. Bonus depreciation was implemented as a temporary way to help stimulate the economy during the recent economic crisis. It allows businesses to deduct 50% of the cost of certain equipment purchases right away instead of requiring the deduction over a longer period of time. I voted NO. H.R. 4718 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

224

2

0

7

DEMOCRAT

34

158

0

7

TOTAL

258

160

0

14

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

8

0

1

A Note about Spending

As we pass the halfway point of 2014 and approach the September 30th end of the federal fiscal year, I think it’s a good time to take a look at a snapshot of House spending priorities.

The Congress appropriates funds through 12 separate bills. Each piece of legislation funds one or more federal priority. As you can see from the tables below the United States will spend a little over $1 trillion dollars in FY 2014 through discretionary appropriations. Just about half of that money, 48%, will go to non-war Defense priorities (although this does NOT include funds spent in Iraq or Afghanistan).

By way of comparison, China spends about $171 billion on Defense (35% of U.S. spending) and Russia spends about $85 billion (about 17% of U.S. spending). Both those figures represent increases over prior years.

The two tables contain the same information sorted in different ways. The first table is sorted in order of percentage of the FY 2014 budget allocated to various accounts in order to show which items the US government has prioritized.

The second table is sorted in order of bills that receive the largest percentage increase over the last fiscal year according to the House. It also illustrates how the House views each bill for the coming fiscal year. As you can see, three categories received increases, two remained flat and seven received cuts.

The President and Senate each have their own priorities for FY 2015. The differences between the three proposed budgets will be worked out over the next several months.

Table #1 (in Billions)

FY 2014

% of Total

FY 2015 House Allocation

$ Diff

% Change

Non-WAR Defense

$486.9

48.1%

$490.9

$4.0

0.8%

Labor - Health and Human Services - Education

$156.8

15.5%

$155.7

-$1.1

-0.7%

Military Construction & Veterans' Affairs

$73.3

7.2%

$71.5

-$1.8

-2.5%

Commerce, Justice, Science

$51.6

5.1%

$51.2

-$0.4

-0.8%

Transportation & Housing

$50.9

5.0%

$52.0

$1.1

2.2%

State & Foreign Operations

$42.5

4.2%

$42.4

-$0.1

-0.2%

Homeland Security

$39.3

3.9%

$39.2

-$0.1

-0.3%

Energy & Water

$34.1

3.4%

$34.0

-$0.1

-0.3%

Interior & Environmental

$30.1

3.0%

$30.2

$0.1

0.3%

Financial Services

$21.9

2.2%

$21.3

-$0.6

-2.7%

Agriculture

$20.9

2.1%

$20.9

$0.0

0.0%

Legislative Branch

$4.3

0.4%

$4.3

$0.0

0.0%

TOTAL

$1,012.6

$1,013.6

$1.0

0.1%

Table #2 (in Billions)

FY 2014

% of Total

FY 2015 House Allocation

$ Diff

% Change

Transportation & Housing

$50.9

5.0%

$52.0

$1.1

2.2%

Non-WAR Defense

$486.9

48.1%

$490.9

$4.0

0.8%

Interior & Environmental

$30.1

3.0%

$30.2

$0.1

0.3%

Agriculture

$20.9

2.1%

$20.9

$0.0

0.0%

Legislative Branch

$4.3

0.4%

$4.3

$0.0

0.0%

State & Foreign Operations

$42.5

4.2%

$42.4

-$0.1

-0.2%

Homeland Security

$39.3

3.9%

$39.2

-$0.1

-0.3%

Energy & Water

$34.1

3.4%

$34.0

-$0.1

-0.3%

Labor - Health and Human Services - Education

$156.8

15.5%

$155.7

-$1.1

-0.7%

Commerce, Justice, Science

$51.6

5.1%

$51.2

-$0.4

-0.8%

Military Construction & Veterans' Affairs

$73.3

7.2%

$71.5

-$1.8

-2.5%

Financial Services

$21.9

2.2%

$21.3

-$0.6

-2.7%

TOTAL

$1,012.6

$1,013.6

$1.0

0.1%

A few better known agencies in each category include (in order of Table #1)

  • Non-War Defense which includes Intelligence Agencies;
  • Labor-HHS-Education which includes the National Institutes of Health, Pell Grants and job training programs;
  • Military Construction and Veterans’ Services which includes housing for military families and veterans health care services;
  • Commerce, Justice, Science which includes the National Science Foundation, Juvenile Justice grants and the Census Bureau;
  • Transportation and Housing which includes the Community Development Block Grant Program, housing for seniors and the Federal Aviation Administration;
  • State and Foreign Affairs which includes global health initiatives;
  • Homeland Security which includes the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection and the Federal Emergency Management Agency;
  • Energy and Water which includes the Army Corps of Engineers and funding for renewable energy programs;
  • Interior and Environmental which includes the National Park Service and the Environmental Protection Agency;
  • Financial Services which includes the Treasury Department and the Federal Court system as well as many independent agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau;
  • Agriculture which includes the Food and Drug Administration, the Women Infant and Children Program (WIC) and other food assistance programs;
  • Legislative Branch which includes the US Capitol building and its functions.

These are just a few examples that help illustrate the types of programming covered through each appropriations bill and how those bills fall in terms of House budget priorities.

What’s Up Next Week

The next votes will take place on Monday July 14th. The House is scheduled to consider H.R. 5016, Financial Services and General Government Appropriations. The House may also consider legislation related to the Highway Trust Fund.

Mike


Congressman Mike Capuano
7th District, Massachusetts
Committee on Ethics
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.


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