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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


11,964 subscribers

July 18, 2014

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the 298 souls who perished on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. This is a terrible tragedy and the United States should do all it can to assist in the aftermath. There are many questions at this early stage and it will take time to gather information. The investigation must be open, transparent and impartial. I hope investigators can quickly conclude exactly how this outrageous act occurred and confirm who is responsible.

Transportation

This week the House considered H.R. 5021, the Transportation and Highway Funding Act. As you may know, the Highway Trust Fund, which helps finance transportation projects in communities all over the country, is scheduled to run out of money in August. Federal gas tax revenue goes into the trust fund and is used exclusively for those projects. At the end of September, the legislation authorizing transportation funding will expire. Allowing these two deadlines to pass without action would be disastrous. H.R. 5021 replenishes the Highway Trust Fund and reauthorizes transportation programs through May 31, 2015.

Although I voted for H.R. 5021, I am very disappointed that the House did not do more. Historically, the surface transportation bill has been a bipartisan effort. Every Member of Congress has roads, bridges or subway systems in need of repair; and new projects in need of funding. Historically, Congress has also taken a long term approach to transportation funding, passing multi-year authorizations. This gives states some certainly because they have a good idea of how much federal money will be available from year to year. The federal gas tax has not been increased in more than two decades and is just not enough to keep up with our country’s transportation needs. There is little agreement in Congress over how to pay for transportation so the House opted for a short term solution. I voted YES. H.R. 5021 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

181

45

0

7

DEMOCRAT

186

10

0

3

TOTAL

367

55

0

10

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

9

0

0

0

More Appropriations

The House also considered H.R. 5016, Financial Services and General Government Appropriations. This legislation contains more than a half billion less in funding than fiscal year 2014 for the Treasury Department and other agencies. The budget for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is subject to significant cuts which will impact the office’s ability to process tax returns and conduct audits. H.R. 5016 weakens the Affordable Care Act (ACA), by prohibiting the IRS from doing any work on the tax provisions that are part of the ACA. It also prohibits the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from providing the IRS with funds for anything related to the ACA. H.R. 5016 seeks to alter the Dodd –Frank financial regulatory reform law by changing the way that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Office of Financial Research (OFR) are funded. H.R. 5016 would require that their budgets go through the appropriations process. This gives Republican leadership the opportunity to weaken the CFPB and the OFR by drastically reducing funding, which would limit the scope of their work protecting consumers. H.R. 5016 prohibits the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from using any portion of their budget to craft rules regarding the disclosure of political contributions. I voted NO. H.R. 5016 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

222

4

0

7

DEMOCRAT

6

191

0

2

TOTAL

228

195

0

9

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

Tax Extenders

Yesterday the House considered H.R. 4719, the Fighting Hunger Incentive Act. This legislation makes 5 tax cuts permanent without offsetting their cost. Because these tax cuts aren’t paid for, they will increase the deficit by more than $16 billion over ten years. It’s worth noting that Republican leadership in the House won’t consider extending unemployment insurance for those still seeking work unless the cost is offset, but won’t apply that condition on tax cuts. I voted NO. H.R. 4719 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

221

1

0

11

DEMOCRAT

56

129

0

14

TOTAL

277

130

0

25

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

1

8

0

0

What’s Up Next Week

The next votes will take place on Tuesday July 22nd. The House is expected to consider H.R. 3136 – Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act, H.R. 4984 – Empowering Students through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act, H.R. 3393 – Student and Family Tax Simplification Act and H.R. 4935 - Child Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2014.

Mike


Congressman Mike Capuano
7th District, Massachusetts
Committee on Ethics
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee on Financial Services

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District Offices:

110 First Street, Cambridge
Roxbury Community College Campus Library, Room 211, Boston
Stetson Hall Room 124, 6 South Main Street, Randolph

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DC Office:

1414 Longworth Building, Washington, DC 20515

DC Office Phone:

(202) 225-5111

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