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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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August 7, 2014

Border Legislation – Part Two

As I wrote last week, Republican leadership did not have the votes within their own caucus to pass legislation addressing the immigration crisis along our southern border, and would not compromise with Democrats to gain some bipartisan support. The border legislation was removed from the schedule Thursday. On Friday morning, the Republican Caucus met to discuss a way forward so an updated response to the border crisis could be considered before the House adjourned. As a result, the House voted on two bills Friday, a supplemental appropriations bill for the border crisis and another bill related to the President’s deferred action program. I voted NO on both.

Supplemental Appropriations

H.R. 5230, Making Supplemental Appropriations for FY 2014 was the first bill considered. It makes close to $700 million available, substantially less than the $3.7 billion the Administration requested and $2 billion less than the Senate proposal. Well over half of the funding provided was allocated to the Department of Homeland Security for processing unaccompanied children and handling transportation for them. While H.R. 5230 includes $405 million for processing and transport, only $197 million was appropriated to care for the children while they wait for their cases to be heard. This money will be used for shelter, food, medical care and other necessities. H.R. 5230 allocated funds to the Department of Defense to send additional National Guard troops to the border and to the Department of Justice so more immigration judges could be hired to process cases.

H.R. 5230 is paid for by taking money away from other agencies, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of State. Despite the obvious emergency nature of this spending, Republicans insisted on offsetting the cost. I have detailed in recent newsletters the tax credits that the House keeps passing without any offsets. Funding that is clearly emergency in nature must be found by cutting other programs but tax credits need not be fully paid for. The Administration has stated that H.R. 5230 will be vetoed. I voted NO. H.R. 5230 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

222

4

0

7

DEMOCRAT

1

185

0

13

TOTAL

223

189

0

20

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

More Immigration

On Friday the House also considered H.R. 5272, the No New DREAMers Act. This legislation seeks to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA applies to children who have been brought to the United States illegally through no fault of their own. Absent Congressional action, the Obama Administration in 2012 established the DACA program to give them the opportunity to remain in the United States if certain conditions are met. H.R. 5272 eliminates that program and makes it easier to deport the children as well as their families. The legislation also has an impact far beyond the DREAMers. It denies work authorization to many immigrants who, under current law, would be eligible for it. For example, under H.R. 5272 an immigrant woman who is being abused by her lawful permanent resident husband can seek relief through the Violence against Women Act. She would be eligible for employment authorization while waiting for an immigrant visa. A person seeking asylum can apply for employment authorization 180 days after their asylum application has been filed. Many of these cases take years to resolve and current law allows the asylum seekers to pursue employment. H.R. 5272 would deny them the opportunity to work. I voted NO. H.R. 5272 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

212

11

0

10

DEMOCRAT

4

181

1

13

TOTAL

216

192

1

23

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

8

0

1

Google

After Friday’s votes, the House began a District Work Period. I was pleased to join Google employees Tuesday at the official opening of their new connected campus in Cambridge’s Kendall Square. Massachusetts has long played a significant role in the high technology revolution. Google’s expanded presence in Cambridge opens up a wealth of additional employment as well as opportunities for innovation. The new integrated facility is impressive and I enjoyed spending time with the staffers, learning more about their work developing the next innovation.

Community Builders/Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future

I met Tuesday with the Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) and the Community Builders to talk about affordable housing policy in Massachusetts. SAHF is a collection of national nonprofit organizations working to make affordable housing available. SAHF was interested in learning more about what the Financial Services Committee will focus on in the fall, particularly as it relates to affordable housing. We had a lively discussion about the importance of making sure that families are not priced out of expensive urban areas and the role that government can play in making resources available to preserve housing.

Somerville Homeless Coalition

I spent some time this week with the Somerville Homeless Coalition, talking with staff about the role they are playing locally in reducing homelessness and the work they do to prevent homelessness. The coalition provides support for families and individuals at risk of homelessness, helping them access resources and locate affordable housing opportunities. Some of the services the coalition provides include employment assistance, educational counseling and food pantries. The coalition also operates shelters in the area. We talked about how staffers are working to reduce homelessness and the difficulty in finding enough resources to support additional programming. I thanked the staff for their great work.

Endangered Species Legislation - Correction

Last week an alert reader let us know that the voting chart for H.R. 4315, the 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act was incomplete. We apologize for the error and include the complete record below. Thanks to our reader for pointing this out. I voted NO. H.R. 4315 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

219

8

0

6

DEMOCRAT

14

182

0

3

TOTAL

233

190

0

9

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

What’s Up Next Week

A District Work Period has been scheduled.

Mike


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

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