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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


11,853 subscribers

December 5, 2014

A Note about This Week

You will notice that I missed some votes in the House this week. My wife Barbara broke her ankle Monday so I flew back to Massachusetts to be with her and assist with medical appointments. She requires minor surgery which is scheduled for next week. As a result, I will miss some days of voting next week as well. Barbara and I both thought it was important to share with you the reason for my absences. Word travels fast and many have already asked what they can do to help her. We thank you and appreciate it. We are fortunate to have a large network of family close by and need only your good wishes. As you will see below, I didnít vote on the legislation described in this newsletter, but wanted you to know how I would have voted and why.

Green Line Extension

We received some great news this week about the Green Line Extension. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has submitted a commitment letter to Congress detailing its intent to issue a Full Funding Grant Agreement for the GLX. This is largely a formality and represents the final phase of securing nearly $1 billion in federal funding for the Green Line Extension. So many of us have made expanding the Green Line a priority and have worked years to reach this milestone. The FTAís announcement brings us significantly closer to experiencing increased Green Line access, which brings with it economic and environmental benefits.

Human Rights Campaign

My office has received thousands of postcards from the Human Rights Campaign and residents throughout Massachusetts, asking that I support H.R. 1755, the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA). I am an original cosponsor of H.R. 1755. I am heartened but certainly not surprised that so many of my fellow Massachusetts residents support this important legislation. ENDA prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. I am proud that ENDA is one of the first pieces of legislation that I sponsored as a new Member of Congress and I will continue working to advance the important protections that it represents for the LGBT community.

The Muddy River

I recently joined Senators Warren and Markey and other members of the Massachusetts House delegation in urging President Obama to include support for the Muddy River Restoration Project in his FY 2016 budget. We specifically asked that he request funding so the Army Corps of Engineers could expand both environmental restoration and flood control. The project is a long term initiative to mitigate flooding in parts of Boston and Brookline where the river is located. An important component of this effort is also anti-erosion landscaping along the river bank. I have been working with many stakeholders on the Muddy River since taking office. This fall, a number of institutions, including Wheelock College, the Medical Academic and Scientific Community Organization (MASCO), the Conservation Law Foundation and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum also wrote to the President, urging his support for these efforts. A great deal of progress has already been made but challenges remain to restore the river to its former glory as well as to address flooding issues. This beautiful river is central to Frederick Law Olmstedís Emerald Necklace and we are hopeful that the federal government will continue partnering with state and local advocates to complete the riverís transformation.

The ABLE Act

On Wednesday the House considered H.R. 647, the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014. Under current tax law, families can build 529 education savings accounts for their children. Parents of children with disabilities do not have access to the same tax benefits when saving for the future expenses of their children. H.R. 647 establishes Section 529A of the tax code for families of children with disabilities. It allows families to build an account for their children that will cover qualified needs such as housing, education and health care. Families of children with disabilities often have significant financial pressure and H.R. 647 gives them the ability to establish a savings account to help fund basic life expenses for their children. It also gives parents the ability to establish a small measure of financial security for their adult children. I would have voted YES on H.R. 647, which passed in the House and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

221

5

0

7

DEMOCRAT

183

12

0

6

TOTAL

404

17

0

13

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

8

0

0

1

Tax Extenders

On Wednesday the House also considered H.R. 5771, the Tax Increase Prevention Act. This legislation extends a number of tax provisions that either expired at the end of 2013 or at some point in 2014. Some of the tax provisions that H.R. 5771 extends include the Research and Development Tax Credit and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. If I had been in Washington I would have voted YES on H.R. 5771 which passed in the House. The entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

202

26

0

5

DEMOCRAT

176

20

0

5

TOTAL

378

46

0

10

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

8

0

0

1

Defense Authorization

On Thursday the House considered the House and Senate Agreement on the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. This legislation provides funding authorization for the Department of Defense. While it contains a number of provisions that I do support, such as improving the militaryís sexual assault response process and a small pay increase for the military, I would not have voted for this legislation. It also authorizes the Department of Defense to continue training Syrian rebels and providing them with equipment. It does not contain a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). I continue to feel strongly that Congress must be consulted about foreign and defense policy, with regard to ISIS and other conflicts, and, further, that authorization to use force requires a separate vote. These decisions are too important to be included in financial authorization bills. I would have voted NO on the Defense Authorization. It passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

194

32

0

7

DEMOCRAT

106

87

0

8

TOTAL

300

119

0

15

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

2

6

0

1

Immigration

Yesterday the House also considered H.R. 5759, Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act. This legislation is the House Republican response to the recent executive action that President Obama took regarding immigration. The President acted in the absence of any progress on comprehensive immigration reform. The Senate passed a bill well over a year ago. Rather than considering the Senate passed bill or submitting one of their own, House Republicans offered H.R. 5759, seeking to undo the Presidentís recent actions. Itís worth noting that the President has the legal authority under current law to implement the immigration reforms he recently announced. I would have voted NO on H.R. 5759, which passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

216

7

3

7

DEMOCRAT

3

190

0

8

TOTAL

219

197

0

15

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

8

0

1

Whatís Up Next Week

The next House votes are scheduled for Tuesday December 9th. The current continuing resolution expires on December 11th and the House is expected to consider legislation funding the federal government beyond that date.

Mike


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

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Stetson Hall Room 124, 6 South Main Street, Randolph

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