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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


12,360 subscribers

December 12, 2014

Federal Spending

On Thursday the House considered the Senate Amendment to H.R. 83, Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015. This is a funding bill to keep the federal government operating in Fiscal Year 2015. It is being described as a “cromnibus” bill because it includes funding for 11 of 12 appropriations bills through the end of the current fiscal year and partial funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – so it is both a continuing resolution and an omnibus bill. The DHS is only funded through the end of February because Republicans want an opportunity in the next Congress, when they have the majority in the Senate, to take action on the President’s recent executive orders on immigration.

Because my wife Barbara was still in the hospital recovering from surgery I was not in Washington on Thursday but would have voted NO. Two provisions in particular were very concerning to me. First, this legislation raises the amount of money that an individual can give to party committees by more than $200,000. This is just outrageous. I think that the current limit of $97,200 is already way too high and this bill raises that limit to $324,000. It also doesn’t belong in legislation funding the government, with little opportunity for debate. I was also concerned about language amending the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. It would weaken a provision in the law that requires banks to separate their derivatives and swap dealing activities by moving them to subsidiaries backed by private investment capital rather than Federal deposit insurance. The intent of the Dodd-Frank requirement is to reduce the overall risk to banks and to the public by isolating speculative financial transactions and prohibiting public support for such activities. This legislation essentially guts that provision. I led the fight in the Financial Services Committee against weakening this provision when separate legislation was being debated last year. I would have voted NO. The “cromnibus” passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

162

67

0

5

DEMOCRAT

57

139

0

5

TOTAL

219

206

0

10

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

8

0

1

TRIA

On Wednesday the House considered S. 2244, Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (TRIA). S. 2244 extends TRIA for six years and increases the amount of losses that would make insurance companies eligible to access TRIA from $100 million to $200 million over five years. TRIA was passed in the aftermath of 9/11 after terrorism insurance suddenly became unaffordable and limited. The high cost of terrorism insurance stymied activity in many industries, affecting workers compensation coverage and halting new construction. TRIA created a federal backstop to help make terrorism insurance available and affordable again. The measure has twice been extended and is set to expire on December 31st.

I have introduced legislation on TRIA starting in 2004. Most recently I worked with my Republican colleague, Rep. Peter King, in advance of this year’s program expiration. I have always been open to compromise and willing to work in a bipartisan manner so that TRIA does not expire. It took too long to get to this point, particularly when the program has so much bipartisan support. I was disappointed that S. 2244 also included some changes to the Dodd-Frank Act having to do with non-financial swap transactions. S. 2244 should not be the vehicle that House Republicans use to amend Dodd Frank. I do not think, however, that a relatively noncontroversial change should jeopardize extending TRIA. I was not present for this vote because my wife had her surgery on Wednesday. If I had been present I would have voted YES. S. 2244 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

221

7

0

5

DEMOCRAT

196

0

0

5

TOTAL

417

7

0

10

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

8

0

0

1

What’s Up Next Week

The House has adjourned for the year.

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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