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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

July 24, 2015

Coal Ash

On Wednesday the House considered H.R. 1734, Improving Coal Combustion Residuals Regulation Act of 2015. This legislation essentially removes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from the regulation of coal ash. After years of review and public commentary, minimum national standards were established for the safe handling of coal ash, which is produced by coal burning power plants. The EPA’s requirements include groundwater protections and restrictions on coal ash storage. H.R. 1734 eliminates the EPA’s minimum requirements and instead gives states the responsibility of developing their own standards. The EPA would have no authority to review state regulations to determine if they adequately protect public health and the environment. I voted NO. H.R. 1734 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

239

1

0

5

DEMOCRAT

19

165

0

4

TOTAL

258

166

0

9

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

Food Labeling

Yesterday the House considered H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015. This legislation prohibits states from establishing mandatory labeling laws for foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Instead, H.R. 1599 requires the Department of Agriculture to develop voluntary guidelines for food manufacturers. It also narrows the circumstances under which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can require disclosures, limiting it to health and safety concerns. Under current regulations, the FDA can require a label to help consumers make more informed choices. I voted NO. H.R. 1599 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

230

12

0

3

DEMOCRAT

45

138

0

5

TOTAL

275

150

0

8

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

8

0

1

Immigration

Yesterday the House also considered H.R. 3009, the Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act. This legislation was developed as a response to the tragic murder of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco by an undocumented immigrant who had been mistakenly released. H.R. 3009 does nothing to address the circumstances that resulted in the loss of Kathryn’s life. The perpetrator was being held by the Federal Bureau of Prisons because he entered this country illegally. He was then transferred to the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office due to a decades old warrant involving marijuana. The District Attorney’s office declined to prosecute and the Sheriff’s office then released him without informing federal immigration officials.

Nothing in H.R. 3009 would have prevented any of the actions detailed above. The legislation withholds federal criminal justice grants from communities with policies limiting the circumstances under which someone’s immigration status can be determined and shared. Many communities have policies like this in order to encourage cooperation with law enforcement in the interest of protecting public safety. Victims of violent crimes should not fear coming forward to testify against criminals because they fear a review of their immigration status. This is especially relevant in circumstances of domestic violence. H.R. 3009 basically requires local law enforcement to act as immigration officials or risk losing funds that are used to help keep their communities safe. Numerous organizations, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Fraternal Order of Police oppose H.R. 3009. I voted NO. H.R. 3009 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

235

5

0

5

DEMOCRAT

6

174

0

8

TOTAL

241

179

0

13

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

1

8

0

0

What’s Up Next

Votes are scheduled for Monday July 27th. The House is expected to consider H.R. 427, Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2015 and H.R. 1994, the VA Accountability Act of 2015.

Mike


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

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