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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

October 2, 2015

Umpqua Community College

My thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their loved ones yesterday as a result of senseless gun violence at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. While there are still many questions that require answers and the investigation into this tragedy is far from complete, what is disturbingly clear is that too many precious lives were taken far too soon. It saddens and troubles me deeply that tragedies such as this one keep happening. The media is reporting today on the shockingly high number of school shootings that have occurred this year alone. I have not given up hope that Congress will finally act on comprehensive gun legislation.

Women’s Health

On Tuesday the House considered H.R. 3495, the Women’s Public Health and Safety Act. This legislation is once again a blatant effort to defund Planned Parenthood. On the same day H.R. 3495 passed, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee conducted a hearing on Planned Parenthood with just one witness – Planned Parenthood President and CEO Cecile Richards. Much has been made of the misleading and discredited videos that anti-choice advocates secretly recorded and those videos were discussed at the hearing, yet Republicans organizing it had no interest in hearing from anyone actually involved with recording them.

H.R. 3495 limits women’s access to important preventative health care and life saving cancer screenings. It gives states the ability to prevent federal Medicaid funds from going to any health care organization that also provides women with access to abortion. It’s worth noting again that decades old federal law already prohibits federal funding from being used for abortion services, unless the circumstances involve rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother.

This legislation also eliminates Medicaid’s “freedom of choice” provision which allows patients to obtain health care from a provider they choose, without regard for the other medical services they may also provide. In many counties all across the United States, Planned Parenthood is the only option for low-income patients seeking family planning and contraceptive counseling. By prohibiting the use of Medicaid funds for covered services, advocates of this legislation are making it much harder for women and men to obtain routine care and cancer screenings. I voted NO. H.R. 3495 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

234

9

0

3

DEMOCRAT

2

184

0

2

TOTAL

236

193

0

5

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

Continuing Resolution

On Wednesday, the last day of the federal fiscal year, the House considered a measure to concur in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 719, Continuing Appropriations for FY 2016. This legislation, which already passed the Senate, funds the federal government through December 11th. I voted YES. The legislation passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

91

151

0

4

DEMOCRAT

186

0

0

2

TOTAL

277

151

0

6

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

9

0

0

0

Defense Authorization

Yesterday the House considered the Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 1735, National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2016. This legislation authorizes funding for the Department of Defense and defense related programming. In order to get around the sequester, money from Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) is used to increase the overall budget for defense. OCO money is not subject to the sequester because it is designated for use on emergencies. By taking this approach, more money can go to the Defense Department without having to compromise the sequester and without having to give additional funds to any other federal programs. I voted NO. The legislation passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

233

10

0

3

DEMOCRAT

37

146

0

5

TOTAL

270

156

0

8

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

8

0

1

Iran

The House yesterday also considered H.R. 3457, Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act. The real purpose of this legislation is to undermine the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Iran nuclear agreement that Congress did not have the votes to block. H.R. 3457 prohibits the President from addressing sanctions against Iran, as already agreed to under the JCPOA, until Iran pays every penny of every pending terrorism related court claim filed by US citizens. This is a serious matter but H.R. 3457 is not a serious effort to address it. Iran does not have adequate funds to pay these claims in full and the money it does have that could be used for these purposes is frozen under the sanctions. I voted NO. H.R. 3457 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

241

0

0

5

DEMOCRAT

10

173

0

5

TOTAL

251

173

0

10

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

8

0

1

Housing

On Wednesday I participated in a rally with other elected leaders, consumer groups, community activists and homeowners to shine a bright light on the troubling approach that federal housing agencies are taking toward the foreclosure crisis. Instead of making it a priority to keep families in their homes when possible, these mortgages are being packaged and sold to the highest bidder. All too often, that bidder is a hedge fund or a private equity firm. Community organizations with a mission to preserve affordable housing cannot compete with money like that.

I have expressed my concerns on numerous occasions - in meetings, Congressional hearings and in writing. I have yet to receive a satisfactory response from anyone. The decision by federal housing agencies to sell off thousands of loans at a time at sharp discounts continues to enrich Wall Street at the expense of neighborhoods and community-based organizations. Housing affordability and neighborhood stability are being sacrificed in favor of the economic interests of the largest financial institutions in America.

Just this week during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) I raised this issue with Director Cordray. These housing policies are not serving the best interests of consumers. Instead, they are displacing people from their homes and fraying the fabric of impacted neighborhoods. I will continue pressing federal housing agencies to right these misguided policies. This recent New York Times article highlighted why this approach has become so problematic.

What’s Up Next

Next House votes are scheduled for Tuesday October 6th. The House is expected to consider the Homebuyers Assistance Act and the Native American Energy Act.

Mike


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

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