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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


12,169 subscribers

October 30, 2015

A Note about Recent Events

Washington is certainly never dull and always interesting. Although I never believed Congress would allow the United States to reach the debt limit and default on its bills, I was not optimistic about reaching a bipartisan agreement on the federal budget for any significant length of time. The agreement reached this week is not fantastic – but it’s not that bad either. This is particularly true when we remember Republicans control both the House and the Senate. So what happened?

It certainly appears to me that John Boehner meant it when he said: “I want to clean out the barn before I leave.” There are many who believe this week’s agreement could never have happened if a Republican Speaker of the House wanted to keep his job — and the only way Boehner could accomplish this bipartisan effort was on his way out the door.

Newly elected Speaker Paul Ryan is now not faced with the immediate crisis of breaching the debt limit which was looming next week. The Tea Party will certainly continue working to advance their extreme agenda. Since they are neither stupid nor defeated, it will be interesting to see what they do next to influence the conversation in D.C. I wish Mr. Boehner well and I thank him for his service.

Syria

Just today the President announced he is sending U.S. Special Forces to Syria. We are told they will serve in an advisory capacity only and will not be participating in combat. I am deeply concerned about this move for many reasons and have many questions.

What will the United States do when (not if, but when) U.S. troops are under fire or killed? What is our long term goal? Is it defeating ISIS, removing Assad or both? Whatever the goal may be, how does the action announced today advance that goal?

Moreover, what is the legal justification for any President to unilaterally send U.S. troops into a situation that does not immediately threaten our safety and into which we have not been invited by the recognized government?

In the days ahead, I expect to hear more from the Administration about this action. I look forward to getting answers to the questions I have raised about this serious and dangerous matter.

The Budget Agreement

On Wednesday the House considered H.R. 1314, the Bipartisan Budget Agreement. This legislation suspends the debt limit until March of 2017, providing some much needed stability to the economy. Without action by Congress, the federal government could not have paid bills already incurred after November 3rd. H.R. 1314 also establishes funding parameters for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. It raises the sequester cap by $80 billion over the two fiscal years, equally divided between defense and nondefense spending. It is far from a perfect bill but it addresses some significant immediate needs. Congress must still finalize fiscal year 2016 appropriations by December 11th but now that funding levels have been agreed to, this process should proceed much more smoothly. I voted YES. The legislation passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

79

167

0

1

DEMOCRAT

187

0

0

1

TOTAL

266

167

0

2

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

9

0

0

0

Investment Protections

On Tuesday the House considered H.R. 1090, the Retail Investor Protection Act. Under current federal rules retirement advisors are eligible for commissions on the products they recommend. In determining which investment products to advance, advisors need only consider the investment’s suitability for their clients, not whether it serves the client’s best interest which is a higher standard. Due to the obvious financial incentive that exists for financial advisors, the Department of Labor (DOL) has been drafting conflict-of-interest rules to ensure client needs are prioritized by requiring advisors to recommend products that are in the “best interests” of their clients. H.R. 1090 prohibits the DOL from implementing its rules until after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) updates rules governing broker conduct. This effectively delays the consumer protections that the DOL has been working on for 5 years. I voted NO. H.R. 1090 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

242

2

0

2

DEMOCRAT

3

184

0

1

TOTAL

245

186

0

3

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

The Export-Import Bank

In July the charter for the Export-Import Bank expired. A number of Republicans oppose the bank and because of that opposition House leadership refused to place its charter renewal on the schedule. House Democrats and many Republicans who do support the Export-Import Bank joined forces to advance a discharge petition, a procedural tool that allows legislation to skip the committee process if a majority of House members support it. If enough Members sign the discharge petition the rules require that the legislation be brought up for a vote.

On Tuesday the House considered H.R. 597, the Export-Import Bank Reform and Reauthorization Act of 2015 which reauthorizes the bank for four years. The Export-Import Bank provides eligible businesses with financing to export goods and services when private sector resources are not available or sufficient. It has helped to level the playing field overseas, creating jobs and supporting local businesses. I voted YES. H.R. 597 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

127

117

0

2

DEMOCRAT

186

1

0

1

TOTAL

313

118

0

3

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

9

0

0

0

What’s Up Next

Votes are scheduled for Monday November 2nd. The House is expected to consider the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015.

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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Stetson Hall Room 124, 6 South Main Street, Randolph

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DC Office Phone:

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