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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

November 6, 2015

Transportation

Yesterday the House passed H.R. 22, the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act (DRIVE Act). This legislation authorizes $325 billion for highway and transit programs over six years, through Fiscal Year 2021. The overall amount is consistent with what was allocated in the previous authorization, with adjustments made for inflation.

H.R. 22 now moves to a Conference Committee, which is a bipartisan bicameral process for working out the differences between House and Senate passed bills. I am serving on the Conference Committee for this legislation. Although I supported it yesterday, this is not the same bill the committee passed. Some of the provisions added during floor debate are problematic and they concern me. I will work very hard as a member of the Conference Committee to address those provisions and improve this legislation. I voted YES on H.R. 22 yesterday. It passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

191

52

0

2

DEMOCRAT

180

2

0

6

TOTAL

371

54

0

8

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

9

0

0

0

Defense Authorization

Yesterday the House also considered S. 1356, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016. This legislation authorizes funding for the Department of Defense and defense related programming. It is a revised version of the legislation recently vetoed by President Obama because money from Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) was used to increase the overall budget for defense, thus getting around the sequester. S. 1356 was drafted in keeping with last week’s budget agreement. However, the legislation still contained provisions that made it difficult to support. For example, it includes language that will make it harder to close the Guantanamo Bay prison. I voted NO. The legislation passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

235

9

0

1

DEMOCRAT

135

49

0

4

TOTAL

370

58

0

5

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

5

4

0

0

Syria

As I explained last week, I am deeply concerned about the President’s decision to send U.S. Special Forces to Syria. I wanted to share with you the text of a letter that I sent to President Obama:

“Dear Mr. President:

I write with grave concern about the deployment of US Special Forces to Syria. I have many questions, constitutional as well as issues of foreign and defense policy, and respectfully request answers as soon as your many responsibilities permit you to reply.

First, Article one, section 8, of the Constitution entrusts Congress with the authority to declare War. On what legal ground, therefore, do you send troops into harm’s way when there is no imminent threat to the United States?

Second, what do you seek to accomplish with this deployment? If it is part of your expressed aim to “defeat and degrade” ISIS, why have you not sought Congressional authorization for war against the Caliphate?

Could you clarify the commitments and contributions of other members of the “60-nation coalition” against ISIS in the two months since you announced the formation of the coalition?

Third, what do you believe to be the aim of Russian and Iranian forces in Syria? Are we concerting our efforts with theirs? If not, have measures been taken to prevent accidental clashes with them?

Lastly, if your aim is to work with Russia and Iran to “deconflict" Syria,” how does this deployment advance that aim? Please also explain what institutions and forms of governance you believe could form the basis of a peaceful Syria?

I urge you to come to Congress to describe your vision for Syria and the wider Middle East and to work with us in authorizing such efforts as will uphold both our interests and our principles”.

CC: The Honorable John Kerry, Secretary of State

What’s Up Next

A District Work Week is scheduled. The next House votes will occur on Monday November 16th.

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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DC Office Phone:

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