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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

March 4, 2016

Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program

On Wednesday the House considered H.R. 3716, the Ensuring Removal of Terminated Providers from Medicaid and CHIP Act. This legislation is a combination of two bills designed to strengthen Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) a health care provider who has been banned from participating in one state’s Medicaid program cannot participate in any other state’s Medicaid program. This provision has been difficult to enforce because uniform standards do not exist for reporting and sharing this information between states. H.R. 3716 mandates that all states provide the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with information about banned providers so that it may be included in an existing HHS database. The legislation also requires HHS to develop specific rules regarding what states must share with them so all states are reporting information in the same way. H.R. 3716 also requires states to maintain electronic provider directories which make it easier for patients to access that information. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that H.R. 3716 will save $28 million over ten years. I voted YES. H.R. 3716 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

235

0

0

10

DEMOCRAT

171

0

0

17

TOTAL

406

0

0

27

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

9

0

0

0

Environmental Regulation

Yesterday the House considered H.R. 4557, the Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns Act. This legislation is simply a way to impede the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to implement two rules targeting air pollution generated by the brick and clay ceramics industry: the Brick and Structural Clay Products rule and the Clay Ceramics Manufacturing rule. H.R. 4557 prevents the implementation of these rules until all legal actions associated with them, including all appeals, have been completed. This will indefinitely delay the implementation of rules designed to limit the environmental impact of air pollutants generated by the brick and clay industry, I voted NO. H.R. 4557 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

231

0

0

14

DEMOCRAT

7

163

0

18

TOTAL

238

163

0

32

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

Officer Sean Collier Campus Police Recognition Act

This week I re-introduced the “Officer Sean Collier Campus Police Recognition Act of 2016” in memory of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, who was murdered on April 18, 2013, by those responsible for the tragic bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I first filed this legislation in 2013.

My legislation would add campus police officers to the Department of Justice’s Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program. This federal program provides financial assistance to police officers, firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) who are catastrophically injured in the line of duty. If they are killed, the program provides benefits to eligible family members. The legislation adds campus police officers to the list of public safety personnel eligible to receive benefits under this existing federal program. The change would be retroactive to April 15, 2013 — the day of the marathon bombings.

Officer Collier was a hero who lost his life while doing a job he loved, serving and protecting the MIT community as a member of campus law enforcement. This bill is a small way to honor his memory.

Housing

This week I sent a letter to Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Castro and Federal Housing Finance Agency Director (FHFA) Watt along with 44 of my House colleagues. I have long been concerned about the troubling approach that federal housing agencies are taking toward the foreclosure crisis by selling off distressed properties in bulk to the highest bidder. Instead of making it a priority to keep families in their homes when possible, hundreds and sometimes thousands of mortgages are packaged and sold primarily to hedge funds and private equity funds with little attention being paid to the outcomes of those sales for the homeowners and communities in which these properties are located. This runs contrary to the mission of both HUD and FHFA.

In our letter we urged the agencies to take several steps to improve their programs, including prohibiting companies with a history of troubling mortgage practices from participating. Entities that pay lip service to legitimate loan modification requirements while engaging in unfair or abusive practices should not be able to use government programs to profit from the continuing legacy of the financial and foreclosure crisis. We also suggested the agencies be more forthcoming about how they structure pools of properties for sale; how they deal with vacant versus occupied properties; and what the outcomes of these sales are for homeowners.

We also asked that a greater effort be made to work with purchasers who are committed to both limiting foreclosures and pursuing property disposition strategies that prioritize affordable housing. HUD and FHFA should also make a much greater effort to communicate with state and local governments where these properties are located as well as partner with local and state housing agencies that have built up decades of experience that could be deployed to improve the impacts of these programs on the ground.

I have been expressing concerns about the bulk sales of distressed loans for quite some time and am not satisfied that federal housing agencies are doing enough to address the effects of the foreclosure crisis. While HUD promotes a variety of other programs for distressed communities such as CHOICE Neighborhoods, Promise Zones and Livable Communities, they undercut those efforts by selling off ninety percent of this portfolio to investors looking primarily to profit. In fact, I am concerned that this ‘bulk sale to the highest bidder’ strategy is more likely to contribute to neighborhood destabilization.

What’s Up Next

A District Work week has been scheduled. The next House votes will take place on Monday March 14th.

Mike


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

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Roxbury Community College Campus Library, Room 211, Boston
Stetson Hall Room 124, 6 South Main Street, Randolph

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DC Office:

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DC Office Phone:

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