April 8, 2016
The House District Work period continued this week. Votes will resume on Tuesday April 12th.
I met with residents of Fuller Village on Monday to share my thoughts about the issues facing Congress, including the likelihood of making real progress on them in the remaining months of the session. Fuller Village is an independent senior community located in Milton. We had a lively discussion about many topics ranging from health care and the federal budget to transportation and Social Security. I enjoyed meeting with attendees and hearing their thoughts about the issues most impacting them. I thank the Fuller Village residents for their hospitality and look forward to a return visit.
It was my honor to receive the Dr. Joseph H. Brenner Award from the Community Legal Services and Counseling Center (CLSCC), which is based in Cambridge. The award is given in memory of the agency’s founder. CLSCC has been providing essential support and services for persons needing assistance with family, housing, disability, and immigration issues since 1968. More than 100 volunteers, including attorneys, paralegals, interpreters and mental health professionals help the CLSCC offer these services. CLSCC also honored members of my staff for their “advocacy on behalf of immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.” We appreciate the recognition.
National Breast Cancer Coalition
I met with local representatives from the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC). The NBCC advocates for increased funding of breast cancer research studies and has set a goal to eliminate breast cancer by 2020. Too many of us have lost loved ones to this deadly disease and I sincerely hope that the NBCC’s goal will be achieved. As part of their efforts to defeat breast cancer, the coalition is advocating for the passage of H.R. 1197, The Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act. I am a co-sponsor of this important legislation. During our meeting, we talked about the NBCC’s outreach efforts and the prospects for passage of H.R. 1197. The legislation has bipartisan support and I am hopeful that the House will consider it soon.
University of Massachusetts
I participated in a forum, Ethics, Elections and the Future of Democracy, at UMass Boston with Jason Stanley, a professor of philosophy at Yale. Students, faculty and community members attended and asked challenging questions. I enjoyed meeting Professor Stanley and think the audience appreciated our dialogue, both his insights on political language and ideology and my reflections on serving in Congress. I encouraged students to get involved and stay involved because the “future of democracy” depends on them.
Roxbury Community College
I very much enjoy visiting schools, talking with students of all ages and learning about their views on Congress. In addition to meeting with UMass students, I also had the pleasure last night of meeting with students at Roxbury Community College during a government class. We had a great discussion about the challenges facing Congress and how that has a direct impact on our communities. Students asked insightful questions about local and federal issues. I appreciated the invitation to visit the RCC classroom and look forward to spending time on campus again soon.
ICYMI on FB
In case you missed it on my Facebook page this week, I wanted to share with you a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CPBB).
In brief, the CPBB determines that the 17% cut to the IRS since 2010 has forced the agency to reduce staffing levels by 13,000 workers, scale back employee training and delay upgrades to their technology — all of which has led to weakening the IRS’ ability to enforce our tax laws and service taxpayers efficiently. Who do you think benefits the most from all of this — the average taxpayer with a few deductions or the wealthy taxpayer with hundreds of pages of complicated deductions and tax credits?
Just this week, the U.S. Comptroller General informed the Senate Budget Committee that the IRS fails to collect about $385 billion in unpaid taxes each year, which would cover over 70% of this year’s estimated budget deficit. I have to wonder if those 13,000 lost IRS employees would have collected most of that amount.
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What’s Up Next
The House is back in session on Tuesday. At this writing, the legislative schedule is not available.