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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

May 20, 2016

EgyptAir

I extend my deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones on the EgyptAir flight that crashed Thursday morning. As investigators continue working to determine the cause of this tragedy, I am keeping all the grieving families in my heart. I am encouraged that many nations are cooperating to find the cause. The United States should be prepared to support international efforts to protect civil aviation.

Green Line Extension

In case you missed it, wanted to share my op-ed about the Green Line Extension and local investment that appeared in todayís Boston Globe.

South Sudan

I remain deeply troubled about the ongoing crisis in South Sudan. In the coming weeks the United Nations Security Council will consider whether to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on South Sudanís warring parties. Rep. Brian Higgins and I believe such action is necessary. We shared our thoughts on this matter in an op-ed published on WBURís website Friday.

Zika Virus

On Wednesday the House considered H.R. 5243, the Zika Response Appropriations Act of 2016. The Zika virus is primarily spread to humans through mosquitoes. Pregnant women who are infected are at risk of delivering babies with abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains. This birth defect is known as microcephaly. In February the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Zika virus a ďPublic Health Emergency of International ConcernĒ. The Obama Administration requested $1.9 billion in emergency funding several months ago to prepare for an inevitable increase in the presence of the Zika virus in the United States. This legislation provides $622 million, significantly less than requested. Funding for all aspects of this public health emergency are greatly underfunded, including mosquito control, treatment of infected individuals and vaccine development. I am also concerned that this funding is not designated as an emergency appropriation. Funds appropriated through H.R. 5243 are only available through September 30th. This is simply not enough time to direct funds to qualified scientists for research on Zika, and certainly not enough time to actually complete any of it. This legislation is a woefully inadequate response to a growing public health emergency. I voted NO. H.R. 5243 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

238

4

0

3

DEMOCRAT

3

180

0

5

TOTAL

241

184

0

8

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

Defense Authorization

On Wednesday the House also considered H.R. 4909, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017. H.R. 4909 is troubling on a number of levels. It provides funding for items that the Department of Defense (DOD) has not requested, such as additional planes, rather than designating that money for more urgent needs. The legislation is also partially funded by using the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account, which is a way to get around the budget caps already agreed to through the Bipartisan Budget Act. It effectively increases defense spending without also enhancing spending for non-defense priorities. I have never agreed with funding war efforts in this manner. If the United States conducts a war, the public has a right to know the cost. The government must be accountable to the people in all that it does. Moreover, even if one could support war funding through the OCO, this legislation allows the DOD to move these so-called emergency war funds into other accounts to pay for items NOT related to the immediate war effort. The Administration has stated that H.R. 4909 will be vetoed. I voted NO. H.R. 4909 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

237

5

0

3

DEMOCRAT

40

142

0

6

TOTAL

277

147

0

9

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

1

8

0

0

Appropriations

Yesterday the House considered H.R. 4974, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations. This is the first of 12 appropriations bills that will fund the federal government for the next fiscal year. House Republicans did not bring a Fiscal Year 2017 budget to the floor for consideration so the annual appropriations process has begun without a framework that outlines spending levels. Last year, President Obama issued an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against their employees because of their sexual orientation. An amendment was added to H.R. 4974 nullifying this action. I am deeply disappointed in this effort.

Iíd like to note that Republican leadership promised never to hold a vote open for the purposes of convincing Members to change their vote, yet thatís exactly what they did for about 45 minutes. This occurred over an amendment to ensure non-discrimination against LGBT persons in the military. When the allotted time for the vote ended, the amendment had passed with about 220 votes. Over the next 20 minutes, Republican leadership, led by Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy, got to work and changed at least 7 votes in order to kill the amendment by 1 vote. A similar amendment actually passed last year Ė and 30 Republicans who voted for it last year switched their vote this year. I wonít speculate here as to why they would change their minds and deny protection to a vulnerable population. Iíll leave that speculation to you. The Administration has stated that H.R. 4974 will be vetoed. I voted NO. H.R. 4974 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

238

4

0

3

DEMOCRAT

57

125

0

6

TOTAL

295

129

0

9

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

Whatís Up Next

The next House votes are scheduled to occur on Monday May 23rd. At this writing a floor schedule is not available.

Mike


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

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