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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


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June 17, 2016

Orlando

49 precious sons and daughters were lost Sunday, gunned down by a hate-filled terrorist at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, a venue frequented by the LGBT community. An act of terror and a hate crime, this attack once again brings into sharp relief the need for Congress to do so much more to address the scourge of gun violence. It is long past time to ban assault weapons, keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists and expand background checks. Reasonable gun control measures won’t stop every evil person looking to destroy lives, but they will certainly help reduce gun violence. As I extend my deepest condolences to all the families grieving the loss of their loved ones, I am more committed than ever to doing everything I can to move Congress in right direction on this.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

On Tuesday the House considered H.R. 5053, Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act. Under current law, the IRS requires certain tax exempt organizations to file a form which details all donors who have contributed over $5,000 in one year. The information is kept on file by the IRS, but not released publicly for certain organizations. H.R. 5053 reverses that policy, prohibiting the IRS from collecting any of this information. This could make it easier for interested parties to direct funds to political campaigns without any disclosure whatsoever. Some tax exempt organizations, such as 501(c)(4) entities are not prohibited from participating in political activities. This legislation also raises the possibility that foreign interests could finance political efforts covertly since the only real deterrent for that is the oversight from the IRS. If no disclosure is required, there is nothing standing in the way of an increase in secret and potentially illegal political spending. I voted NO. H.R. 5053 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

239

1

0

6

DEMOCRAT

1

181

0

6

TOTAL

240

182

0

12

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

Appropriations

The House continued consideration of FY 2017 appropriations bills with H.R. 5293, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act. This legislation provides more than $500 billion for Department of Defense programs. It also includes almost $60 billion from funds set aside for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). These funds are supposed to be for emergencies and their use is not subject to the parameters set forth in the Budget Control Act. By redirecting these emergency funds, there won’t be enough money to support our troops overseas or pay their salaries after April of 2017 without additional appropriations.

The way that H.R. 5293 was brought to the floor is also troubling. Typically, appropriations bills are debated under an open rule where amendments do not have to be pre-approved by the Rules Committee. Because of the difficulty House Republican leadership has had advancing FY 2017 appropriations bills, they reversed course and are now only allowing the consideration of amendments that have been pre-approved. The Administration has stated that H.R. 5293 will be vetoed. I voted NO. H.R. 5293 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

234

6

0

6

DEMOCRAT

48

132

0

8

TOTAL

282

138

0

14

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

2

7

0

0

Terrorism

Yesterday the House considered H.R. 5471, the Countering Terrorist Radicalization Act. This legislation is a combination of three bills that have already passed the House and await Senate action. The first one formalizes the existing Counterterrorism Advisory Board at the Department of Homeland Security. The second one gives the Homeland Security Secretary authority to help train certain state and local law enforcement on ways to combat terrorism. I voted against the third bill, H.R. 4820, the Combating Terrorist Recruitment Act, which passed the House in April. It requires authorities to use available information from family members and associates when going after recruitment and communications efforts of suspected foreign terrorists. I joined 78 other Democrats in voting against that bill because House Republican leadership refused to include “domestic terrorist organizations” in the legislation. While many of my colleagues supported H.R. 5471, I simply could not. Yesterday’s vote was nothing more than an exercise in repetition, and it accomplishes nothing. I voted NO. H.R. 5471 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

237

3

0

6

DEMOCRAT

165

12

0

11

TOTAL

402

15

0

17

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

7

1

0

1

Volpe Center

This week the General Services Administration (GSA) issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) on the Volpe Center Campus. This federal land is located in Cambridge’s Kendall Square, the heart of our technology and innovation sectors. The John A. Volpe Transportation Systems Center was originally intended as the home for the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA). Today, the Volpe Center is affiliated with the Department of Transportation. The scope of work at the Volpe Center ranges from transportation technology research to infrastructure planning and aviation safety. This RFP is the second step in GSA’s efforts to redevelop the Volpe Center Campus. I’ve been involved with this endeavor since early in my Congressional career. While Volpe Center employees have been open to the idea of redevelopment, they have been rightly concerned over how it would impact employment. Over the years, our focus has been on making sure that any new development doesn’t eliminate the jobs at the Volpe Center. Today, the GSA is actively seeking a development partner who will construct a new Volpe Center, one that better fits the needs of the Department of Transportation and preserves the existing jobs, while at the same time opening the property up to development.

What’s Up Next

The next House votes are scheduled for Tuesday June 21st. The House is expected to continue consideration of FY 2017 appropriations bills.

Mike


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

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