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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


12,360 subscribers

June 24, 2016

Gun Control

On Wednesday I participated in floor action by Democrats, calling for a vote on some commonsense gun control measures. Many of us have been frustrated for a while by the lack of action in Congress. Too many times, moments of silence have taken the place of progress. We owe much more than sympathy to all the families who have lost their precious loved ones to gun violence – in Orlando, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino and in communities in every corner of our country.

This effort came together quickly amongst a small group of Members and, as we were planning our action, I had my doubts as to whether it would be seen as a statement or a stunt by the average American. Nonetheless, nothing else has been able to get the issue to the floor for a vote and we figured a protest on the floor of the House was worth a try.

I gave my first floor speech at the start of the action around 10:30 AM on the need to expand background checks and keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists before the House was called to order on Wednesday. After that my role for the remainder of the action was to essentially act as “Parliamentarian” for our group– to make sure we took advantage of as many rules as possible, keep order, and work with the offices of the real House Parliamentarian and Sergeant-at-Arms to ensure a smooth line of communication. After Rep. John Lewis so eloquently made the case for action, we began our sit-in. Republican leadership promptly recessed the House, which also cuts off the floor microphones and CSPAN cameras.

Over the next 24 hours, Members used social media and smart phones to communicate beyond the House floor and our message resonated. I spoke again around 9:30 PM to a chamber filled with Members committed to advancing reasonable gun control measures.

I was honored to participate in the sit-in and truly touched by all of my constituents who reached out with expressions of support. Our office voice mail box filled up and we heard from so many of you via email and social media. Thank you for standing with us.

I know we haven’t succeeded in getting a bill to the floor yet, but for the first time I can see the cracks forming. I have always believed that the real success in life is measured by the commitment to doing what is right without regard for winning or losing – do what you can.

With your continued support, we now have a chance to get a vote on expanded background checks and on No Fly, No Buy. The House was originally scheduled to be in session until today. Instead, Speaker Ryan adjourned the House until July 5th rather than just allow a vote. This is not over. Those of us who believe that more can be done to prevent gun violence are just getting started.

Department of Labor

Late Wednesday night the House held a vote to override President Obama’s veto of H.J.Res. 88, disapproving a new Department of Labor (DOL) rule that requires investment advisors to act in the best interests of their clients when providing retirement investment advice. The House passed H.J.Res. 88 in April and the Senate passed it in May. The intent of the DOL rule is to update regulations in place since the 1975 Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). There have been many changes to the retirement landscape since then, including the introduction of the 401(k) plan and the widespread use of IRAs. The DOL rule simply makes clear that financial advisors have a fiduciary duty to place the interests of their clients first when recommending investment vehicles. It takes a 2/3 vote of the House to override a Presidential veto. I voted NO. Because this effort did not receive 2/3 of the vote, it failed. The entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

239

0

0

7

DEMOCRAT

0

180

0

8

TOTAL

239

180

0

15

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

Zika

In the early morning hours on Thursday, Republican leadership rushed the Conference Report for H.R. 2577, which includes the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act as well as Zika Appropriations, to the floor. No time was allotted to either side for speaking about the Conference Report. It woefully underfunds efforts to address the growing Zika crisis and prioritizes certain activities over others. Decisions over how best to direct the limited funds available should be made by experts, not elected officials. This Conference Report also places restrictions on the use of funds for contraceptive services, even though the Zika virus can be spread through sexual activity. Limiting exposure to this virus, which can cause microcephaly in infants, is an important component of addressing this crisis.

Before bringing the Conference Report up for a vote, a provision prohibiting the display of the Confederate flag at all Veterans Administration National Cemeteries was removed. I don’t even know what to write about this action. We all understand exactly what this flag symbolizes. It is deeply troubling that action was taken to protect this symbol of hate. I voted NO on the Conference Report, which passed at 3 AM. The entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

233

2

0

11

DEMOCRAT

6

169

0

13

TOTAL

239

171

0

24

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

Clarification

In the June 10th e-update we wrote: “Funds are also allocated for suing the President because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and continuing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act”. A reader asked for further clarification on this section. Legislative Branch appropriations have been used in the past for these specific efforts. Some of the funding increases in the FY 2017 budget will go toward similar partisan efforts although the bill does not explicitly authorize specific lawsuits.

What’s Up Next

A District Work period has been scheduled. The next House votes will take place on Tuesday July 5th.

Mike


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

P.S. I welcome your feedback on our e-Updates. Please let me and my staff know what you think of this service by e-mailing our office.


District Offices:

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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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