skip to main contentskip to popular page linksskip to main navigation links
photo of Mike Capuano Michael E. Capuano representing the 7th district of Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives Go to the House of Representatives homepage
Like Mike on Facebook Visit Mike's video channel on YouTube Like Mike on Facebook

 

 My Schedule My Voting Record District Maps Register To Vote FAQ Site Map e-Updates

Congressman Capuano's
E-UPDATE
An update from the office of U.S. Representative Michael E. Capuano
7th Congressional District of Massachusetts


12,456 subscribers

September 29, 2017

Community Meeting

I’ll be in Chelsea on Tuesday October 17th from 6:30-8:00 PM for a community meeting. I hope you can join me to talk about the issues that are important to you and hear what is on the minds of your neighbors. It will take place in the Chelsea Soldier’s Home Martin Auditorium at 91 Crest Avenue. We will broadcast the meeting via Facebook live if you are interested but cannot join us in person. We are also having a community meeting in Allston/Brighton on Monday October 30th. Once we have finalized the time and location we will let you know.

Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

I am deeply disappointed in the Trump Administration’s response to the devastation in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Residents there, who are American citizens, are struggling to recover from catastrophic hurricanes. Yet the President is more interested in tweeting about the NFL. I am sorry to report that Congress did not approve an emergency aid package for these U.S. territories this week. Speaker Ryan insists an aid package is coming but the delay is beyond unacceptable.

I joined 145 of my House colleagues demanding a more robust federal response. We called on President Trump to appoint a senior general officer who can manage the recovery effort and deploy additional personnel to help local officials respond to the growing humanitarian crisis. We also called on the Administration to send the aircraft carrier the USS Abraham Lincoln to the region for additional supply distribution and rescue efforts. There is so much devastation that roads are impassable and electricity is scarce. Aviation assistance is vital to help deliver the resources needed to clear roads, restore communication and get citizens the supplies they need.

On Wednesday the Administration finally waived the 1920 Jones Act. This is a law that requires items being shipped between U.S. ports be delivered by vessels that were primarily built in the U.S and are owned and operated by U.S. citizens. During emergencies like this one, it is vital to get supplies where they are needed as quickly as possible. Waiving this shipping act helps to do that. The Jones Act was just waived after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, yet the President resisted calls to do the same for Hurricane Maria until Wednesday.

Yesterday the President did appoint Lt. General Jeff Buchanan to assess circumstances and help coordinate the relief effort. I will continue pushing to get Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands the help they need now and for the long recovery road ahead.

The Collapse of the ACA Repeal and the Pivot to Tax Cuts

Senate Republicans could not muster the 50 votes they needed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this week, which is a great relief considering how devastating it would have been to the health care of millions of Americans. The fight is far from over, but for now, it is on pause.

President Trump then turned his attention to touting his tax cut plan. Well, his plan certainly represents a massive tax cut – for the wealthy. In fact, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has estimated that the top 1% of households would receive 50% of the tax cuts.

The President’s proposal reduces the tax brackets from 7 to 3, lowering the top individual tax rate to 35%. It doubles the standard deduction to $12,000 for an individual and $24,000 for a married couple filing jointly. The estate tax and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) would be repealed. Currently the estate tax applies only to the wealthiest estates because the first $5.49 million of an estate is already exempt. The AMT was established to ensure that higher earners taking numerous deductions could not avoid taxes. You may recall that a very small portion of Trump’s 2005 tax return was leaked, showing that he had to pay $31 million that year because of the AMT. You can imagine how much he’s paid over the years and how much he will personally save if these tax cuts passed.

Trump’s plan also eliminates the state and local income tax deduction, which would have a negative impact on many middle class families. Currently taxpayers are able to deduct state and local taxes from their returns. In states like Massachusetts where property values are high, these deductions are particularly important.

Trump’s plan reduces the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% and establishes a tax rate of 25% for “pass through” businesses. It is estimated that 95% of all businesses in the U.S. are established as a “pass through” business. Owners of businesses set up this way do not pay corporate income taxes. There is no real plan to pay for these massive tax cuts and very little detail offered. Proponents of tax cuts always argue that the cuts eventually pay for themselves by stimulating the economy. Analysis done by the Congressional Research Service and other organizations illustrates that past rate cuts on top earners did not automatically translate into increased economic activity. You have probably heard this argument referred to as “Trickle Down”.

My first question for proponents — is it really worth exploding the national debt by an additional $2 Trillion (that is $2,000 Billion or $2,000,000 Million) in order to give the wealthiest people in the world a large tax break and a token to the middle class?

My suspicion — if this debt bomb passes, the same people who supported it will then argue we must slash federal spending to pay the debt. They will propose all the cuts Americans have defeated for years - housing, school lunches, highways and subways, and so many other non-defense items … and of course, don’t forget health care!

Reducing Support for Children and Families

On Tuesday the House considered H.R. 2824, Increasing Opportunity and Success for Children and Parents through Evidence-Based Home Visiting Act. This legislation reauthorizes the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) for five years. Qualified pregnant women and parents of children up to kindergarten age benefit from this initiative which provides home visits by educators, medical staff, social workers and other professionals. The goal is to support young families, help prepare small children for school and improve family health. Unfortunately, the money authorized will only cover 6% of eligible families. H.R. 2824 makes it harder for families to benefit from the MIECHV program.

The legislation also adds some requirements to the program while providing no additional money for implementation. It requires the home visits to include monitoring of employment and family income as well as child safety and development. The problem with this is that the program doesn’t offer any employment counseling or resources for families, and doesn’t add any money to pay for them. H.R. 2824 will also require all states participating in the MIECHV to start matching all funds they receive for MIECHV. This will inevitably lead to a reduction in access in some states which may not have the additional funds to supplement the program. It will also be at risk of funding cuts if states face unanticipated expenses such as a natural disaster. I voted NO. H.R. 2824 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

221

20

0

7

DEMOCRAT

2

189

0

3

TOTAL

214

209

0

10

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

Punishment before Proof

The House on Thursday considered H.R. 2792, the Control Unlawful Fugitive Felons Act of 2017. This legislation wins the misleading title of the month award. It would terminate Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for individuals who may have an unresolved arrest warrant relating to an alleged parole or probation issue or other offense. Notably, the Social Security Administration (SSA) already knows where all of these individuals live and notifies the appropriate law enforcement authorities whenever an SSI recipient with an outstanding warrant is flagged in their database. Law enforcement also already knows where these individuals are and has chosen not to pursue them. They have not been tried and they have certainly not been convicted. Please note, under current law the SSA is already prohibited from issuing any type of Social Security payment to “fleeing felons” — as defined in two recent court cases. SSI is directed to older, disabled low income individuals to help provide basic resources. The individuals being targeted by H.R 2792 are some of our most vulnerable residents. I voted NO. H.R. 2792 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

223

3

0

13

DEMOCRAT

21

168

0

5

TOTAL

244

171

0

18

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

2

7

0

0

Unfinished Business

The House yesterday also considered H.R. 3823, the Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act. While this legislation temporarily extends Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization which expires on September 30th, it does not include a number of important provisions. Notably, it does virtually nothing for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The legislation also does not extend funding authorization for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program or community health centers. It could and should have been a vehicle to extend these important programs with authorizations that also expire on September 30th. I voted NO. H.R. 3823 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

221

7

0

11

DEMOCRAT

43

148

0

3

TOTAL

264

155

0

14

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

2

7

0

0

The Hidden Cost of War and Conflict

So much demands our attention. In addition to the responsibilities, joys and heartaches we all carry with us every day, we are consumed with news of natural disasters, attacks on our health care and reckless Presidential threats made to a dangerous foreign leader. It’s tempting to tune out, change the channel or retreat to our own comfort zones.

I’m asking you not to do that. Our fellow citizens who are struggling to survive in the aftermath of devastating hurricanes will need our aid and support as they work to recover from natural disaster. Lawmakers in Washington need to hear from you about health care and tax reform and all the many issues that will impact our daily lives. We all must stay focused on the Trump presidency.

But, I’d also like to take a few minutes of your time to highlight another issue that is not getting the attention it deserves. This is, no doubt, partly due to the almost daily buzz created by the unprecedented dysfunction in the Trump Administration. Nonetheless, we should be aware that, in March of this year, the United Nations warned that twenty million people across four countries face starvation and famine unless the international community acts quickly. Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, and Nigeria face a humanitarian crisis not seen since the end of World War II. The U.N. considers the situation in Yemen to be particularly devastating. Without prompt assistance two thirds of the population will simply starve to death. The Washington Post reports that in Yemen, “nearly 7 million people are in danger of starvation, half a million children already are malnourished, and a cholera epidemic is ravishing the country, with half a million cases and nearly 2,000 deaths reported in fewer than four months.”

This devastation has afflicted some of the poorest countries in the world, but the primary causes are manmade. War and conflict lie at the heart of these crises. The Administration’s failure to devote any attention whatsoever to these humanitarian tragedies diminishes the role that the United States can and should play in the world. Its budget proposals decimate the State Department’s funding and eliminate assistance programs such as the U.S. Food for Peace program. Its priorities illustrate the Trump Administration’s disregard for vulnerable populations and its fundamental failure to grasp our country’s enlightened self-interest in global peace and prosperity.

Behind the Curtain — More House and Trump Administration Actions You Don’t Want to Miss

Here are this week’s additions. If you need to catch up or share with friends, you can find the full list here.

  1. On September 26, 2017 the Trump Administration announced plans to set the refugee cap at 45,000 for the upcoming fiscal year. This is the maximum number of people permitted to enter the United States AFTER thorough vetting has been completed. If this new cap goes into effect, it would be the lowest since 1980. This cap has never in recent years been set below 67,000. At a moment in time when there are more refugees and displaced persons than at any other time in human history, including in the aftermath of World War II, this is a disgraceful retreat. According to the Department of State website, many of these persons can be resettled in their home countries or regions, but serious planning or funding for such efforts remain to be proposed.
  2. On September 25, 2017 the Director of Enforcement for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that the commission was taking a new approach to monitoring the financial industry. The CFTC will allow the industry to police itself, reporting to the commission when financial services officials discover internal wrongdoing. The CFTC has a number of oversight responsibilities, including regulating derivatives. These are the financial products that created toxic turmoil during the 2008 economic crisis. Warren Buffet famously described derivatives as "Weapons of Mass Destruction." The new head of enforcement has decided that the largest financial institutions are actually great partners for law enforcement. So the CFTC is reducing monetary penalties and allowing these institutions to police themselves. By taking this approach the CFTC is forgetting the lessons of 2008 and taking us back to the Wild West days of the financial crisis.
  3. We included Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tom Price on this list last week because of his use of private planes over commercial flights for government travel (more on that later). Going onto the list this week is Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. The Washington Post reported this week that he too has chosen private or military flights over commercial, costing taxpayers $58,000. That’s not all Pruitt is spending money on. He also ordered the installation of a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) — a secure soundproof structure — for secure communication. Pruitt’s SCIF is costing taxpayers about $25,000, much higher than the approximately $6,000 they usually cost because of requested modifications and upgrades. There is already a secure communication facility on another floor at the EPA. Pruitt also has three times more security agents for a 24 hour security detail. The EPA has hired additional agents and has had to divert agents from other responsibilities — like enforcement of environmental policies and investigation of possible violations. By way of reminder, the Trump Administration has proposed cutting the EPA’s budget by 31%.
  4. Now back to Mr. Price. In a follow up report the week of September 26, 2017, Politico revealed that Price has spent more than $1 million on private and military travel since May. Half of that total involved military flights to Africa, Asia and Europe. In one instance, he traveled to St. Simons Island in Georgia where he owns property on a Friday to give a speech to a medical association on Sunday. One of the reasons given for choosing private travel over commercial flights was that sometimes the commercial flights couldn’t get Mr. Price where he needed to go in a timely fashion. Surely he could have found a more cost effective alternative if he was willing to leave two days early. The Inspector General for HHS is now investigating Price’s use of private travel and he has pledged to pay for the cost of his seat on the charter flights. This is a fraction of the actual cost of chartering the planes and so far does not include the military flights.

What’s Up Next

The next House votes are scheduled for Monday October 2nd. The House is expected to consider the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Resolution.

Mike


Congressman Mike Capuano
7th District, Massachusetts
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:

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

District Office Phone:

(617) 621-6208

DC Office:

1414 Longworth Building, Washington, DC 20515

DC Office Phone:

(202) 225-5111

Website and e-mail:

http://capuano.house.gov

You have received this e-mail because you subscribed to Rep. Capuano's E-Mail Updates authorizing Rep. Capuano to send your inbox periodic e-mail updates from his Congressional office.

UNSUBSCRIBE: if you would like to unsubscribe from this newsletter, you may do so at this address: http://capuano.house.gov/e-updates/unsubscribe.shtml.

PRIVACY POLICY: Your e-mail address will not be shared with anyone else or sold in any way. To read the complete privacy policy, visit: http://capuano.house.gov/privacypolicy.shtml.

E-Updates are sent from an unattended mailbox. Please do not reply directly to this e-mail. Instead, if you wish to e-mail us, please go to http://capuano.house.gov/contact/.
 

NEWS & MULTIMEDIA

 

Privacy Policy

To protect your privacy, subscriptions to Rep. Capuano's E-Updates are subject to our Privacy Policy.

 

Bill Search

Search Congress.gov for legislative information.

Tip: enter bill numbers without spaces, i.e. "h.res.26" or "hres26"

 

Newspapers

 

News Services

Here are some informative online news services to help you find reports from Boston and the region, as well as national and international news stories.

 

Home | About | Biography | Contact | Issues | Links | News | Schedules | Services

E-Updates | Site Map | Privacy Policy | Accessibility

110 First Street
Cambridge, MA 02141
P: (617) 621-6208
F: (617) 621-8628
Hours

Roxbury Community College
Building 2
Room 315
Boston
Hours

Stetson Hall
Room 124
6 South Main Street
Randolph
Hours

  Constituent Services Click to close menu
  Casework and Assistance
  Citizenship/Naturalization
  Immigration Casework
  Grants and Federal Domestic Assistance
  Presidential Greetings
  Flags
  Tours
  Washington, D.C. Attractions
  U.S. Service Academy Nominations
  Internships
  FAQs
  Media Center Click to close menu
  e-Updates
  Press Items
  Recent Votes
  Video and Audio
  Photos
  Legislative Work Click to close menu
  Issues
  Recent Votes
  Voting Record
  Sponsored Legislation
  Earmark Requests
  Committees and Caucuses
  Ethics Task Force
  Schedules Click to close menu
  My Schedule
  House Floor Summary
  Weekly House Schedule
  Annual House Calendar
  Weekly Senate Schedule
  Our District Click to close menu
  Maps
  Cities
  Demographics
  The 7th District Over the Years
  Nobel Prize Winners
  Interesting facts about Massachusetts
  Massachusetts Links
  Links Click to close menu
  Massachusetts Links
    State Government
    About the 7th District
    Arts, Culture and Attractions
    Chambers of Commerce
    Colleges and Universities
    Exploring Massachusetts
    Hospitals and Health Organizations
    Newspapers
    Sports

  Federal Government Links
    USA.gov - Official Government Portal
    Legislative Branch
    Executive Branch
    Judicial Branch
    Federal Agencies
    Kids' Pages
    Register to Vote
    Washington, D.C. Attractions
    Business Opportunities with the Government
  Contact Click to close menu
  District Office
  Washington, D.C. Office
  Office Hours Program
  Community Meetings
  E-mail Me