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

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January 12, 2018


What Donald Trump said last night about Haiti and African countries was vile, racist, and demands condemnation. Some say Trump tells the truth because he speaks “what’s in his heart.” If this is what is in his heart he is not fit to be President. Last night’s offensive comments, uttered in the Oval Office no less, show him in a bright and ugly light. It is disgraceful that the President of the United States had a racist rant in the White House on the eve of the weekend on which we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

We take this weekend to reflect on the wisdom and courage of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the many who walked the path alongside him. He roused the conscience of our nation and the world to confront the enduring legacies of racism and second class citizenship – he was killed while supporting trash collectors fighting for more equitable working conditions. All Americans are in his debt. He, like Abraham Lincoln, spoke to the “better angels of our nature,” urging all of us to work together to achieve, at long last, freedom and justice for every person. In a time of bitterness and division, we need his teachings more than ever. His dream is not yet fulfilled for too many people – too many people are still judged by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character.

Threat to Protections for Native Americans

On Wednesday the House considered S. 140, To amend the White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act of 2010 to clarify the use of amounts in the WMAT Settlement Fund and Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act. This legislation started out as a non-controversial measure to update tribal water rights. The Rules Committee attached additional language that would generally exclude Native American tribes from protections provided under the National Labor Relations Act for workers on tribal land, even if those operations are commercial. I voted NO. S. 140 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:





















Surveillance Concerns

On Thursday the House considered S. 139, the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017. This legislation reauthorizes Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) for six years, which expires on the 19th. The FISA Act became law in 1978 and gave the federal government some tools, with judicial oversight, to conduct surveillance. It has been amended a number of times. Section 702 of FISA gives the federal government the authority to conduct surveillance on foreign targets who are not on U.S. soil if the intelligence community obtains an order from a FISA court. I have long been concerned about the unintended consequences and scope of the FISA Act. While I understand that the intelligence community requires surveillance tools, there are not enough privacy protections included in this reauthorization. For example, S. 139 gives law enforcement access to the data collected but the standards for determining if access is warranted are not sufficient to prevent foreseeable abuses. I also remain concerned about the impact of this law on the privacy of American citizens, who could be caught up in surveillance activity. I voted NO. S. 139 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:





















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. According to a January 2018 report in the Intercept, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt hired his friend Albert Kelly to oversee a task force examining the Superfund program. This personnel move came after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) fined Kelly for actions related to his responsibilities at SpiritBank in Oklahoma, a community bank managed by Kelly’s family for years. In July the FDIC took additional action against Kelly, banning him from working in banking for life. In a document signed by Kelly that formalized the ban, the FDIC referred to “willful or continuing disregard for the safety or soundness of the Bank.” Kelly needn’t worry because despite a complete lack of any environmental experience, he is now making more than $172,000 at the EPA.
  2. According to a January 2018 McClatchy news report, Trump’s business enterprise is benefitting from actions that foreign governments have taken since he became President. This raises serious questions about whether he is in violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause which prohibits officials from receiving gifts or benefits from foreign governments. McClatchy identifies a number of examples: the government of Panama has become involved in plans to construct a sewer system around a Trump skyscraper and, in Indonesia, a local government is building a road that will provide better access from the main Bali airport to a new Trump resort and golf course. Both of these examples clearly enhance the Trump properties at those locations.
  3. In January 2018 the Trump Administration released a plan to greatly expand offshore drilling by making almost 90% of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf available for lease sales. This dramatic expansion will impact almost all coastal states. Until this week, it covered Florida but Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke exempted that state. In making the announcement, Zinke explained that Florida Governor Rick Scott convinced him “Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver.” Of course that argument could be applied to every other impacted state. The initial decision to start the process of expanding offshore drilling and the subsequent move to exempt Florida from the new policy have raised many concerns. Aside from the obvious environmental questions, Florida is a swing state and Trump has also urged Scott to run for the Senate. Protecting Florida but ignoring a state like California or New York or Massachusetts raises questions of political motivation. It’s also worth noting that Mar a Lago, Trump’s “Winter White House” is located along the Palm Beach, Florida coastline. I am supporting legislative efforts to protect our coastlines from drilling.

What’s Up Next

The next House votes are scheduled for Tuesday January 16th. The House is expected to consider legislation funding the federal government beyond January 19th.


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

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