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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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March 16, 2018

National Walk Out Day

I was truly moved by the resolve of students all across our country who walked out of school Wednesday to protest the lack of action on gun control. Young women and men held rallies in their communities, marched to government offices and showed the world that they’re here to stay. I wish I had been able to join my own student constituents as they marched to the Massachusetts State House but I stood with them in spirit on Capitol Hill with protesting students there. I remain committed to strengthening our gun laws. Decisive actions are needed, from tightening background checks and renewing the assault weapons ban to raising the minimum age to buy a gun and so much more.

A Small Step Toward Safer Schools

On Wednesday the House considered H.R. 4909, the STOP School Violence Act of 2018. This legislation was considered under suspension of the rules, which requires a 2/3 vote for passage. H.R. 4909 was introduced before the devastation at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. It authorizes $75 million a year over ten years to the Department of Justice for grants that states can use to enhance school security. The legislation specifically prohibits any funding from being used to train or arm teachers. Some of the provisions in H.R. 4909 are modeled after the work of Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit established after the 2012 murders at a Connecticut elementary school.

H.R. 4909 authorizes funds for initiatives that help educate students and school personnel as well as law enforcement on the warning signs that can identify someone about to commit school violence and to suggest safe steps that can be taken to stop a potential tragedy. The funds can also be used to develop enhanced coordination between school communities and public safety personnel as well as to invest in physical security improvements to schools. This legislation is not nearly enough, but it is a small step toward safer schools for our students and we cannot let our desire for perfection prevent progress. I voted YES. H.R. 4909 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

229

5

0

3

DEMOCRAT

178

5

0

10

TOTAL

407

10

0

13

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

8

0

0

1

The Failure to Take Account of the Last Crisis Act

Also on Wednesday the House considered H.R. 1116, the Taking Account of Institutions with Low Operation Risk (TAILOR) Act of 2017. This legislation would require financial regulators, including the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC) and the Federal Reserve, to tailor the rules they issue so that they are not overly burdensome to large financial institutions. H.R. 1116 also requires regulators to review everything issued in the past seven years using the same criteria. Importantly, the legislation does not also direct regulators to assess the impact of the rules on financial stability or consumer protection. I voted NO. H.R.1116 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

231

1

0

5

DEMOCRAT

16

168

0

9

TOTAL

247

169

0

14

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

8

0

1

The No Consequences for Bad Acts Act

On Thursday the House considered H.R. 4545, the Financial Institutions Examination Fairness and Reform Act. This legislation creates a new office within the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) – the Office of Independent Examination Review. This new office would review complaints filed by financial institutions, including banks and other entities such as Equifax about negative determinations made by financial regulatory agencies. Financial firms are thus empowered to challenge any and every negative assessment made by regulators like the Federal Reserve or the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. While it is important that financial institutions have access to an appeals process, H.R. 4545 gives mega banks like Wells Fargo an avenue to oppose and delay any negative supervisory actions taken against them. I voted NO. H.R. 4545 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

231

1

0

5

DEMOCRAT

52

132

0

9

TOTAL

283

133

0

14

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

Removing Investor Protections Act

Yesterday the House also considered H.R. 4263, the Regulation A+ Improvement Act. This legislation would increase the threshold established by the Jumpstart our Business Startups (JOBS) Act for regulating companies issuing securities. H.R. 4263 increases that threshold from $50 million to $75 million a year. As part of the exemption, the eligible companies would have fewer disclosure and registration requirements. The JOBS Act currently requires the SEC to review this threshold every two years and gives the SEC the authority to increase the threshold. H.R. 4263 is unnecessary. I voted NO. H.R. 4263 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

232

1

0

4

DEMOCRAT

14

169

0

10

TOTAL

246

170

0

14

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

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 March 2018 media reports, President Trump has chosen Peter C. Wright to oversee the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Land and Emergency Management division. This is the office responsible for managing the EPA’s oversight of the country’s most hazardous sites, including Superfund sites. Wright has been a lawyer for the Dow Chemical Company since 1999. Dow merged with DuPont last year. An analysis by the Associated Press shows the two companies are involved in over 100 active toxic sites needing urgent attention. So the federal official now in charge of overseeing the clean-up of severely contaminated land worked for a company responsible for contaminating some of it. This is hardly draining the swamp.
  2. According to February and March 2018 media reports, the Department of Education is restricting the authority of states to impose standards on student loan providers that exceed current federal standards. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is prohibiting states from issuing any regulations that would apply to these providers. This does nothing to help students who all too often struggle with debt and it reduces necessary oversight of the student loan industry.
  3. According to March media reports, the Department of Homeland Security tore a 7 year old Congolese girl away from her mother with little explanation and absolutely no compassion. There is no evidence at this point connecting mother or child with terrorism or wrongdoing. The pair appeared at the border requesting asylum due to fears of violence in Congo. They could have been placed in a family detention center but instead officials chose to rip a small child away from her mother in an unfamiliar country. The Trump Administration has suggested that the tactic of separating children from their parents could be a way to discourage people from seeking entry into the country. This is unconscionable and inconsistent with our history as a nation of immigrants and a refuge for the oppressed. No reasonable person suggests opening up the border without limits, but inflicting such pain on vulnerable parents and frightening their children does not make our nation safer.
  4. According to a March 2018 Associated Press report, the Trump Administration has issued dozens of ethics waivers throughout the federal government, including at the Environmental Protection Agency, State Department and the Pentagon. The waivers exempt employees from the two year waiting period before they can work on issues related to their previous employment. The waivers that have been given offer little information that would illuminate any potential conflict of interest. This approach stands in sharp contrast to the way the Obama Administration disclosed information about the handful of ethics waivers granted, which came with detailed explanations.

What’s Up Next

The next House votes are scheduled for Monday March 19th. The House is expected to consider legislation funding the federal government through September 30th.

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.


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