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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


12,456 subscribers

March 23, 2018

Activism on Gun Reform

The resolve and determination to achieve commonsense gun reform is only getting stronger. On Monday evening, I participated in a forum organized by local alumni of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to exchange ideas about gun reform and highlight efforts at the state level to strengthen regulations. I continue to be heartened by the intensity of student activism which is inspiring action at every level of government and the private sector. I’ll be at Madison Park High School tomorrow morning to talk with students as they gather for the March for our Lives and then I will spend Saturday evening in Randolph for a candlelight vigil and rally. I am honored to join all the student activists and their parents, and appreciate their leadership.

Funding the Government, Act Three

Yesterday the House passed H.R. 1625, on Motion to Concur in the Senate Amendment with an Amendment. This is the omnibus legislation funding the federal government through September 30th.

I supported some of the items in the legislation, including provisions from the FIX NICS bill that improves reporting to the gun background check system and a clarification on the Dickey Amendment making it clear the language doesn’t prohibit the Centers for Disease Control from awarding grants to study gun violence. Some important programs also receive funding increases. $58 million is included to begin the Boston Harbor dredging project. Infrastructure such as highways, bridges, and Amtrak received funding increases, including over $26 million more for transit and $30.6 million in highway and bridge funding for Massachusetts.

However, this legislation is more than 2,000 pages long and Members were barely given a day to review it. This is one of the reasons I voted against H.R. 1625. Defense spending comes in much higher than nondefense spending, an issue I have raised repeatedly. Nothing is done to address the plight of the Dreamers. The legislation also includes the Cloud Act, which undermines the privacy of Americans. It gives police departments here and in other countries enhanced authority to obtain data from technology companies without first requiring a warrant. This is a concerning overreach. The legislation should have been debated separately instead of being tucked into something exceeding 2000 pages. I voted NO. H.R. 1625 passed the House and passed the Senate with a vote of 65-32 early this morning. Both Massachusetts Senators voted against the bill. After first indicating he would be supporting the bill then later tweeting he might veto it, President Trump signed it into law this afternoon. The entire House vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

145

90

0

3

DEMOCRAT

111

77

0

4

TOTAL

256

167

0

7

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

5

4

0

0

Testing the Health of Financial Services Entities

On Tuesday the House considered H.R. 4566, the Alleviating Stress Test Burdens to Help Investors Act. H.R. 4566 changes requirements surrounding stress testing of the largest financial institutions, focusing more on the largest entities. This legislation as amended by Ranking Member Maxine Waters maintains the Federal Reserve’s authority to examine the health of nonbank entities and gives the Securities and Exchange Commission the appropriate statutory authority to write rules tailored to nonbank actors. I voted YES. H.R. 4566 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

233

0

0

4

DEMOCRAT

162

19

0

11

TOTAL

395

19

0

15

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

8

1

0

0

Weakening the Authority of the FDA

On Wednesday the House considered H.R. 5247, the Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act of 2018. This legislation would speed access to drugs that have not been approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for gravely ill individuals. The FDA already has an “expanded access” program that helps the terminally ill obtain unapproved drugs. Under this existing program, more than 99% of all requests have been approved. In most cases where the drug is not provided it is usually because the drug is not available or there are serious questions about its safety. H.R. 5247 also diminishes the FDA’s oversight authority of the “expanded access” program and strengthens liability protections for the drug manufacturers at the expense of patients. I voted NO. H.R. 5247 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

232

2

0

3

DEMOCRAT

35

147

0

10

TOTAL

267

149

0

13

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

2

7

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, Andrew Veprek has been appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). Veprek shares the hard line on immigration that Trump has demonstrated and there is great concern he will seek to limit or even discontinue the refugee resettlement program for which he is now responsible. This appointment is in keeping with the Trump Administration’s attitude towards immigration and is one more troubling way they are working to slam the “golden door”.
  2. According to a March 2018 analysis by the Associated Press, the federal government has refused to comply with requests for information or provided greatly redacted information more frequently since Trump took office than in the last ten years. The AP found that out of more than 800,000 requests for information, 78% were either not fulfilled or were censored. This is a window into how the Trump Administration views the Freedom of Information Act.
  3. According to a March 2018 CNN report, the Department of Defense spent over $130,000 on President Trump’s properties. The nonprofit organization, Property of the People, requested the spending details through the Freedom of Information Act but had to sue the DOD because they wouldn’t release the information. Credit card records showed money spent at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and his golf club in New Jersey. This is yet another example of how Trump’s properties are benefiting financially from his position as President.
  4. According to a March 2018 Associated Press report, Jared Kushner’s company routinely filed false paperwork on its apartment buildings in an effort to evade New York City’s rent-regulations. The company would declare there weren’t any rent-regulated tenants in dozens of buildings it owned while tax documents show there were actually more than 300 such units. NYC’s rent regulations trigger protections for tenants and stricter oversight of construction work, including unscheduled site visits by inspectors to prevent tenant harassment. Instead, tenants reported being subjected to extensive construction and harassment to get them to vacate their units and make way for higher-paying renters. Having flouted the rules meant to protect low-income families, Kushner recently sold 3 of his 34 apartment buildings for $60 million, a 50% profit.

Behind the Curtain – UPDATES

  1. On March 23, 2018, Congress passed, and the President signed, H.R. 1625. The legislation strikes the part of the Labor Department rule which allowed employers to keep tips, and expressly amends the Fair Labor Standards Act to prohibit an employer from keeping tips received by its employees.

What’s Up Next

A District Work period has been scheduled. The next House votes are expected on Tuesday April 10th.

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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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:

(202) 225-5111

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