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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

April 20, 2018

Puerto Rico

It’s been months since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is still not properly managing recovery. My staff, along with other Massachusetts congressional offices, participates in regular briefings about work underway to rebuild Puerto Rico and help its residents return to their homes. We were surprised and disappointed to learn that FEMA informed 1700 people their housing assistance was being terminated only to turn around the next day and tell those same people their assistance wasn’t ending after all. While I am certainly relieved these individuals will still have access to vital shelter resources, the way FEMA handled matters this week is just unacceptable. Uncertainty and confusion over access to resources is further burdening hurricane victims. FEMA must do more to aid our fellow citizens. I am in contact with FEMA officials to communicate my concern and demand a more robust response.

Syria

President Bashar al-Assad’s horrific chemical weapons attack against innocent Syrian civilians showed the world, once again, the vicious brutality of his regime. There is no question that this cruel attack deserves universal condemnation and I do condemn it in the strongest possible terms. Nonetheless, President Trump’s response, a cruise missile strike, is clearly an act of war. Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution is very clear that ONLY, “The Congress shall have Power … To declare war.” No President can unilaterally engage in an act of war and an intentional missile strike against a sovereign state, no matter how horrendous its government may be, is most certainly an act of war.

I have filed H.R. 1923 which prohibits the President from further use of military force against Syria unless and until authorized by Congress. My legislation does not suggest how anyone should vote on the issue, it simply requires Congress to vote. What is done cannot be undone, but the Constitution is not vague on this very serious matter - the President must seek Congressional approval from Congress before he takes any further military action in Syria.

Bipartisanship on Identity Theft

On Tuesday the House considered H.R. 5192, the Protecting Children from Identity Theft Act. This legislation improves the verification system that credit card companies, stores and financial institutions use to confirm personal customer information with the Social Security Administration (SSA). This process occurs with the consent of the consumer and is important because it helps protect against identity theft. Children are particularly vulnerable because in most cases they have no credit history, and most parents and guardians do no generally check the credit reports of their children. This makes it easier for thieves to steal their Social Security numbers and create fake identities. H.R. 5192 expands the current system so that consumers can also consent electronically to having their information verified. Because most financial transactions occur electronically, this legislation expands the use of the verification system. I voted YES. H.R. 5192 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

230

1

0

5

DEMOCRAT

190

0

0

3

TOTAL

420

1

0

8

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

9

0

0

0

Improving Services for Taxpayers

On Wednesday the House considered H.R. 5444, the Taxpayer First Act. This legislation improves customer service at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in a number of important ways. It expands the independent appeals process, increases support services for low-income filers and enhances protections for taxpayers involved in payment enforcement. I voted YES. H.R. 5444 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

227

0

0

9

DEMOCRAT

187

0

0

6

TOTAL

414

0

0

15

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

8

0

0

1

Strengthening Cybersecurity at the IRS

On Wednesday the House also considered H.R. 5445, the 21st Century IRS Act. This legislation strengthens the IRS’ cybersecurity protections to more effectively shield taxpayers from fraud and identity theft. It enhances the IRS’ information technology infrastructure and expands the agency’s ability to process returns electronically. I voted YES. H.R. 5445 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

225

3

0

8

DEMOCRAT

189

0

0

4

TOTAL

414

3

0

12

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

8

0

0

1

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 April 2018 media reports, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under the Trump Administration is considering prohibiting investors in companies preparing Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) from participating in class action lawsuits against those companies. Without a doubt, this favors corporations and puts consumer investments at risk. To illustrate the problem with this SEC proposal, one need only review the case of insurance giant AIG, a company at the center of the 2008 financial crisis. Investors who thought AIG was a relatively safe option for their money instead watched it disappear. All was not lost, however, because investors were able to join a class action lawsuit. Eventually, more than $970 million was recovered. If the SEC does ban class action lawsuits it would be counter to their mission of investor protection. It is stunning that the SEC is openly considering action that will protect financial bad actors. I’ve written to SEC Chair Clayton with some of my colleagues to register my strong opposition to this proposal.
  2. According to April 2018 media reports, Ivanka Trump’s clothing brand, which is manufactured in China, won’t be subject to the tariffs Trump announced he was imposing on China. Products ranging from batteries to flat screen televisions will be subject to a 25% tariff but because clothing is exempt, Ivanka’s products are outside its scope.
  3. In March and April of 2018 President Trump called out Amazon, arguing they don’t pay enough in taxes to state and local governments. Yet Trump conveniently ignored the fact that his own online store pays very little in taxes. Trump products sold online are only subject to taxes in two states. This is one more example of Trump’s hypocrisy.
  4. According to an April 2018 ProPublica report, the Trump Organization has begun to sue local governments where the company owns properties, arguing they are worth much less than reported on Trump’s required financial disclosure reports. The goal is to save money on taxes. ProPublica found that communities in Florida, New York and Illinois have all been sued since Trump took office. The properties in question are worth significant amounts of money and the tax dollars they generate support necessary community resources such as schools and infrastructure. These lawsuits shouldn’t surprise anyone who has been paying attention to the way Trump does business. But it is troubling because as President, Trump oversees billions of dollars in federal funding for states and municipalities. He also plays a key role in implementing policies that impact those same communities.

What’s Up Next

The next House votes are scheduled for Tuesday April 24th. At this writing a legislative schedule is not available.

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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