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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

May 25, 2018

Honoring our Military Women and Men

As we approach Memorial Day, let us all take some time to honor and remember the brave women and men who lost their lives in service to our country — and keep their families in our hearts.

Community Meeting in Dorchester

On Tuesday May 29th from 6:30 – 8:00 PM I’m holding a community meeting at the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, located at 650 Dudley Street in Dorchester. I hope you can join us to talk with me and your neighbors about the issues that are important to you. We’ll also broadcast on Facebook live for those who can’t attend in person.

Telephone Community Meeting

Thanks to those who joined us for one or more of my recent telephone community meeting. We also keep a complete archive if you are interested.

May 8

May 16

May 17

May 23

The Trump Agenda

I wrote an op-ed for the Bay State Banner on the troubling and systematic way that President Trump is dismantling past policies and I wanted to share it with you.

The Protecting Banks and Undermining Consumers Act

On Tuesday the House considered S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act. This legislation eliminates or minimizes important consumer protections required by the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which passed in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. S. 2155 exempts 85% of banks from requirements that they make publicly available key information related to their mortgage lending. This information is used to help identify discrimination in lending. The reduced disclosure requirements will make it much more difficult for regulators to uncover and address cases of institutional lending discrimination. This is a particularly problematic provision.

S. 2155 is a gift to the big banks. It makes changes to the requirements under which a bank is classified a “Systemically Important Financial Institution” (SIFI). Banks meeting this threshold are subject to increased oversight because of their size and thus their ability to cause significant problems. Under current law, a financial institution is given a SIFI classification if it holds $50 billion or more in assets. This legislation raises that designation to a whopping $250 billion, reducing the number of banks qualifying for SIFI classification. Banks engaging in practices that pose a risk to the economy will have less scrutiny, making it more difficult for regulators to identify and address risk before it causes an economic impact.

S. 2155 also greatly reduces stress testing for banks, both internally and by regulators. Under Dodd Frank, banks with $10 billion in assets must undergo mandatory regular stress tests to assess their financial health. S. 2155 raises that threshold to $250 billion. It also gives regulators more authority to assess how frequently a stress test is necessary.

In a serious blow to consumers who had their data hacked because of Equifax’s failure to protect the abundance of sensitive personal information it acquires, notably without consumer permission, the bill includes zero accountability for the data breach. Instead, it further weakens the ability of consumers to get redress in the courts when credit reporting agencies push their credit monitoring products onto the public. The bill also weakens the credit freeze system, which is the one strong defense consumers have to ensure unauthorized parties do not access their credit files, and preempts states’ ability to maintain strong consumer freeze laws. To put it in context, banks with assets between $50 and $250 billion needed more than $50 billion in federal funds to bail them out of the financial crisis, not including the trillions of dollars the Federal Reserve made available to save the financial sector as a whole. The same day the House passed this legislation, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the federal agency that insures our bank deposits in case of a bank failure, announced that America’s banking sector hit a new record high of $56 billion in net income. Clearly, banks are doing very well. Congress should not be forgetting the lessons of the 2008 crisis.

I spoke on the floor about this terrible bill.

I voted NO. S. 2155 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

225

1

0

8

DEMOCRAT

33

158

0

2

TOTAL

258

159

0

10

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

Weakening FDA Authority

On Wednesday the House considered S. 204, the Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act. This legislation would speed access to drugs that have not been approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for gravely ill individuals. I am sympathetic to these patients but 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. S. 204 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. S. 204 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

228

0

0

6

DEMOCRAT

22

169

0

2

TOTAL

250

169

0

8

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

1

8

0

0

Defense Authorization

Yesterday the House considered H.R. 5515, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019. This legislation authorizes more than $700 billion in funding for Department of Defense and its programming. Although there are many provisions in this bill that I do support, I could not vote for H.R. 5515 for a number of reasons. Some of these include funding to develop a new nuclear warhead that would be launched via submarine. The approach outlined in H.R. 5515 would weaken oversight of nuclear weapons, which concerns me greatly. The bill also cuts funding by 25% for crucial support programs such as cybersecurity and military readiness. I voted NO. H.R. 5515 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

220

7

0

7

DEMOCRAT

131

59

0

3

TOTAL

351

66

0

10

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

5

4

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 a May 2018 edition of Science Magazine, the Trump Administration attempted to make it harder to quantify the levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The administration did so by doing away with NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System (CMS), a research program that helped gather and analyze scientific data on greenhouse gases. Given this administration’s other actions on environmental issues, this move is not a surprise. All is not lost, however, because the House recently voted to restore funding for the CMS.
  2. According to May 2018 media reports, the Trump Administration is taking steps to lift a ban on extreme hunting measures currently in place in Alaska. The ban prohibits some troubling hunting techniques in Alaska’s national wildlife preserves. If Trump has his way, hunters can target bear cubs and other wildlife in their dens, hunt bears and other animals with bait and artificial light, and target swimming caribou from boats.
  3. According to reports in the May 2018 Washington Post, President Trump himself reached out to the Postmaster General, suggesting the post office double what it charges Amazon. Jeffrey Bezos, the founder of Amazon, also owns the Washington Post. Trump regularly dismisses Post reporting when he rails against “fake news”. We’re sure it’s just a coincidence that he went after Amazon and has nothing to do with settling a score.
  4. S. 2155 as described above.

What’s Up Next

A district work period has been scheduled. The next House votes are expected to take place on Tuesday June 5th.

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:

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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:

1414 Longworth Building, Washington, DC 20515

DC Office Phone:

(202) 225-5111

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