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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

July 20, 2018

Trump

President Donald Trump’s press conference Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin was a disgrace. After a week insulting our democratic allies, he appeared with a despot and dismissed Russian interference in our elections. It’s just not up for debate. Russia actively interfered with the 2016 election. Calling Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation “a disaster for our country” is an outrage. The “disaster” is an American president who stubbornly refuses to admit what 17 intelligence agencies already agree on – Russia actively interfered in our election. The “disaster” is an American president who does not defend democracy on the world stage. The “disaster” is an American president so eager to curry favor with Putin that he shifts the focus to his favorite talking point – Hillary’s emails.

Donald Trump sided with Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence agencies and the American people. Since that disastrous press conference, Trump tried to back track with a dubious explanation that he mixed up the words “would” and “wouldn’t”. Even as he read aloud the retraction his staff must have written for him, Trump could not contain himself from ad-libbing: “it might have been others. Lots of others out there.” The mixed messages and confusion continued all week but nothing will erase the shame of that press conference. I was invited last week to speak at a protest rally. It took place Wednesday night with a renewed urgency. You may view my remarks here.

Health Care is a Human Right

Health care is a human right yet efforts to expand access to coverage have repeatedly come under attack in Washington. Instead of working to improve health care, the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress are cruelly focused on ways to undermine it. I wrote about this in the Bay State Banner yesterday.

Why Judge Kavanaugh should not be Confirmed

I recently wrote an op-ed for the Boston Herald on why Judge Brett Kavanaugh does not belong on the Supreme Court and I would like to share my thoughts on this with you too. Civil rights, voting rights, reproductive freedom, LGBTQ rights, privacy and so many victories won with so much struggle in past decades are at stake with this nomination. We have made too much important progress to turn back now.

Spending Cuts and Toxic Poison Pills

On Thursday the House completed consideration of H.R. 6147, a combined funding bill for the Departments of Interior, Treasury, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the independent financial regulators and other general government agencies. This legislation does not adequately fund many of the programs it covers. For example, the EPA is cut by $100 million and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) loses $65 million. H.R. 6147 weakens the Endangered Species Act and restricts the ability of agencies to protect our air and water.

This legislation changes the way that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is funded, which is really a way to decimate its budget. It specifically prohibits the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from issuing rules requiring corporate political spending disclosure. I offered an amendment to strike this provision but it did not pass. H.R. 6147 also stops the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from creating a clear definition of “political activity” and prevents the agency from enforcing current law prohibiting church political spending.

Instead of being considered individually, 50 banking bills are rolled into this legislation. Many of them weaken investor protections and make it more difficult for financial regulators to do their job. They include serious provisions that shouldn’t be wrapped up in an appropriations bill where they will get reduced scrutiny.

H.R. 6147 also contains NO funding for Election Assistance Commission (EAC) grants. This is a truly shocking abdication of responsibility. The purpose of these grants is to help states upgrade their election infrastructure and enhance cybersecurity. With the mid-terms just months away, it’s alarming that the administration isn’t taking election security seriously. Just last week, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats (appointed by President Trump) warned that Russian efforts to attack our democracy were ongoing but Republicans apparently see no need for EAC grants. I voted NO. H.R. 6147 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

217

15

0

3

DEMOCRAT

0

184

0

9

TOTAL

217

199

0

12

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

More Anti-Environment Messaging

Yesterday the House considered H. Con. Res. 119, Expressing the sense of the Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the United States economy. This legislation is anti-environment. It puts the House on record against a carbon tax, even though such a tax has long been recognized as a useful, easily implemented approach to control climate change. It’s one more way to undermine efforts to reduce pollution. I voted NO. H. Con. Res. 119 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

222

6

1

6

DEMOCRAT

7

174

1

11

TOTAL

228

180

2

17

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 July 2018 media reports the Trump administration is cutting grant funding available to nonprofit organizations that guide consumers through the process of obtaining health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This is one more example of ways that the administration is undermining the ACA. This is the second year that grant funds to these organizations, called “navigators” have been cut. $10 million in grant funding is currently allocated, more than 80% less than 2016 figures, when $63 million was directed to these non-profits. The administration is also widening the scope of the navigators’ work by requiring employees to help consumers with ALL health care plans, including ones that do not comply with the ACA such as short-term insurance. These plans are not required to offer coverage for items such as a pre-existing condition or maternity care. They will be cheaper though and consumers may find themselves with a health care plan that is wholly inadequate if they become pregnant, for example. Because the funding is so significantly cut, the navigators will have difficulty offering in-person service for consumers seeking it. Lacking the votes to repeal the ACA, the administration instead seeks creative ways to sabotage it.
  2. According to July 2018 media reports, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved changes to the way the commission will handle complaints submitted by consumers. To file a formal complaint, consumers will be charged $225. Informal complaints do not carry a cost but the FCC has made changes to the language defining the process for addressing them. Until now, if a consumer filed an informal complaint about their cable provider the FCC would act as a facilitator between the consumer and the company in an effort to resolve the issue. This was an effective approach when a volume of complaints were received over the same issue about the same company. Now, the FCC can simply send all complaints to the carriers without taking action. The FCC is effectively forcing consumers to file formal complaints for which they will be charged, because they are no longer really managing the informal complaint process.
  3. According to July 2018 media reports the Department of the Treasury will no longer require specific categories of tax-exempt organizations from sharing information about the identity of their donors with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This change creates a giant loophole that eviscerates disclosure requirements. This will make it easier for foreign donors (including Russians by the way) to interfere in our political process because they can donate vast sums of unreported money to organizations like the National Rifle Association.

What’s Up Next

The next House votes are scheduled for Monday July 23rd. The House is expected to consider the Protect Medical Innovation Act.

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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