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Congressman Capuano's
An update from the office of U.S. Representative Michael E. Capuano
7th Congressional District of Massachusetts

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August 17, 2018

IG to Review Quiet Skies

At the end of July the Boston Globe published a detailed report about a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) program, “Quiet Skies”. Thousands of innocent Americans were surveilled based on the thinnest of reasons. This surveillance appears to have continued even after the passenger exited the terminal to the airport curb which means air marshals were also recording who was picking passengers up. This program raises many troubling questions and I asked the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General to conduct an audit of “Quiet Skies”, evaluating its compliance with the law, impact on personal privacy and overall effectiveness. The IG contacted our office this week to inform us that they would conduct this review. I am encouraged by their quick response.


I had an excellent meeting with officials from the YWCA programs in Cambridge and Boston who came to my office as part of a Day of Advocacy. The YWCA was founded in London in the mid-19th century and well established in the United States before 1900. The organization brought visiting nurses to poor neighborhoods and provided safe spaces for working girls and women to meet and to study. It continues to do great work for women and girls, not only in social services and emergency support but also in empowerment. The organization is a force for social justice in our communities. YWCAs offer childcare services and summer camp and also sponsor career and leadership development programs. They provide emergency and family shelters and offer both counseling and advocacy on affordable housing. They offer economics classes and financial literacy workshops. Their comprehensive programs make a difference in the lives of woman and families.

Transit-Oriented Development

I participated this week in a productive discussion about transit-oriented development with members of the commercial real estate industry. We all recognize that affordable housing is a problem in the Greater Boston area, with its high rents and soaring home prices. This creates a number of challenges including those related to transportation. When housing costs are high they can drive young families farther away from their places of employment in search of affordability — which creates a longer commute. Transit-Oriented Development focuses on bringing residential, commercial and leisure spaces together near public transportation. It establishes more pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods and can help increase affordability as well as reduce traffic congestion. This type of thoughtful real estate development is an important component of effective urban planning. I was encouraged to find developers receptive to these concepts.

Partners Healthcare

I spent some time this week with employees from Partners Healthcare at their Assembly Row site in Somerville. Their new building is state of the art and energy efficient. I had a good discussion with senior leadership from Partners about the state of health care in our country. We are all determined to protect the Affordable Care Act which is under attack by President Trump and Republicans in Washington. Officials also expressed worry over the way both scientific research and scientific data are undervalued and disregarded by the current administration. They are concerned, too, about the challenges facing Medicare. I appreciated their willingness to meet and share their views about health care.

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 an August 2018 BuzzFeed News report, members of Trump’s Florida resort and golf club, Mar-a-Lago, may be getting tours of Air Force One as an informal perk. BuzzFeed obtained records through a Freedom of Information Act request that strongly suggest this is a common practice. Those records were obscured due to some significant information redacting by the federal government. In response to the report the White House dodged the question by claiming it was common practice “for friends/family of the President to receive tours of Air Force One.”.
  2. An August 2018 Washington Post story describes a president who, to put it bluntly, lies — a lot. The Post determined that Trump made 2,140 false claims just in his first year. In the last six months, that number practically doubled to 4,229. The newspaper studied a July 5th rally speech Trump gave in Montana, determining a whopping 76% of 98 statements he made were “false, misleading or unsupported by evidence.” This is astonishing, even for Trump.
  3. An August 2018 report from the Government Accountability Office found that the Department of Homeland Security did not fully analyze the projected cost of Trump’s border wall or adhere to current acquisition rules as it makes plans for this key Trump priority. In the report, the GAO raised concerns that DHS has not effectively planned for the project and faces “an increased risk that the Border Wall System Program will cost more than projected, take longer than planned, or not fully perform as expected”. Nonetheless, undeterred by pertinent information, Trump is threatening to shut down the federal government if he doesn’t get his way with the wall.

What’s Up Next

The House is currently in a District Work period. The next House votes will occur on Tuesday September 4th.


Congressman Mike Capuano
7th District, Massachusetts
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee on Financial Services

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Roxbury Community College Campus Library, Room 211, Boston
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