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Congressman Capuano's
An update from the office of U.S. Representative Michael E. Capuano
8th Congressional District of Massachusetts
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February 12, 2010


Due to the severe weather in the DC area, votes were not held in the House this week.

Pay Go

Earlier this month, the House passed H.J. Res 45, the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act, which requires the government to balance future spending increases with spending cuts or proposed additional revenues. New programs or tax cuts will have to be paid for by cuts to other programs or tax increases elsewhere. Funding for programs such as Medicare and Social Security are not affected by this new legislation.

H.J. Res 45 is similar to PAYGO legislation passed in the 1990s, which helped turn a massive budget deficit into a record budget surplus. In 2002 under the Bush Administration, PAYGO legislation expired. At the time, I was only one of 19 House Members who voted to keep the PAYGO rules in effect.

I voted YES on H.J. Res. 45. Since the House took up the Senate-passed version directly, the bill went to the Presidentís desk, where today, he signed it into law. The entire vote in the House is recorded below:






















It is now a month since Haiti was devastated by a powerful earthquake. One can never do enough in the aftermath of such a catastrophe but it is fair to say that the United States has taken the lead in delivering aid. Other nations in the Caribbean, as well as France and Canada, have also been generous in their assistance. I am especially proud of the contributions of my constituents in the 8th Congressional District. Physicians from many of our great teaching hospitals are in Haiti now, or off-shore on hospital ships that raced to Haiti to care for badly injured survivors.

My office has heard the anguish of hundreds of Haitian-Americans, desperate first for word of their relatives, and then seeking guidance on how to get assistance to them. The Department of Homeland Security arranged for expedited entry into the United States for orphans who had been properly adopted by American families before the earthquake. We have begun discussion with DHS to expedite processing for U.S. citizens seeking to adopt the newly-orphaned children of extended family in Haiti.

Senator Kerry and my Massachusetts House colleagues joined me in a letter to the Departments of State and Homeland Security requesting the same quick entry for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens whose applications had already been approved. We asked too for immediate entry of minor children of Legal Permanent Residents whose applications had been approved and who were the sole surviving parents of the child or children. I recognize that there are issues of fairness in these matters: many U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents have been waiting years for reunification with relatives living in difficult or dangerous situations in countries other than Haiti. Therefore, we appealed for "immediate relatives" — parents, spouses, and minor children — for whom there is no waiting period.

Just this week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) joined with the Greater Boston Federal Executive Board and state, local and community partners to open a Haiti Relief Information Center in the JKF Federal Building. The immediate task is to care for the survivors and comfort the bereaved. Very soon, however, we must stand ready to work with the people of Haiti, and with all appropriate international agencies, the UN, the Association of Caribbean States, the Organization of American States, and others, on sustainable reconstruction of a democratic and prosperous Haiti.

Legislative Breakfast in Mattapan

On Monday February 8th I attended the Mattapan Community Development Corporation (CDC) Legislative Breakfast along with other elected officials, CDC staffers and community members. I was asked to deliver the keynote address and spoke about the legislative challenges facing Congress in 2010, particularly in terms of health care reform. I also talked about the need for all of us to continue working on important issues such as economic development and housing. I thank the CDC for the work they do and for the invitation to participate in their gathering.

Congressman Mike Capuano
8th District, Massachusetts
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee on Financial Services
Committee on House Administration

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110 First Street, Cambridge, MA 02141
Roxbury Community College, Campus Library, Room 211

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