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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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January 18, 2013

Hurricane Sandy

This week the House considered H.R. 152: Appropriations for Sandy Disaster Relief. You may recall that funding to help states cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy passed in the Senate before the end of the year. That package was supposed to be taken up by the House on January 1st but votes were cancelled late that night. As you can imagine, this resulted in a tremendous amount of criticism, particularly from lawmakers and residents of impacted states. After the backlash, a small portion of the funds necessary to address the damage of Hurricane Sandy passed in the House with a promise to take up the rest of the funding this week. The House finally acted Tuesday, but not without controversy.

The Senate passed legislation providing $60.4 billion in disaster relief at the end of the year. Two weeks ago, the House approved $9.7 billion in funding. This week, a two pronged approach was taken. First, a measure to provide $17 billion in funding was considered. Then, an amendment was considered that added $33.4 billion more to the aid package. This brought total funding for Hurricane Sandy relief to $60.1 billion, slightly less than the Senate bill.

You will see in the voting chart that quite a few members did not support providing disaster relief. Many argued that funding should be fully offset by making cuts elsewhere. This approach would have applied different rules on Sandy than existed for all other major storms in recent memory, including Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Andrew. Those circumstances were rightly deemed emergencies, funding was provided without being fully offset, and it was provided much more quickly. No one is disputing the devastation that Sandy caused, and those impacted deserve a helping hand. I voted YES. H.R. 152 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:





















Subcommittee Assignment

I received a new subcommittee assignment for this Congress and will serve as Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity. This subcommittee oversees a number of agencies and programs such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Federal Housing Administration and the National Flood Insurance Program. The subcommittee reviews matters related to housing, community development, insurance, homeless assistance programs and much more. I moved to this subcommittee after serving as Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. I am looking forward to getting more involved in all of these issues in the months ahead.

American Academy of Arts and Sciences

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences located in Cambridge was founded by John Adams to encourage an educated citizenry. Today it continues to inform public debate on many issues, ranging from global security to education and energy policy. I met yesterday with AAAS President, Leslie Berlowitz, to learn about a new project that the Academy is working on. The AAAS will partner with the National Endowment for the Humanities to get a better understanding of the way that history, literature, and the arts are being taught in US high schools. Everyone agrees that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subjects are important to preserve US competitiveness in a global economy. The Academy thinks, and I agree, that we must also pay careful attention to other subjects. It is important that our students read and express themselves clearly and know enough about our nation’s history and our government to be informed citizens. I look forward to working with the AAAS on this important initiative.

Franciscan Hospital for Children

I spent some time today with staff and patients at the Franciscan Hospital for Children in Brighton. The hospital offers a pediatric rehabilitation program for children with complex medical conditions: babies born very prematurely and older children recovering from extensive surgery or serious accidents. It also provides psychiatric treatment for its patients and support for their families. Children who are well enough to attend classes study in the Kennedy Hope Academy. Outpatient oral surgery and dental care is also provided for a larger community. I learned a great deal about the hospital’s many programs and I was moved by the care given children facing multiple challenges — medical, behavioral and developmental. I heard some inspiring stories and came away determined to do all I can to help the hospital carry on its important work.

What’s Up Next

Next votes in the House will take place on Tuesday January 22nd. The House is expected to consider legislation raising the debt limit for three months.


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

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