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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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March 15, 2013

Federal Housing Administration (FHA)

This week I reintroduced the FHA Emergency Fiscal Solvency Act along with Financial Services Committee Ranking Member, Congresswoman Maxine Waters. The legislation seeks to strengthen the FHA and help ensure its long-term solvency. In recent years, the FHA has provided crucial liquidity as private firms have retreated from writing mortgage insurance policies, particularly for first time homebuyers.

This legislation gives the FHA more flexibility to take action against loan originators who engage in faulty underwriting or who have high loan losses. Additional measures include authorizing the agency to require indemnification for improperly written loans.

The House passed legislation reforming the Federal Housing Administration last year with the bipartisan support of 402 Members. There is clear agreement on the need to provide the FHA with additional risk management tools, increased transparency and enhanced reporting requirements. I hope that Congress can move forward now with what we agree on, and work together to make additional improvements.

Recent Votes

This week the House considered H.R. 890, which reauthorizes the Transitional Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which is set to expire on March 27th. In addition to reauthorizing the program, H.R. 890 also eliminates an initiative giving states flexibility in transitioning recipients to work. States can currently apply for waivers from certain TANF requirements if they can effectively demonstrate that their alternative requirements are putting more people to work. The idea behind the waivers is simply to give states programming flexibility. Waivers would not be granted unless states showed an increase in employment of welfare recipients by 20% over the previous year. Republicans have been raising concerns about these waivers for quite some time, despite the fact that states canít get them unless they show an INCREASE in welfare to work. H.R. 890 eliminates the flexibility provision. I voted NO. H.R. 890 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:





















The House also considered H.R. 803: the Skills Act. This legislation reauthorizes the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) by consolidating 35 job training programs into one, creating a single block grant administered by the states. The bill freezes job training funding for the next 7 years, despite the fact that WIA funding has already been reduced by half since 2001. The biggest concern with H.R. 803 is that it consolidates many specific and targeted job training programs into one general category. Programs designed to help those with disabilities, veterans, older workers and those just entering the work force will all be combined and competing for funds. For example, job training funds that currently are used for young workers will now also be available to adults with more employment experience. The national unemployment rate for people between the ages of 16 and 19 is more than 25%. A job training program that targets young people helps put them on a successful professional path. Their ability to access these funds will be limited under this legislation. I voted NO. H.R. 803 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:






















A few weeks ago, I joined with 97 representatives and parliamentarians throughout the U.S., U.K., and Australia in writing to our foreign policy leaders calling for greater action on the many conflicts in Sudan. The letter was sent to Secretary of State John Kerry, as well as British Foreign Minister William Hague and Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr.

Itís been 10 years since the start of the genocide in Darfur. It is outrageous and heartbreaking that we havenít been able to end the violence that has claimed over 300,000 lives and continues to be perpetrated by Omar al-Bashirís Government of Sudan. I will keep pushing for strong U.S. leadership at the UN and other international forums because we cannot stand by and watch our fellow human beings suffer.

The Guardian recently published an op-ed that I wrote with Baroness Glenys Kinnock, who is a Member of the House of Lords in the United Kingdom, on the 10 year anniversary of the genocide in Darfur.

Whatís Up Next Week

Next votes are scheduled for Monday, March 18th. The House is expected to consider a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through September 30th. The current CR expires on March 27th. The House will also consider House Budget Chairman Paul Ryanís FY 2014 budget.


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

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