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An update from the office of
U.S. Representative Michael E. Capuano
8th Congressional District of Massachusetts

Congressman Capuano's
E-UPDATE

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July 21, 2006

Big Dig

As you may remember, last week my Congressional colleagues and I asked the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to investigate the tragic Big Dig accident. The NTSB agreed to do so and will issue a report detailing their findings. NTSB officials are currently in Boston conducting their investigation.

Since last week, I have had numerous conversations with both the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and with the Department of Transportation's Office of the Inspector General (DOT IG) regarding the urgency of also commencing a comprehensive safety review of the Central Artery/Tunnel project. This week, the DOT IG agreed to oversee a full review of the CA/T. This review will include an assessment of the infrastructure, mechanical and electrical, and integrated operational systems of the project. In addition, the DOT IG will ensure that data collected by other parties during the review is analyzed completely, results are fairly and fully disclosed, and recommendations are implemented. The DOT IG will also assess whether there was proper oversight of the CA/T at all stages. Massachusetts taxpayers deserve this answer, which is long overdue. As I said last week, I am also considering filing federal legislation if it becomes necessary to ensure an independent review of the CA/T.

Recent House Votes

This week the House considered H. J. Res. 88: Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to marriage. This measure sought to define marriage in the Constitution as a union between a man and a woman. To me, government's only role in a marriage is the recognition of the fact that it is a legal contract. If two consenting adults wish to enter into that contract, with all of its accompanying rights and responsibilities, then the government should not deny them that opportunity. I believe that this resolution seeks to enshrine discrimination in the Constitution. Because H.J. Res 88 seeks a change in the Constitution, 2/3 of the House must vote "Yes" for passage. I voted "NO" and the resolution failed to receive the required 2/3. The entire vote is recorded below:

 

YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

202

27

0

2

DEMOCRAT

34

159

1

7

INDEPENDENT

0

1

0

0

TOTAL

236

187

1

9

 

 

 

 

 

MASSACHUSETTS

0

10

0

0

The House also considered H.R. 2389: or the so-called Pledge Protection Act. I voted NO. This legislation seeks to prevent federal courts from hearing any challenges to the Pledge of Allegiance by stripping them of jurisdiction. This would include the Supreme Court and to me represents an intrusion on the judicial branch of government. I voted "NO". The entire vote is recorded below:

 

YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

221

8

0

1

DEMOCRAT

39

158

0

4

INDEPENDENT

0

1

0

0

TOTAL

260

167

0

0

 

 

 

 

 

MASSACHUSETTS

0

10

0

0

On Wednesday, the House sought to override President Bush's veto of H.R. 810: the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. This bill is very limited in scope. It requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct and support research on human embryonic stem cells, regardless of the date on which the stem cells were derived from a human embryo as long they meet certain criteria. The embryos from which the stem cell lines are derived must be donated from in vitro fertilization clinics and created specifically for fertility treatment. They must be in excess of the needs of those seeking such treatment and would otherwise be discarded. Finally, the stem cells must be from embryos donated by individuals who have provided written informed consent without financial or other inducements. I voted "YES". Because a 2/3 majority is needed to override a Presidential veto, the measure failed. The entire vote is recorded below:

 

YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

51

179

0

1

DEMOCRAT

183

14

0

4

INDEPENDENT

1

0

0

0

TOTAL

235

193

0

5

 

 

 

 

 

MASSACHUSETTS

10

0

0

0

On Thursday the House considered H.Res. 921 — Condemning the recent attacks against the State of Israel, holding terrorists and their state-sponsors accountable for such attacks, supporting Israel's right to defend itself, and for other purposes. I supported this resolution because I believe that Israel, as a sovereign democratic state, has the right to defend itself against aggression. Furthermore, the attacks on Israel came from Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, lands from which Israel had withdrawn in the interests of peace. However, I do have deep concerns about the scale of the Israeli response. I mourn the loss of life among all the suffering peoples of the region. We must actively work towards a peaceful solution to this crisis. My vote in favor of this resolution does not in any way provide President Bush with the authority to take direct, military action against Lebanon, Syria, Iran or any other nation involved. I insist that the President seek Congressional approval if at any point he intends to take military action.

 

YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

223

1

0

6

DEMOCRAT

186

7

4

4

INDEPENDENT

1

0

0

0

TOTAL

410

8

4

10

 

 

 

 

 

MASSACHUSETTS

10

0

0

0


What's Up Next Week

Next week, the House is expected to consider H.R. 5682: the United States and India Nuclear Cooperation Promotion Act and H.R. 5766: the Government Efficiency Sunset Act as well as a number of suspension bills.


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

District Offices:

110 First Street, Cambridge, MA 02141
and
Roxbury Community College, Administration Building, Room 110

District Office Phone:

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DC Office:

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DC Office Phone:

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