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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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March 14, 2008

Special Task Force on Ethics Enforcement

On Tuesday evening the House passed my resolution establishing a new Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). This week's vote was the culmination of many months of deliberation and review by the Special Task Force on Ethics Enforcement, created jointly by Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Boehner. I have been serving as chair of that task force since its inception in January of 2007. I strongly believe that the approach we have taken to ethics enforcement will improve the reputation of the House and will break the appearance of an "old boy network" forever.

The OCE brings a level of independence to the process because no current Members of Congress can serve on its board. It also brings a level of transparency that is sorely lacking in the current process by requiring that a public statement be issued on most matters reviewed by the OCE. Taken together, these two fundamental elements will go a long way toward restoring the public's confidence in the people's House.

You may read the entire report of the Task Force, as well as supplemental documentation, including opinion pieces, editorials and "Dear Colleague" letters, on my website at www.house.gov/capuano.

The vote on establishing an Office of Congressional Ethics is recorded below. I voted YES:

 

YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

196

23

4

9

REPUBLICAN

33

159

0

6

TOTAL

229

182

4

15

 

 

 

 

 

MASSACHUSETTS

9

0

1

0

Telephone Community Meeting

On Wednesday March 26th from 7:00 - 8:00 PM, I will host a telephone community meeting. Anyone interested in participating may dial 1-866-447-5149 and use pin 13034 at the scheduled time to listen in. Anyone who wishes to ask a question can press *3 after joining the meeting. I look forward to answering your questions and learning about the issues that matter to you.

Intelligence Authorization Bill

On Tuesday the House also took an override vote of the President's veto of H.R. 2082: the Intelligence Authorization Act. President Bush vetoed this bill over a provision applying the Army Field Manual's bans on waterboarding and other forms of torture to all U.S. intelligence agencies and their personnel. Although the override vote passed with a majority of votes, it did not garner the 2/3 necessary to set aside the President's veto. I voted YES to override. The entire vote is recorded below:

 

YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

220

3

0

9

REPUBLICAN

5

185

0

8

TOTAL

225

188

0

17

 

 

 

 

 

MASSACHUSETTS

10

0

0

0

Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Resolution

On Thursday the House considered H.Con.Res. 312: Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for FY 2009. The budget rejects the President's proposed cuts to programs like Medicare, Medicaid, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the Community Development Block Grant Program and Amtrak. It also rejects the President's call to eliminate the Community Oriented Policing Program (COPS) and the HOPE VI Program. The budget increases funding for scientific research and education, as well as job training. It adds money for renewable energy initiatives and infrastructure projects. The Children's Health Insurance Program is increased by $50 billion in order to cover additional uninsured children. This budget also rejects the President's proposal to increase health care costs for veterans by adding new fees. Instead, the budget increases funding for veterans' health care. I voted YES. H.Con.Res. 312 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

 

YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

212

16

0

5

REPUBLICAN

0

191

0

7

TOTAL

212

207

0

12

 

 

 

 

 

MASSACHUSETTS

10

0

0

0

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

As you may know, I have opposed all attempts by this President to limit our civil liberties or to circumvent our judicial system. Because of these strong beliefs, I was one of only 66 Members who voted against the original so-called PATRIOT Act.

Recently, I wrote to you about ongoing attempts to update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, the law dating back to 1978 under which the government can collect foreign intelligence on US soil. President Bush and Republicans in the House have been insisting that the House simply take up a version of this update passed by the Senate, which includes retroactive civil immunity for telecom providers who helped the President with his warrantless surveillance program. The House has resisted these calls and today considered an amendment to the Senate's version of the legislation. The House approach is not perfect but it is a vast improvement over the Senate version. It seeks to strike the right balance over collecting information from those who seek to do us harm and protecting our cherished civil liberties. I was pleased that the bill does not grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies and requires that the Administration implement procedures designed to protect Americans' civil liberties before beginning surveillance. This bill is certainly more in line with the type of legislation I would consider supporting than the Senate legislation. However, in the final analysis I did not believe it met the Fourth Amendment test and I could not support it. I voted NO. The House Amendment passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

 

YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

213

12

1

7

REPUBLICAN

0

185

0

13

TOTAL

213

197

1

20

 

 

 

 

 

MASSACHUSETTS

9

1

0

0

What's Up Next

A two week district work period is scheduled. The next votes in the House are expected to occur on Monday March 31st.


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

District Offices:

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

District Office Phone:

(617) 621-6208

DC Office:

1414 Longworth Building, Washington, DC 20515

DC Office Phone:

(202) 225-5111

Website and e-mail:

www.house.gov/capuano


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