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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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May 9, 2008

Neighborhood Stabilization Act

On Wednesday the House considered H.R. 5818: Neighborhood Stabilization Act. This legislation creates a $15 billion loan and grant program for states as a way to help stop the ripple effects of foreclosure and restore home values in our neighborhoods. The funds will allow states to rehabilitate foreclosed and abandoned homes in an effort to bring in new tenants and owners. H.R. 5818 prioritizes the distribution of funds to large cities and those with high foreclosure rates. The bill also includes an amendment I offered that will give cities the flexibility to target some of these funds to teachers, veterans, and municipal employees. I voted YES. The entire vote is recorded below:

 

YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

228

1

0

5

REPUBLICAN

11

187

0

1

TOTAL

239

188

0

6

 

 

 

 

 

MASSACHUSETTS

10

0

0

0

Amendments to Housing Legislation

This week, the House considered additional housing legislation in form of amendments to H.R. 3221: American Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act, which the Senate already passed.

The first amendment will temporarily allow the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) program to insure and refinance mortgages that are at risk of foreclosure. The measure holds lenders and borrowers accountable by requiring the lender to take a loss on the loan and the borrower to pay an exit fee after selling the home to help fund the program. Participation is voluntary and only available for owner-occupied homes. It is not available to those whose home value vastly exceeds their means. The amendment also makes affordable mortgages more accessible to homebuyers by permanently raising the loan limits for FHA-backed loans and loans purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A provision I have worked on for years, which would increase the loan limits for multi-family homes, was also included. The measure also contains two provisions already passed in the House: one to create a new regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and another to modernize the FHA program. I voted YES. The amendment passed by a vote of 266-154 and the entire vote is recorded below:

 

YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

227

0

0

7

REPUBLICAN

39

154

0

6

TOTAL

266

154

0

13

 

 

 

 

 

MASSACHUSETTS

10

0

0

0

The second amendment creates a refundable tax credit of up to $7,500 for first-time homebuyers that would serve as an interest-free loan. It also authorizes an additional $10 billion in tax-exempt bonds to refinance subprime loans, finance the construction of low-income rental housing, and support loans to first-time homebuyers. I voted YES. The amendment passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

 

YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

227

0

0

7

REPUBLICAN

95

94

0

10

TOTAL

322

94

0

17

 

 

 

 

 

MASSACHUSETTS

10

0

0

0

The third amendment preserves states' rights to establish laws to prevent abusive foreclosure practices. I voted YES. The amendment passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

 

YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

225

1

0

8

REPUBLICAN

31

159

0

9

TOTAL

256

160

0

17

 

 

 

 

 

MASSACHUSETTS

10

0

0

0

VA Consolidation

This week, the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) announced that after an extensive review, they have decided to keep their facilities in Bedford, Brockton, Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury open. For years, the VA has been exploring the possibility of consolidating services offered to veterans by closing one or more of the existing facilities. The entire Massachusetts Congressional Delegation, along with veterans' advocates throughout the state, has been fighting this proposal. I am pleased that the VA decided to maintain its existing services. This is great news for our veterans, who deserve reasonable access to quality health care.

Health Careers Academy

On Monday, I met with a group of young adults from Boston's Health Careers Academy. The students gave a presentation on child soldiers, which was the focus of their project for the "Reebok 4 Real program". Child soldiers are often subject to sexual abuse, deprived of their childhood and denied an education. They may also be maimed or killed in the line of fire. Children who escape or have been returned to society often have great difficulty adjusting to life. The students' efforts supported an organization in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that works for the demobilization and education of former child soldiers. I was very impressed with the depth of their presentation and how hard they had worked to raise awareness and encourage more involvement in human rights advocacy.

What's Up Next

Next week, the House is scheduled to consider an Iraq/Afghanistan supplemental appropriations bill, and possibly the Farm Bill conference report.


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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