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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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June 20, 2008

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.

Over many months, I have written to you regarding the ongoing effort in Congress to update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Today, the House voted on a new bill that represents a "compromise" between congressional negotiators and the White House. I believe that today was a sad day in American history. Supporters argue that this bill succeeds in balancing protection for civil liberties with measures needed for our security, but I could not disagree more strongly. I believe that adherence to the Constitution and its Fourth amendment is the only way to ensure our freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and the other freedoms safeguarded by the Bill of Rights. This legislation utterly fails to meet that test. On the issue of retroactive immunity for telecom providers, the bill compels the dismissal of cases as long as companies were told by the government that the surveillance was legal, making the court review virtually meaningless.

I have always regarded the preservation of our cherished liberties as one of my most solemn obligations. I am deeply saddened at today's vote.

I voted NO and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

105

128

0

3

REPUBLICAN

188

1

0

10

TOTAL

293

129

0

13

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

10

0

0

Supplemental Spending

On Thursday, the House took votes on two amendments related to additional spending for FY 2008. The first was to provide $165.4B to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As all of you know, I voted against the war in Iraq and have been doing everything I can to end this war and start bringing our men and women in uniform home. I share the deep disappointment of many of my constituents that we have not yet been able to convince the Senate or a veto-proof majority in the House to join our efforts. Although I do not think that we will be able to convince President Bush to change course in Iraq, I will never stop trying to do that. I am also very hopeful that our next President will end the war in Iraq.

I voted NO, but the amendment passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

80

151

0

5

REPUBLICAN

188

4

0

7

TOTAL

268

155

0

12

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

10

0

0

The second amendment reduces the war funding by approximately $4 billion and enacts a new GI bill. It restores full, four-year college scholarships to veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This amendment also provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits through March 2009. The amendment includes emergency funding for pressing needs, including the global food crisis, science funding shortfalls, and disaster relief. Finally, the bill blocks six Medicaid regulations proposed by the Bush Administration that if implemented could be devastating to the Massachusetts health reform effort.

I voted YES. The amendment passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

230

3

0

3

REPUBLICAN

186

9

0

4

TOTAL

416

12

0

7

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

10

0

0

0

Capitol Police Radio Upgrades

This week, the Subcommittee on Capitol Security, which I chair, held a hearing on United States Capitol Police Radio Upgrades. The Capitol Police updated us on the status of efforts to upgrade their outdated radio communications system. Their mission is to ensure a safe environment for everyone visiting the Capitol and those working in Congress, and an essential component of that mission is the ability of the Capitol Police to communicate effectively within the department and with other relevant public safety personnel. We also heard from representatives from the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials about the importance of interoperability in radio systems and the need for the Capitol Police to move forward with their proposed plans.

Much has been asked of the Capitol Police in recent years, due to the expanding nature of security threats and the necessity of improving the flow of information during a crisis. This hearing allowed our Subcommittee to better understand the process used by the Capitol Police in deciding on the type of system they feel is necessary to enhance the safety of the Capitol Complex. I look forward to working with them to facilitate the implementation of an improved system.

What's Up Next

Next week, the House is scheduled to consider a number of bills before the July 4th district work period, including a Medicare physician fee fix, AMT relief, the ADA Restoration Act, and several pieces of energy legislation.


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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