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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 27, 2008

Medicare

On Tuesday the House passed H.R. 6331: Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008. This bill stops a pending 10% Medicare payment reduction to physicians in the program for 18 months. It improves services for Medicare beneficiaries with an income level below $14,010 by increasing the amount of assets they can have while still qualifying for extra assistance and by reducing seniors' personal costs for mental health care. H.R. 6331 also requires Medicare plans to make payments to pharmacies within 14 days and to update reimbursement prices weekly so pharmacies have current pricing information. It also postpones the Durable Medical Equipment (DME) competitive bidding program. I voted YES on H.R. 6331. The legislation passed under suspension of the rules by a vote of 355-59.

Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

On Wednesday the House considered H.R. 6275: Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act (AMT) of 2008. This bill provides a one-year patch that will protect more than 25 million taxpayers from the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). The original goal of the AMT was to ensure that everyone paid at least a minimum in taxes, and it was targeted toward high-income people who at the time could use multiple deductions and credits to avoid paying taxes. However, the AMT has not been updated for inflation and many middle-class families could be subject to the AMT if a patch is not approved while a longer term approach is developed. An AMT patch has passed the Congress in previous years, but unlike some previous patches, this legislation includes offsets that will not increase the deficit.

I voted YES. H.R. 6275 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

223

6

0

6

REPUBLICAN

10

183

0

6

TOTAL

233

189

0

12

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

10

0

0

0

Americans with Disabilities Act

On Wednesday the House also considered H.R. 3195: ADA Amendments Act. This legislation amends the Americans with Disabilities Act to address recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that appear to limit the definition of "disability". As a result of the rulings, individuals who live with serious conditions such as epilepsy or cerebral palsy have been told they do not meet the definition of disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. To reaffirm the clear intent of the Congress in passing the ADA, H.R. 3195 clarifies that the ADA protects anyone who faces discrimination on the basis of a disability.

I voted YES. H.R. 3195 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

228

0

0

7

REPUBLICAN

174

17

0

8

TOTAL

402

17

0

15

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

10

0

0

0

Energy and Transportation

On Thursday the House considered H.R. 6052: Saving Energy through Public Transportation Act. This bill provides $1.7 billion in grants to mass transit agencies over two years. Funds can be used to reduce public transit fares, expand transit services and help defray rising operating costs.

I voted YES. H.R. 6052 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

231

0

0

4

REPUBLICAN

91

98

0

10

TOTAL

322

98

0

14

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

10

0

0

0

Sudan

There are at least 39 individuals currently on trial in Sudan for alleged terrorism and participation in a recent rebel attack on Khartoum. We have heard reports that the accused are standing trial in three special courts set up outside the normal judicial process and overseen by justices specially appointed by Sudanese President Omar al Bashir. The defendants face the death penalty if convicted.

I recently wrote to the United States Embassy in Khartoum, asking that they seek access to the trials in order to monitor the proceedings as a way to demonstrate the high level of U.S. interest and concern in the outcome of these cases. I am deeply troubled that those on trial do not appear to have access to proper legal representation and, in all likelihood, cannot expect a fair or impartial process. It is my hope that continuing to raise concerns over these and other human rights violations may serve both to admonish the Sudanese government and draw international interest.

What's Up Next

A district work period is scheduled for next week. The next votes in the House are scheduled for Tuesday July 8th./p>


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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