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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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August 1, 2008

Appropriations

On Wednesday the House began full consideration of the first of the FY 2009 appropriations bills. There is a strong likelihood that a continuing resolution will be necessary at the end of September to fund most of the government's operations until a new Chief Executive is in the White House. You may recall that during last year's federal budget process, President Bush refused to negotiate on any of the bills, demanding that Congress adhere to his budget numbers. He has taken the same approach this year, refusing to compromise. Many members feel that a new President would be more likely to listen to the concerns of the legislative branch and seek a compromise on some budget matters. For this reason, Congress may wait until next year to pass the bulk of the budget.

The first bill considered in the House this cycle was H.R. 6599: Military Construction and Veterans Affairs FY 09 Appropriations bill. This legislation rejects the President's proposed $788 million cuts to the Department of Veterans Affairs construction initiatives so that the agency has the resources to rehabilitate deteriorating buildings. It provides $336 million more that the President's budget for quality of life initiatives, including housing facilities, medical treatment and facilities, and family housing. It represents the House's commitment to providing our men and women in uniform with the services they need. I voted YES. The legislation passed in the House and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

229

0

0

6

REPUBLICAN

180

4

0

15

TOTAL

409

4

0

21

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

10

0

0

0

On Wednesday the House considered the Conference Report for H.R. 4040: the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. Last year, 45 million toys and children's products were recalled. So far this year, the number of recalls has increased 29% over the first half of 2007. This legislation addresses this troubling trend by effectively eliminating lead and other dangerous substances from children's products. It requires pre-market testing to ensure that the products adhere to safety standards. It also strengthens the Consumer Product Safety Commission, giving the agency additional resources and personnel to identify dangerous toys and keep them out of our stores. I voted YES. This bipartisan bill passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

231

0

0

4

REPUBLICAN

193

1

0

5

TOTAL

424

1

0

9

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

10

0

0

0

On Thursday the House considered the Conference Report for H.R. 4137: The Higher Education Opportunity Act. This legislation seeks to address the rising cost of a college education by making Pell Grants available year round, simplifying the federal student financial aid process and directing colleges to provide comprehensive information about tuition costs and the reasons for any increases. I voted YES. The legislation passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

234

0

0

1

REPUBLICAN

146

49

0

4

TOTAL

380

49

0

5

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

10

0

0

0

On Thursday the House also considered H.R. 1338: the Paycheck Fairness Act. This legislation strengthens the Equal Pay Act (EPA) and eliminates loopholes that have allowed some employers to virtually ignore it. H.R. 1338 requires that if an employer is paying a man more than a woman for the same job, that employer must show that the disparity is for a bona-fide job-related reason and not based on gender. It also prohibits employers from taking action against their employees if they discuss their salaries with fellow employees. I voted YES. The legislation passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

233

0

0

2

REPUBLICAN

14

178

0

7

TOTAL

247

178

0

9

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

10

0

0

0

Credit Cards

On Thursday the House Committee on Financial Services on which I serve voted to move forward H.R. 5244: the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights. This bill holds credit card companies accountable for providing consumers with clear terms and fair options, while also ensuring that consumers use their credit responsibly. The bill requires credit card companies to give consumers sufficient notice of interest rate increases and the choice to opt out of them. It also prohibits excessive fees, double-cycle billing, and increasing rates on preexisting balances. While the relevant regulators are expected to finalize rules soon to keep credit companies in check, it is the responsibility of Congress to act where it can to protect consumers from abusive lenders. I believe that passing this bill will continue to put pressure on the regulators to act more quickly. I am a co-sponsor of H.R. 5244 and voted to move it forward to the full House. It is my hope the bill will be on the floor of the House in September.

What's Up Next

The House has entered a district work period. The next votes are scheduled for Tuesday September 9th.


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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