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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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January 16, 2009

Health Insurance for Children

This week, the House considered H.R. 2: State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). This measure will maintain health care coverage for 7 million children currently served by SCHIP and add an additional 4 million children to the program. SCHIP provides health care coverage for children whose families cannot afford it. You may recall that President Bush vetoed the reauthorization of SCHIP twice in the last Congress. It is expected to easily pass the Senate and will be one of the first pieces of legislation signed by our new President. I voted YES. H.R. 2 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

249

2

0

5

REPUBLICAN

40

137

0

1

TOTAL

289

139

0

6

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

10

0

0

0

Troubled Asset Relief Program

This week the House began consideration of H.R. 384: TARP Reform and Accountability Act. This legislation amends the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) established as part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. Its goal is to increase accountability and transparency for the use of the designated funds as well as provide more relief for homeowners facing foreclosure.

I proposed a number of provisions that have been added to the bill, including language clarifying that one to four unit family homes fit the definition of "residential properties," making them eligible for participation in the foreclosure mitigation program. Renters also receive some protection with the inclusion of a measure that prevents any entity taking over a foreclosed home from evicting tenants for 90 days. This gives renters facing the loss of their residence through no fault of their own some additional time to find alternative arrangements.

I also worked with my colleagues to include language for strict rules on compensating executives of TARP recipient institutions, including prohibiting golden parachutes, curbing the reward of risky behavior, and allowing the recovery of bonuses based on false earnings. These measures were also applied earlier to automakers receiving government funds. In addition, language was added prohibiting recipient institutions to merge unless federal regulators determined it would reduce risk to taxpayers or that the merger could have occurred without the use of TARP funds.

The Senate voted Thursday night to allow the use of the second $350 billion, which will give the incoming Administration access to these funds. Many Members of Congress, including myself, are very concerned about releasing additional money without placing conditions on its use. Now that the money has been made available, it is more important than ever to review its use. The House will complete consideration of H.R. 384 next week.

Economic Stimulus

On Thursday the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan was introduced in the House. This economic stimulus package is designed to preserve and create jobs and boost our economy. $550 billion in funds is included for targeted investments and an additional $275 billion for targeted tax cuts. Funds will be used for infrastructure improvements, health care, education, scientific research and energy efficiency. The measure also extends unemployment benefits and increases access to job training initiatives. The proposed legislation includes over $43 billion for transportation needs such as bridge repairs, road improvements and transit development. According to initial estimates, Massachusetts should receive just over $1 billion for transportation needs alone. If you are interested in learning more about the details of this stimulus package, you may visit the House Appropriations Committee's website at http://appropriations.house.gov/, where additional information has been posted. There will be much debate over the package in the days and weeks ahead, but there is wide agreement that a substantial investment must be made in order to stabilize the economy.

What's Up Next

Next week, House committees are expected to begin marking up the economic stimulus package, which should soon be ready for floor consideration. The House will also vote on H.R. 384: the TARP Reform and Accountability Act.


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:

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DC Office Phone:

(202) 225-5111

Website and e-mail:

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