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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 12, 2009

DTV Transition

Today is the day that television stations all across the country complete their transition to digital programming. The Federal Communications Commission is offering a number of resources to answer questions and help people navigate the change. If you have questions, call the FCC's DTV Hotline at 1-888-225-5322. Staff will be available 24 hours a day through the weekend to provide assistance. You may also visit the FCC's digital television website at www.dtv.gov, which offers comprehensive information about the transition, including a database of local resources, troubleshooting tips and technical assistance.

If you currently subscribe to a pay television service such as cable or satellite, or if your television has a digital tuner, you should not need any additional equipment. If you find that you require a converter box in order to receive the digital programming, you may order a coupon from the FCC to defray the cost of the equipment. You can do this by calling the hotline or going to www.dtv.gov, where you will also be able to search for retailers near you. You can also find information about in-home service calls, if you would like someone to install the equipment.

"Cash for Clunkers"

On Tuesday the House passed H.R. 2751: Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) Act. This legislation, commonly known as the "cash for clunkers" measure, would provide up to $4,500 in vouchers for consumers who trade in their old vehicles for more fuel efficient ones. The intent of the bill is to reduce fuel consumption and vehicle emissions, as well as provide an incentive for those considering a purchase. Increased vehicle sales will help the struggling auto industry, both in terms of saving jobs and dealerships in danger of closing. I voted YES. H.R. 2751 passed and the entire House vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

239

9

0

8

REPUBLICAN

59

110

2

7

TOTAL

298

119

21

15

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

10

0

0

0

Foreign Relations Authorization Act

On Wednesday the House considered H.R. 2410: Foreign Relations Authorization Act. This legislation provides resources to strengthen our diplomatic and development activities by authorizing funds for 1,500 new Foreign Services Officers as well as 700 additional staffers at the U.S. Agency for International Development. It authorizes a significant increase in funding to support the President's goal of doubling the Peace Corps and includes a commitment to honor our dues to the United Nations, which have been in arrears. H.R. 2410 establishes a new study abroad foundation so more students will have access to this educational opportunity. This legislation also includes my proposal to authorize $140 million in funding for the Global Peace Operations Initiative which will help to refurbish helicopters for UN peacekeeping missions like UNAMID in Sudan.

It has been very difficult getting supplies to those who need them and helicopters will help to speed delivery of desperately needed goods. In fact, I met this week with Gen. J. Scott Gration, President Obama's Special Envoy to Sudan. Gen. Gration and I had a frank discussion about the situation on the ground in Sudan, prospects for peace, and the Administration's efforts. I know the President and Gen. Gration both take the crises in Sudan seriously, but I also cautioned against taking assurances from its government at face value. Khartoum must be judged not by its words but by its actions.

I voted YES on this bill. H.R. 2410 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

228

18

0

9

REPUBLICAN

7

169

0

2

TOTAL

235

187

0

11

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

9

0

0

1

Pakistan

On Thursday the House considered H.R. 1886: Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement (PEACE) Act. The goal of this legislation is to provide assistance to Pakistan as it seeks to maintain stability and combat terrorism. It provides $1.5 billion a year over six years for a whole spectrum of assistance, including help for Pakistan's law enforcement agencies, public education system, judicial system, health care, economic development and job creation. H.R. 1886 includes important accountability provisions, such as preventing certain types of military assistance after FY 2010 unless the President concludes that Pakistan is meeting its commitments: offering full cooperation on nuclear nonproliferation and demonstrating strong efforts to combat terrorism.

It is clear to me that an unstable Pakistan poses grave dangers and it is important that the U.S. provide assistance. I am satisfied this bill offers that assistance with appropriate safeguards. I voted YES. H.R. 1886 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

226

18

0

11

REPUBLICAN

8

167

0

3

TOTAL

234

185

0

14

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

9

0

0

1

Tobacco Control Act

On Friday the House passed The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act with strong bipartisan support. It has already passed in the Senate and President Obama has said he will sign it into law. This bill brings tobacco products under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This gives the FDA the authority to regulate manufacturing and advertising of all tobacco products, increasing the agency's ability to monitor its health risks.

TARP

This week, we got some good news relating to the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Treasury announced that 10 of the largest TARP recipients now meet the requirements for repaying these funds. These banks passed their stress tests and showed regulators that they have enough capital to withstand a long economic downturn, a sufficient amount of common stock, and an ability to issue billions in debt without government backing.

The 10 banks include JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, American Express, Bank of NY Mellon, BB&T, Capital One, State Street, U.S. Bancorp, Morgan Stanley, and Northern Trust. These banks are expected to repay Treasury $68 billion in TARP funds, which will then be available to loan out to other institutions if necessary. Additionally, 22 community banks have already returned their TARP funds, which totaled $1.9 billion.

The 10 banks listed above have already paid out $1.8 billion over the last 7 months in dividends on preferred stock. The federal government will also receive additional funds when the banks repurchase the warrants that Treasury holds in their firms. These warrants would have entitled the U.S. to buy stock in the banks at a set price. Analysts estimate that their warrants are worth a total of $4.6 billion.

What's Up Next

Next week, the House is expected to consider the conference report for the supplemental appropriations bill providing additional funding for Iraq and Afghanistan.


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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