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Congressman Capuano's
E-UPDATE
An update from the office of U.S. Representative Michael E. Capuano
8th Congressional District of Massachusetts
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October 9, 2009

Defense Authorization

Today, the House considered the conference report on H.R. 2647: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. The House passed its version of the bill in June, though the Senate considered the legislation later this summer. The conference committee convened this week to work out the differences between the two bills, and I had the privilege of serving as a conferee. H.R. 2647 contains the authorization for a number of ongoing military and defense programs but does not actually provide funds for their operation. It includes military pay raises, new battle gear for the National Guard and reserves, and training programs for Afghan and Pakistani security forces. Both the House and Senate removed provisions authorizing acquisition of additional F-22 fighter jets that the Obama Administration and the Pentagon opposed in the bill as originally drafted.

One of my priorities as a conferee was to protect the addition of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act as an amendment to the Senate version of the legislation. The House voted in favor of hate crimes prevention earlier this year, but the Senate had been unable to move that bill until now when Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) successfully offered it as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization. Republicans have, by and large, sought to strip this language from the bill in an effort that would have blocked this groundbreaking achievement that has been years in the making. I am proud that we were able to retain the Senate amendment and finally send GLBT-inclusive hate crimes legislation to the President for his signature.

I voted YES. The conference report on H.R. 2647 passed in the House and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

237

15

0

4

REPUBLICAN

44

131

0

2

TOTAL

281

146

0

6

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

9

0

0

1

Appropriations

On Wednesday, the House also considered the conference report on H.R. 2997: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010. This bill provides $121.2 billion for crop support, food stamps, expansion of the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, and McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. Under this legislation, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) will receive $3.3 billion — an increase of $615 million over FY09 funding — to improve regulation and ensure the safety of our nation's food and medicine supplies.

I voted YES. The conference report on H.R. 2997 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

240

11

0

4

REPUBLICAN

23

151

0

3

TOTAL

263

162

0

7

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

9

0

0

1

Urban Parks

This week, my colleague Representative Albio Sires (D-NJ) introduced H.R. 3734: Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act, and I was proud to join him as an original cosponsor. The Urban Parks and Recreation Program, which supported green spaces in urban communities like Massachusetts' 8th Congressional District, stopped receiving funding under the Bush Administration. The program helped parks in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville by funding rehabilitation of much needed urban recreation spaces that cities often don't have the resources and ability to address on their own. I have long been a proponent of revitalizing urban parks because Yellowstone and Yosemite aren't the only parks that are worthy of the National Park Service's attention — urban citizens deserve access to recreational spaces within their own city that can often help create jobs and protect property values.

Rep. Sires' bill would reinvigorate the Urban Parks program by creating new grants for traditional urban park activities with an added emphasis on environmental activities and technologies, as well as programs to serve at-risk youth. This fresh approach to renewing and fully utilizing our parks would help bolster economic recovery and expand community access to green space and recreation. I look forward to future conversations on advancing this legislation.

What's Up Next

Next week the House is expected to consider the conference report on H.R. 2892: Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010.


Congressman Mike Capuano
8th District, Massachusetts
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee on Financial Services
Committee on House Administration

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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:

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