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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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December 21, 2009

Jobs Creation

You may have read about my recent comments to the Democratic Caucus about what I have been hearing from the people of Massachusetts . If not, what I emphasized was (1) Jobs and (2) Afghanistan . We will have to wait for a while before we see if my concerns about Afghanistan are heeded, but the House acted quickly after I “lit the fuse” relative to jobs.

Last Wednesday, the House considered H.R. 2847: Jobs for Main Street Act. The measure provides $48 billion to put Americans back to work rebuilding our roads, bridges, and transit systems, and through increased investments in cleaning our air and water. For transportation and water infrastructure alone, Massachusetts is expected to receive over $811 million, including $335.9 million for investments in transit. The bill contains $500 million to hire teenagers for summer jobs, $1.18 billion for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, and $500 million for hiring and preserving the jobs of firefighters across the country. This measure also provides $1 billion for the Housing Trust Fund and $1 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund to rehabilitate affordable housing rental units and repair public housing units. All of these initiatives will be fully paid for with remaining TARP funds, an idea I urged the President to consider in November. In addition, the measure would extend emergency unemployment benefits for 6 months and extend the COBRA health insurance subsidy for individuals who have lost their jobs. Finally, the bill would extend for one year the expiring authority for the federal government's surface transportation programs. This extension of authority provides $905.2 million in normal formula funding, which is separate from the additional funding above.

I voted YES on H.R. 2847. The legislation passed and will now move to the Senate for consideration. The entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

217

38

0

3

REPUBLICAN

0

174

0

3

TOTAL

217

212

0

6

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

10

0

0

0

Defense Appropriations

Last week, the House completed all work on FY 2010 appropriations with passage of H.R. 3326: Department of Defense Appropriations Act. This was the last remaining appropriations bill to be passed for the fiscal year that began October 1. H.R. 3326 increases military pay by 3.4% and has $29.2 billion to ensure top quality medical care for our troops through the Defense Health Program. It also increases funding for military family resources and troop readiness. The bill places a focus on reducing reliance on military contractors in favor of a buildup of federal civilian personnel, which will result in greater oversight and a cost savings. In addition, H.R. 3326 includes a number of other "must pass" provisions, such as a temporary fix in the Medicare reimbursement rate to doctors and an extension of unemployment benefits.

This bill does NOT contain any funding for the proposed troop increase in Afghanistan. Those funds are expected to be sought in a Supplemental Appropriation bill sometime early next year.

I voted YES. H.R. 3326 passed in the House and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

231

23

0

3

REPUBLICAN

164

11

0

2

TOTAL

395

34

0

5

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

10

0

0

0

Health Care Reform

As you know, negotiations on the health care reform package have been ongoing in the Senate. The Senate's version has evolved over time, most recently to drop the proposed Medicare buy-in provision for 55-64 year olds while retaining a provision that calls for the Office of Personnel Management — which oversees federal employee health benefits — to negotiate rates with private insurers. So far, this appears to fall far short of the public option that I supported when it passed the House, but things remain fluid as the Senate tries to pass its bill by Christmas.

I have heard from many constituents on this issue, and I encourage you to share your opinions with me as we move closer to negotiations between the House and Senate. I will continue to closely monitor the Senate debate, and I remain committed to ensuring that any final health care bill offers real reform while also protecting Massachusetts ' best interest.

What's Up Next

The House is now adjourned for the First Session of the 111th Congress. The Second Session is scheduled to begin January 12.


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

P.S. I welcome your feedback on our e-Updates. Please let me and my staff know what you think of this service by e-mailing our office.


District Offices:

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and
Roxbury Community College, Campus Library, Room 211

District Office Phone:

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DC Office:

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DC Office Phone:

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