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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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June 4, 2010

Telephone Community Meeting

On Monday June 7th from 6:30-7:30 PM, I am hosting a telephone community meeting. Anyone interested in participating may dial 1-877-229-8493 and use pin 13034 at the scheduled time to participate. If you would like to ask me a question, just press *3 after joining the meeting. I hope you will have some time to join us Monday. We'll post an audio file of the meeting on my website at www.house.gov/capuano sometime next week.

Baggage Fees

I recently introduced the Baggage Fee Fairness Act, which would require airlines to refund baggage fees if luggage is lost, damaged or delayed in reaching its destination. Many airlines now charge a fee for checked luggage. It is a simple matter of fairness to refund that fee to consumers if the airline has not fulfilled its commitment to transport the luggage to its intended destination in a timely fashion and without damage. My legislation would also require a more prominent disclosure of baggage fees when consumers are obtaining ticket pricing information, so the full cost of the ticket is known prior to purchase. In the interest of transparency and competition, all fees should be readily available when researching ticket prices. I was pleased to see that this week, the Department of Transportation announced it was considering implementing a number of regulations, including a requirement that airlines refund fees when baggage is lost or damaged. We are beginning the busy summer travel season and it is my hope that progress will be made quickly.

Don't Ask Don't Tell

The House last week voted to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell". I was proud to vote to end this discriminatory practice and look forward to the implementation of repeal. It is fitting that the House took this action in the days leading up to Memorial Day. Our men and women in uniform serve us bravely and with honor. It should matter to no one what their sexual orientation may be, and all of our service members should be able to serve their country openly. I voted YES on the amendment, which was then attached to the Defense Authorization bill. The entire vote on the amendment is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

229

26

0

6

REPUBLICAN

5

168

0

4

TOTAL

234

194

0

10

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

10

0

0

0

Tax Extenders

The House also amended H.R. 4213: The American Jobs, Closing Tax Loopholes and Preventing Outsourcing Act. This legislation extends unemployment benefits through November 30th and includes a host of other measures. Although I strongly support extending unemployment benefits, this legislation did not include financial help for those receiving COBRA health insurance, forcing many unemployed to consider going without vital health care services. One major illness could mean bankruptcy.

The measure also reduces needed health care funding for states, leaving Massachusetts with almost $700 million less than they were expecting in the midst of finalizing their budget. I was also concerned about whether a last minute change to transportation funding could have a long term negative impact on Massachusetts and 36 other states. The Senate adjourned without considering any of these issues, and unemployment benefits expired anyway. Thus, this House action was not the final opportunity to fix these issues. We had more time to get this right, and should have sent a stronger bill to the Senate. When the House returns from its district work period next week, I hope we will have an opportunity to advance a better bill. This legislation, which still must be approved by the Senate, passed. I voted NO and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

214

34

0

7

REPUBLICAN

1

170

0

6

TOTAL

215

204

0

13

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

9

1

0

0

What's Up Next Week

The House returns from a District Work Period on Tuesday and is expected to consider several bills, including H.R. 5072: The FHA Reform Act of 2010.


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:

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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