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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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July 30, 2010

Before reporting on the business of the week I wanted to take a moment and thank you. So many of you contacted the office expressing your condolences on the passing of my mother and I am truly touched. It means a great deal to me.

Unemployment

Although this has been a busy legislative week and I have much to report to you, I did want to point out one measure last week that I would have supported had I been in Washington, D.C. You may recall that the House passed an extension of unemployment benefits through November 30th a couple weeks ago. The Senate tried several times to pass the same measure but consistently failed to come up with the necessary 60 votes. The Senate tried again with a modified version of what the House already passed and was finally successful. This required another House vote that took place last week, and the extension was signed by the President. Benefits have been extended through November 30th and were retroactive for those who lost this support due to the delay in passage.

Shareholder Protection

Yesterday the House Committee on Financial Services advanced my legislation, H.R. 4790: the Shareholder Protection Act. It requires a shareholder vote on a corporation's proposed political budget, giving shareholders the opportunity to weigh in on the use of these funds. January's Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC established that corporations cannot be prohibited from spending general treasury funds on political campaigns because it would violate their free speech rights. My legislation gives shareholders the ability to exercise their free speech rights by voting to approve or reject these expenditures. The Supreme Court decision effectively increases the influence of money in politics and diminishes the voice of the voter. We should be working to limit outside influence on elections, not giving corporations a louder voice. My legislation is a simple and direct way to ensure that corporate political expenditures reflect the will of the shareholders, since the money in question belongs to the shareholders. I look forward to its consideration on the floor of the House, which I am hopeful will happen in September.

Supplemental Appropriations

This week the House again considered a supplemental appropriations bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The House and Senate previously passed different versions of this legislation and the Senate did not have enough votes to approve the House's measure. As a result, the House took up the Senate-passed bill Tuesday. I did not support this measure because as I have repeatedly said for many months now, it is time to end the wars and start bringing our troops home. I am very discouraged that we are still so actively engaged with seemingly no end, and I cannot support continued funding. I am disappointed that more of my colleagues do not agree with me.

I voted NO. The Senate amendment to H.R. 4899, Supplemental Appropriations for FY 2010 passed and the entire vote is recorded below

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

148

102

0

4

REPUBLICAN

160

12

0

6

TOTAL

308

114

0

10

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

1

9

0

0

FY 2011 Appropriations

This week the House began consideration of the fiscal year 2011 appropriations bill with H.R. 5822: FY 2011 Military Construction/VA Appropriations bill. This bill funds medical care for more than 6 million of our veterans and increases funding for the processing of Veterans Administration disability claims to address an increasing backlog of cases. It also includes funding to continue upgrading National Guard and Reserve facilities, and to continue modernizing training barracks.

I voted YES. H.R. 5822 passed with overwhelming bipartisan support:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

247

0

0

7

REPUBLICAN

164

6

0

8

TOTAL

411

6

0

15

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

10

0

0

0

The House also considered H.R. 5850: FY 2011 Transportation-HUD Appropriations bill. This legislation funds highway and transit construction which will improve our infrastructure and create jobs. It also funds a number of housing and economic development initiatives such as rental assistance under the Section 8 program and the Community Development Block Grant Program for cities and towns. I voted YES. H.R. 5850 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

237

13

0

4

REPUBLICAN

14

154

0

10

TOTAL

251

167

0

14

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

10

0

0

0

Capitol Security Subcommittee

As Chair of the Subcommittee on Capitol Security, I held a hearing yesterday to review a recent Inspector General's report on the Capitol Police budget. There have been issues surrounding the budget and in March, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Morse requested that the Office of the Inspector General conduct an audit to help identify the source of the problems and make recommendations moving forward.

The Inspector General found that some information used to calculate annual personnel compensation and benefits was either miscalculated or omitted. He found that the Department deviated from past budget formulation practices and had no written guidance on budget formulation. We take these findings very seriously and conducted the hearing to review how the Capitol Police would address the issues raised. Chief Morse made it clear that he was taking the IG report seriously and would work to correct all of the issues identified. The IG expressed confidence that the Capitol Police were committed to improvements. I was pleased to hear the IG's assurances in this regard, and I stressed that the subcommittee expected the Capitol Police to rectify all of the problems quickly. We will review their progress in the fall.

Teen Driver Safety

This week I introduced the Students Taking Action for Road Safety (STARS) Act, legislation to establish a grant program within the Department of Transportation focusing on teen driver safety. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car accidents are the leading cause of death among 15 to 20 year olds. A number of safety programs currently exist for bicyclists, motorcyclists, older drivers and infant passengers but there is no single dedicated program for younger drivers who are three times as likely to die in a car accident as all other driving populations. The STARS Act will create a grant program for states to establish teen traffic safety initiatives. The state grants would support training and technical assistance to help schools and communities either establish new programming or expand existing programming.  Funding will also be available to establish a technical assistance center and clearinghouse for state and local officials, student leaders and educators. The legislation also establishes a National Teen Driver Advisory Council to develop an education and prevention strategy for reducing injuries and fatalities for teen drivers. The Council will also serve as a forum for teen drivers, officials and traffic experts to develop methods of reducing traffic-related injuries and fatalities among America's youth. A companion bill will be introduced in the Senate by Senators Klobuchar and Dorgan.

What's Up Next Week

Next week the House begins a District Work period.


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
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District Office Phone:

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DC Office:

1414 Longworth Building, Washington, DC 20515

DC Office Phone:

(202) 225-5111

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