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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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March 4, 2011

Continuing Resolution

This week Congress passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government through March 18th while debate continues over finding a long term budget solution. It contained about $2 billion in cuts from last year's levels.

You may recall that a couple weeks ago the House passed H.R. 1 which would fund the government for the remainder of FY 2011 (ending September 30, 2011). It contained $100 billion in cuts from the President's FY 2011 budget proposal, including reductions in many programs that help our most vulnerable citizens. The Senate has yet to take up this bill and the President has already said that he will veto H.R.1 if it gets to his desk unchanged. That proposal contains many troubling cuts. A brief list of some cuts indicates where the House Republican majority would like to take our country:

  • $1.3 billion less than FY 2010 levels for Community Health Centers;
  • $1.6 billion less for the National Institute of Health (NIH) which would bring the NIH budget back to FY 2008 levels;
  • $1 billion less for Head Start funding;
  • 62.5% less, or $2.5 billion, for the Community Services Block Grant program, which is funding available to social services agencies so that they can help some of our most vulnerable citizens with child care, home heating help, housing assistance and many other services;
  • 22% less for the Federal Transit Administration's New Starts program (the Green Line Extension could be impacted);
  • $400 million less for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and 66% less for LIHEAP Contingency funds;
  • 66% less for the Community Development Block Grant Program which funds many community improvement projects through City Halls;
  • 70% less for Senior Housing programs;
  • 70% less funding for Housing for Individuals with Disabilities;
  • $747 million less for the Women, Infants and Children's (WIC) program, the program that feeds pregnant and nursing mothers.

It is also important to note what the House will not do to address the deficit — they will not even consider adjusting taxes on the wealthiest or on corporations. So it is fine to slash programs that support pregnant mothers and seniors — but we can't even consider taxing oil companies!

Our deficit is serious and we need to address it, but not at the expense of some of those most vulnerable. Everything should be on the table, including Defense. We cannot erase the deficit by cutting discretionary social spending only.

Financial Services Committee

This week both Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner testified before the Financial Services Committee. Bernanke talked about the impact that H.R. 1, the Republican budget bill, would have on jobs. He clarified that the issue was not whether H.R. 1 would cost us jobs, but rather how many jobs it would cost. He stated that he believed the billions of dollars in cuts would result in the loss of approximately 200,000 jobs. This is in contrast to a recent projection by Goldman Sachs that it would cost 700,000 jobs. Our economy is still recovering and many people are still struggling to find work. We can't afford to lose even one job. Chairman Bernanke's testimony illustrates the deep and painful impact that the budget proposal detailed above would have on our economy.

I also asked Chairman Bernanke about the impact of the so-called ”bailouts” and what they have cost taxpayers. Despite all the rhetoric surrounding the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and other related financial investments, it was very interesting to hear Chairman Bernanke state that the bailouts have earned $125 billion for taxpayers — in short, we made money. My questions to Chairman Bernanke and his answers can be viewed on my YouTube channel.

Secretary Geithner testified on various proposals to change how this country finances home mortgages. I focused on average homebuyers and the impact that winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could have on the ability of middle class families to obtain an affordable mortgage. The average homebuyer, who has saved some money for a down payment, and who has the resources to keep up with a mortgage payment, should not face seemingly overwhelming obstacles to get that mortgage. Some potential obstacles could include requiring a down payment of 20% or facing excessively high interest rates.

Recent Votes

On Thursday the House considered H.R. 4: Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act. This legislation would end a burdensome requirement making small businesses report any payments they make to other businesses that exceed $600 by filing 1099 forms. In July of 2010 the House considered a bill repealing this requirement. I supported that repeal. Interestingly, although the House proposal was fully paid for, it failed because almost no Republicans supported it. This new House version pays for the repeal by taking away health care tax credits for families making under 400% of the poverty line, which essentially increases taxes on low and middle income families. Many of us support repealing the 1099 reporting requirement and recognize that it is a burden on small businesses. Indeed many of us, including myself, have voted for repeal in the past. This version simply takes the burden off small business and places it squarely on the shoulders of low and middle income families. I voted NO; H.R. 4 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

238

0

0

2

DEMOCRAT

76

112

0

4

TOTAL

314

112

0

6

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

1

9

0

0

Facebook

I recently established an official Facebook page. If you are on Facebook and would like to check it out or ”like” the page, you can visit facebook.com/RepMichaelCapuano. I hope that, like the e-update, you find the information we provide there to be useful. As always, any suggestions you have are welcome.

What's Up Next Week

Next week the House is scheduled to consider several housing bills.


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

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:

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