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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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April 8, 2011

Government Shutdown

At this writing, a budget deal has not been reached and the federal government is scheduled to partially shut down at midnight. If that does happen, my offices in Washington, D.C. and in Massachusetts will remain open. The work doesn't go away just because a budget agreement is not finalized. Constituents still need help, legislative activity continues, and the residents of the 8th Congressional District deserve whatever assistance we can give them. There are still so many questions surrounding what happens in the event of a shutdown. We will do our best to answer every question you have, and provide as much assistance as we can during these uncertain times. I am sorry it has come to this.

I am also frustrated and frankly a little stunned because it appears that the most significant area of disagreement right now is women's health care. Republicans are insisting that any budget deal must include a policy rider defunding Planned Parenthood. Regardless of how one feels about choice issues, there is already a provision prohibiting federal funds from being used to perform abortions — it's called the Hyde Amendment. So this rider doesn't defund abortions — it defunds critical, often lifesaving medical services for women, like Pap tests to detect cervical cancer and mammograms to detect breast cancer. Millions of American women rely on Planned Parenthood clinics for basic preventative and routine medical care. If this funding is slashed, clinics all over the country will have trouble meeting their financial obligations, and many women will lose access to important preventative care.

Recent Votes

On Thursday the House passed H.R. 1363: Department of Defense and Further Continuing Appropriations Act. This is the legislation that I wrote you about on Tuesday. It funds the Department of Defense for the rest of the fiscal year, and all other federal programs for one week. It cuts a staggering $12 billion from the budget over a 7 day period, while increasing the defense budget by more than $7 billion for the rest of the fiscal year. It also includes anti-choice policy language. H.R. 1363 is neither a serious nor responsible way to reach a compromise on spending and avoid a government shutdown. Democrats offered a simple one week extension to give negotiators more time but it was rejected by the Republicans. I remain hopeful that some sort of short term Continuing Resolution will be passed tonight. The Senate has declared H.R. 1363 a non-starter and the President stated that he will veto it. I voted NO. H.R. 1363 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

232

6

0

2

DEMOCRAT

15

175

0

2

TOTAL

247

181

0

4

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

10

0

0

On Thursday the House also considered H.R. 910: The Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011. This legislation prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gases. It also repeals an EPA “endangerment finding” which recognized that some greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are harmful to the environment and the public health. In essence H.R. 910 discounts the impact of greenhouse gases on climate change. H.R. 910 also has nothing to do with raising taxes, despite its title, because the EPA has no authority to raise taxes on its own. I voted NO. H.R. 910 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

236

0

0

4

DEMOCRAT

19

172

1

5

TOTAL

255

172

0

5

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

10

0

0

More on the Budget

As debate continues over funding the government for the last six months of FY 2011, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan on Tuesday released the Republican budget blueprint for FY 2012. The Budget Committee passed it this week and the full House will likely consider it next week. Chairman Ryan's proposal will thus serve as the framework for debating FY 2012 appropriations bills. There are so many issues of concern in this proposal that it's hard to know where to begin.

First, it doesn't reduce the deficit at all — in fact, it adds over $8 trillion to the deficit over ten years. The proposal makes permanent the Bush tax cuts that were extended last year. That alone will add $1 trillion to our deficit over ten years. It repeals health care reform and reduces the top individual tax rate from 35% to 25% — another break for the wealthiest Americans.

The proposal also changes the Medicare program for everyone currently under 55, providing $8,000 a year for health care expenses and sending them into the private market to purchase insurance. A typical plan for a senior couple with a pre-existing condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes could cost more than $20,000 leaving seniors with $12,000 in out of pocket expenses. This is double what the average senior pays today in out of pocket costs. Medicaid funding would turn into a block grant for states to spend as they choose which could result in the dollars being spent elsewhere. There are many more troubling items in this budget, which could pass the House next week.

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What's Up Next Week

Congress remains in session working to reach a deal on the budget.


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:

www.house.gov/capuano

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