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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


8,321 subscribers

April 20, 2012

Dear friends,

Unfortunately, once again my news regarding the legislation before the House this week is not good. So before we get to that, I just want to congratulate the Boston Red Sox on Fenway Park's 100th birthday today. So many of us from all over the country are with you in spirit as you commemorate this milestone.

Federal Land Management

This week the House considered H.R. 4089: the Sportsmen's Heritage Act. Supporters of this bill argue that it is intended to increase access to public lands for the purposes of hunting, fishing and recreational shooting. However, over 75% of federal lands are already open for these purposes. H.R. 4089 centralizes the authority to close federal lands with the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service. Local land managers who are on the scene are much better equipped to assess conditions that could lead to wildfires or other dangers. They should have the ability to implement land closures in the interest of public safety instead of waiting for approval from Washington. H.R. 4089 also negatively impacts existing conservation law. For example, this bill overrides the Wilderness Act by allowing people who are hunting or fishing to use motorized vehicles in the wilderness. I think it's important to point out that this bill also includes a "deem and pass" provision relative to Rep. Ryan's budget. Essentially the provision deems the Ryan budget passed and made law if H.R. 4089 passes the House. I'm pretty sure we can all agree that this is not how a bill becomes a law. A few steps seem to be missing — like Senate passage and a signature by the President. I voted NO. H.R. 4089 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

235

2

0

4

DEMOCRAT

39

144

0

7

TOTAL

274

146

0

11

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

1

Transportation

The House also considered H.R. 4348: Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, Part II. You may recall that at the end of March, the House and Senate both passed a 90 day extension of the transportation reauthorization bill. That legislation extended the transportation bill through June 30th, giving the House and Senate more time to develop a longer term bill. Well, this week the House passed another extension, running through September 30th. This time a provision was added that takes authority to approve the Keystone XL pipeline away from the State Department and transfers it to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). FERC would have 30 days to review the pipeline project and approve it. If FERC does not make a decision within that timeframe, then the project is automatically approved. The impact of the Keystone Pipeline is still being assessed. Rushing it in this way will shortchange efforts to thoroughly evaluate its effects on the environment, the economy and energy. During debate on the bill, the House adopted an amendment that aimed to "streamline" environmental reviews. The real impact of that amendment was to gut the National Environmental Policy Act's environmental review process. Furthermore, the Senate has already passed a transportation reauthorization bill with a bipartisan 74-22 vote. While I don't agree with every aspect of the Senate bill, at least it provides some certainty to our states when it comes to planning transportation projects — and it's vastly better than the House bill that doesn't have enough votes to pass in the Senate anyway. A veto message has already been issued on this bill. I voted NO. H.R. 4348 passed and the entire vote is recorded below.

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

224

14

0

3

DEMOCRAT

69

113

3

8

TOTAL

293

127

3

11

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

2

8

0

0

Tax Policy

Yesterday the House considered H.R. 9: All Business Tax Act. This bill gives a 20% tax cut to all businesses with less than 500 employees. This represents 99.6% of all businesses in the country. It applies for one year, and in just that one year, adds $46 billion to the deficit. This bill certainly digs the deficit hole even deeper. To make matters worse, H.R 9 is not targeted in any way and contains no requirements relating to job creation. In its analysis of the bill, Congress' nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation stated that the impact of this bill on the economy would be "so small as to be incalculable." It's just another tax cut, with almost half of the benefits going to individuals earning more than $1 million a year. Because H.R. 9 applies to all businesses with less than 500 employees, sports teams and movie stars would get the tax cut, as well as countless companies already making huge profits. I voted NO. H.R. 9 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

217

10

1

13

DEMOCRAT

18

163

0

9

TOTAL

235

173

1

22

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

10

0

0

What's Up Next

The House is expected to consider several bills, including H.R. 3523: the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.


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.


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and
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