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Congressman Capuano's
E-UPDATE
An update from the office of U.S. Representative Michael E. Capuano
7th Congressional District of Massachusetts


8,321 subscribers

March 1, 2013

Sequestration

As I feared, nothing happened in Washington this week to delay or alter sequestration, which will go into effect at midnight. The President and Congressional leadership did meet today but it doesn’t appear that much progress was made.

I am disappointed but I can’t say I’m surprised. After all, many Members of Congress got elected on the promise of drastically cutting government spending – regardless of the consequences. Sequestration is almost everything they wanted.

That means $85 billion in across the board cuts will be implemented. These reductions won’t be felt overnight but with time, their impact will become clear. Some who argue for sequestration claim that $85 billion in cuts is a small percentage of any given agency’s overall budget. They claim it represents a few cents on the dollar and agencies should have little trouble trimming the bottom line. They’re wrong and here’s why. In the past two years, total debt reduction amounts to approximately $2.4 trillion. Spending cuts account for 75% of this reduction. Many programs have already endured significant cuts. Furthermore, these spending cuts are set up to hit every year for ten years.

Some are proud to point to the fact that federal discretionary spending is already on track to be at its lowest level in more than 50 years, since the Eisenhower administration.

I want to share the lead paragraph in a New York Times story from yesterday that pretty much sums up the Republican approach:

“Speaker John Boehner, the man who spent significant portions of the last Congress shuttling to and from the White House for fiscal talks with President Obama that ultimately failed twice to produce a grand bargain, has come around to the idea that the best negotiations are no negotiations.”

I’ve also included a link to the entire article if you’re interested in reading more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/01/us/politics/house-republicans-cheer-boehners-refusal-to-negotiate-on-cuts.html?hp&_r=0

I remain committed to finding compromise, knowing full well that means accepting an approach that doesn’t contain 100% of what I want. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough Members of Congress who share that position right now. I wish I had more favorable news to report. Many of you have contacted our office by phone, email or in person to share your views about all of this. Thank you for your activism and your concern. I hope I have more promising developments to report soon.

Recent Votes

I do have some good news to share this week. The House passed S. 47: The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. You may recall that the House passed a version of this bill last year that was significantly weaker than a Senate passed measure. As a result, the legislation wasn’t reauthorized. This week, the House finally agreed to consider the bipartisan Senate passed bill, which clearly grants protections to all domestic violence victims regardless of their sexual orientation. Abuse happens in same-sex relationships too and those victims deserve equal protections. There was a Republican substitute offered that eliminated all references to “gender identity” and “sexual orientation”. I am happy to report that it failed. S. 47 passed and will be signed into law. The entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

87

138

0

6

DEMOCRAT

199

0

0

1

TOTAL

286

138

0

7

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

9

0

0

0

ABCD

On Monday I joined Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) to call attention to what sequestration will mean for Massachusetts. ABCD does great work in the community helping needy families with housing resources, educational programming and fuel assistance. Massachusetts has already run out of federal LIHEAP funds, which are used to help qualified individuals heat their homes in the winter. Many other federal assistance programs face deep cuts on top of already-implemented funding reductions. Those in attendance spoke passionately about the need for a balanced approach to deficit reduction. I appreciate the efforts of everyone who attended and shared their stories. You may read about the rally on Boston.com.

Interparliamentary Letter on Sudan

Yesterday, I joined with 97 representatives and parliamentarians throughout the U.S., U.K., and Australia in writing to our foreign policy leaders calling for greater action on the many conflicts in Sudan. The Congressional Caucus on Sudan and South Sudan, which I co-chair, led the U.S. effort to garner support for this action. The letter was sent to Secretary of State John Kerry, as well as British Foreign Minister William Hague and Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr. In it, we urge our governments to push for humanitarian access in the southern states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, an end to ongoing aerial bombing of civilians, and a comprehensive approach to solving the Sudan’s conflicts. All three of our countries currently sit on the United Nations Security Council, and we must use that position to help the people of Sudan. You can view their letter here: http://sudanapg.tumblr.com/.

This week marks 10 years since the start of the genocide in Darfur. Who could have thought that at this point – a decade later – we’d still be seeing horrific violence and mass displacement in Darfur? Or that, in addition, we would see bitter fighting and immense human suffering now in a different area of Sudan (Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile)? It is outrageous that we haven’t been able to end the violence that has claimed over 300,000 lives and continues to be perpetrated by Omar al-Bashir’s Government of Sudan. I will keep pushing for strong U.S. leadership at the UN and other international forums because we cannot stand by and watch our fellow human beings suffer. It’s my hope that, through concerted and coordinated efforts with allies, we can apply real pressure to Sudan and finally make progress for the people of Sudan.

What’s up Next Week

Next votes are scheduled for Monday March 4th. The House is expected to consider a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through September 30th. The current CR expires on March 27th.

Mike


Congressman Mike Capuano
7th 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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