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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


8,285 subscribers

July 12, 2013

Energy and Water Appropriations

This week the House considered H.R. 2609: FY 2014 Energy and Water Appropriations. This legislation provides almost $3 billion less in funding than last yearís appropriations bill. Many programs are severely impacted by this substantial reduction. Funding for renewable energy initiatives is almost a billion dollars less than what was provided in FY 2013. These cuts will be felt in so many ways. They will delay research to develop technologies reducing energy use, hurt programs that help people weatherize their homes and impact efforts to modernize our energy grid. The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) initiative is reduced by a staggering 81%. In the past, this important program made funding available for clean energy research; many of these projects then attracted private investment and created jobs. Many of our colleges and universities in the 7th District directly benefit from this funding and cuts of this magnitude would severely limit their ability to conduct this research. Funding is also reduced for the Army Corps of Engineers, limiting efforts to maintain our ports and waterways. While I am encouraged that H.R. 2609 included language that would require the Department of Energy to keep the Alcator C-MOD fusion lab at MIT operational through the end of FY 2014, I could not support this bill because of the deep cuts to other science and research projects. The Administration has already issued a veto message on H.R. 2609. I voted NO. H.R. 2609 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

219

9

0

5

DEMOCRAT

8

189

0

4

TOTAL

227

198

0

9

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

The Farm Bill

You may recall a few weeks ago the House failed to pass a reauthorization of the farm bill. Many Democrats, myself included, objected to the steep cuts made to nutrition assistance programs. A number of Republicans objected because the bill didnít make ENOUGH cuts. Yesterday, the House considered a revised farm bill, H.R. 2642: Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act. The 608 page legislation was made available late Wednesday evening and a final vote held yesterday.

To address the objections of some Republicans, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) was removed from the bill. This is a stark example of the breakdown in bipartisan cooperation that exists today. Food stamps were first established through legislation sponsored by conservative Republican Senator Bob Dole and liberal Democratic Senator George McGovern. They found common ground in a program that helped American farmers and provided wholesome food to millions of people who had difficulty making ends meet. This week, commitments were made to address SNAP funding through separate legislation, but that will likely translate into even steeper cuts for the program. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that legislation focused just on SNAP without farm aid would even pass the House. H.R. 2642 also repeals the 1938 and the 1949 farm laws. This is a problem because those laws have been the mechanism that spurs Congress to reauthorize the farm bill so that it is relevant to existing circumstances. Without those provisions, Congress will have no impetus to periodically update farming laws. The Obama Administration has already stated that H.R. 2642 would be vetoed, I voted NO. H.R. 2642 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

216

12

0

6

DEMOCRAT

0

196

0

5

TOTAL

216

208

0

11

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

License Plates

This week I filed H.R. 2466, the Reasonable Policies on Automated License Plate Readers Act, legislation that I first filed last Congress. H.R. 2466 establishes privacy protections regarding the information obtained through automated license plate readers. These readers are mounted on police cars or set up as fixed cameras. They capture thousands of license plates every hour. The information is used in a number of ways, such as locating stolen cars or identifying cars associated with owners who have outstanding warrants. There is no question that they are a useful law enforcement tool. However, there is no statutory limit on how long the information is stored or how it can be shared.

Massachusetts briefly considered creating a permanent statewide database that would contain all the information captured for every police department in the state. In Washington, DC officials are considering placing cameras at every major roadway entering the city and installing them on 160 police cars, which would allow law enforcement to track cars as they move through the city.

H.R. 2466 does not prohibit the use of the cameras. It simply establishes some common sense privacy protections for police departments. The bill calls on police departments to have written policies requiring that the data collected be deleted after 30 days unless it is needed in an active investigation. It also prevents the sharing of license plate data outside of the local police department.

Whatís Up Next

Next votes are scheduled for Tuesday July 16th. The House is expected to vote on delaying some key provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

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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