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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

March 7, 2014

Green Line Extension and the President’s Budget

For those of you who haven’t seen our Facebook post, I am very happy to report that the Green Line Extension (GLX) has been included in the President’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget, which is an important step in securing the federal funding necessary for Green Line construction. The Administration has proposed $100 million in the Capitol Investment Grants Program for the GLX, which will ensure that once the project is given final approval for New Starts, there is federal money set aside and available. I strongly support the GLX and will continue working with state and federal officials to advance it. The environmental and economic benefits of extending the Green Line are tremendous and residents are overwhelmingly supportive of it. We have been working closely with the Obama Administration and I appreciate the support. This news brings us closer to the day when commuters can enjoy expanded transit service.

Ukraine

Yesterday under suspension of the rules the House passed H.R. 4152, to Provide for the Cost of Loan Guarantees for Ukraine. The legislation gives the Obama Administration the authority to issue up to $1 billion in loan guarantees for Ukraine. Existing State Department funds are being used. We are all closely watching the crisis unfolding in Ukraine, and the unauthorized entry of Russian troops into Crimea. Many of us in Congress are very concerned about the situation with Russia and are prepared to give the President the tools he needs to assist Ukraine. I want to be clear that I am not willing at this point to support use of force. I voted YES on H.R. 4152, which passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

194

23

0

14

DEMOCRAT

191

0

0

8

TOTAL

385

23

0

22

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

9

0

0

0

Flood Insurance

On Tuesday the House considered H.R. 3370, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Availability Act. This bipartisan bill was also considered under suspension of the rules, requiring a 2/3 majority in order to pass. It addresses some issues that have arisen over a recent overhaul of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). These revisions will help make flood insurance more affordable for homeowners. H.R. 3370 provides the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with the funding it says it needs to complete an affordability study that was a requirement of flood insurance reform. FEMA did not complete the study, but moved ahead with rate adjustments anyway. Many homeowners were subject to drastic and unexpected increases in coverage cost.

H.R. 3370 requires FEMA to implement a flood mapping program that results in technically credible flood hazard data and consult with communities before using any new flood maps. It also eliminates some rate increase “triggers”. This will allow home buyers to access the same level of coverage at a comparable cost as the person from whom they are buying the home. The bill limits FEMA’s annual ability to increase rates to 18% which will help protect homeowners from huge yearly rate increases. H.R. 3370 applies only to primary residences. I filed legislation last year to delay rate increases for primary residences as well as small businesses and second homes valued below $1 million. Many second home owners and small business owners are solidly middle class. Moreover, the economies of many communities impacted by flood insurance changes rely on business generated by second homes. My legislation recognizes the reality that many middle-class communities across the country will suffer, both directly with large increased costs, and indirectly with reduced economic activity. It is simply a fact that most second-home owners and most small business owners are NOT persons of wealth. However, I recognize that primary homes should be the priority of any legislative approach so I voted YES. I spoke on the floor about this if you’d like to watch. H.R. 3370 passed and the entire vote is recorded below::

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

126

86

0

19

DEMOCRAT

180

5

0

14

TOTAL

306

91

0

33

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

9

0

0

0

Health Care

On Wednesday the House considered H.R. 4118: Suspending the Individual Mandate Penalty Law Equals Fairness Act. It was the 50th vote to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act. The Administration has already stated it will veto the bill. If that alone doesn’t make it clear this is simply a waste of valuable floor time, consider this. In July, the House passed H.R. 2668, which is basically the same bill. That legislation also delayed the individual mandate in the ACA, the requirement that individuals purchase health insurance or be subject to a tax penalty.

The argument most often made to delay the individual mandate is that since the employer mandate was delayed a year, then the individual mandate should be too. Well of course it’s not that simple. The employer mandate applies to businesses with 50 or more full time employees. More than 90% of those employers already provide health insurance and would not be impacted by the delay anyway. In contrast, delaying the individual mandate will have a wide ranging impact. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that H.R. 4118 would drastically increase the number of uninsured individuals. It will also result in increased premium costs for those who are insured. I voted NO. H.R. 4118 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

223

1

0

7

DEMOCRAT

27

159

0

13

TOTAL

250

160

0

20

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

The EPA

Yesterday the House considered H.R. 3826, the Electricity Security and Affordability Act. Democrats are describing it as the Polluter Protection Act because this bill seeks to limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to exercise its authority under the Clean Air Act. H.R. 3826 basically prevents the EPA from developing restrictions on carbon pollution for coal fired plants. Federal limits are already in place for mercury, arsenic and lead, but not for carbon. The EPA has been working on developing carbon limits with input from scientists, industry and states but H.R. 3826 effectively puts a stop to this. This bill prevents the EPA from imposing carbon limits until the coal plants VOLUNTARILY install the pollution control technology they will need to comply with standards that aren’t in effect yet. Does anyone seriously expect the industry to install costly pollution prevention safeguards on their own? H.R. 3826 prevents the EPA from doing its job when it comes to carbon pollution. Not surprisingly, the Obama Administration says it will veto this bill too. I voted NO. H.R. 3826 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

219

3

0

9

DEMOCRAT

10

180

0

9

TOTAL

229

183

0

18

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

More on the Environment

Yesterday the House considered H.R. 2641: the Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development Act (RAPID). This bill is anything but responsible. Supporters claim that H.R. 2641 simply streamlines the National Environmental Policy Act’s environmental review process. In reality, the bill makes it more difficult for federal agencies to conduct thorough environmental reviews. Currently, every federal agency with jurisdiction over a particular project must conduct an environmental review that focuses on their particular area. H.R. 2641 designates one lead agency to conduct the environmental review. It also requires agencies to complete reviews within two years. This is almost a year and a half less than the time it now takes to complete a review. The Administration has issued a veto message on this bill as well. I voted NO. H.R. 2641 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

217

0

0

14

DEMOCRAT

12

179

0

8

TOTAL

229

179

0

22

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

What’s Up Next Week

The next House votes are scheduled for Tuesday March 11th. The House is expected to consider H.R. 3973, the Faithful Execution of the Law Act and H.R. 4015 – SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014

Mike


Congressman Mike Capuano
7th District, Massachusetts
Committee on Ethics
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee on Financial Services

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