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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

May 9, 2014

The IRS

This week the House considered two resolutions related to the IRS’ handling of conservative nonprofit organizations. The first resolution, H. Res. 574, sought to hold Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (OGR). Lerner was the Director of Exempt Organizations, the IRS division in charge of approving and regulating 501 (c) 4 applications. I am sure you recall the allegations last year that the IRS was unfairly targeting conservative nonprofits. That led to a Justice Department investigation which is ongoing. When Lerner came before OGR in response to a subpoena, she first made a statement of innocence and then invoked her 5th amendment right, declining to answer questions. Because Lerner proclaimed her innocence, Republicans insist that she waived her 5th amendment rights and must testify. Lerner still refuses to answer questions so the House voted to hold her in contempt of Congress.

For me, this is not about Lois Lerner or the IRS. This is about upholding the Constitution and protecting the rights of all citizens to exercise their 5th amendment rights. I voted NO. H. Res. 574 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

225

0

0

7

DEMOCRAT

6

187

0

6

TOTAL

231

187

0

13

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

8

0

1

The House also considered H. Res. 565, which calls on Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special counsel to investigate the IRS’ review of organizations seeking nonprofit status. This is not necessary because, as noted above, the Justice Department is already conducting an investigation. Furthermore, both the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Ways and Means Committee have been investigating for over a year whether conservative nonprofits were unfairly targeted by the IRS. The committees have also looked into whether there was any White House involvement. So far, no evidence whatsoever has supported this narrative. More than 530,000 documents were reviewed; dozens of officials were interviewed and the IRS spent over $14 million complying with the committees’ investigation. No evidence of wrongdoing has turned up. I voted NO. H. Res. 565 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

224

0

0

8

DEMOCRAT

26

168

0

5

TOTAL

250

168

0

13

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

1

7

0

0

Benghazi

Yesterday the House considered H. Res. 567, Providing for the Establishment of the Select Committee on Benghazi. We all mourn the four individuals who were lost so tragically in 2012 and Congress has a responsibility to examine what happened. By doing that, lessons can be learned that could help prevent something similar from happening again. Four House Committees have already examined what happened in Benghazi. This Select Committee is being set up simply to continue the investigation in a partisan manner. Republican leadership could have taken a balanced approach in setting up this new committee. However, efforts to do this were rejected. For example, committee membership could have been equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, which is how the Ethics Committee is set up. Equal access to all materials provided to the Select Committee and equal distribution of other resources such as staff also would have made this a more bipartisan exercise. None of those suggestions were accepted. I voted NO. H. Res. 567 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

225

0

0

8

DEMOCRAT

7

186

0

6

TOTAL

232

186

0

14

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

Tax Credits

This week the House also considered H.R. 4438, The American Research and Competitiveness Act, which makes the research and development (R & D) tax credit permanent. At the end of last year, 55 temporary provisions of the tax code expired. They ranged from the research and development tax credit to deductions for teachers who purchase school supplies with their own funds. H.R. 4438 addresses the R & D provisions but does not pay for them. Despite my concerns that H.R. 4438 does not include a way to fund these tax credits, I voted YES in order to move the legislation to the Senate. All “money bills” must originate in the House so if the House did not pass H.R. 4438 then the Senate would not have been able to address the funding issue. I expect that Democratic leadership in the Senate will incorporate a reasonable way to pay for this important tax provision and send the bill back to the House with a more balanced approach. I will examine the legislation again at that time. H.R. 4438 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

212

1

0

19

DEMOCRAT

62

130

0

7

TOTAL

274

131

0

26

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

7

2

0

0

Education

Today the House considered H.R. 10, the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act. This legislation expands a competitive grant program for charter schools. Funds can be used to establish a new school or expand an existing school. Those familiar with my record know I have long had concerns about the way charter schools are funded in Massachusetts. My issue with this legislation involves how the bill allocates funding. It gives states without a cap on charter schools priority when it comes to distributing grants. Existing charter schools in Massachusetts won’t really have access to the grants. Despite my charter school funding concerns, schools in our state should have equal access to these funds. I voted NO. H.R. 10 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

202

11

0

20

DEMOCRAT

158

34

0

7

TOTAL

360

45

0

27

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

6

3

0

0

Mike


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

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