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Public Statements

E-Newsletter 6/8/12

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

A Note about Appropriations

Last summer's Budget Control Act capped FY 2013 discretionary spending at $1.047 trillion. Instead of developing appropriations bills based on this number, House Republicans have been drafting bills based on Rep. Paul Ryan's Budget Resolution, which calls for a $1.028 discretionary spending cap. There are serious problems with this approach. Some appropriations bills (Defense for example) are being funded at higher levels than requested. Between this approach and the lower overall spending ceiling, less money is going to be available for the last few appropriations bills that the House will consider. This will certainly result in even less funding for transportation, education, child nutrition, health care and many other programs that have already been subject to steep cuts. I do not anticipate supporting any of the upcoming appropriations bills because I disagree with the course of action being taken by the House. If circumstances change, I will certainly reconsider.

Energy and Water

This week the House continued consideration of appropriations bills with H.R. 5325: Energy and Water Appropriations. This legislation comes in at almost $1 billion below the President's request and makes cuts in some key areas. Funding is cut for renewable energy, solar energy research and energy efficiency. This is shortsighted because supporting such research can lead to promising scientific breakthroughs and it also creates jobs, both in the short term and in the creation of new business based on new technologies. H.R. 5325 contains no funding for the Army Corps of Engineers to pursue "new start projects." The Army Corps of Engineers maintains and revitalizes many of our waterways and ports. Enabling the Army Corps to pursue new projects would allow more waterways to be enhanced and in a better position to transport goods and promote commerce. Yet this bill ignores those opportunities when it comes to funding the Army Corps.

Homeland Security

The House also considered H.R. 5855: Homeland Security Appropriations. This bill is approximately $400 million below the President's request as well as the parameters set forth in the Budget Control Act. H.R. 5855 cuts funding for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Coast Guard and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. I voted NO. H.R. 5855 passed.

Legislative Branch

H.R. 5882: Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, funds House offices and other agencies such as the Library of Congress and the Capitol Police. It too is funded below the Budget Control Act threshold. I voted NO. H.R. 5882 passed.

Medical Device Tax

One of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (health care reform) that I did not support was a tax on medical devices. However, on balance, that provision alone was not enough to convince me to vote against health care reform. Since then I have co-sponsored bills to repeal the medical device tax. This week the House considered H.R. 436: Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2012, a bill to do just that. I wish that I could have voted yes. However, I disagreed with the way that House Republicans are paying for the repeal.

Under the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans will be able to purchase health insurance through an Exchange and use tax credits that will help them afford the coverage. Those tax credits are based on previous year's income. If someone's circumstances change at any point during the year and they no longer qualify for the tax credits -- for example if a previously unemployed person gets a job and with it employer sponsored health insurance, they are required to pay back a portion of the tax credit they received during that year. H.R. 436 requires that individual to pay back everything. The reason that repayment was limited in the first place was because it would encourage maximum participation in the Exchange. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that requiring complete repayment will result in the number of uninsured persons rising by 350,000. In contrast, a bill I co-sponsored to repeal the medical device tax pays for it by eliminating subsidies to oil and gas companies. That approach would also help to reduce the deficit by $3 billion.

I support the repeal of the medical device tax. I do not support the way H.R. 436 accomplishes that. It appears likely to undermine heath reform by diminishing the number of Americans with health care coverage. I voted NO. H.R. 436 passed.

Medical Device Tax

One of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (health care reform) that I did not support was a tax on medical devices. However, on balance, that provision alone was not enough to convince me to vote against health care reform. Since then I have co-sponsored bills to repeal the medical device tax. This week the House considered H.R. 436: Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2012, a bill to do just that. I wish that I could have voted yes. However, I disagreed with the way that House Republicans are paying for the repeal.

Under the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans will be able to purchase health insurance through an Exchange and use tax credits that will help them afford the coverage. Those tax credits are based on previous year's income. If someone's circumstances change at any point during the year and they no longer qualify for the tax credits -- for example if a previously unemployed person gets a job and with it employer sponsored health insurance, they are required to pay back a portion of the tax credit they received during that year. H.R. 436 requires that individual to pay back everything. The reason that repayment was limited in the first place was because it would encourage maximum participation in the Exchange. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that requiring complete repayment will result in the number of uninsured persons rising by 350,000. In contrast, a bill I co-sponsored to repeal the medical device tax pays for it by eliminating subsidies to oil and gas companies. That approach would also help to reduce the deficit by $3 billion.

I support the repeal of the medical device tax. I do not support the way H.R. 436 accomplishes that. It appears likely to undermine heath reform by diminishing the number of Americans with health care coverage. I voted NO. H.R. 436 passed.

What's Up Next Week

Congressman Mike Capuano
8th District, Massachusetts
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee on Financial Services
A District Work period has been scheduled for next week.


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