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Public Statements

April in Review


Location: Washington, DC

On April 12, I became a cosponsor of H.R. 3618, the End Racial Profiling Act, which would prohibit law enforcement agencies from racially profiling and would give people who have been injured by racial profiling a legal recourse. I also signed onto a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder on April 17 that urged him to expand the Department of Justice's Profiling Guidance to make it clear that profiling based on religion and national origin has no place in our country.

On April 18, I signed on as a cosponsor of H.R.4082, a bill that would prohibit the Commissioner of Social Security from closing or consolidating Social Security offices for six months after submitting a detailed outline of the process for selecting offices to be closed or consolidated to certain congressional committees. This issue has been highlighted in our district by the recent closing of the Greenfield Social Security office, which I continue to oppose.

On April 18, I also became a cosponsor of H.R. 4315, which would increase access to care for veterans who suffer from service-related physical or mental disabilities. Currently, veterans face a five year window in which they must seek treatment for mental illnesses before they lose their higher priority status and begin to face increasing bureaucratic obstacles. This bill would allow veterans from the Second World War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War who suffer from mental illnesses the ability to seek the treatment they deserve.

That same day I also signed onto H.R. 2607, the HELP Separated Children Act, which would keep kids safe, informed, and accounted for during Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids. This bill would provide protections for children whose parents have been detained by ICE and ensure that those children have a guardian to care for them while their parents are in federal custody. There have been too many cases of young children coming home from school to an empty house, not knowing that their parents have been arrested and having no one to care for them. That terrifying situation should never befall any child in America, and I believe that H.R. 2607 moves us toward that goal.

On April 19, I joined with several of my colleagues in the House to send a letter to Attorney General Holder, encouraging him to use the newly reconstituted Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group to prosecute a vigorous inquiry into the extent to which excessive speculation or outright manipulation are driving up prices in today's oil and gas markets. Given the burden high gas prices place on first district families and recent reports estimating that speculation adds a 56 cent premium to the cost of every gallon of gasoline, I feel it is more important than ever that the Justice Department use every investigatory and law enforcement tool at its disposal to ensure the proper functioning of American oil and gas markets.

On Wednesday, April 25, I attended the 2013 Energy and Water Appropriations bill mark up. I am very pleased that this year's bill includes robust funding for domestic fusion programs, however I am extremely concerned about the cuts it makes to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and numerous other programs to expand the quality, availability and viability of renewable energy sources.

On April 25 I also signed on to H.R. 4077, the Department of State Rewards Program Update and Technical Corrections Act of 2012. The State Department runs a number of programs that give rewards to people who provide information that leads to the capture of terrorists, drug traffickers, and certain war criminals. H.R. 4077 would expand those programs to target people wanted for genocide and crimes against humanity. I believe that this bill could help lead to the capture some of the world's worst criminals.

On April 26, the Senate passed my bill to name Westfield's post office after William T. Trant, an exceptional citizen of Westfield. Mr. Trant participated in the D-Day invasion of Normandy, sustaining machine gun wounds for which he received the Purple Heart. After the war, he returned to Westfield to work at the post office and became Postmaster in 1967. He spent 20 years on Westfield's City Council and actively supported the city's youth sports leagues. Mr. Trant was a loving husband and father and an inspiration to many. I am glad Westfield's post office will now bear his name.

This month also saw some progress on the transportation front. The House and Senate have agreed to go to conference on a Surface Transportation bill (also known as the Highway Bill). Conferees from both the House and Senate have been appointed to resolve the differences between the versions passed by each body. I hope an agreement can be reached soon on a robust, multi-year authorization bill that will enable us to maintain and improve our transportation infrastructure.

That concludes our monthly wrap-up. I hope you found it informative. If you would like to receive these monthly updates via email, you can sign up here.

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