MA Delegation Digest 5/23 – 6/12/15
Note: I don’t mention much of the TPP coverage here, as the whole delegation opposes the “fast-track” trade proposal.
Senator Elizabeth Warren
- Warren called out SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White for what she called “extremely disappointing” stewardship, outlining ways White has come short on the promises she had made during and shortly after her confirmation.
- Warren responded to JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s claims that she does not fully understand the global banking system (a critique which was roundly critiqued as patronizing “mansplaining.”) “The problem is not that I don’t understand the global banking system. The problem is that I fully understand the system, and I understand how they make their money – and that’s what they don’t like about me.”
- Warren outlined some policy details that could realize the “Debt Free College” vision which was introduced as a resolution by Sen. Schumer earlier this month. She called for a boost in federal spending and an increase in accountability for how colleges and states use that money.
- Warren called for U.S. Department of Labor hearing on whether banks accused of manipulating foreign exchange markets should be allowed to manage retirement accounts.
- During Springfield visit, Warren announced a new $728,000 federal grant for city firefighter safety and training and met with community organization Suit Up Springfield that works to help at-risk-youth academically and professionally by providing donated suits and ties for job interviews and promoting self-esteem.
Senator Ed Markey
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY) and Democratic Senator Ed Markey called for a federal report on the increase in drug abuse. Market introduced legislation to increase federal grants for state drug prevention and treatment programs.
- Markey and Representative Joe Barton (R-Texas) have re-introduced their Do Not Track Kids Act. The act establishes new protections for teen’s personal information by extending privacy of data protections—currently cut off at age 12—to teenagers age 13-15.
- Representative Seth Moulton and Sen. Markey issued a letter to the Government Accountability Office calling for an independent investigation into the prescription of opiates at VA hospitals. Opiate prescriptions have doubled in the last decade, and increase risks of dependency and substance abuse.
- Markey co-led an effort to call for executive action to ensure federal funds aren’t used to subsidize LGBT discrimination in the United States and overseas.
- Markey sponsored a bill with Environment and Public Works (EPW) chairman Sen. Jim Inhofe (R.-Okla) that would reauthorize the federal brownfields program, an Environmental Protection Agency effort to clean up former industrial areas where land is too polluted for redevelopment.
- Markey sponsored a bill to increase the standards of the five-star vehicle safety rating to include crash avoidance warning tech.
Rep. Richard Neal
- Neal toured Springfield neighborhoods that were affected by a devastating 2011 tornado. He commended Mayor Domenic J. Sarno’s response and joined him in saying that their rebuilding should serve as a national model.
- Representative Richard Neal and 4th District’s Representative Joseph Kennedy III visited Onyx Specialty Papers on Monday, June 8 to see how rising electric rates are impacting local businesses. Neal said that Onyx could hire an additional 70 jobs if energy costs were lower. He also mentioned the Kinder Morgan as part of the picture, and that while locals have a right to frustrated by the way the company has conducted itself people ought to “have an open mind.”
Rep. Jim McGovern
- McGovern introduced a bipartisan resolution under the provision of the War Powers Resolution which would require a full debate within 15 days on whether U.S. troops should withdraw from Iraq and Syria. “This House appears to have no problem sending our uniformed men and women into harm’s way. It appears to have no problem spending billions of dollars for the arms, equipment and air power to carry out these wars. But it just can’t bring itself to step up to the plate and take responsibility for these wars,” McGovern said in prepared remarks. “Congress is the poster child for cowardice.”
- McGovern led a ceremony for the new Gardner Kilby Hammond bike path in Worcester. McGovern was responsible for securing the $3 million in federal funding to create the lighted bike path.
- McGovern is one of 24 House members who signed on to a bill introduced by California democrat Barbara Lee in February that would establish a Department of Peace, with a cabinet level Secretary of Peace.
- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Congressman James McGovern to bring attention to one of Grafton’s anti-hunger programs.
Rep. Niki Tsongas
- Tsongas disapproved of the Republican effort to reauthorize the Student Success Act. “I regret that Republicans in the House did not seek input from Democrats as they crafted their version of reauthorization,” Tsongas said in a statement. “The result was a partisan House bill which is opposed by education and teacher advocacy groups and teachers because it fundamentally changes the funding available to school districts.”
Rep. Joe Kennedy III
Rep. Katherine Clark
- Clark put forward a bill that increases resources for victims of online abuse and educational programs to help law enforcement deal with the problem.
Rep. Seth Moulton
- Moulton spoke on NPR of his dealings with the Veterans Affairs ineffective health system. He spoke of a disorganized VA unable to locate him in the system despite receiving coverage in the past. He noted the long delays for appointments, and an encounter in which he was given the wrong prescription. He has proposed four bills to address concerns.
Rep. Mike Capuano
- S. Rep. Michael Capuano supports hiring a consulting firm determine the costs and benefits of holding the 2024 Olympics in Boston before supporting a bid.
- Capuano joined the “Morning Meeting” show on Herald Radio and spoke about sharing Rand Paul’s stance on the Patriot Act and Paul’s emphasis on individuals’ right to privacy.
- Capuano spoke in an interview with Boston Public Radio of his admiration for Edward Snowden and skepticism of bulk data collection.
Rep. Stephen Lynch
- Lynch has refiled his 9/11 bill to disclose part of a secret government report to examine a claim the government of Saudi Arabia was a principal financier of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist
Rep. William Keating
- Keating introduced legislation that would create a memorial for members of the military who died on the Korean peninsula since the end of the Korean War.