Congressman Lynch's Lunch Bucket Bulletin - 1/6/17

Jan 6, 2017

Link to Congressman Lynch's Lunch Bucket Bulletin - 1/6/17

January 6, 2017

Happy New Year to you and your family! On Tuesday, January 3, I was honored to be sworn in to represent the 8th Congressional District of Massachusetts in the 115th Congress. With the new Congress and the upcoming inauguration, there are a lot of changes going on in Washington, but you can count on consistency from our office. Whether you need help with veterans benefits or want to advocate for an issue you care deeply about, please keep in touch with our offices in Boston, Quincy, Brockton, and Washington, D.C. where our staff can take your comments, assist with casework, and help you with a variety of issues. It is an honor and privilege to represent the families of the 8th Congressional District and I look forward to working together in 2017.

Entering the New Year, I wanted to begin the 115th Congress on a positive note and was hopeful we could find some common ground on issues that resonate with working families in cities and towns across the United States. Unfortunately, the Republican rules package was highly disappointing. The proposal to eliminate the Office of Congressional Ethics was really disgraceful. They claimed that they wanted to drain the swamp and instead suggested that we get rid of the cop on the beat so to speak with respect to congressional ethics. We should be strengthening this office, not closing it. Thankfully, due to outcries from members of Congress and our many constituents, this provision was removed from the rules package. 

The rules package still contained other provisions that I could not support, which I why I voted against it. We need to be increasing transparency and accountability in Congress and this rules package did not do so as it included provisions fining lawmakers for sharing photos or videos from the House floor, like we did during the gun control sit-in last June. The rules package also included the reinstatement of the “Holman rule,” which undermines civil service employee protections by allowing Congress to reduce the salary or eliminate the position of a federal employee without due process. This is an unacceptable attack on our dedicated federal workforce.

This week, I joined Congressman Peter Welch of Vermont along with 30 other House Democrats to introduce H. Con. Res. 5, a resolution urging President-elect Donald Trump to comply with the U.S. Constitution and sever ties with private business in order to avoid dangerous financial conflicts of interest. By allowing foreign governments to grant personal financial benefits directly to the President and to companies that his family owns, President-elect Trump is putting our democracy at risk. This is in blatant disregard for the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution and his ambivalence towards promptly addressing these troubling conflict of interest issues is a distraction from the important work that lies ahead.[1] Alexander Hamilton made it clear in the Federalist papers that a “weak side in republics, among their numerous advantages, is that, they afford too easy an inlet to foreign corruption.” Thankfully, Hamilton and our other Founding Fathers had the sense more than two centuries ago to safeguard our democracy from corruption with the Emoluments Clause which prohibits the President from accepting personal financial gain from foreign governments. Hopefully, the President-elect will abide by the Constitution and place the office of the Presidency beyond such reproach.

Also on the House Floor this week was the REINS Act, H.R. 26, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act. I voted against H.R. 26, as I did in 2013, because it puts public health, the environment, and public safety at risk by halting agency rulemaking. The primary mission of our federal agencies is to protect Americans from harmful and developing situations. The REINS Act undermines this important public mission. Unfortunately, the REINS Act passed the House by a vote of 237-187. 

It was a busy first week of the 115th Congress and we expect House Republicans to bring the Fiscal Year 2017 budget resolution to the floor as well as push legislation to rollback Obama administration regulations in the coming weeks. We will have a lot of work to do this month to ensure democratic priorities remain intact.

In a few weeks, we will be hosting our first telephone town hall of the New Year. You can mark your calendar for Tuesday, January 24 at 7:00 PM. We will send more details about call-in information as the date approaches. I look forward to answering as many questions as possible during the upcoming telephone town hall. 

Thank you for keeping in touch with our office and for keeping me informed about the issues that are important to you and your family. 

God bless you and God bless these United States of America. 

Thank you,

Congressman Stephen F. Lynch       

[1] U.S. Constitution. Article I, Section 9, Clause 8. “No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”