Congressman Lynch's Lunch Bucket Bulletin - 4/29/17

Apr 29, 2017

Link to Congressman Lynch's Lunch Bucket Bulletin – 4/29/17

April 29, 2017

Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter, where I will be sharing updates on what Congress is considering on the House Floor, legislation I’ve introduced or cosponsored, as well as reports on issues and events of importance to the families of the 8th Congressional District. 

The House was back in session this week and we faced an imminent deadline to pass a spending bill to ensure the government is funded beyond midnight on Friday. Bipartisan negotiations took place throughout the week in an attempt to strike a deal to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2017. One key priority is ensuring retired coal miners health care benefits do not expire. I am a proud cosponsor of bipartisan legislation, H.R. 179, the Miners Protection Act of 2017, which provides a long-term solution to protect the pension benefits and healthcare coverage of retirees and their families by preserving the long-term health of the United Mine Workers of America’s 1974 Pension Fund. While we were unable to come to an agreement on a long term continuing resolution, Congress passed a short term spending bill yesterday with funding through May 5, which incorporates a one week extension of the miners’ benefits. The House needs to come back next week and swiftly pass a clean spending bill free of divisive riders so that we are not placing our country on the brink of a government shutdown.

In the midst of spending negotiations, House Republican leadership yet again tried to bring to the Floor a last-minute amendment to their Trumpcare plan, introduced by Congressman Tom MacArthur (R-NJ). You may remember that last month Republican leadership pulled the American Health Care Act, also known as Trumpcare, off the Floor because Americans across the country spoke out strongly in opposition and they didn’t have the votes to pass it. I remain strongly opposed to Trumpcare and believe the MacArthur amendment would limit healthcare coverage and make it more expensive. This is not a genuine attempt to improve the healthcare system in our country and will not reduce costs for everyday Americans. The consideration of this healthcare proposal has again been postponed due to lack of support.

In addition to repeatedly calling for an Oversight investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, I am closely involved in the Congressional review surrounding the developments relating to President Trump’s former National Security Adviser Lt. General Michael Flynn. This week, I reviewed classified documents related to Lt. General Flynn and I believe this information should be declassified and shared with the American people. It appears that Lt. General Flynn failed to disclose funds he received for a trip to Russia, a clear violation of guidance he received from the Defense Intelligence Agency Office of General Counsel, which explicitly warned him that as a retired military officer, he is prohibited by the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution from receiving payments from foreign sources without prior Congressional approval.

It is also troubling that the White House is refusing to share additional documents related to Lt. General Flynn with the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The White House is giving all kinds of excuses about why they will not comply with our request. I joined Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) on a letter to Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) requesting the Committee consider compulsory measures to ensure the Administration provides the paper trail we requested. I firmly believe that we should issue a subpoena and compel the White House to give the Committee these documents. I will continue our quest for transparency and accountability from the Trump Administration and I am committed to carrying out our Constitutional duty to exercise robust oversight of the Executive Branch.

I urge the residents of the 8th Congressional District to keep a close eye on a new proposal from Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). This week, the Financial Services Committee held a hearing about the so-called Financial CHOICE Act of 2017. It is probably the worst bill I have seen in my time in Congress. It essentially repeals Wall Street reform and benefits the big banks at the expense of the American taxpayer. This legislation would repeal the Volcker Rule, which stops banks from gambling with taxpayer money. It repeals the orderly liquidation authority, which we adopted to prevent future bailouts. And the same people who tried to kill the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are now trying to stop it from functioning by defunding it. During this week’s hearing, I shared my strong opposition to this legislation and my concern that House Republican leaders are putting Wall Street ahead of hardworking American families. I will work alongside Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) to stop this dangerous proposal in its tracks.

It was great to have State Senators Linda Dorcena Forry, Sal DiDomenico, Joe Boncore, Julian Cyr, Jamie Eldridge, and Adam Hinds in Washington, D.C. this week. During our Massachusetts Congressional Delegation meeting, we discussed how President Trump’s proposed budget cuts will directly impact Massachusetts and deeply hurt Massachusetts’ families. Our delegation is committed to working together to ensure that Massachusetts’ priorities receive robust federal funding.

Before heading to Washington, D.C., I had the opportunity to participate in a rally at Massachusetts General Hospital ahead of the March for Science Boston on April 22. I joined Dr. Peter Slavin, President of MGH, and my friends at MGH for their rally to support government-funded scientific research. Massachusetts is a hub for scientific research and innovation. It is critically important that we protect federal funding for science. 2016 marked the 22nd consecutive year that Boston received the most National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding of any U.S. city. I will fight to protect our NIH funding because the projects ongoing at our local institutions could make all the difference in improving the health and quality of life of Massachusetts residents and people across the country and around the world.

I also had the chance to stop by Hingham Town Meeting on Monday night, where I gave an update on what was on the Congressional agenda over the next few weeks. I also discussed some important local issues including floods maps and the town’s concerns about the proposed Weymouth Compressor Station. Pipeline safety is a serious concern for cities and towns across the 8th Congressional District and we will keep the pressure on to ensure that public and environmental safety is the top priority as pipeline proposals are considered.

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.