Congressman Lynch's Lunch Bucket Bulletin - 6/30/17

Jun 30, 2017

Link to Congressman Lynch's Lunch Bucket Bulletin – 6/30/17

June 30, 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. 

This week, Senate Republican leadership delayed consideration of their version of Trumpcare due to strong opposition from Americans across the country. When the Senate draft proposal was released earlier this month, I expressed strong opposition to the measure. After reading the Senate proposal, I have serious concerns hard-working families in Massachusetts may lose access to healthcare coverage they depend on. The Senate bill shifts a greater share of the cost of healthcare onto state taxpayers, abandoning the longstanding 50-50 cost-sharing arrangement between the federal and state governments. The Senate proposal would significantly reduce future Medicaid spending; putting funding at risk that Massachusetts depends on. From ensuring young people are healthy enough to go to school each day to providing quality care to people with disabilities as well as offering treatment services for those struggling with opioid abuse, future cuts to Medicaid funding in Massachusetts would have wide-ranging, detrimental impacts on the benefits and services available for families in Massachusetts and across the country. The Senate bill also seeks to significantly raise costs for older Americans, allowing insurers to charge seniors five times as much as younger consumers, making it more expensive for seniors to get the healthcare they need. And the proposal makes it harder for women to access contraceptive services by defunding Planned Parenthood. Healthcare reform ought to make quality healthcare more accessible and affordable. Instead, Senate Republicans are asking everyday Americans to pay more for less coverage, while cutting taxes for wealthy Americans. This is yet another cost-shifting proposal that will shift costs from healthy people to sick people and from younger people to older people. We need to reduce the cost of health care in this country, rather than shift the cost to more vulnerable populations. The Senate delayed consideration until after the Fourth of July, so I will keep you updated as the process moves forward and potential changes to the legislation are released.

With international cyberattacks affecting computer systems around the world in recent days, it is critical that we examine cybersecurity infrastructure and consider ways to strengthen any potential vulnerabilities. Just last week, legislators in British Parliament lost access to e-mail accounts after a cyberattack occurred. With hacking tools becoming more sophisticated, and the potential for abuse by illicit actors including terrorist organizations, I have been working with the Oversight Subcommittee on National Security, the Financial Services Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance, as well as Task Force On Anti-Terrorism and Proliferation Financing, to conduct robust oversight of current procedures, ongoing investigations, and opportunities for improvement. On Tuesday, at my request, the Financial Services Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance held a briefing on North Korea and financial hacking. The briefing was a timely examination of financial crime, cybersecurity, as well as terrorism financing. I look forward to having additional hearings and briefings to determine what legislative action can be taken to improve cybersecurity for the United States government, as well as for companies and individuals in the U.S.

This week, the House considered H.R. 1215, the so-called Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017, which passed by a vote of 218-210. I voted against the measure because it prevents victims of medical malpractice and defective medical products from being fully compensated for their injuries. The legislation eliminates joint and several liability for claims for both economic and noneconomic damages, which will make it harder for plaintiffs to be fully compensated by all responsible defendants for their injuries. We should be helping Americans access safe and affordable healthcare rather than protecting wrongdoers.

The House also voted on H.R. 3004, Kate’s Law, which passed by a vote of 257-167. I voted in favor of Kate’s Law, which would increase penalties for undocumented immigrants with criminal histories who were deported from the U.S. and again reenter the U.S. illegally and commit a crime. This is a complicated issue, but I think this is a step towards protecting the public from repeat offenders. The House also voted on H.R. 3003, the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, which would prohibit state, county, and local governments or officials from “restricting” the ability of local law enforcement or other entities to comply with federal immigration laws and help federal authorities in the enforcement of those laws. Most notably, the legislation blocks federal funding for state, county, and local governments who are determined to be in non-compliance. The legislation’s broad provision says that any grant administered by the Department of Justice or the Department of Homeland Security that is “substantially related to law enforcement, terrorism, national security, immigration, or naturalization” would be able to be blocked. Under the language of H.R. 3003, Suffolk, Norfolk, or Plymouth County would be ineligible for juvenile justice grants, Community Oriented Policing program funding, Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program funding, as well as funding under the DHS State Homeland Security Program, if any town or city within that county is found to have a policy that “restricts” the immigration enforcement process. I voted against H.R. 3003, which passed by a vote of 228-195, because it would cut federal grants for communities in Massachusetts, which are in compliance with federal law. We rely on this funding to support vital programs throughout the Commonwealth.

As we mark Independence Day on Tuesday, I wish all of the families in the 8th Congressional District as well as across the country a safe and happy Fourth of July holiday.

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.