Showing posts with label newsletter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label newsletter. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Congressman Auchincloss: An Update for the last 2 weeks as of 12/05/23


Image

LAST 2 WEEKS IN REVIEW

I'm your representative in Congress and I write to keep you informed.

On the Hill

Congressman Auchincloss


Bringing Hostages Home: I joined Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz's special order hour on the House Floor last week to speak about Ofer Kalderon, who was taken hostage by Hamas on October 7th. Ofer is a father of four who loves to travel, take family camping trips, and help cook Shabbat dinner for his family. When asked about Ofer, his family – some of whom are based in the Massachusetts Fourth – describe his easygoing energy and huge smile. We cannot lose sight of the fact that there is a family and a story like this one behind each one of the hostages.

Calls for a ceasefire should be directed at Hamas – the internationally recognized terrorist organization – not Israel, which is using military force to achieve the primary goal we all have: bringing the hostages home. Hamas could cease all civilian suffering tomorrow by merely agreeing to abide by the law of armed conflict and engage as a lawful combatant, which would require it to release hostages and cease using civilians as human shields.

If Israel had acceded to a ceasefire, the recent hostage deal would not have been agreed to. To get all hostages home and to dismantle Hamas, Israel will need the continued support of Congress and the president in rejecting premature calls for a ceasefire that only one side would respect.

Affordable Housing: I recently spoke about the need for affordable housing to members of the House Financial Services Committee. The lack of affordable housing is the biggest problem that Bay Staters face. It's slowing economic growth, creating barriers for young families, and causing panic for seniors.

To help address this, I am cosponsoring the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, which would have an immediate impact in producing more affordable housing. I urged the committee to take up this legislation to lower housing costs.

Make your voice heard → I want to hear from you.

Should Congress prioritize policies that build more affordable housing?

 

Image

Image

 

Around the Fourth

Energy Efficiency Upgrades in Brookline


Energy Efficiency Upgrades in Brookline: I joined Governor Healey to announce energy efficiency grants for Brookline housing. It's a triple win – to decarbonize buildings, boost the clean energy economy, and lower utility bills for families. It's exactly the kind of programming that congressional Democrats envisioned when we passed climate and clean energy legislation last summer to boost innovation and improve efficiency.

As I said to Brookline's local officials, these energy retrofits are the second recent housing and climate win for the town. By zoning for more mixed-use and multi-family development in accord with the MBTA Communities Act, Brookline's Town Meeting struck a bold win for more walkable, less carbon-intensive neighborhoods.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a dreaded diagnosis for parents and their children. I recently met with Michelle Rengarajan, a two-time Duchenne's parent, physician-scientist, and constituent, to discuss the state of the science and whether the FDA's regulatory approach is too risk-averse for a disease with no cure. With the advent of gene therapies, scientists and regulators must be racing together to accelerate bench-to-bedside progress.

Apponequet High Visit: At Apponequet High School in Lakeville, I encouraged students to take big risks to pursue their ambitions after high school; to engage with the world in a spirit of curiosity; and to honor the Marine Corps maxim that 'officers eat last.' I also took a range of probing questions, from SCOTUS term limits (yes), to whom I idolized growing up (I had posters of the Founding Fathers, not athletes or musicians), to whether criticism on Twitter bothered me (I've never been criticized on Twitter, so it's not an issue).

Gann Academy Visit: Gann Academy invited me to a Q&A with students about Israel, my career, and more. We discussed the necessity of dismantling Hamas, President Biden's leadership in negotiating hostage release, and the ultimate prospects of a two-state solution. In response to a question about early formative experiences, I shared with them the first episode in a lifelong attachment to First Amendment principles, when I wrote a negative review of a school musical as a journalist for my middle-school newspaper and refused to pull it under pressure.

Even as a strong advocate for free and open expression, I have deep reservations about TikTok's malign influence on public discourse and adolescents' development. I benefited from hearing students' candid assessments of the toll that social media takes on them, as well as the enjoyment and exposure to new interests it can unlock. Congress must act in separating the principles of speech and reach.

Free speech – the ability to post without fear of government reprisal – does not equate to a 'right to reach' – the algorithmic amplification of hateful, defamatory, exploitative, or otherwise corrosive content. While this applies to all social media platforms, TikTok is especially concerning because of its popularity, poor track record, and ownership by a company under the control of the Chinese Communist Party.

Hanukkah: Ahead of the start of Hanukkah, I want to wish you a wonderful holiday and I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful light of the season.

Onwards,

Image

Jake

    Image Image Image Image    

WASHINGTON
15 Independence Avenue SE
1524 Longworth HOB

Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5931

NEWTON
29 Crafts Street
Suite 375
Newton, MA 02458
Phone: (617) 332-3333

ATTLEBORO
8 North Main Steet
Suite 200

Attleboro, MA 02703
Phone: (508) 431-1110


Contact


image
image

Friday, December 1, 2023

Rausch Report: Sharing Light This Holiday Season (November 2023)


View this email in your browser

Dear Friend,

I hope you had a very happy Thanksgiving. The holiday season is a chance to spend time with the people we love, eat nourishing food, reflect on the year behind us, and look ahead with full hearts.  

These last 8 weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for so many of us. I decided over the course of these many days that I needed to do something with these emotions and use my platform to address what we've seen unfold since October 7.

In my last newsletter, I shared that I co-authored the Massachusetts Senate resolution supporting the people of Israel, the victims of Hamas's terrorist attack, and those who are being held hostage. Since then, I have continued to vocally denounce and condemn antisemitism in our communities, our Commonwealth, and our nation. I also led a bipartisan nationwide open letter to President Biden, Vice President Harris, and all Members of Congress signed by nearly 300 state lawmakers from more than half the states in the country denouncing antisemitism and Islamophobia and committing to further educational efforts to expose and reduce anti-Jewish prejudice and extremism. In addition, I hosted an open community space for people impacted by the terrorism and violence in Israel and the attendant antisemitism, communicated with all the superintendents in our district about the drastic rise in antisemitism, collaborated with our partners in the Healey-Driscoll Administration to secure the near-immediate remediation of antisemitic graffiti on the Mass Pike, and have been in conversation with local, national, and international leaders including Israel's Special Envoy for Combatting Antisemitism about productive next steps for this critical work. 

We have much more to do to address the stark rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia and combat hatred in all its forms. I will continue these efforts in many ways, including my service as a member of the Hate Crimes Task Force. (In that capacity, I was honored to join the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and statewide leaders in equity and inclusion as Governor Healey announced new strategies for addressing identity-based incidents of hatred. One of these strategies is the creation of the "Hate Crimes Awareness and Response Team" (HART), which is tasked with improving statewide data collection efforts to identify patterns and trends, developing training with the Municipal Police Training Committee, and improving coordination across all levels of law enforcement. As we experience record levels of hatred and bigotry, these strategies are both timely and sorely needed. Read more here.) 

This month's Rausch Report includes legislative updates, a roundup of district events, joyful events happening in our communities, and more.  

For real-time updates, please follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. If you are a constituent and need assistance, please don't hesitate to call me and my team at (617) 722-1555, email me at becca.rausch@masenate.gov, or attend upcoming office hours. We are here to help.   

Wishing you and yours a happy, safe, and joyful holiday season. 


Yours in service,  

 
Senator Becca Rausch   

In Committee

As Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources, we held two hearings this month about animals, fishing, hunting, and trapping. Our committee has now held ten public hearings, all of which were hybrid for easier public access, and we have heard testimony on a whopping 348 bills. I look forward to working with my House Co-chair Dan Cahill to advance important environmental protection and preservation legislation. 

Also this month, I testified on five bills I filed as part of my legislative portfolio. These bills would expand abortion access (S.1114), protect people from doxing (S.1116), safeguard the freedom of the press (S.1115), prevent minors from overdosing on dextromethorphan (S.1456), and modernize birth certificates (S.1459).  
 



On the Floor

Earlier this month, I voted yes alongside my Senate colleagues to pass two important pieces of legislation before the winter recess: An Act Relative to Pharmaceutical Access, Costs, and Transparency (the PACT Act) and the Supplemental Budget to close out Fiscal Year 2023.  
 

Improving Pharmaceutical Access, Cost, and Transparency 

The bipartisan PACT Act would make urgent and much-needed reforms to the pharmaceutical system in the state by lowering the cost of drugs at the pharmacy counter and improving oversight of the pharmaceutical industry. It also creates more equitable access to life-saving medications by providing a free, no-cost sharing option for certain drugs used to treat chronic illnesses. I secured two successful amendments to enhance transparency and accountability. This legislation now moves to the Massachusetts House of Representatives for consideration. 
 

Supplemental Close-Out Budget 

The Senate's supplemental close-out budget totaled $2.81 billion and contained several provisions to support the ongoing operations of programs and services that benefit the residents of the Commonwealth, including $250 million to address the ongoing need for emergency housing. I joined my colleagues on a successful amendment to improve oversight, transparency, and accountability for contract compliance among emergency housing providers. The supplemental budget also included: 

  • $75 million for school districts impacted by special education tuition rate increases; 
  • $15 million for disaster relief for municipalities impacted by storms and naturals disasters that occurred in 2023; 
  • Funding to implement collective bargaining agreements; and 
  • $500,000 for the Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Youth. 

I filed a single amendment to the Senate close-out budget that would have permanently fixed our state primary scheduling problem. As I said in my remarks on the floor, the statutorily dictated state primary date is so bad that the Legislature has had to change it every election cycle since 2012. Once again, this close-out budget moves the state primary date, and once again, it will be held on the day after Labor Day, yielding a host of problems for access to the ballot, engagement among candidates and voters, and logistics for our local clerks. Our current statutory law governing the scheduling of our last-in-the-nation state primary is a detriment to democracy and must be changed. While this amendment was unsuccessful, I will keep pushing for this necessary shift to align our state primary with the overwhelming majority of similar state primaries in the nation, which are held in late Spring. I've filed legislation to generate this change as well (S.435 and S.439).  

I am pleased to report that earlier today, after advocacy from me and many of my colleagues, an agreement was reached between the two chambers on a compromise bill. I look forward to its adoption in both the House and the Senate so collective bargaining agreements and other matters may be funded and finalized and the state comptroller can close the books on Fiscal Year 2023.



Our mailing address is:
The Office of Senator Becca Rausch
Massachusetts State House, Room 215
24 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02133


 Note this newsletter was shortened for publication here. To view the full set of content, follow this link -> https://mailchi.mp/masenate/monthlynewsletter-17586993

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Congressman Auchincloss: An Update for the prior two weeks (11/21/23)


Image

LAST 2 WEEKS IN REVIEW

I'm your representative in Congress and I write to keep you informed.


On the Hill

The War in Israel


The War in Israel: In a recent interview I was asked how Israel should respond to anger on the Arab Street. My response – if Israel had let Arab popular opinion dictate its strategy in 1947; 1967; 1973, it would have been destroyed. Israel should pursue its mission: rescue the hostages, destroy Hamas, and help architect just post-war governance for Gaza. This latter requires that Israel not only buttress a peaceful alternative to Hamas in Gaza, but also that it cease & reverse inflammatory, destabilizing actions in the West Bank.

While in Washington, I joined a bipartisan vigil in support of the 240+ hostages held by Hamas terrorists. Many watched their families tortured and slain before being dragged to captivity. Some of them are children. I am committed to supporting Israel in securing their release.

Funding the Government: When House Republicans took us to the brink in September, I vowed it would be the last time I'd vote to bail out their dysfunction without a clear, credible, and concrete plan for supporting Ukraine. Last week, I kept my word.

Since we last voted on a continuing resolution, the world has only become more dangerous for democracies. Congress must demonstrate through its power of the purse that the United States stands with its allies in Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

Despite credible efforts that reflect the bipartisan majorities in both chambers in favor of aid, there is no clear and concrete plan from Republicans to demonstrate global leadership to friends and foes alike. I could not support a short-term spending measure, cobbled together as the GOP careens from crisis to crisis, that fails to defend democracy.

Military Veterans Caucus: To mark Veterans Day, I joined the Military Veterans Caucus to address mental health and our veterans. We discussed strong legislation to accelerate mental health research. This Veterans Day, let's recommit ourselves to ensuring veterans receive high-quality care that honors the uniform.

Military Promotion Blockade: I led the Democrats on the House Select Committee on China in pressuring Leader McConnell to break Tuberville's blockade of military promotions. No Republicans from the Select Committee on China would join us, despite Senate Republicans recently raising the alarm on force readiness in the Indo-Pacific.

National security should be above partisanship. I encourage Republicans on the committee to join us in a bipartisan commitment to a strong military.

Make your voice heard → I want to hear from you.

Do you support additional funding to Ukraine?

 

Image

Image

 

Around the Fourth

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce


Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce: At the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, I argued that Democrats should negotiate on border policy with Republicans as part of a compromise that strengthens border security and unlocks further support for Ukraine.

I also emphasized that the most important way that federal and state officials can improve the Bay State business climate is to expand the supply and deepen the affordability of housing.

MIT Visit: Attending MIT was one of the best decisions I made in my career (and my life – I met my wife there!) I was honored to return as part of its alumni series to discuss Congress, to encourage students to help rebuild trust in society, and to reflect on how MIT's emphasis on science, enterprise, and bold ideas have shaped my policy-making.

Boston Passport Office: Many of you know the feeling: you're packing your bags and retrieving your passports from the drawer when, oh #$@! – one of those passports is about to expire. I am here to help, and my staff and I rely on the hardworking civil servants at the Boston Passport Agency to expeditiously and securely issue new passports. I'm grateful for their professionalism, responsiveness, and commitment to serve the traveling public.

And remember: check your passport before you buy the ticket! Some countries require that your passport be valid for up to six months after your date of return. So even if your passport hasn't expired, it might need to be renewed before travel. Check travel.state.gov for entry requirements.

Pioneering AI Summit: Earlier this year, I raised awareness of AI in Congress by giving the first AI-drafted speech in history on the House floor. Since then, I've been working with legislators, regulators, and technologists to understand and prepare for this general-purpose technology.

At the Flagship Pioneering AI Summit, I advocated for Congress to fund a public cloud for civil society & researchers as a counterweight to Big Tech, but cautioned against knee-jerk, sweeping legislation before national lawmakers have been able to assess various efforts by the Administration, states, civil society, and industry to see what works and what doesn't.

Congress should ultimately craft legislation that induces competition, not furthers monopoly power; that unlocks innovation in domains like biomedical R&D and education; and that prevents further degradation in trust, particularly through disinformation and defamation on social media.

Happy Thanksgiving: I hope everyone is able to spend the upcoming holiday with friends and loved ones. As the representative of a cranberry-growing district: please make sure to include that delicious dish!

Onwards,

Image

Jake

    Image Image Image Image    

WASHINGTON
15 Independence Avenue SE
1524 Longworth HOB

Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5931

NEWTON
29 Crafts Street
Suite 375
Newton, MA 02458
Phone: (617) 332-3333

ATTLEBORO
8 North Main Steet
Suite 200

Attleboro, MA 02703
Phone: (508) 431-1110


Contact





Saturday, November 11, 2023

What I am reading: "Making the Most of Uncertainty"

BIG Questions Institute Bi-Weekly Update

November 8, 02023, No. 159 (Read online)


Making the Most of Uncertainty

Making the Most of Uncertainty

Hey,

One of the resources we often cite in our work in schools is a piece titled "Our Brains Were Not Built for this Much Uncertainty" from the Harvard Business Review. The tl;dr version is that when familiar patterns in life begin to fall apart or appear less controllable, our brains react with a threat response, and the negative impacts on our mood and our productivity can be profound.

In liminal, in-between times such as these when so many narratives of how we live on the planet are breaking, uncertainty can become paralyzing. And as we're seeing on almost a daily basis, a common response is to narrow our gaze, to try to stop the bleeding of change, and to hold on more tightly to the remnants of what used to "work."

Even when it's obvious that much of what we're holding on to won't "work" any longer.

But might we learn to see uncertainty as an opportunity, not a threat? To use it as a spark to create new narratives that are more just and relevant and healthy for all living things?

What if, as mythologist Martin Shaw asks, we "reframed 'living with uncertainty' to 'navigating mystery'?"

As he says:

"There's more energy in that phrase. The hum of imaginative voltage. And is our life not a mystery school, a seat of earthy instruction?"

Arguably, nowhere do we need more of "the hum of imaginative voltage" than in schools. Nowhere is the narrative more uncertain and tenuous than the one that suggests that an "education" in a time of intense change and complexity is something that is delivered to students based on the past and not experienced by students in real life with a focus on the future.

And honestly, to suffer (as we must) through the liminal and not contribute to the creation of what comes next is indefensible, especially in education.

This is our moment to collectively write the next story of education, not out of a sense of fear, but with wonder, awe, and curiosity.

What will we imagine and create together?

Onward!

Homa and Will


Thanks for reading! If you loved it, tell your friends to subscribe.


The newsletter was shortened for publication here. To read the full text, follow this link ->   https://ckarchive.com/b/xmuph6hrx5lw5trnppvnqc0w0ezll

Monday, November 6, 2023

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Congressman Auchincloss: An Update on the War in Israel


Congressman Auchincloss

UPDATE ON WAR IN ISRAEL

I'm your representative in Congress and I write to keep you informed.

On the Hill

On the Hill



Speaker Johnson has made the craven, cynical decision to politicize support for Israel at its moment of crisis by 'paying for' its assistance with IRS cuts, which would, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, actually increase the deficit. The bill is a dead letter: the president has vowed to veto it; and both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell oppose it.

Therefore, the question before me was not whether I want Israel to receive funding, because this bill will not become law.

Instead, the question before me was what this bill signifies, and what a "Yes" vote would represent.

A "Yes" vote would signal the advent of conditioning aid for Israel. It would be the first time in U.S history that Congress has required emergency national security funding to be offset by domestic cuts. The precedent is awful: when other countries need support, Congress provides it; but when Israel needs support, party leaders extract partisan priorities in exchange.

It would not stop at this bill: the next time Israel needs support, what would stop a Republican Speaker from demanding cuts to food stamps in exchange? Or a Democratic Speaker from demanding cuts to the military's ICBM program in exchange? Israel would persistently be tossed on the seas of U.S. domestic politics.

Unconditioned aid to Israel would receive supermajority support in the House, demonstrating bipartisan support for our ally, to partners and enemies alike, when it needs it most. Unfortunately, this rookie Speaker has precluded the possibility of overwhelming bipartisanship by filing a bill so clumsy and irresponsible that the Democratic president, Democratic Senate majority leader, and Democratic House minority leader have all dismissed it out of hand.

I am firmly opposed to conditioning security aid to Israel, whether those conditions are based on Israeli domestic politics or American domestic politics. Support for Israel must be above partisanship.

Bring the Hostages Home: Last week, I stood with the families of hostages held by Hamas. Some of the captives are children, still young enough to be scared of the dark. No ceasefire should be considered until every hostage is returned.

As Israel conducts its military response, I will continue to insist that it uphold the law of armed conflict, which is meant to protect the lives of civilians, and I appreciate the Biden Administration's numerous efforts to that effect. Further, the president has requested additional funding from Congress to stabilize conditions in the Middle East, which I will support. The supplemental package proposed by House Republicans, which I opposed, did not include any humanitarian assistance to Gaza.

Around the Fourth

Around the Fourth



In addition to materiƩl, Israel needs moral support from Americans. Now is not the time for equivocation. Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are internationally recognized terrorist organizations that are executing civilians and using their own denizens as human shields. Israel is a liberal democracy with the right and responsibility to defend itself and its citizens. Calls for ceasefire are premature and counter-productive; Israel needs the military latitude to re-establish deterrence, dismantle Hamas, and rescue hostages.

In the hard months ahead, our pain and our outrage must be forged into sober determination to see Israel through to success and safety. This determination must not descend into malice. Israel's iron fist should be paired with an outstretched hand to the Palestinian people in the West Bank and, ultimately, in Gaza, as well. And the Jewish community here in the United States should always condemn and reject not just antisemitism, but Islamophobia and the cancellation of Palestinian voices, as well.

Onwards,

Image

Jake

    Image Image Image Image    

WASHINGTON
15 Independence Avenue SE
1524 Longworth HOB

Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5931

NEWTON
29 Crafts Street
Suite 375
Newton, MA 02458
Phone: (617) 332-3333

ATTLEBORO
8 North Main Steet
Suite 200

Attleboro, MA 02703
Phone: (508) 431-1110


Contact



image
image