e-News January 16, 2009

1. House Reauthorizes SCHIP Program
2. Economic Stimulus
3. Digital Television Transition
4. Spread the eNews

House Reauthorizes SCHIP Program
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization (SCHIP) Act of 2009, with Rep. Frelinghuysen’s support.

“As a strong supporter of SCHIP, I remain committed to seeing that the program puts children first,” said Frelinghuysen.  “Clearly, the bill approved by the House could have been improved significantly, since the New Jersey record, by all official counts, has been dismal: too few poor children covered and adults inappropriately included.”

“However, many New Jersey children need this safety net since their parents are out of work and their health coverage in many cases is gone.”

H.R. 2 extends SCHIP through 2013.

Economic Stimulus
On Thursday, the House Majority unveiled their $825 billion economic stimulus proposal.  The package is tentatively scheduled to be considered by the Appropriations Committee next week.

Clearly, the past few months have been traumatic for many American families and businesses, large and small.  There is real anxiety about job security, the decline in the value of personal investments and savings, and hence, little consumer confidence.

Fiscal decisions by the outgoing President, his team and both the House and the Senate, while totally appropriate, appear at times to be ineffective and the global financial picture continues to be one of turmoil.

“I commend President-elect Obama for his focus on the economy and the departing President’s willingness to mesh his economic advisors with the incoming team,” said Frelinghuysen.  “The President-elect has called for Congress to act on legislation to help put the economy on the path to recovery, which all Americans want.”

Conceptually, there may be many aspects of the “stimulus bill” that appear appealing, but the amount proposed is staggering!  And, talk of “bipartisanship” is just that, talk. This very expensive plan has been drafted behind closed doors and most members of Congress, especially minority members, have been largely shut out of the process.

“Like most members of the House, I have a number of very serious questions about this legislation.  First of all, the enormous price tag: Can the federal, state, county and municipal governments spend such a large infusion of dollars efficiently?  How much of the package will produce real jobs for the long term?  Will the explosion of federal spending produce a corresponding upsurge in the size of the federal workforce?  And lastly, how will this increase in spending affect the national debt already over $10 trillion.”

Stimulus Facts:

•    In 1993, the unemployment rate was virtually the same as it is today (around 7%). Yet, President Clinton’s proposed stimulus legislation *only* contained $16 billion in spending.

•    The total cost of this one piece of legislation is almost as much as the annual discretionary budget for the entire federal government!

Digital Television Transition
On February 17, 2009, all television transmission signals are scheduled to be converted from analog to digital broadcasting.  While this transition has been planned for years, many government and industry officials are concerned that a significant segment of the population remains unaware of this pending change and may not prepare adequately.

If you are you looking for more information on the transition visit or call the DTV Hotline at 1-888-DTV-2009.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has been in charge of distributing $40 government coupons to subsidize consumers’ purchase of converter boxes.  However, the NTIA started putting requesters on a waiting list when funding for the coupons ran out this month.  Congress is expected to consider legislation to increase the funding for coupons or delay the transition.

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