e-News January 9, 2009

1. Frelinghuysen Begins Eighth Term in Congress
2. Receives Major Committee Assignment
3. Welcomes New Members of New Jersey Congressional Delegation
4. Supports Israel’s Right of “Self Defense”
5. Votes Against House Rule Changes
6. Opposes Increased Litigation
7. House to Consider Economic Stimulus Package
8. Spread the eNews

Frelinghuysen Begins Eighth Term in Congress
On Tuesday, Rep. Frelinghuysen took the oath of office and began serving his eighth term in the United States House of Representatives.

“I am honored to serve the people of New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District in the House of Representatives,” said Frelinghuysen.  “All Members of Congress must work with the new President-Elect to strengthen our economy, get people back to work, and instill consumer confidence as soon as possible.  That process should be open, deliberative, and accountable.”

Representative Frelinghuysen was first sworn in to Congress in 1995.  He is currently serving as New Jersey’s senior member on the House Appropriations Committee.

Receives Major Committee Assignment
On Thursday, Rep. Frelinghuysen was appointed to be the Ranking Member (or top Republican) on the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Subcommittees.  The appointment was announced by Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Jerry Lewis (R-CA).

“I look forward to working on energy and water issues during the 111th Congress,” said Frelinghuysen.  “As ranking member, I have the opportunity to work on issues of great importance to New Jersey, including energy independence, and focus on the science and technologies that keep our nation competitive, flood and shore protection, and keeping New Jersey’s harbors open for world trade.”

The Energy and Water Development Subcommittee funds the Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Bureau of Reclamation.  The subcommittee allocates federal money for DOE operations, including scientific research and the 16 national laboratories. The Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee also has jurisdiction over the construction and maintenance operations of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for navigation, flood control, environmental protection and disaster response throughout the nation.

Welcomes New Members of New Jersey Congressional Delegation
This week, Rep. Frelinghuysen welcomed Representatives Leonard Lance (NJ-7) and John Adler (NJ-3) to the United States House of Representatives.

“I am proud to welcome Representative Leonard Lance and Representative John Adler to the United States Congress,” said Frelinghuysen.  “I look forward to working with them and the entire New Jersey delegation to protect our state’s interests in Washington.”

Congressman Lance represents New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District.  He served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1991 until 2002 and was elected to the New Jersey State Senate in 2002.  Lance served as the State Senate’s Minority Leader from 2004 to 2007.  Representatives Frelinghuysen and Lance served in the General Assembly together from 1991 to 1994.

Congressman Adler represents New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District.  He served in the New Jersey State Senate from 1993 to 2008.

Supports Israel’s Right of “Self Defense”
With Rep. Frelinghuysen’s strong support, the House of Representatives this week approved House Resolution 34 regarding the current military conflict in Gaza.  The measure:

•    Expresses support for and commitment to Israel and recognizes its right to self-defense.
•    Reiterates that Hamas must end the rocket attacks against Israel and verifiably dismantle its terrorist infrastructure.
•    Encourages the Administration to work to support a ceasefire in Gaza that prevents Hamas from retaining terrorist infrastructure.
•    Expresses condolences to innocent Palestinian and Israeli victims and their families.
•    Calls on all nations to condemn Hamas for embedding fighters and weapons among civilian populations and lays blame for the casualties in Gaza on Hamas.
•    Calls on Egypt to intensify its efforts to halt smuggling between Egypt and Gaza.
•    Calls for the immediate release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
•    Reiterates support for a sustainable, two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The genesis of this current conflict is clear: 6,500 rockets and mortars have been fired indiscriminately by Hamas from Gaza into Israel since 2005,” said Frelinghuysen.  “Israel has an absolute right to defend itself from a terrorist organization whose stated goal is destruction of the State of Israel.  As recently as last week, Hamas leader Fathi Hammad declared ‘We will not rest until we destroy the Zionist entity.’”

“Of course, I recognize the horrors of war.  There is no doubt that the suffering is great on both sides,” he said. “That is precisely why we must support negotiations that will bring about an acceptable and sustainable cease fire as soon as possible.”

Votes Against House Rule Changes
The House of Representatives this week approved a set of rules which govern its activities for the next two years.  Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen opposed the rules package, because it contained several unprecedented and restrictive changes.  For example:

•    The minority party has historically been guaranteed the right to offer at least one amendment to every bill.  This week, the Democratic majority fundamentally altered that rule, thus diminishing the voices of Republican members who collectively represent over 100 million Americans.   “This is a major step away from open government that all Americans deserve,” said Frelinghuysen.
•    The House Rules package also repealed another key reform - six-year term limits for standing committee chairmen.  “These internal term limits, adopted over a decade ago, were established to ensure that no one lawmaker can indefinitely monopolize a committee’s leadership and thus public policy.  This gives Chairman Charles Rangel and others unlimited terms at the head of a committee.

Opposes Increased Litigation
Today, Rep. Frelinghuysen opposed H.R. 11, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and H.R. 12, the Paycheck Fairness Act:

“Gender discrimination in the workplace is unacceptable, which is why it was outlawed over 40 years ago.  I unequivocally support the principle of equal pay for equal work and remain dedicated to ensuring fairness in hiring, compensation, and job advancement.

However, the legislation considered by Congress today does little to prevent gender discrimination.  The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act eliminates filing deadlines and the statute of limitations for discrimination lawsuits.  The bill encourages lawsuits for decades-old disputes, is a political gift to unions and some trial lawyers, and increases the cost of doing business during an economic downturn.  The Paycheck Fairness Act also allows unlimited compensatory and punitive damages while shifting the burden of proof from the employee to the employer.”

House to Consider Economic Stimulus Package
In the coming weeks, the House will take up an economic stimulus package. The President-Elect has been calling for quick action.  However, a plan has not been submitted by either the incoming Administration or House Leadership.

Reportedly, the final proposal will be between $800 billion and $1.3 trillion, which would make it the largest spending bill in history. The bill will increase the federal civilian workforce by nearly 600,000 jobs.  It’s an unprecedented move toward more government bureaucracy.

“I applaud the President-Elect for focusing on legislation to turn the economy around,” said Frelinghuysen.  “However, the American people know we can not borrow and spend our way to economic prosperity.  I will work for more accountability and push for tax relief for New Jersey families and businesses.”

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