E-News 3/11/11

The Week Just Past: Another Washington Spending Record!

The Quickest Route to More Jobs: More Trade

Oversight of our National Labs

Northern New Jersey on Guard for Flooding

Disaster Assistance in Japan


The Week Just Past: Another Washington Spending Record!

“As if we needed it, this week brought fresh evidence that ‘big government’ carries a very high price tag.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported Monday that the federal budget deficit – the gap between the amount of money Washington brings in and the amount of money Washington actually spends - for February hit a staggering $223 billion.  Translated: the Obama Administration added more to our national debt last month than was borrowed in all of 2007.

“That $223 billion figure tops last February’s record of $220.9 billion, and marks the 29th straight month the government has run in the red — a modern record. The last time the federal government posted even a monthly surplus was September 2008, just before the financial collapse.

“In January 2009, the national debt stood at $10.6 trillion. Fueled by the so-called ‘stimulus’, this debt grew by $3.6 trillion in just two years! 

“Under President Obama and the previous Congresses, government has been borrowing $4.6 billion each and every day.  Our national debt now stands at over $14 trillion. 

“Let’s face it: we’re broke.  Actually, we’re beyond broke because this staggering debt must eventually come due in the form of higher taxes or a deflated currency.  Either of these approaches would hit New Jersey residents hard.

“The other alternative is based on common-sense: we must cut federal government spending and foster an environment where the private sector – especially small businessmen and women – can create new jobs.

“The House Republican plan of action would cut the current year’s spending by an additional $58.6 billion as a first step toward bringing government spending and taxing and borrowing under control.   This stands in stark contrast to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s offer to cut $6.5 billion from current spending – a figure that is wholly inadequate. 

“Government has grown too large and too invasive in everyone’s lives. It must be rolled back by a return to spending levels no greater than those found in the 2008 budget.

“I am pleased that Vice-President Biden is returning tonight from Finland and Russia to lead the Obama’s Administration’s budget negotiating team, precisely one week before funding for the government runs out. 

“The American people want their government to remain open for business.  They also want us to cut spending.”

                                      Rodney Frelinghuysen

The Quickest Route to More Jobs: More Trade

United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk testified before a key Senate Finance Committee this week, one week after the release of the Obama Administration's 2011 trade agenda - a plan that contains vague language on support for the Colombia and Panama free-trade agreements.  President Obama has called for the pending trade agreement with South Korea to move forward, but has pointedly refused to support action on pending trade agreements for Colombia and Panama.

The agreements with Colombia and Panama have languished since then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi shelved them during the waning months of the Bush administration. They were negotiated over three-and-a-half years ago!

“The President's Trade Agenda fails to recognize that opening new lines of commerce with Colombia, Panama and other nations translates into good, well-paying private sector jobs for Americans,” Rodney said. “In the meantime, Americans, including thousands in New Jersey, are watching competitors in other countries grab these opportunities and their corresponding jobs.  Where is the sense of urgency?  Why not look out for Americans first?” 

In an effort to bring additional attention to the languishing free trade agreements, Rodney recently introduced House Resolution 86, which recognizesthe importance of reduced trade barriers for promoting economic development, creating jobs, and solidifying relations with trading partners.  The resolution also expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, the United States-Panama Free Trade Agreement, and the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement should be implemented immediately.

Read more about H.Res. 86 here.

Recommended Reading: Read Tuesday’s editorial in the Wall Street Journal, “The Trade Equivocator, The votes are there, but Obama refuses to move deals with Colombia and Panama. Why?”

Oversight of our National Laboratories

Rodney’s chairmanship of the House Energy and Water Subcommittee took him to three key Department of Energy facilities last weekend.  Performing his Congressional oversight responsibilities, he and several colleagues were briefed on a range of current national security issues at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico, as well as the Nevada National Security Site. 

The primary responsibility of these laboratories is assuring the safety and dependability of the America’s nuclear arsenal. Personnel at the labs also work to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world. Sandia scientists also work to identify new threats to U.S. national security and help protect our nation against terrorism.

While there are no longer any explosive tests of nuclear weapons at the Nevada Test site, there is still important subcritical testing underway, used to determine the viability of the United States’ aging nuclear arsenal.  Additionally, the site is the location of the Area 5 Radioactive Waste Management Complex, which sorts and stores certain low-level radioactive waste.

“Each one of these impressive laboratories plays a critical role in our national security and our homeland defense,” Rodney said.  “The world is an increasingly unpredictable and perilous place and the dedicated scientists at these laboratories work every day to minimize the danger to our interests and maximize our safety.”

Additional Recommended Reading: Nansen Saleri, writing in the Wednesday Wall Street Journal, “Our Man-Made Energy Crisis, There's plenty of oil and no fundamental reason to expect prices of $200 per barrel. But that doesn't excuse the administration's punitive approach toward the industry.”

Northern New Jersey on Guard for Flooding

Public officials, emergency personnel, property owners and business owners continue to keep a close eye on various rivers, streams and other waterways after five days of significant rainfall fell on northern New Jersey this week.  Governor Christie declared a state of emergency, activating elements of the State Emergency Operations Plan — which broaden the powers of the state Police and authorizes the mobilization and deployment of the New Jersey National Guard.

You can read the text of the Governor’s Executive Order here.

Rodney has been on the telephone this week, speaking to local mayors to offer assistance as floodwaters rise.  He will be touring flooded areas tomorrow.

More Recommended Reading:Grace-Marie Turner, Alex Cortes and Heather Higgins, writing in Monday’s Wall Street Journal, Obamacare’s March Madness.”

Disaster Assistance in Japan

An 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the northeast coast of Japan early this morning, shaking office buildings in Tokyo and setting off a devastating tsunami that swept away cars and boats.  Tokyo airports (Narita and Haneda) are currently closed.  Aftershocks can be expected and may be severe.  U.S. citizens should take basic earthquake safety precautions.

The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. embassy and consulates in Japan are working to obtain information on the status of U.S. citizens and to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens.  The State Department advises that , although telephone lines are disrupted, relatives may want to try contacting loved ones in Japan by e-mail, text (SMS) message, or other social media.

Public Information:

  • If you have concerns about a specific U.S. citizen in Japan, please send the State Department an e-mail at
  • If you have concerns about a specific U.S. citizen in the Tsunami zone outside of Japan, please send the State Department an e-mail at
  • E-mail inquiries are strongly preferred, but constituents may call the Department's emergency assistance center at 1-888-407-4747 (Calling from outside the U.S. + 1-202-501-4444) if they are unable to use e-mail.


  • If you concerned about the well-being of a Japanese citizen, you are advised to contact the nearest Japanese Embassy (Washington - 202-238-6700) or Consulate.
  • If you are calling regarding a citizen of a third country, please contact that country’s Embassy or Consulate. Contact information for foreign Embassies and Consulates in the United States is available in the Country Specific Information links at