1) The Week Just Past: Creating Jobs by Cutting Government
2) Ending Wasteful Housing Programs
3) Rodney’s Oversight
4) Touring Flood-Ravaged Towns
5) The Unfolding Japan Disaster
The Week Just Past: Creating Jobs by Cutting Government
“With unemployment in New Jersey and across the nation unacceptably and stubbornly high, the focus of the House of Representatives remains creating private sector jobs.
“With this in mind, Republicans on Congress’ Joint Economic Committee released some interesting data this week.
“Extensive research revealed a real connection between efforts to reduce a nation’s debt through government spending cuts and efforts to promote economic growth. Consider that economists at the JEC examined all developed countries – our U.S. competitors - between 1970 and 2007, and found:
- 21 times in ten developed countries, governments successfully reduced their debt by 4.5 percent within three years. These successes were based predominately or entirely on spending cuts;
- 26 times in nine developed countries, reducing debt through spending cuts significantly boosted economic growth in the first three years. The absence of tax increases was critical to achieving these growth effects.
“The research was quite extensive but here are three key findings:
1) Spending cuts work to reduce debt. Tax increases do not.
2) Spending cuts can boost the economy in the short-term, too.
3) Spending cuts must be credible to realize short-term growth benefits.
“That’s what we’re trying to accomplish in the House as we try to enact a funding bill for the current fiscal year and keep the federal government open for business at the same time.
“Americans know full well that you can’t help the job seeker by punishing the job creator. And we can’t tax, spend, borrow, and bailout our way to economic growth and job creation. Recent Congresses tried, and as a result, federal spending rose to record highs and unemployment climbed to 9 percent or higher for more than 20 months – the worst jobless streak since the Great Depression. Uncertainty about our national debt, future tax increases and new and onerous Washington regulations is discouraging would-be employers from hiring.
“The House Majority is fully committed to removing barriers to job growth by rebuilding an environment of economic confidence for our nation’s job creators. It all starts with cutting the size and reach of the federal government.”
Recommended Reading: Thursday editorial in the Los Angeles Times, “Don't ignore Colombia. Colombia remains a steady ally in a region where other countries -- including, most notably, Venezuela -- are growing increasingly anti-American. It shouldn't be ignored.”
The United States losing billions of dollars in trade opportunities and thousands of American jobs through the Administration’s inaction on the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.
Further Recommended Reading: Monday editorial in the Wall Street Journal, “Obama vs. Democrats on trade, a ‘no brainer’ for everyone except the White House.”
Ending Wasteful Housing Programs
By a vote of 242-182, the House on Wednesday approved H.R. 861. The bill would end the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and prevent $1 billion obligated by the Dodd-Frank Financial Regulation law from being spent on a program for which the Inspector General for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has identified multiple cases of misused funds, and the GAO has detailed HUD’s inadequate tracking of the program’s funds.
Exercising his responsibilities to oversee the operations and budget of the Obama Administration, Rodney chaired two hearings of his Energy and Water Development Subcommittee this week. He asked Dr. Steven Chu, U.S. Secretary of Energy, to testify on his department’s budget request for the next fiscal year. A significant portion of the questioning of Secretary Chu related to the unfolding nuclear disaster in Japan.
On Wednesday, Chairman Frelinghuysen also held a hearing on the programs of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.
The Homeland Security Subcommittee, on which Rodney serves, held hearings on border security in America’s southwestern states. The Subcommittee also questioned Mr. John Pistole, Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
And yesterday, Rodney participated in a “fascinating and timely” two-and-a-half hour classified hearing with General David Petraeus, Commander of the NATO and American forces in Afghanistan.
Touring Flood-Ravaged Towns
In the midst of last week’s flooding rains, Rodney met with the mayors of Lincoln Park and Pequannock Saturday and toured the worst flood zones of those towns as well as in neighboring Fairfield.
“I had a chance to see first-hand the incredible devastation, the force of the current and the staying power of these waters,” he said. “All three towns suffered significant damage, not just to commercial buildings but some very nice residential neighborhoods as well.”
Rodney said that the residents he spoke with appreciated the advance warning provided by both weather forecasters and the advance declaration of a state of emergency by Gov. Chris Christie.
“The police were ready, the OEMs were ready, the fire departments were ready. The preparation was second to none.”
The Unfolding Japan Disaster
As the nuclear disaster in Japan, caused by last week’s massive earthquake and tsunami, continues to develop, many New Jersey residents are concerned about the well-being of family members, friends and co-workers in Japan.
To provide assistance, our State Department reports there are currently four consular assistance teams in Miyagi and Ibaraki prefectures. They are using information from our inquiry database to seek out U.S. citizens in those areas, going door-to-door, talking with local security and healthcare officials, and visiting shelters and evacuation centers.
To date, there have been no reports of U.S. citizen deaths. The Sendai team is providing emergency consular assistance at the Sendai International Relations Association offices (SIRA) in Sendai. There are also teams at the Narita and Haneda airports to assist U.S. citizens who are seeking to leave Japan.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Department of Energy and other technical experts in the U.S. Government have reviewed the scientific and technical information they have collected from assets inside Japan, as well as information from the Government of Japan regarding the response to the situation at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.
Consistent with the NRC guidelines that apply to such a situation in the United States, our State Department is recommending, as a precaution, that American citizens who live within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant evacuate the area or to take shelter indoors if safe evacuation is not practical.
The U.S. Embassy will continue to update American citizens as the situation develops. U.S. citizens in need of emergency assistance should send an e-mail to JapanEmergencyUSC@state.govwith detailed information about their location and contact information, and monitor the U.S. Department of State’s website at http://travel.state.gov.
International commercial flights are operating in and out of Japan, and the best way for Americans to get on these flights is to work directly with the airlines. In addition, for those who have made it to the airport in Tokyo already, U.S. consular officers will be available at the Narita airport for the next several days. They will be wearing orange vests that read “U.S. Embassy.”
The State Department has compiled a list of local ground transportation options to assist with getting to the airports from various locations in Japan at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_5388.html.
Additional information is available through the U.S. Embassy Tokyo website at: http://japan.usembassy.gov/.