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E-News 10/21/11

This Week: Find “Common Ground” to Create Private Sector Jobs

Latest Jobs Promises Nearly Identical to Promises of 2009

How’s That Again????  Private Sector Jobs Doing Well????

Congressional Priority: Helping To Hire Veterans

Obamacare Unraveling On Its Own?

The Navy’s Beachhead at Picatinny Arsenal

Gaddafi Gone

This Week: Find “Common Ground” to Create Private Sector Jobs

“The President conducted another campaign-style bus tour this week, telling people in North Carolina and Virginia that he’s dropping his ‘all-or-nothing’ strategy and will, instead, break up his jobs bill into smaller pieces. 

“The problem with this approach is that he and his Congressional allies continue to insist that the Senate consider first those ‘pieces’ that they know will not pass and that are the least defensible.

“If the President is indeed serious about creating jobs and spurring economic growth, he’s off the mark. The President’s jobs campaign has not gained traction with his own party.  Leader Reid is bringing up a small section of the President’s bill that would spend another $35 billion in borrowed funds to rehire public employees.  However, he lacks the support of Senate Democrats who are facing ‘stimulus fatigue.’

“We need remind the President that the House has already passed pieces of the President’s plan that will clear the way for job creation and economic growth, including regulatory relief for manufacturers and a bill to help veterans get back to work.  

“Common ground exists.  Instead of holding campaign rallies around the country, the President should recognize that the way to get the economy going and produce results is to take up with policies that have bipartisan support – and he can start with 15 bipartisan jobs bills that have cleared the House and are stalled in the Senate.

“And one final observation: I have to say that the suggestion made this week by the Vice-President that failure to pass the President’s entire jobs bill would lead to lawlessness and extreme violence is highly irresponsible.

                                                 Rodney Frelinghuysen

Latest Jobs Promises Nearly Identical to Promises of 2009

Now:  “We know that it could add as many as1.9 million jobs. We can put teachers back in the classroom. We can put construction workers back on the job rebuilding our roads, bridges and schools. We know that would work.”

President Obama in ABC Interview describing his 2011 “Jobs Plan,” October 18, 2011 

Then: “Over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs. More than 90% of these jobs will be in the private sector – jobs rebuilding our roads and bridges; constructing wind turbines and solar panels; laying broadband and expanding mass transit.”

Remarks of President Barack Obama in his address to Joint Session of Congress, describing his 2009 Stimulus Plan, February 24, 2009

How’s That Again???? Private Sector Jobs Doing Well????

In a breathtaking display of how out of touch he really is, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on Wednesday that Congress needs to worry about government jobs more than private sector jobs:

“It’s very clear that private sector jobs have been doing just fine, it’s the public sector jobs where we’ve lost huge numbers…” Reid said on the Senate floor.

“Private sector jobs have been doing just fine”? Tell that to the 14 million Americans who are “officially” unemployed and the millions more who are underemployed or have stopped looking for work.

Recommended Reading: Thursday’s Wall Street Journal editorial, “Harry Reid’s Jobs Math.”

Congressional Priority: Helping To Hire Veterans

One of the components of his jobs plan the President promoted this week was his tax credit for hiring veterans.

Over a month ago, on September 16th, the House Republican Leadership circulated a memorandum to highlight areas of common ground with the President that will create jobs in our economy.  With respect to the President’s veterans proposal, the memo included the following:

Incentives for Hiring Veterans: Current law includes employer tax credits for hiring disabled veterans (up to $4,800) and unemployed veterans (up to $2,400). These tax credits will expire at the end of 2011. The President has proposed expanding these credits. The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee is considering a more comprehensive effort to assist returning heroes, examining the range of challenges they face entering the workforce, including the need for education and training assistance and to address other barriers to employment. We believe there is an opportunity to make meaningful and significant progress in this area.

Last week, with Rodney full support, the full House followed through on this commitment and passed by a vote of 418-6, the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act of 2011 (VOW Act). This legislation provides:  

1.   Access to Education and Training Funds: The VOW Act temporarily provides 100,000 unemployed veterans between the age of 35 and 60 with up to 1-year of education and training benefits related to gaining a job in high-demand occupations, from trucking to technology.

2.   Improvements to the Transition Assistance Program: The Transition Assistance Program is designed to help veterans find meaningful employment after discharge through a series of career training workshops.  The VOW Act will make TAP mandatory for most service members transitioning to civilian status, upgrading career counseling options, and resume writing skills, as well as ensuring the program is tailored for the 21st Century job market.

3.   Reporting Requirements to Reform Employment Programs: Few evaluations have been conducted or completed to identify areas for improvement within existing veterans employment programs.  The VOW Act includes several new reporting requirements to evaluate how to reform the programs to provide transitioning service members with greater employment opportunities.

4.   Breaking Down the Barriers to Employment: The VOW Act would also allow for Congress to work with governors and states to create a uniform licensing and credentialing standard for returning servicemen and women to use the skills they learned in the military in the private sector. Combat medics, aircraft technicians, and truck drivers all face lengthy reaccreditation when they return from the battlefield to do the jobs here they performed while deployed.

The benefits of the approach advocated by House Republicans are evident in a front page Washington Post story this week which, in reporting on the President’s proposal, stated:

 But employers say such financial incentives for hiring veterans would not address the heart of the problem.

 Lionel Batty, vice president of corporate research at GrafTech International, which makes graphite materials integral to products such as smartphone batteries and solar panels, said his firm is moving to hire more veterans, in part by trying to better understand their experiences. But, he said, tax credits have nothing to do with that effort.

“We’ll take them, but we don’t hire people because of tax credits,” he said. “We do what’s right for our business.”

More important than financial incentives for hiring returning veterans is making the skills and experience they earned in the military more understandable for civilian employers, experts say.

Rodney and other members of the House have heard the exact same complaints directly from employers themselves. The VOW Act received bipartisan support.

The question is now: when will the Senate consider it? 

Obamacare Unraveling On Its Own?

The Obama Administration reported to Congress last week that after 19 months of work they could not find a way to implement Obamacare’s Community Living Assistance Services & Supports (CLASS) program.This announcement strikes yet another blow to the Administration’s healthcare takeover, as a major provision of the plan predictably collapses under the weight of its own actuarial unsoundness.

The Obamacare law requires CLASS, a new long-term disability insurance program,  to be self-sustaining. The Obama administration has admitted for some time that CLASS was unsustainable, but they insisted, that they had the power to change it.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told Congressional leaders last week, “Despite our best analytical efforts, I do not see a viable path forward for CLASS implementation at this time.”

Just two years ago, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) said the same when he called the program a “Ponzi Scheme of the first order”  

According to an HHS report, CLASS would have to charge premiums of $3,000 per month in order to be self-sustaining. The report also admits that there are “strong arguments” that the Secretary of HHS does not have the legal authority to make necessary changes to the program.

And now two questions arise: 1) How much did the Obama Administration spend to try to make CLASS work?; 2) What provision of Obamacare will be the next to collapse of its own financial weight?

The Navy’s Beachhead at Picatinny Arsenal

Rodney was on hand Tuesday as the United States Navy officially marked the official resumption of operations at Picatinny Arsenal after a 50 year absence.

Officials from the Army joined senior Navy leaders to symbolically cut a ribbon on three new Navy buildings on the Army base.  The Navy moved its gun systems division, its packaging, handling, storage and transportation facility and a technical data and engineering operation from other parts of the nation to Picatinny under the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process.

“The Navy’s arrival at Picatinny strengthens both the Navy and the Army, not to mention the work they both do for the Air Force,” Rodney said.  “Now, even more of our warfighters around the world will benefit directly from the good work of the people of Picatinny.  We owe them all a debt of gratitude.

“And, as Vice-Admiral Kevin McCoy said at the ceremony, all of us are pleased by the number of young people hired from Rutgers, NJIT, Stevens and other New Jersey colleges and universities and now work for the Navy!”  

Gaddafi Gone

Congratulations to our Armed Forces and intelligence agencies for the great assistance they provided to NATO forces in the Mediterranean and to Libyan opposition forces!