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E-News 11/4/11

This Week: “Waiting for THEM (the Senate) to Act”

Frightening Debt Demands a Balanced Budget Amendment

Turning New Jersey’s Lights Back On

Nationwide Emergency Alert System: This is a Test!

Two Wounded Warriors, a Marathon and Victory!

The “Forgotten 18” Jobs Bills Languish in the Senate

This Week:  “Waiting for THEM (the Senate) to Act”

“It was Albert Einstein who famously defined ‘insanity’ as ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’ “These days, the Obama Administration and the United States Senate seem intent on proving that Einstein was right!

“Despite bipartisan opposition, the President Obama and Senate Leader Harry Reid are proceeding with further incremental consideration of the so-called “American Jobs Act.”  This week, the Senate considered, and rejected, an additional $60 billion in temporary stimulus spending paid-for with permanent, job destroying tax increases.  According to the White House’s own summary of this aspect of the President’s plan, the bill seeks to spend another $50 billion in stimulus spending for highway, transit, rail and aviation over ten years. 

“To offset the ‘temporary’ spending, the proposal would contain a permanent tax increase on Americans earning $1 million annually.  Here’s the problem: the so-called ‘millionaire surtax’ is a permanent tax to pay for a temporary benefit.  And the President’s own Department of the Treasury says 41 percent of all business income reported on individual returns would be hit by the surtax.  Thus, the President’s tax would harm small businessmen and women, the very people we are counting on to create new jobs and hire new workers!

“So while the Senate spent another week going through the motions, the House approved four more bills that have the support of the President and will make it easier for small businesses to access capital, expand and create new private sector jobs!

“In fact, the House has passed 18 bipartisan jobs bills (scroll down for a complete list) over to the Senate, yet Majority Leader Reid has refused to hold a vote on any one of these jobs measures.   In fact, Leader Reid has actually objected to the 3% withholding bill we passed last week, a bill which is supported by the White House.  So this week, when President Obama claimed that, ‘I’m waiting for THEM to ACT,’ I guess we have to assume he’s speaking about Harry Reid and the Senate?”

                                                          Rodney Frelinghuysen 

Recommended Reading: John Taylor, writing in the Tuesday Wall Street Journal, “A Slow-Growth America Can’t Lead The World.’

Frightening Debt Demands a Balanced Budget Amendment

Families across New Jersey dealing with the clean-up from a freakish winter storm may have missed most spine-chilling scare of the day. According to calculations based on the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook, on Monday the United States’ total debt surpassed its Gross Domestic Product for the first time since World War II.

That means the average American’s share of government debt is more than an average American makes in a year. In other words, America’s bills are about to exceed its paycheck.  Moreover, IMF data from the September World Economic Outlook, showed that by 2016, our debt will exceed per capita production by $8,000!

This is precisely why the House has passed a budgetthat focuses on the root cause of our debt problem: wasteful Washington spending. The House budget reduces government spending by $6.2 trillion over the next decade, and puts the budget on a path to balance.

It is unconscionable to leave future generations with a crushing burden of debt and a nation in decline.  There is no doubt that relieving them of this burden without choking off the promise of American prosperity is the challenge of our times.

Taking another step toward meeting that challenge, the House will soon debate a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution.  Rodney has cosponsored HJ. Res 2 which will make it harder for Washington politicians to increase taxes and raise the debt limit.

Recommended Reading: Robert Samuelson, writing in the Monday Washington Post,The dangerous debate over cutting military spending.”

Administration Missing Its Own Healthcare Deadlines!

The Washington Times reported this week that the Obama administration has failed to meet more than half of the new health care law's deadlines, from submitting plans for new, value-based Medicare purchasing programs to publishing criteria for determining the medically underserved.

A report requested by Sen. Tom Coburn and completed by the Congressional Research Service indicates that the Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies missed 18 of 30 deadlines since the Affordable Care Act was passed in March 2010. Read the story here

Turning New Jersey’s Lights Back On

It has been a difficult week for tens of thousands of families and businesses in northern New Jersey after a freak October snow storm ravaged power lines across our region.  Utilities serving Morris, Somerset and Sussex counties faced serious and unusual challenges in restoring electric service but they have promised to have the power restored to all of their customers by this time tomorrow. 

Governor Christie and the Chairman of the Board of Public Utilities, Lee Solomon, deserve credit for keeping the pressure on the utilities to ensure that all our neighbors were brought back online as quickly as possible.

“There is no doubt that last weekend’s storm was a highly unusual event,” Rodney said.  “However, that does not provide our utilities with a ready-made excuse to be unprepared.  I will continue to discuss with our utilities their efforts to have recovery and restoration efforts ready well ahead of the next storm.”

Nationwide Emergency Alert System: This is a Test!

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will conduct the first nationwide Emergency Alert System (EAS) Test on November 9, at 2:00 p.m.

EAS participants include all broadcasters, satellite, cable television and digital radio and television who ensure the system is at a constant state of readiness to better serve our communities and deliver critical information that will save lives and property in the event of an emergency.

Tuesday’s test, which is being called the “biggest, single communications event in history,” will last approximately 3 minutes and will not affect wireless telephone service.  

“One of the best kept secrets of the emergency alert system is the role our local broadcasters play,” Rodney said. “New Jersey broadcasters perform a valuable public service by assuming the role and cost of public warning.  They use their own equipment and staff to ensure that public safety and law enforcement officials can instantly communicate with the public in times of crisis.  We thank them.”

Two Wounded Warriors, a Marathon and Victory!

As America prepares to mark Veterans Day 2011, take a moment to read the Washington Post’s inspirational story last Monday about two wounded warriors who overpowered the Marine Corps Marathon while conquering their own life-changing injuries:

Two Wounded Warriors Conquer Marathon Together

Strangers united by 'Semper Fi' spirit

By Christian Davenport

October 31, 2011

They met for the first time in the cold and the dark on Sunday morning with 26.2 miles to go.

Carlos Evans was nervous. He’d never done a marathon before. Jimmy King, competing in his seventh Marine Corps Marathon, told him he’d be all right. He said he’d watch out for him.

They were strangers brought together by the race and by circumstance. Both are 32 years old. Both served with the Marines in war. Both had been wounded. King lost his left leg in Iraq in 2004. Evans lost both legs and his left hand in Afghanistan last year.

Between them, they had one leg and three full arms.

The men, part of a team supported by the Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans, a nonprofit organization, were among dozens of wounded warriors competing. About 130 racers, including Evans and King, used handcycles. Others crossed the finish line on prosthetic legs, where a growing throng cheered.

Evans wanted his family — his wife and two daughters, 1 and 5 years old — to see him finish the race. After all the pain and suffering, he wanted them to see him in a moment of triumph.

But the first few miles were much harder than he had anticipated. The cold caused his shoulder muscles to cramp. The early hills sapped more energy than he thought they should. His prosthetic arm kept slipping out of place. Doubts started creeping in.

“Don’t give up,” King implored. “Keep going.”

On May 16 last year, Evans, a Marine Corps sergeant, was leading a patrol in Helmand province in Afghanistan. He had been to Iraq three times, and he had come home safe and sound each time. On this day, his good fortune ran out and he stepped on a hidden bomb that ripped through his body.

The dark moments didn’t come until he moved out of the hospital to an apartment. “At the hospital there was so much support,” he said. Lots of other wounded warriors. Nurses and doctors who tended to him. Visitors who gave him attention. At home, though, reality sank in.

“I lost it,” Evans said. “I cried and I cried. I thought I wasn’t going to make it.”

By mile eight on Sunday, the sun started to warm Evans’s shoulders. The pain subsided. He pushed through Georgetown, then past the Kennedy Center and the Lincoln Memorial.

“I got my rhythm,” he said.

People cheered him, and he found himself completely in the moment, focusing only on his body, the course, the race. He felt “very independent and free.”

By mile 13, the halfway point, King, who lives in Germantown, told Evans to pace himself. There was still a long way to go.

Finishing was the main goal, and King, who has completed 13 marathons, was going to see to it that Evans would, even if it meant a slower time for himself. He knew that if Evans could finish, it would “boost his confidence more than just about anything he could do at this point in his recovery right now.”

King, who was medically retired in 2006 and now works security at the Navy Yard, knows just how long that recovery can be. After he was hit by a bomb while on patrol in Ramadi, Iraq, he was in a coma for 3 1/2 weeks. In the early months of recovery, normal life didn’t seem possible — let alone something as daunting as a marathon.

“When you’re more recently wounded, the distance alone can be intimidating,” King said.

It’s better to not have to face that alone.

Evans was a Marine and had always had been fit. So when he saw his fellow patients at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center training for marathons, he decided he would, too. But he felt nervous about joining the gym near his Gaithersburg apartment.

“To tell you the truth, I was afraid to go to a gym outside of Walter Reed,” Evans said. “I didn’t know what the reception was going to be.”

Yes, there were stares and people who turned away. But there was also a lot of support from a physical trainer, who helped get him ready for races. He did a half-marathon in January. Then the Army Ten-Miler.

Evans got his confidence back, and thanks to his faith and family, he began to accept his wounds. “I got a second chance for life,” he said. “I feel like I’m standing high and have a better view of the world now. So I don’t regret it.”

In mile 22, Evans hit the wall. He shoulders felt leaden; his abs ached. King encouraged him, making small talk: “Anything to keep his mind off the race.”

They trekked past National Airport, then doubled back past the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery toward the finish line at the Iwo Jima Memorial. When Evans slowed, King slowed. They had started off as strangers but were now buddies joined in a long, hard slog. “We’re Marines; that’s enough,” King said.

Three hours and 41 minutes after they began, they crossed the finish line together. Volunteers draped medals over their heads. Applause surrounded them. They bumped fists and steered their way through the crowd.

At one point they came to a curb and Evans hesitated, unsure he could negotiate his handcycle safely over it.

“You need a hand?” King said.

King popped up out of his handcycle, hopped over on his leg and helped guide Evans down.

“Got it?”

“Yeah,” Evans said. “Thanks.”

Then they went off to find their families. Evans had a new medal he wanted to show his daughters.

The “Forgotten 18” Jobs Bills Languish in the Senate

The House has passed 18 bipartisan jobs bills that would either foster the creation of private sector jobs, ease regulatory overreach or enhance America’s energy independence.  Yet, Majority Leader Harry Reid has refused to hold a vote on any one of these jobs measures.  

Majority Leader Eric Cantor has created a handy website which allows you to track the job and economic growth measures the House has passed:

For your immediate information, here are the “Forgotten 18”:

Empowering Small Business Owners and Reducing Regulatory Burdens:

H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act

Introduced on March 2, 2011

Passed the House by a vote of 292-130 on March 31, 2011

Senate has taken no action to date

H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act

Introduced on March 3, 2011

Passed the House by a vote of 255-172 on April 7, 2011

Senate has taken no action to date

H.J.Res. 37, a Resolution of disapproval regarding the FCC’s regulation of the Internet and broadband industry practices

Introduced on February 16, 2011

Passed the House by a vote of 240 to 179 on April 8, 2011

Senate has taken no action to date

H.R. 2018, the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act 

Introduced on May 26, 2011

Passed the House by a vote of 239 to 184 on July 13, 2011

Senate has taken no action to date

H.R. 1315, Consumer Financial Protection & Soundness Improvement Act

Introduced on April 1, 2011

Passed the House by a vote of 241-173 on July 21, 2011

Senate has taken no action to date

H.R. 2587, Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act

Introduced on July 19, 2011

Passed the House by a vote of 238-186 on September 15, 2011

Senate has taken no action to date

H.R. 2401, Transparency In Regulatory Analysis Of Impacts On The Nation

Introduced on June 24, 2011

Passed the House by a vote of 249-169 on September 23, 2011

Senate has taken no action to date

H.R. 2681, Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act

Introduced on July 28, 2011

Passed the House by a vote of 262-161 on October 6, 2011

Senate has taken no action to date

H.R. 2250, EPA Regulatory Relief Act

Introduced on June 21, 2011

Passed the House by a vote of 275-142 on October 13, 2011

Senate has taken no action to date

H.R. 2273, Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act

Introduced on June 22, 2011

Passed the House by a vote of 276-144 on October 14, 2011

Senate has taken no action to date

Fix The Tax Code To Help Job Creators

H.R. 674, 3% Withholding Rule Repeal

Introduced on February 11, 2011

Passed the House by a vote of 405-16 on October 27, 2011

Senate has taken no action to date

Increase Competitiveness For U.S. Manufacturers

H.R. 1904, Southeast Arizona Resource Utilization & Conservation Act

Introduced on May 13, 2011

Passed the House by a vote of 235-186 on October 26, 2011

Senate has taken no action to date

Encourage Entrepreneurship and Growth

H.R. 2433, Veterans Opportunity to Work Act

Introduced on July 7, 2011

Passed the House by a vote of 418-6 on October 12, 2011

Senate has taken no action to date

Maximize Domestic Energy Production:

H.R. 1230, Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act

Introduced on March 29, 2011

Passed the House by a vote of 266-149 on May 5, 2011

Senate has taken no action to date

H.R. 1229, Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act

Introduced on March 29, 2011

Passed the House by a vote of 263-163 on May 11, 2011

Senate has taken no action to date

H.R. 1231, Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act

Introduced on March 29, 2011

Passed the House by a vote of 243-179 on May 12, 2011

Senate has taken no action to date

H.R. 2021, the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act

Introduced on May 26, 2011

Passed the House by a vote of 255-166 on June 22, 2011

Senate has taken no action to date

H.R. 1938, North American-Made Energy Security Act

Introduced on May 23, 2011

Passed the House by a vote of 279-147 on July 26, 2011

Senate has taken no action to date