E-News 12/23/11

The Week Just Past: We Had Work to do

Jobs From A Pipeline

Supreme Court Arguments on Obamacare set

Backpeddling on Obamacare

Hope for the Homeless


The Week Just Past: We Had Work to do

“As the majority of the American people prepared to enjoy the holidays, Congress had work to do.  The House and the Senate were locked in a dispute over an extension of this year’s payroll tax holiday.

“Over the weekend, the Senate passed a bill that only extends the payroll tax cut for 60 days. The House had already passed a year-long extension to provide certainty to workers, families and employers.  Also, our doctors need a ‘fix’ for their Medicare reimbursement rates, so they can continue to treat older Americans. 

“The good news is that Congress, gripped in partisan gridlock, found a way to break the impasse and extend the payroll tax holiday.

“Under the terms of the agreement worked out by House and Senate leaders, a new bill will be approved by the House that reflects the bipartisan agreement in the Senate along with new provisions that allow job creators to process and withhold payroll taxation under the same accounting structure that is currently in place.

“In addition, a provision requiring a Presidential decision on the Keystone energy project and a measure that will ease compliance burdens for our nation’s small businesses will be included in the final legislation.

“Most importantly, the Senate will join the House in immediately appointing negotiators charged with reaching agreement in the weeks ahead on a full-year payroll tax cut extension.

“In this holiday season, bipartisanship does live!  The Appropriations bill we passed last week was another example.

“For the second year in a row Congress cut discretionary spending – the first time this has occurred in modern history.  The Appropriations Committee, on which I serve, saved nearly $31 billion in total discretionary spending compared to last year’s level and $95 billion compared to FY 2010 – the last year Speaker Pelosi and her Democrats controlled Congress.

“Am I satisfied with this outcome of this huge bill?  Of course not.  I would have preferred that we had been able to produce each bill individually.  Failing that, the larger package should have resembled the bill I produced as Chairman of the House Energy and Water Development Subcommittee.  My bill cut spending nearly to 2006 spending levels. 

“With that said, the downward pressure we have exerted on the size and reach of the government is significant and positive.  For two years in a row now, we have shown our commitment to the American people to change spending habits in Washington to help get our budgets back into balance.

“I would add that the final bill shows that bipartisanship can work, even in an era of divided government.  As with any compromise, this bill is not perfect, but it represents the kind of responsible governing that will help move our country forward.”

    Rodney Frelinghuysen

Jobs from a Pipeline

Recommended Reading: Read the Letter to the Editor of the Tuesday New York Times, by Jay Timmons, CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers and Terry O’Sullivan, President of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, entitled, “Jobs from a Pipeline.”

Supreme Court Arguments on Obamacare set

The U.S. Supreme Court announced this week that it will use an unprecedented week’s worth of argument time next March to decide the constitutionality of President Obama’s government takeover of health care.

The high court scheduled arguments for March 26 - 28 over Obamacare.  The arguments fill the entire court calendar that week.

With the March dates set, it means a final decision on the massive health care overhaul will likely come before Independence Day in the middle of Presidential election campaign.

Backpeddling on Obamacare

Recommended Reading II: Julie Appleby, writing in the Monday Washington Post,Health exchange launch in doubt.”

Hope for the Homeless

Rodney joined Governor Chris Christie on the campus of the Lyons VA Medical Center yesterday as the Governor announced the award of “Shelter Support” grants of nearly $4 million in both state and federal funding.  The grants will aid 37 nonprofit and local government agencies operating emergency homeless shelters and transitional housing facilities while assisting approximately 3,000 New Jersey households over the next year.

The Governor and Rodney visited Community Hope’s “Hope for Veterans” program, a 95-bed transitional housing program for homeless veteransat the Lyons campus in Somerset County.  Community Hope is receiving a $189,000 grant that will assist in the improvement of living conditions and provide a stable and safe place to stay until they can regain their financial footing and move into more permanent housing.  The program has been praised as a “national model” by veterans and homeless advocates. 

Rodney is a longtime supporter of “Hope for Veterans,” part of the larger effort to end homelessness among veterans in coming years.  “Clearly, we have much more work to do.  But with the help of the Christie Administration, the VA, groups like Community Hope, and our local elected leaders, we will make progress until no veteran has to sleep on the street, in abandoned buildings, in parks and in vehicles,” he said. “Until that day, we have to keep working hard and working together.”