e-News August 6, 2010

The Week Just Past
An Approaching Milestone in Iraq
Supporting the military here at home!
A Mark of Environmental Progress
Speak Out at Town Hall Meetings Tomorrow

The Week Just Past: Recovery?

“The headline in the New York Times op-ed piece written by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner this week said it all:  ‘Welcome to the Recovery’. 

“I suspect that Secretary Geithner needs to get out of Washington, D.C. more often.  Or he needs to participate in one of my town hall meetings, because I have not heard from many New Jersey residents who think our country’s economy is ‘recovering.’  This view was buttressed this morning by the release of Labor Department figures that showed that America lost another 131,000 jobs in July.

“With an unemployment rate above 9.5 percent, most people in our state are not optimistic about the potential for private sector job creation and more employment opportunities.  Today America is reeling from a lagging labor market, record deficits, a shaky credit rating, and a ballooning and more intrusive federal government, all with no end in sight.

“In fact, small businessmen and women - the job creators in America - are very concerned that deeper and deeper layers of government regulation and threatened tax increases will place heavier burdens on them.  They are particularly concerned that the Obama Administration’s economic team, including Secretary Geithner, are bound and determined to impose a massive tax increase at the end of the year.   

“One of the architects of the trillion dollar stimulus bill, Mark Zandi, often one of the Obama Administration’s favorite economists - was specifically mentioned in the Geithner op-ed.  However, it is interesting to note that he has stated in several media outlets that 'raising taxes on anyone now … would be a mistake.’ 

“He’s right on this count.  The Congressional Joint Tax Committee recently found that half of all small business income would get hit by the President’s planned tax increases.

“It should be clear to Secretary Geithner: Congress’ top priority should be jobs, jobs, and jobs! Threatened tax increases cause uncertainty in the economy. ‘Uncertain’ businesses will not add or restore jobs.  And until that happens, any ‘recovery’ will be in the minds of Cabinet Secretaries only!”       

Rodney Frelinghuysen

Read the Joint Tax Committee’s report here.

More economic stimulus – for Central America!

Even as Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls the House of Representatives back into session to vote rubber stamp the Senate’s $26 billion “stimulus” package, more incidents of waste, fraud, and abuse surrounding last year’s trillion dollar “stimulus” are still being uncovered nearly 18 months after Vice President Biden stated, “we have to make sure we know where the money’s going.” 

Last week, news outlets in Ohio revealed that the Texas-based company hired by Gov. Ted Strickland to administer the state’s appliance rebate program used overseas call centers to field requests.  As the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported, “At least one Ohioan who got through to the call center asked the person on the other end, ‘Where are you located?’ The response came back: ‘El Salvador.’” 

This incident makes you wonder about Vice President Biden’s pledge to track the gusher of taxpayer dollars flowing out of Washington!

Since February 2009, our economy has lost roughly three million private sector jobs while the federal government has grown by more than 400,000 jobs.  More government, more waste, fewer jobs: that’s not the picture of recovery, it’s another clear example of failure.

Recommended Reading: Heather Timmons, writing in Wednesday’s New York Times, “Outsourcing to India Draws Western Lawyers.”

Must See ViewingCNN Correspondent Alan Chernoff’s report on the massive impending Obama Administration’s tax hikes, highlighting the effect on one New Jersey family.

Recommended Reading II: Joseph Mason in the July 30 Wall Street Journal, “Congress’ Hugo Chavez Bailout Bill”: Another perspective on the B.P. crisis and its aftermath.

Recommended Reading III: Gloria Park and Fred Barbash of POLITICO report that you should not bother trying to count up the number of agencies, boards and commissions created under the new health care law.  Estimating the number is “impossible,” a recent Congressional Research Service report says, and a true count “unknowable.”

An Approaching Milestone in Iraq

President Obama this week marked the 20 year anniversary of the  beginning of the first Gulf War by announcing our current withdrawal from Iraq will continue apace.  The President has implemented the drawdown of U.S. combat forces in Iraq as delineated in the Status of Forces Agreement signed in December 2008. 

In addition, in his speech this week the President announced that on August 31, the U.S. mission will shift from a combat role to an advisory and assistance mission for the Iraqi government and its security forces.  This will mark the end of major combat operations and after that date, the United States will draw down to 50,000 troops in Iraq

Morris County’s own General Ray Odierno has publicly testified this is an appropriate troop level, given the abilities of the Iraqi security forces to provide for their own internal security.  However, even after the transition from a combat mission, the United States will continue to have vital national interests in the region.

“Our troops deserve great credit for the progress that has been made in Iraq,” said Rodney, a veteran of the Vietnam conflict. “More than three years ago, when Iraq was on the brink of chaos, many in Congress not only opposed the ‘surge’ strategy that has made this month’s transition possible, but also threatened to cut off funding for troops in harm’s way.  How views have changed!”

Of course, challenges remain: the new Iraqi government still has not been formed and the possibility of high-profile bombings or other violence aimed at undermining the fragile confidence the Iraqi people have in their government remains.  The Administration and Congress must remain vigilant and ensure our troops have the resources they need to effectively do their jobs. 

We have invested a great deal in ensuring the United States maintains its vital interests in Iraq.  “Our military and their families have shouldered the burden, facing multiple deployments and the strain and stress of being separated by distance and danger.  We must be mindful that as our troop drawdown continues, much work remains to be done,” Rodney said. “We honor our troops and their families for their sacrifices, and for all they are doing to protect our security here at home.”

Supporting the military here at home!

Rodney, in his capacity as a senior member of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, was joined by Congressman Frank LoBiondo (NJ), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, in touring several of New Jersey’s national security installations and military units.   Accompanied by the Adjutant General of New Jersey, Major General Glenn Reith, they visited the 305th Air Mobility Wing, the 108th Air National Guard Wing and several Army facilities on the Joint Base – McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.   They also received briefings at the 177th Fighter Wing - the Air Guard’s “Jersey Devils” - and the United States Coast Guard’s Air Station at Atlantic City

“I always come away from these visits highly impressed by the dedication, proficiency and courage of the men and women who serve,” Rodney said.  “There is no doubt that New Jersey is making a vital contribution to both our national and our homeland security.  Frank LoBiondo and I will continue to work to make sure they have the tools and the resources to accomplish their important missions.”

Rodney also stopped by facilities run by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the U.S. Marshal’s Service in Pomona, New Jersey.

A Mark of Environmental Progress

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced this week that they have officially completed the clean-up of two New Jersey hazardous waste sites.  The two agencies removed the “Asbestos Dump” in Long Hill and Harding Townships from the “National Priorities List” of federal Superfund sites.

Over the years Rodney has championed the cleanup of Superfund sites in the 11th Congressional District of New Jersey.  “The people of Long Hill Township and Harding Township have long waited for this site to be cleaned up and taken off the Superfund list,” he said.  “I am pleased that NJDEP and EPA have taken the necessary steps to ensure that this section of our area is restored safely.”

Rodney was preparing to conduct his annual tour of Superfund sites in the 11th Congressional District and he continues to closely monitor the status of all our local sites to see that the EPA and the NJDEP work faster and better to properly clean them up.    However, that tour has now been postponed to allow Rodney to return to Washington to vote on Speaker Pelosi’s latest state bailout legislation.

Speak Out at Town Hall Meetings Tomorrow

Following up on successful town hall meetings in Morris and Somerset counties, Rodney will hold public town meetings in Sussex and Essex counties tomorrow, Saturday, August 7. All residents of the 11th Congressional District are invited to attend.
“I hold town meetings on a regular basis in order to listen to what is on the minds of my constituents, hear their concerns and address their questions in a face to face town hall meeting,” Rodney said.

The Sussex County town hall meeting will be held in Stanhope at 9 a.m. at Lenape Valley Regional High School, 28 Sparta Road, Stanhope, NJ 07874.

The Essex County Town Meeting will be held in West Caldwell at 11:30 a.m. at the West Caldwell Town Hall, 30 Clinton Road, West Caldwell, NJ 07006.