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e-News July 30, 2010

The Week Just Past
Troop Funding Bill Moves Forward – Finally!
Rodney’s Defense Appropriations Amendment
Honored by the Association of the US Army
Immigration Update
Americans with Disabilities Act Anniversary
Small Businesses Compliance Nightmare: Read This!
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Still Losing Taxpayers’ Money
More Town Hall Meetings Scheduled

Use Your “Megaphone” to Speak Out: AmericaSpeakingOut.com

The Week Just Past

“Today marks the beginning of an unusually long recess for the House of Representatives.  I cannot remember the last time Congress adjourned for six weeks at a time when we have so much to do.

“Just on the jobs front alone, the facts are staggering.  A study of U.S. employment trends published recently by portfolio.com indicated that 40 states had fewer jobs in May 2010 than they did five years earlier.  According to the study, which used U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics,  overall the United States lost over 4.51 million private sector jobs from mid-2005 to mid-2010, roughly the time Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid have been leading the House and the Senate over the last three years.

“So in this one area - creating jobs and employment opportunities – there is plenty of work ahead for Congress.  So why recess?

“Over these many months, I have been listening to the people of New Jersey as I travel our Congressional District. There are some things that are pretty clear when you engage the people.

“First, America is broke, and secondly, Washington is broken. 

“All this is a result of the irresponsible job-killing policies that are coming out of this Administration and this Congress. They’ve created so much uncertainty in the country that employers are frozen in place, unable to invest in their own businesses to create private sector jobs because they don’t know what the rules are going to be and they don’t know what tax rates they will be paying.  They keep telling me to ‘get government off our backs!’”

“Then, as if to ‘pile on’ those in our economy who actually create private sector jobs, the Treasury Secretary made headlines last weekend by saying that we have to raise taxes. 

“I cannot think of a worse time to raise taxes than in the middle of the worst economic climate in decades.  Any attempt to raise taxes will wreck the little bit of a recovery that we have in fact seen. 

“The post-election ‘lame duck’ session is coming.  I hope Speaker Pelosi and Senate Leader Reid will join me in saying ‘no’ to increasing taxes on the American people by letting the current tax cuts expire.  Expiration of the 1996 tax reductions in December equals new taxes increases! 

“All of this would help eliminate some of the fear and uncertainty that exists in our country.”
 

Recommended Reading: Robert Samuelson in Monday’s Washington Post: “Why CEOs aren't hiring.”

AfghanistanTroop Funding Bill Approved - Finally

The House Tuesday finally passed the “wartime supplemental appropriations bill” to fund the operations of our brave warfighters in Afghanistan and to execute our withdrawal from Iraq. 

The President originally made his request for these funds six months ago. Instead of acting swiftly to ensure continuity in our military operations, the Congressional Majority has wasted precious time and military resources in a failed effort to attach unrelated priorities to this legislation.

“Our brave men and women in uniform – all volunteers – are asked to pursue an enemy who attacks innocent civilians throughout the world,” Rodney said.  “In order for our troops to accomplish this dangerous mission, Congress has the responsibility of ensuring that they are properly equipped.  While arriving irresponsibly late, this bill will make sure they have the funding to do their jobs.”

The Senate passed its version of the supplemental war funding bill over two months ago.  Yet the House leadership insisted on adding billions in unnecessary and unrelated domestic spending, showing once again, an unwavering appetite for spending.  In the end, the added social spending was rejected.

“Out-of-control spending, failure to eliminate wasteful programs, shirking entitlement reform, and amassing record-level debt are a shameful way to remember and honor all those who serve.  Once again, Speaker Pelosi’s House did not acquit itself well.”

Rodney’s Amendment Shuts Down Guantanamo Transfers to USA

As next year’s Defense Appropriations bill took its belated first step toward eventual enactment, Rodney offered an amendment that would strike and replace language in the legislation that allows Guantanamo Detainees to be transferred into the United States for prosecution. The amendment was passed by the Subcommittee.

The amendment is virtually identical to language that passed the House in the Defense Authorization Bill, and would place a blanket prohibition on all transfers or releases into the U.S.

The amendment would also prohibit funds from being used to acquire or modify a facility in the U.S. to detain or imprison these terrorists.

“My amendment was a common sense provision, which had been overwhelmingly supported by the full House during consideration of the FY2011 Defense Authorization bill, that will keep America safe from dangerous terrorists currently in Guantanamo,” said Rodney.

Honored by the Association of the US Army

On Wednesday, the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) named Rodney, an Army veteran of the Vietnam War, its “Outstanding Legislator of 2010.” 

The AUSA cited his strong support of the Army, advocating veterans’ health care funding, caring for homeless veterans and working to pass the post-9/11 GI Bill.

Rodney, a senior member of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee was presented with the award by General Gordon R. Sullivan (ret.), the President and Chief Operating Officer of AUSA, as well as a former Joint Chief of Staff and Chief of Staff of the Army.

Also honored was Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Norm Dicks (WA).

Border Security Update

On May 25, following disturbing reports of increased violence in and around Mexico, President Obama announced that 1,200 National Guard Troops would be sent to the border to assist U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Agents.

This is ONE FIFTH of the total that was sent to the border during Operation Jump Start between May 15, 2006 and July 15, 2008 during the Bush Administration. Further, this total pales in comparison to the 2,000 Border Patrol Agents that have been sent to the border each of the past five years as a result of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which I supported during the 108th Congress.

Immediately prior to the President’s announcement, on May 19, Mexican President Felipe Calderon visited the United States to meet with President Obama and address a Joint Session of Congress. He said that he felt Arizona’s immigration law was “discriminatory,” and said he opposed laws that “criminalize migration.”

Officials in Mexico went so far as to issue a travel advisory that warns Mexicans that they could face harassment should they visit Arizona.

However, it is important to take a close look at Mexico’s OWN immigration laws and see how they stack up.

Under Mexico’s Immigration Law, “Reglamento de la Ley General de Poblacion” (The General Law on Population), enacted in April 2000, the following requirements have been set: 
• local and municipal police cooperate with federal immigration authorities in that country in the arrests of illegal immigrants.
• illegal immigration is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison.
o Immigrants who are deported and attempt to re-enter can be imprisoned for ten years.
o Visa violators can be sentenced to six-year terms.
o Mexican citizens who help illegal immigrants are considered criminals.
• Mexico can deport foreigners who are deemed detrimental to “economic or national interests,” violate Mexican law, are not “physically or mentally healthy” or lack the "necessary funds for their sustenance" and for their dependents.
• Immigrants into Mexico can’t be a burden to taxpayers, so they are not eligible for any government provided welfare, food stamps, healthcare, or other assistance.
• Naturalized Mexican citizens (those granted citizenship by means other than birth) may not hold dual citizenship and can’t run for most government posts.

Recommended Reading II: “Mexico’s Illegals Laws Tougher than Arizona” in the May 3rd Washington Times.

20th Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act

On Monday, the House honored the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by passing H.Res. 1504, Recognizing and honoring the 20th anniversary of the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (Rep. Hoyer - Education and Labor).

President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA into law on July 26, 1990.

“The Americans with Disabilities Act was a historic, bipartisan piece of legislation that has improved the lives of millions of Americans over the past twenty years,” said Rodney.  “I am proud to continue to work on behalf of disabled Americans through my work on the Appropriations Committee to provide greater opportunities, especially with regards to housing, for those with disabilities.”

During the vote on H.Res. 1504, Representative Jim Lengevin (RI) was in the Speaker’s Chair as the Speaker Pro Tempe.  Rep. Langevin is a quadriplegic and Monday was the first time a paralyzed Representative sat in the Speaker’s chair during a House session.

Small Businesses Compliance Nightmare: Read This!

Among the many little-known provisions of the new health care law is Section 9006, which requires that small and large businesses must submit 1099 forms to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for any purchase valued over $600 in any given year!

To complete a 1099 form, which was originally created for tax filings related to work conducted by independent contractors, businesses must submit tax ID numbers for both themselves and their vendor.

Again, these forms will need to be filed for every and any purchase of $600 or more: cell phones, delivery services, computers, rent, and on and on.

“This new requirement substantially increases the cost of doing business in an economic environment that is already extremely challenging,” said Rodney. “The IRS is already serving as the ‘compliance office’ for the new health care law and this ill-considered provision will be an accounting nightmare.” 

Worse, this provision creates a strong disincentive for businesses to deal with small businesses, as they would seek to consolidate their vendors in an effort to reduce their growing paperwork load.

Rodney has cosponsored H.R. 5141 which seeks to repeal the 1099 reporting expansion. This legislation was proposed as an amendment to a larger small business bill on Thursday, but was blocked by the Congressional Majority.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Still Losing Taxpayers’ Money

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed into a “conservatorship” of the federal government, with taxpayers backing them up, on September 7, 2008.

Since that time, they have lost over $145 billion, taxpayer dollars, and are projected to lose a total of $400 billion! Hardly comforting, last Christmas Eve, the Treasury Department quietly lifted the $400 billion cap on the government’s liability!

With such daunting debt that shows no sign of coming under control, the President signed into law the Dodd-Frank Act in an attempt to regulate the financial services industry without any provisions to deal with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac!

Recommended Reading III: “Fan and Fred and the Problem of Narrative” by Brian Carney in Monday’s Wall Street Journal.

More Town Hall Meetings

Rodney will hold public town meetings in Stanhope and West Caldwell on Saturday, August 7. All residents and concerned citizens in the 11th Congressional District are invited to attend.

“I hold town meetings on regular basis because there is no better way for a Member of Congress to know what is on the minds of his or her constituents than by reaching out to residents to listen to their concerns and address their questions in a face to face town hall meeting,” said Frelinghuysen.

The Stanhope Town Meeting will be held at 9 a.m. at Lenape Valley Regional High School, 28 Sparta Road, Stanhope, NJ 07874.

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

These town meetings follow earlier meetings in Bernards Township in Somerset County and Pequannock Township in Morris County held last month.

Seating may be limited.  Both facilities are handicapped accessible. Constituent service staff will be available to address individual concerns.  Please call 973-984-0711 if you have any questions or concerns.

Use Your “Megaphone” to Speak Out: AmericaSpeakingOut.com

High unemployment. A government takeover of health care.  Runaway government spending.  Too much borrowing.  Too much debt. 

All across America, the people are speaking out, but unfortunately, Washington has not been listening.  When you look at all the taxes, all the spending, and all the debt, it's clear that Washington has not been doing what's best for America. 

Now, people in New Jersey and all across the country have a new tool – a virtual “megaphone” – to speak out, using the best technology available.  AmericaSpeakingOut.com provides a platform for Americans to submit their ideas and have each of them debated and discussed on their merits in an open forum.

This site was developed as part of an official effort to increase the dialogue between Americans and their Congress. Here, Americans are provided a new method by which to share their views, priorities and ideas for a national policy agenda.

“I am committed to our principles of limited, more accountable government; economic freedom; lower taxes; fiscal responsibility and providing for strong national security,” Rodney said.  “However, AmericaSpeakingOut is an open forum where all Americans are welcome to respectfully offer their opinions, regardless of party affiliation and regardless of whether they agree. It is my hope the active engagement of the American people will produce a robust debate that will aid in the construction of a new American agenda.”

You can access AmericaSpeakingOut.com here.

Recommended Reading IV: Quite an amusing perspective on the current Administration by Dana Milbank in the Washington Post, “The Clinton administration, brought to you by Barack Obama.”