e-News April 30, 2010

The Week Just Past
Confirmed: Seniors’ Medicare Advantage in Jeopardy
Pentagon Reform Supports the Warfighter and the Taxpayer
Noted With Interest:  School Choice
Rodney Honored With “Sprit of Enterprise” Award
NASA Comes Back to New Jersey: Astronaut Visits!
11th Congressional District Academy Night

The Week Just Past

“The House spent another week not talking about the issues that matter most to most Americans – jobs, employment opportunities and restoring our economy.  

“However, the President’s ‘Debt Commission’ met for the first time this week.  While this panel is more ‘show’ than ‘substance’, its deliberations do present the Obama Administration and the Congressional Majority (they control most of the seats on the commission) the opportunity to put what’s left of our money where their mouth is. 

“If they wanted to, they can act immediately to rein in federal spending and to begin to trim back the nation’s unprecedented $1.3 trillion deficit and over $12 trillion national debt. They don’t have to wait for the recommendations of some political commission that will not make a single recommendation until after the November election.

“But the facts speak for themselves: with an 85% increase in non-defense discretionary spending in just two years and with a new health care law that will cost billions more than they reported, it is clear that the Congressional leadership and the President have been fundamentally unconcerned with skyrocketing government spending.

“They promised a war on deficits. And yet they’re continuing to spend money that we don’t have. This year, 43 cents out of every dollar spent will have to be borrowed. And they’re just piling this debt on the backs of our grandchildren. 

“In the meantime, the American people, mindful that unemployment hovers just below 10 percent, are asking, ‘where are the jobs?’”

Recommended Reading: The Wall Street Journal’s Thursday editorial “The Dividend Tax Bill Arrives,” illustrates the impact that the large federal tax increases coming on January 1, 2011 will have on employers, investors and seniors who rely on their “nest eggs."

Confirmed: Seniors’ Medicare Advantage in Jeopardy

Despite President Obama’s pledge that all Americans would be able to keep their health insurance plans, the chief actuary of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) concluded that under the President’s new health care law, half of all seniors who have Medicare Advantage (MA) plans will lose their coverage. 

In a new analysis of the new law, CMS concluded:

“We estimate that in 2017, when the MA provisions will be fully phased in, enrollment in MA plans will be lower by about 50 percent (from its projected level of 14.8 million under the prior law to 7.4 million under the new law).” 

140,000 seniors currently are enrolled in Medicare Advantage programs in New Jersey and thousands more will be affected by other Medicare cuts!

Recommended Reading II: Peter Wallison in the Monday Wall Street Journal on Congress’s current effort to enact financial regulatory reform, “Taxpayers and the Dodd Bill."

Pentagon Reform Supports the Warfighter and the Taxpayer

Over the past several decades, the process the Department of Defense uses to develop and procure major weapons systems and contracts for civilian services has become slow, protracted and needlessly expensive. Rodney has advocated substantial reform of these processes as a way to ensure our men and women in uniform, serving both home and abroad, receive the right resources to allow them to successfully complete their missions in a timely and efficient manner.  Improving Pentagon acquisition is also important to ensuring the responsible use of taxpayer dollars and assuring that programs are not wasteful and duplicative. 

This week, the House passed H.R. 5013 which focuses on the Department’s acquisition of services, information technology, and commodities, which accounts for eighty percent of the Department’s annual procurement spending. 

Specifically, the measure would enhance the financial management of acquisition and focuses on improving both the defense acquisition workforce and the U.S. domestic industrial base.

Recommended Reading IIIEli Lake, writing in the Thursday Washington Times, “White House Seeks to Soften Iran Sanctions.” “The Obama administration is pressing Congress to provide an exemption from Iran sanctions to companies based in ‘cooperating countries,’ a move that likely would exempt Chinese and Russian concerns from penalties meant to discourage investment in Iran."

Noted With Interest:  New Jersey State Senators Tom Kean and Ray Lesniak are preparing to introduce the Opportunity Scholarship Act for New Jersey to expand public and private school choice in our state.  Rodney has been one of the principal leaders in Congress on efforts to promote “school choice” and was one of the architects of the District of Columbia’s innovative school choice program in 2004.   

Rodney Honored With “Sprit of Enterprise” Award

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest pro-business federation, this week presented Rodney with its prestigious “Spirit of Enterprise” award for consistently supporting legislation critical to the American business community, large and small.

“I am honored to receive this award,” Rodney said.  “At this crucial time in our nation’s history, we must do everything we can to support businesses, large and small.  This is where America will find creation of valuable, sustainable private sector jobs for the long-term.”
The Chamber awarded the “Spirit of Enterprise” based on rankings it gives members of Congress for key votes during 2009.  Rodney earned a score of 93 percent from the Chamber for his voting record on issues such as small business promotion, Troubled Assets Relief (TARP) Accountability, health care reform, energy taxes and regulation and fiscal responsibility.  

“The Chamber applauds Representative Frelinghuysen for supporting the private sector and job growth through these difficult times,” said Thomas J. Donohue, Chamber President and CEO.  “He has demonstrated great courage and we commend him.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

NASA Comes Back to New Jersey: Astronaut Visits!

Rodney welcomed Captain Lee M.A. Morin, a NASA astronaut, to several local schools today.  As part of his ongoing efforts to promote interest in math and science, Rodney escorted Captain Morin to the Dennis O'Brien Elementary School in Rockaway, Harding Township School in New Vernon and the JFK Elementary School in Raritan, Somerset County.   The astronaut spoke to hundreds of boys and girls about his experiences as an astronaut and the contributions of space exploration to the advancement of human knowledge. 

Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in April 1996, Morin served on the crew of STS-110 (2002) and has logged over 259 hours in space, including over 14 hours “spacewalking.” After STS-110, he was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Health, Space, and Science with the Department of State in Washington D.C. After this tour, he returned to the Astronaut Office at Johnson Space Center. He is currently assigned to the Exploration Branch, where he is working on the cockpit of NASA’s newest spacecraft, the Crew Exploration Vehicle.

Captain Morin also has served aboard the nuclear missile submarine U.S.S. Henry Jackson (SSBN-730) and as Flight Surgeon at Naval Air Station Pensacola and in Bahrain during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

FYI, the next Space Shuttle mission (STS-132) on May 14 will have two New Jersey-born astronauts among its six-member crew: Garrett Reisman grew up in Parsippany and Ken Ham was born in Plainfield!

11th Congressional District Academy Night

On Monday, May 3, Rodney will host his tenth annual Academy Night, which gives interested local students, parents, and guidance counselors the opportunity to meet with representatives from the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. 

Academy Night will begin at 7 p.m. at Montville High School’s auditorium on May 3. 

The meeting is open to all prospective students, their parents and school guidance counselors.

For further information, contact Rodney’s Morristown office at 973-984-0711.