e-News 10/27/17

e-News 10/27/17

  • The Budget Resolution: Getting our Appropriations Bills Done!
  • Sandy + 5
  • Senate Passes House Disaster Aid Bill for Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands
  • A Heartbreaking Anniversary, A Continuing Threat
  • New Sanctions on North Korea
  • “The immediate threat from North Korea is in cyber space” 
  • Salute: To the Filipino veterans of World War II


The Budget Resolution: Getting our Appropriations Bills Done!

I voted for the budget resolution in the House to get my Appropriations bills done.  My twelve bills are complete and through the House.  Every member got their vote on them and I'll get mine on tax reform. The reality is that passage of the budget resolution was procedurally necessary to allow the House and the Senate to complete the FY 2018 Appropriations process.

The Democrats want to stop the debate on tax reform because they don't want to lower tax rates for families or for businesses.   They want bigger government and more spending.

It has been three decades, 1986, since Congress considered tax reform. The budget resolution is non-binding and does not have the effect of law.  However, it does provide for a full debate and consideration of individual tax rates, corporate tax rates and existing and, potentially, new deductions.  It is long overdue and I will review any and all changes to ensure that they best serve the taxpayers of New Jersey and our nation’s economy.

I know how important existing deductions are to my constituents, including the state and local tax deduction (SALT), which is critical for New Jersey.  Once again, I will carefully evaluate any potential changes to SALT, along with other deductions, before I vote on any tax reform legislation. 

Sandy + 5

It was five years ago this weekend that Tropical Storm Sandy, already a killer cyclone in the Atlantic, took a dramatic left turn and slammed into the coast of New Jersey near Brigantine.  Previously, Hurricane Sandy had swept through the Caribbean and up the East Coast of the U.S.

The storm left dozens dead, thousands homeless and millions without power. Total damage tallied over $100 billion.

I am proud of the key role I played in securing billions of dollars in vital relief for New Jersey in the aftermath of what became known as Superstorm Sandy.  It was a tough fight in Washington because of all the mistakes made in 2005 in the aftermath of Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi, but we secured passage of the “Frelinghuysen Amendment,” bringing $33 billion to help New Jersey and New York recover. 

That recovery continues to this very day.

Thousands of people are still not back in their homes.  Many businesses have yet to reopen or return to the state. 

While no one would ever want to experience another Sandy-like storm, the truth of the matter is that we are a better prepared state today than we were in 2012.  Our roads have been rebuilt.  Our electrical grid is more resilient.  Our beaches will be better protected all along our coast. 

Yes, we learned a great deal from Sandy.  Beyond the obvious lesson that we all owe our first responders a tremendous debt of gratitude, two of the major lessons I took away from the fight over disaster relief in New Jersey and across the Northeast were:

1.     If you don’t fight for the people of New Jersey, no one else will;


2.     When these natural disasters strike, whether it is a tornado, an earthquake, a wildfire or a Superstorm, it should be treated as a national disaster and not left to state and local officials to deal with alone.  In 2005, New Orleans and the Gulf Coast were devastated.  In 2012, it was the people of New Jersey and the Northeast who were suffering.  This year, it is the hundreds of thousands of people affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria who are in misery.  And, next year, it will be another region of the United States will be in real distress.  When our fellow Americans need help, we all must step up!

That’s why I have repeatedly pledged to do all in my power as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee to ensure that the suffering people of Puerto Rico, Texas, Louisiana, Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands get all the federal support to which they are entitled for their short-term relief and long-term recovery.

Senate Passes House Disaster Aid Bill for Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands

The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a $36.5 billion disaster aid package by a bipartisan vote of 82-17.

It is the same bill I introduced earlier this month in the House and includes $18.67 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief fund, $16 billion in debt forgiveness for the National Flood Insurance Program, $1.27 billion in supplemental nutrition assistance money for Puerto Rican residents.  The legislation also provides $576.5 million for wildfire suppression in the western states.

I am pleased the Senate acted.  These funds are vital right now, in the near term, to get the aid where it is needed most. However, the recovery in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Texas and Florida will be ongoing, and more assistance will be required in the near future. My Committee will be vigilant in overseeing these funds and will continually monitor this crisis, and stands ready to provide the necessary funding to get these communities back on their feet.  And, I’ve seen them, on two separate trips to the disaster zones. 

To view the text of the legislation, please click here

A Heartbreaking Anniversary, A Continuing Threat

Earlier this week, we paused to remember the 34th anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Marine Corps Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon – the deadliest attack on the Marine Corps since Iwo Jima in World War II. 241 members of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, and many others, were killed by a suicide bomber.

These brave Americans were stationed in that ancient land to keep a fragile peace.  They were shoulder-to-shoulder with their brothers-in-arms from the United Kingdom, Italy, and France. 

But for that very reason, because of the principles for which they stood and the peace for which they worked, these heroes attracted the attention of great evil. 

I bring this anniversary to your attention today for two reasons:

1)    We must never forget the sacrifice of the 241 who perished that day.  The Beirut barracks bombing was the opening salvo in a war that we have waged ever since -- the global war on terror.  It is a conflict that has taken American troops across the wider world -- from Lebanon to Libya, from Niger to Afghanistan, from Somalia to Iraq, and many other battlefields in between.

2)    This brutal act was planned and perpetrated by Hezbollah, the proxy for Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.  Tehran’s theocratic rulers aided and abetted the Beirut bombers 34 years ago.  And even now, Iran remembers the attackers as martyrs.  Worse yet, the Iranian regime continues to funnel funds and weapons to its terrorist proxies with the goal of promoting instability and chaos throughout the Middle East and beyond. 

Hezbollah, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and the regime of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran remain on our radar screen today. This week, the House of Representatives acted to pass four pieces of legislation that counter Iran and Hezbollah's destructive behavior.

  • The Iran Ballistic Missiles and International Sanctions Enforcement Act (H.R.1698) would expand sanctions against Iran related to its illegal ballistic missile program and its aggressive behavior in the Middle East. To learn more about the Iran Ballistic Missiles and International Sanctions Enforcement Act, please click here.
  • The Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act (H.R.3329), would impose additional sanctions on Hezbollah. It also targets foreign governments, individuals and companies that support the terrorist organization. The bill builds on the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015, which was unanimously passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in December 2015. It targets both foreign governments that knowingly provide significant financial support to Hezbollah, and foreign individuals or companies that aid the group's fundraising or recruitment activities. To learn more about the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act, please click here
  • The Sanctioning Hezbollah’s Illicit Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act (H.R.3342) requires the President to impose sanctions on members of Hezbollah responsible for violating human rights and using civilians as human shields.  To learn more about the The Sanctioning Hezbollah’s Illicit Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act, please click here
  • House Resolution 359 urges the European Union to designate all of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Today, the EU only designates Hezbollah’s so-called military wing. To learn more about House Resolution 359, please click here

New Sanctions on North Korea

This week I also supported H.R 3898, the Impeding North Korea's Access to Finance Act, or the Otto Warmbier North Korean Nuclear Sanctions Act.

Named after the Wyoming man who died earlier this year shortly after being released from 15 months of captivity in North Korea, H.R 3898 imposes secondary sanctions with respect to North Korea in order to cut off Pyongyang’s ability to finance its nuclear weapons programs. Specifically the bill would: require the Secretary of the Treasury to prohibit, or impose strict conditions on bank accounts held in the U.S. by foreign financial institutions that knowingly deal with an already sanctioned person.

With passage of this bill, we are giving foreign financial institutions a clear choice. can you either do business with Kim Jong-Un in North Korea or you can do business with the United States, but not both. By imposing the toughest financial sanctions ever on North Korea, this bill seeks to cut off crucial resources that the regime relies on to finance the weapons program it uses to threaten our country. 

To learn more about the Otto Warmbier North Korean Nuclear Sanctions Act, please click here

Worth a Read: Robert Hannigan’s article in the October 25 Financial Times, “The immediate threat from North Korea is in cyber space.”  Read it here.

Salute: To the Filipino veterans of World War II.  This week they wereawarded a Congressional Gold Medal for their service and sacrifice.  From July 1941 to December 1946, 260,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers served and fought for the United States and the Philippines to topple Axis powers during World War II. In July of 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called all organized military forces of the Philippines into the service of the United States. Their bravery, heroism, and dedication played an integral part in leading Allied powers to victory over Japan and Germany.

Twitter Facebook