e-News 10/5/2018

New Tools and Resources to Fight the Opioid Crisis
Support for Ukraine
Salute: Wilbur Hoffman
Salute: New Jersey Manufacturing
Salute: Steve Bolcar


New Tools and Resources to Fight the Opioid Crisis

Our nation is in the midst of the deadliest drug crisis in its history.  We have reached a point where opioid overdoses claim more than 100 lives a day! Unfortunately, in New Jersey we have seen over 2,000 deaths in the last two years.  We are witnessing so much human potential squandered - people at the peak of their lives brought down as they struggle with addiction.

Last Friday, the House approved H.R. 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act. This bipartisan bill will help in our overall efforts to combat the opioid crisis by advancing treatment and recovery initiatives, improving prevention, protecting our communities, and bolstering our efforts to fight deadly illicit synthetic drugs like fentanyl from China and other countries.

Over the past year, Congress has been working through a bipartisan and collaborative process to complete this legislation. On June 22, the House passed H.R. 6 by a vote of 396 to 14. On September 17, the Senate passed an amended version of the legislation and on September 28 the House passed a final bipartisan, bicameral agreement on H.R. 6 by a vote of 393 to 8.  The final bill was approved by the Senate on October 3 and sent to the President’s desk.

In addition to the reforms included in H.R. 6, my Appropriations Committee included $6.7 billion in funding to combat the opioid crisis in the recent Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Defense-Labor-Health and Human Services (HHS) appropriations package that was approved by Congress and signed into law on September 28. This HISTORIC level of funding boosts programs that fight, treat, and stop substance abuse, and support access to mental health services. These resources include increased funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

I would encourage you to read this report by the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers which details the rising cost of opioid abuse in the U.S.  In 2015, the opioid crisis cost the U.S. roughly $504 billion, or 2.8% of that year's GDP.

For more information on H.R. 6 please visit the following links:

Support for Ukraine

I have long considered Russian aggression against Ukraine’s sovereign territory and its people to be a serious threat against the West.   I have taken a leadership role to ensure the United States provides significant assistance to Ukraine and its people. The FY 2019 Defense-Labor-HHS appropriations package, which I introduced, included $250 million in security assistance to Ukraine, a $50 million increase from FY 2018, for conducting military exercises, providing military equipment, and logistics support.

I was pleased to receive the below letter from the bipartisan members of the Ukraine Caucus supporting my efforts!



Salute: Wilbur Hoffman

On Saturday, I was honored to participate in the Bronze Medal Ceremony for Chief Water Tender Wilbur F. Hoffman, of Livingston, NJ.  Mr. Hoffman, who recently turned 100, was awarded the Bronze Star by Rear Admiral Scott Jerabek for his heroic actions aboard the USS Hughes in World War II. 

Since August 2017, I have been working with Mr. Hoffman’s daughter Janice and Hopatcong Mayor Michael Francis to ensure the Navy provided proper recognition of Mr. Hoffman’s meritorious actions which saved the lives of hundreds of his fellow shipmates.

The ceremony occurred at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Livingston, and was widely attended by Mr. Hoffman’s family, members of VFW Post 2856 and American Legion Post 201, as well as, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Greg Slavonic.

The full citation for Chief Hoffman’s Bronze Medal reads:

“For heroic achievement in connection with combat operations against the enemy on 10 December, 1944.  Chief Hoffman distinguished himself by excellent service while in charge of the forward fireroom when the USS HUGHES was hit by a bomb in an engagement with the enemy off Leyte, Philippine Islands.  By his quick thinking and ingenuity, he kept steam on the emergency feed pump, ensuring water pressure to the firemain.  This enabled the repair party to keep the fire under control and eventually extinguish it.  By his bold actions, courage under fire, and total dedication to duty, Chief Water Tender Hoffman reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”


Salute: New Jersey Manufacturing

Today, we take a moment to recognize the hard work and contributions made by the men and women who work in New Jersey’s manufacturing facilities. Starting in 2012, there has been a growing effort across the nation and in New Jersey to celebrate the success of modern manufacturing on the first Friday of October. I would like to personally thank John Kennedy, CEO of the NJ Manufacturing Extension Program (MEP), and his entire team for leading this important effort!

With over 11,000 firms, 378,000 employees and $45 billion in economic output, manufacturing is an extremely critical and growing component of New Jersey’s economy.  I wish all of our manufacturers continued success!


Salute: Steve Bolcar

A fond thank you to Steve Bolcar who retired this week after sixty years of public service in his hometown of Hanover Township.  Steve served Hanover Township as a police officer, rising to the rank of Deputy Chief.  In 1978, he took over as supervisor of Hanover’s school crossing guards, running the program until this day. I wish Steve and his wife Sally all the best in their next chapter!

You can read more about Steve’s distinguished career in this article by William Westhoven which ran in the Daily Record.