e-News 4/20/2018

Face-to-Face Mental Health Services for Local Veterans
Funding New Jersey’s Battle Against Opioids
Synthetic Identity Fraud: A New and Growing Threat to Families
Appropriations Oversight Continues
In the spotlight: Thanks Rodney!
Visit Your Local National Park!
Salute: The Late, Great Barbara Bush
Salute: Desiree Linden – winner of the Boston Marathon
Face-to-Face Mental Health Services for Local Veterans
After months of dialogue with the Veterans Administration (VA), the VA has initiated on-site mental health services at its Sussex County Community-Based Outpatient Clinic.
The reality is many of our deployed veterans, from current conflicts or long-concluded wars, return home suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other conditions.
Since its opening a year ago, the clinic has offered online mental health services through the telehealth web program.  But many veterans need to see their practitioner face-to-face.  This new service will permit this higher level of individual care. 
After years of prodding senior VA officials in New Jersey and Washington, the VA finally opened the Sussex CBOC in March of 2017. It offers services ranging from primary care and nutrition to lab work, social services and prescriptions. The new mental health services will be available by appointment.  Existing tele-health services will remain.
All active military personnel have access to two years of free health care after leaving the service. Those who have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder stemming from active duty, including PTSD, are eligible for free services for life.
The Sussex CBOC is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday except holidays.
The clinic is located at 222 High St. in Newton.  For more information, call 973-756-1504 or visit.
I remain very grateful to many Sussex County veterans groups, Freeholders, and State legislators for their continuing support of this valuable local asset.
Funding New Jersey’s Battle Against Opioids
The Department of Health and Human Services this week announced its second year of funding for Opioid State Targeted Response Grants to the states and territories, totaling $485 million.
New Jersey will receive an award of $13 million to support efforts to combat our state’s opioid epidemic through prevention, training, treatment and recovery programs.
H.R. 1625, the FY18 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which I introduced earlier this year, included $500 million to continue this grant program.
For more information, please visit.
Synthetic Identity Fraud: A New and Growing Threat to Families
The dangerous combination of the government’s method of issuing Social Security numbers, recent massive data breaches, and new credit card technology, is a recipe for a fast-growing form of identity fraud – one you have probably never heard of it.
Synthetic identity fraud occurs when cybercriminals use either a combination of real and fake information – such as child’s Social Security number, along with a false name, address and date of birth – or entirely false information to create a new “individual.”  These criminals then open up new credit cards or auto loans under the fake person’s name, and ultimately run up big piles of debt, which they never pay off.
It is a reality that the unused Social Security numbers of children have become a prime target for use in these synthetic ID fraud cases because victims are not aware of the crimes for years.  Children’s identities are said to be stolen at a rate of about 50 times more frequently than adults.
The House this week passed a bipartisan bill that aims to prevent child identity fraud. The bill,  the Protecting Children from Identity Theft Act (H.R. 5192), does so by directing the U.S. Social Security Administration (SAA) to electronically verify for financial institutions whether a Social Security Number (SSN), name and date of birth are affiliated with an applicant, thereby exposing potential synthetic ID fraud.
This is a growing problem and this legislation is an effective solution that would limit synthetic ID fraud and help protect millions of identities from being stolen.
Fraudsters are modernizing their methods and tactics. We need to ensure that fraud detection is modernized to stop these crimes from damaging American families. Crimes like these cost victims thousands if not millions of dollars and can remain an inconvenience for years.  H.R. 5192 bill will help the government partner with the private sector to prevent identity theft from taking place.
Learn more about H.R, 5192 here.
Appropriations Oversight Continues
Our Appropriations Committee continued its extensive series of oversight and budget hearings this week.  Among others, I joined the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee to take testimony from the Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.  I reminded him of the value of New Jersey’s agricultural contributions to the nation and urged caution on White House’s punitive trade policies than may ultimately eject our farmers and businesses from markets around the world.
Watch the hearing here:
In the spotlight: Thanks Rodney!
“What the Chairman (Frelinghuysen) accomplished in this Omnibus is without precedent. This is the largest discretionary (non-entitlement) investment to further the interests of non-elderly people with disabilities in the history of the US government. There are thousands of adults with developmental disabilities, mental illness, blindness, deafness, spinal cord injuries and other major impairments whose lives will be dramatically improved by a man they will never meet.  He is a hero whose accomplishments are at odds with his modesty.”
                         Andrew Sperling
                         Director, Advocacy and Public Policy
                         National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
The Consolidated Appropriations bill included significant funding for programs important to New Jersey.  To get the run-down, please visit.
Visit Your Local National Park!
National Park Week kicks off tomorrow with a system-wide Fee Free Day on April 21 and National Park Week-themed events taking place across the country.  Beyond our own Thomas Edison National Historical Park and the Morristown National Historical Park, find a park to explore here.
I have been proud to support our National Parks and open space sites through my work on the House Appropriations Committee. The recently-enacted Consolidated Appropriations Act authorized the addition of 100 acres of land to the Morristown National Historical Park from future willing sellers or donors.
The bill also provided $425 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, including $10 million in FY 2018 for the federal Highlands Conservation Act (HCA) and reauthorizes HCA for another three years!  The measure also reauthorizes open space preservation from willing sellers. A major source of drinking water and in the most densely populated Metropolitan Area in the country, the Highlands is a critical area in need of protection.
Salute: A fond farewell to the late Barbara Bush, wife of one President, mother to anotherA straight-talking First Lady who was a tremendous example of grace, dignity and service to America.
Salute:  Congratulations to Desiree Linden, the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon in 33 years!