e-News 4/21/17

e-News 4/21/17

  • A Tax Code in Need of Reform
  • Improving Healthcare Access for Veterans
  • Listening Tour Continues
  • CCM is National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense
  • Salute: Retired Morris Freeholder Pat Maynard


A Tax Code in Need of Reform

This week’s tax deadline served as one more reminder that our tax code is broken and desperately in need of reform. I remain committed to lowering rates and revamping our complicated tax code. This year we have the opportunity to enact comprehensive tax reform that helps American businesses and families and creates a stronger economy.

The tax code needs to be fair and simple for everyone. And our tax code should be built for growth, making the United States the best place in the world to hire and invest.

The legislative work on tax reform is underway but will not be completed for several months.  However, to view some of the principles guiding this effort, visit A Better Way.

While by no means perfect, this template offers a path to dramatic reform—without increasing the deficit. It does so by promoting growth—of American jobs, wages, and ultimately the entire economy.

  • Simplicity and fairness. Our plan makes the tax code simpler, fairer, and flatter, so that it’s not only easier to do your taxes, but it’s also easier to have peace of mind at critical moments in life.
  • Jobs and growth. Our plan makes it easier to create jobs, raise wages, and expand opportunity for all Americans.
  • A service first IRS. Our plan matches a simpler, fairer tax code with a simpler, fairer IRS that puts taxpayers first.

Improving Healthcare Access for Veterans

In the fall of 2014, when elected officials and veterans leaders asked for my assistance in establishing a local Veterans Administration outpatient clinic in Sussex County, our shared goal was to bring healthcare closer to veterans.  Of course, we succeeded earlier this year when the VA opened up an outpatient clinic on High Street in Newton. 

This was a positive step forward for our veterans in northwest New Jersey.

However, some veterans in New Jersey and across the nation still struggle with access to healthcare. 

This week, the President signed S.544 or the Veterans Choice Program Extension and Improvement Act.  This bill will extend and improve the Veterans Choice Program so that more veterans can see the doctor of their choice and do not have to wait and travel long distances for VA care. 

What this bill does:

  • The Veterans Choice Program was established in 2014 to give veterans who are unable to schedule an appointment at a VA facility in a timely or convenient manner the ability to receive care from eligible non-VA health care providers.
  • The program was scheduled to sunset on August 7th, but there will still be funds that have already been appropriated remaining in the fund. This bill eliminates that sunset date so that veterans can continue utilizing the program while we pursue VA reform.
  • This legislation also authorizes the VA to be the primary coordinator of benefits under the Veterans Choice Program, reducing veterans' out-of-pocket costs and aligning the Veterans Choice Program with the VA's other community care programs.

This new law is a good start, but there is still much work to do. We will fight each day to deliver the long-awaited reforms our veterans deserve, and to protect those who have so courageously protected each and every one of us.

Read the bill here.

Listening Tour Continues

It was a busy week as I scrambled around New Jersey’s 11thCongressional District for meetings with constituents on a range of issues important to them.  Among my meetings this week, I was in Bloomfield to meet with the President of Bloomfield College and, separately, with the Bloomfield Township Administrator.  I visited Caldwell to meet with Sister Alice Uhl and Sisters of the Dominican Order.  I also met with constituents from Lincoln Park, Kinnelon Mendham and Bloomingdale.

I also sat down with Dr. Ken Adler, Chair of the New Jersey Commission of Cancer Research and later conferred on the Violence Against Women’s Act with Patti Sly, Executive Director of the Jersey Battered Women's Service and Jane Shivas, Executive Director of the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence. 

Amon my other meetings, I was also privileged to sit down with the owners of Baird Farm of Whippany, the Co-Founder of the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association of Denville and John Franklin, the CEO of United Way of Northern New Jersey.  

CCM is National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense

Among my numerous other meetings and events across the 11thDistrict, I was proud to attend the County College of Morris’ celebration of their designation by the Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense. CCM is the first community college, and the 14thcollege in New Jersey overall to gain this designation.

To obtain the designation, CCM demonstrated that its cyber security curriculum is aligned with national standards, that the college contributes to providing a pipeline of professionals who can assist with protecting against cyber attacks, and that it is a resource for the community in the area of information security. 

These are important benchmarks because across government and industry, there is a significant and growing lack of cybersecurity professionals.  A recent estimate put the global gap between security openings and skilled people to fill them at 5 million by 2020.

Of course, everyone is not cut out for a career in cyber, but our national defenses can be strengthened by a knowledgeable public. For example, over 90% of cyber-attacks could be stopped by basic measures of “cyber hygiene.”  We can now count on CCM to help us get the word out AND produce the latest generation of cyber-defenders!

Congratulations to CCM, in general, and specifically, to Patricia Tamburelli, professor of information technologies, and her husband, Joseph, an adjunct professor at CCM, who initiated the process that led to the college’s designation.

Salute: A fond goodbye to former Morris County Freeholder Pat Maynard who passed away recently in North Carolina.   She was a longtime friend, mentor and extraordinary public servant.  Her service on the Board of Freeholders led to new county parks, an excellent police and fire academy and a stellar County College of Morris.  Her great sense of humor and good nature made all county and state challenges surmountable.  Along with many others, I mourn her loss.

Read more about Pat Maynard’s record of service here.

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