e-News 5/11/2018

Dropping the Iran Nuclear Deal

Veterans, Military Construction Bill Advances

In the Spotlight: Thank You, Rodney!

Women’s Business Centers Improvements Act

Service Academy Career Night

Salute: William Paterson University


Dropping the Iran Nuclear Deal

The President announced a momentous decision this week when he withdrew the United States from the Iran Nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Let’s be clear: Iran must never be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons, nor intercontinental ballistic missiles.  

Even before it went into effect, it has been clear that the Iran Nuclear deal was a flawed agreement that insufficiently served the national security interests of the United States.  It did not end, only postponed, Iran’s quest for a military nuclear program.  The world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, Iran’s hostile actions since its signing have only reaffirmed that it remains committed to sowing instability across the globe.

Now the President has decided to reimpose sanctions on Iran in an effort to force them back to the negotiating table.  I am not convinced this was the correct move.  But while I am concerned about the potential loss of a permanent inspection regime, frail as it may be, we must work with our allies to end forever the Iranian nuclear weapons program along with its development of ballistic missile systems and growing use of conventional weapons.  

Again, Iran must never be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons, nor intercontinental ballistic missiles.  

Read the White House’s Fact Sheet here


Veterans, Military Construction Bill Advances

This week the House Appropriations Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2019 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs (VA) Appropriations bill, and that is good news for New Jersey’s largest military bases and veterans across the nation!  The legislation will continue to rebuild the military, providing funding to house, train, and equip military personnel, and ensure resources for military families. The bill also provides robust funding for veterans’ benefits and programs.

In total, the legislation provides $96.9 billion in discretionary funding – $4.2 billion above the fiscal year enacted 2018 level. 

Within this total, funding for the VA is increased by $3.9 billion – 4.8 percent – over the fiscal year 2018 level, including funding to increase access to services for veterans, and to increase oversight and accountability within the department.

Military construction is increased by $412 million over the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. This funding will provide needed resources for our service members to face existing and emerging threats, and to care for military families.  

Providing critical resources for the men and women of our Armed Services and their families is a top priority. We owe it to those who serve and fight for our freedom every day to ensure they have the necessary tools and support to do their jobs, and to give them the peace of mind that their families are well-cared for. Just as importantly, the bill also funds programs and services for our veterans, continuing our commitment to these brave men and women after they leave active service.

VA Medical Care– The bill funds VA medical care at $71.2 billion – providing for approximately seven million patients to be treated in fiscal year 2019. Within this total, funding includes: $8.6 billion in mental health care services; $196 million in suicide prevention outreach activities; $589 million for traumatic brain injury treatment; $7.4 billion in homeless veterans treatment, services, housing, and job training; and $387 million for opioid abuse prevention.   

VA Electronic Health Record– The bill contains $1.2 billion for the new VA electronic health record system. This will ensure the implementation of the contract creating an electronic record system for VA that is identical to one being developed for Department of Defense. These two identical systems will ensure our veterans get proper care, with timely and accurate medical data transferred between the VA, DOD, and the private sector.  This is a very expensive project – long overdue and over budget!

Disability Claims Processing Backlog– Reducing the disability claims backlog is essential to ensuring adequate compensation and care for the more than 450,000 veterans still wading through the VA bureaucracy to get a final decision on their claims. The bill will help speed this process and get these veterans the decisions they are awaiting by providing $53 million above the President’s budget request for the Veterans Benefits Administration, and $14 million above the 2018 level for the Board of Veterans Appeals, to be used for hiring additional claims and appellate staff, digital scanning of health records, and overtime pay. In addition, the bill continues rigorous reporting requirements to track each regional office’s performance on claims processing and appeals backlogs.  My office staff can attest to the fact that thousands of local veterans are waiting a long time and that’s unacceptable.

The Military Construction portion of the bill provides new construction funding for New Jersey’s two largest military bases: $41 million to build a “Munitions Disassembly Complex” at Picatinny Arsenal and $10.2 million to replace a “Hot Cargo Hydrant System” at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBMDL).

The Improvised Explosive Device (IED) has become the weapon of choice for terrorists and certain nations bent on conducting hybrid warfare, so we have a lot to learn.  The new complex at Picatinny will support research and development for IEDs and will also include a munitions disassembly facility, a robotics experimentation capability, a render-safe area, and storage magazines.  This new complex will advance our understanding of this threat while keeping Picatinny’s staff safe.

The FY 2019 Military Construction-VA bill also provides $10.2 million for replacement of a “hot cargo hydrant system” at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBMDL).  JBMDL is currently preparing for the arrival of the Air Force’s new KC-46 tanker.  The FY ’18 Consolidated Appropriations Act signed into law by the President in March, provided $157 million for a new hanger and training facility at the base.

The new military construction funding for both New Jersey’s Joint Base and Picatinny is an endorsement of these installations’ current and future military value. Ensuring that the proper resources are available to conduct successful missions from New Jersey is vital! 

Read the MilCon/VA bill here

Read a summary of the bill here

House Appropriations Subcommittees also “marked-up” three additional FY 2019 bills.

Read a summary of the Agriculture and Rural Development bill here

Read a summary of the Commerce Justice and Science bill here

Read the Energy and Water Development bill here


Women’s Business Centers Improvements Act

As the nation marks Small Business Week, it is noteworthy that more than 11.6 million firms are owned by women, employing nearly 9 million people, and generating $1.7 trillion in sales last year.  In fact, women-owned firms (51% or more) account for 39% of all privately held firms and contribute 8% of employment and 4.2% of revenues.

Of course, women-owned businesses face unique challenges and many need assistance.

Under the recently-enacted Consolidated Appropriations Act, SBA Women Business Centers will receive $18 million in funding to support organizations like the Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship in Chatham, Morris County to help elevate women to business success through education, counseling, mentoring and entrepreneurial training.

This week, the House approved legislation designed to improve the operations of the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership.  H.R. 1680 - Women’s Business Centers Improvements Act of 2018 revises the duties of that office and specifically declares it is the Office's mission to assist women entrepreneurs to start, grow, and compete in global markets by providing quality support with access to capital, access to markets, job creation, growth, and counseling.

Read more about H.R. 1680 here


In the Spotlight: Thank You, Rodney!

“I write to thank you for your support of the Omnibus Appropriations bill. Particularly, I thank you for the increase in Pell Grants, SEOG, Federal Work-Study, TRIO and Gear-Up.  All of these programs significantly support the work that we focus on at the College of St. Elizabeth. The increases that you made possible will make college more affordable for our students next year.”

Helen J. Streubert


College of Saint Elizabeth


To learn more on how the Consolidated Appropriations bill boosts New Jersey’s interests, please visit


Service Academy Career Night

I want to invite any high school student interested in pursuing a career at one of our Military Service Academies to my annual Academy Career Night:

When: Monday, May 14 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Where: Montville Township High School, 100 Horseneck Road, Montville, NJ 07045

I hold this event each year to raise student awareness about the opportunities available to them at the United States Military Academy at West Point, The U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy at Groton, Connecticut.

All high school students, guidance counselors and parents within New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District are invited to come and meet with the representatives from each of these service academies and to hear firsthand experiences from the Cadets and recent Academy graduates about their experiences, and educational programs offered at each institution.

High School Juniors interested in applying to a Service Academy are strongly encouraged to attend. 

Members of my Academy Advisory Board will also be on hand to answer questions about the academy nomination process in our 11th Congressional District.

For additional information, please call our Morristown office at 973-984-0711.


Salute to William Paterson University which will be receiving a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to support an exhibition, publication, and mural project celebrating the contributions of artist Ben Shahn (1898-1969), a Lithuanian painter, photographer, and printmaker and celebrated American social realist artist during the New Deal era. Shahn documented rural poverty in the South and Midwest and more than 30 works from the collection of Shahn's work at WPU including silkscreen prints, etchings, watercolors, books, posters, and print portfolios will be publicly displayed.