e-News 8/10/2018

Moving Toward a Healthier Economy
Sanctions Slapped Back on Iran
“US Navy's Top Admiral Cites Increased Threat in Ocean Nearest Washington.”
“West Essex 1st Aid Squad Lands FEMA Grants”
Salute: Bill Schluter


Moving Toward a Healthier Economy

After years of the “new normal” of 1 percent economic growth, this week recorded two more indications that confidence is back for American businesses and workers.

First, the latest “Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index” registered record high optimism among America’s small business owners, boosted by high cash flow and positive views of current finances. It is noteworthy that “35% of owners expect that the number of jobs at their business will increase over the next year, the second-highest reading on this measure in the history of the index.”

Read the whole story on Galluphere.

A lesser known index was also encouraging. The U.S. Department of Labor’s monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey showed 6.7 million “open” jobs in June. And the “quits” rate - workers voluntarily leaving jobs for new opportunities – stood at the highest in this current economic expansion.  Experts say that this shows that “job hoppers” have confidence that they can find both a new job and higher wages elsewhere.

It is pretty clear that the economy is regaining its health.  Businesses are reacting to recent policy changes, like the scrapping of numerous unnecessary and burdensome regulations.  And their confidence leads to more investment, which adds jobs and spurs growth.

Sanctions Slapped Back on Iran

The administration this week moved to re-impose certain Iranian trade sanctions that had been suspended under the 2015 nuclear agreement.  These are U.S. sanctions that have been waived for the past two and a half years but have now been “snapped back” after the Trump Administration announced its withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Agreement in May.

This is an important development with far-reaching implications for friends and foes alike. 

  • Iran is now prohibited once again from using U.S. dollars, the primary currency used for international financial transactions and oil purchases.
  • Trade in metals and sales of Iranian-made cars will be banned.
  • Permits allowing the U.S. import of Iranian carpets and food, such as pistachios, will be revoked.
  • As are licenses that have allowed Tehran to buy U.S. and European aircraft and parts.

There is no doubt that the so-called Iran Nuclear deal was badly flawed and that for years Iran has been deceptive about its nuclear and other programs.  I would have preferred that we give our European partners some additional time to strengthen the deal. But that was not to be.

Even today, Iran asserts that it is committed to the destruction of our nation and our allies.  So we must be prepared for potential Iranian reaction.  

Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz and the energy supplies flowing through that strategic waterway - an attack on international shipping and commerce.  This week, the Iranian Navy commenced its annual military exercises in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday, with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) in charge of the operation's implementation. More than 100 Iranian ships and small vessels were assembled, a larger exercise than those in the past.

Iran is also capable of significant cyber attacks and remains the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism.

It is more clear than ever before that we have to rebuild our own military.

That is why it is imperative that Congress finalize the FY 2019 Defense Appropriations bill and send it to the President for his signature. 

To learn more about how the House-passed Defense Appropriations bill is needed to rebuild our Armed Forces, please visit.

Worth a Read: Voice of America’s story “US Navy's Top Admiral Cites Increased Threat in Ocean Nearest Washington.”  Read it here.

“West Essex 1st Aid Squad Lands FEMA Grants”

I was pleased to announce this week that the West Essex First Aid Squad will be receiving significant funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program.

FEMA has awarded two grants to the West Essex First Aid Squad.  $135,282 will support the procurement of EMS equipment and $181,819 is designated for vehicle acquisition.

These critical funds will provide much needed resources to the West Essex First Aid Squad to ensure that their members can continue their critical mission of providing lifesaving aid to the residents of Caldwell, Essex Fells, Fairfield, North Caldwell and West Caldwell.  To date this year, the squad has answered over 1,500 calls.

The AFG Program supports efforts to enhance public safety by helping firefighters and emergency medical responders obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources. Funding is provided for AFG by the Appropriations Committee, through the annual Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations bill. 

On July 25, the Committee debated and approved the FY 2019 DHS bill, which included $350 million in funding for the AFG program. 

Read Eric Kiefer’s story in the Patch here.

Salute: A fond farewell toWilliam "Bill" Schluter, longtime New Jersey legislator and dedicated public servant who died this week in Pennington.  Bill served two separate stints in the legislature, from 1968 to 1974, and then again from 1987 to 2002.   I had the real pleasure of serving with Bill during my years in the State Assembly.  He was extremely conscientious and supportive of more government accountability and transparency for all state government operations out of Trenton.  He will be missed.  Read about those contributions here.