e-News 9/7/2018

Working Through “Regular Order” to Complete Appropriations
Helping Families and Students with Student Loans
FEMA Provides Funding to New Jersey Task Force One
Critical Funding Flows to New Jersey to Help Reduce Sexual Violence
Worth a Read: “The Taliban doesn’t need peace. It’s winning.”
Salute: Senator John McCain


Working Through “Regular Order” to Complete Appropriations

This week, members of the Appropriations Committee on both sides of the Capitol were hard at work to complete our Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 spending bills. 

Through the spring and summer, the House Appropriations Committee ‘marked-up’ and approved all 12 annual appropriations bills sending them to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

Now, we are in the midst of productive negotiations with members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, who also completed their work on all the spending packages, reconciling differences in order to successfully move legislation through both chambers and to the President’s desk before the start of the new fiscal year.

On Wednesday, I led my House colleagues in a formal Conference Committee meeting with our Senate counterparts on H.R. 5895, the minibus appropriations package which includes the Energy and Water Development, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Legislative Branch Appropriations Acts for FY 2019.

These critical bills fund a variety of federal programs and services, including national security, care for veterans, investments in power and water infrastructure, many of which are crucial for New Jersey!

You can watch the full Conference Committee meeting here.

You can read my full opening statement here.


Helping Families and Students with Student Loans

I often hear from students concerned about the increased costs of higher education and mounting student loan debt. This week, the House took action with bipartisan passage of H.R. 1635, the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act.

I was pleased to support this important bill which will improve financial counseling options for students and parents, and increase awareness about the financial obligations of a loan before it is received.

Further, the bill would require exit counseling that includes the borrower’s outstanding loan balance, anticipated monthly payments under available repayment plans, and the contact information of the loan servicer.

You can find more information about this bill here.

For information about financial aid options offered by the Department of Education, visit their website here.


FEMA Provides Funding to New Jersey Task Force One

Earlier this week, I was pleased to announce New Jersey Task Force One (NJ-TF1), the state’s Urban Search and Rescue Team, was awarded $1.15 million through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Urban Search and Rescue Response (USR) system.

The men and women of NJ-TF1, professionals and volunteers alike, put their lives on the line to respond to disasters in New Jersey and around the nation.  Today’s funding is another critical step to enhance New Jersey’s security, providing the Task Force with more funding for training and equipment to ensure they remain at the ‘top of their game’ in the event of any disaster.

The award provided by FEMA is a result of NJ-TF1 receiving formal designation and becoming a member of the 28 team Urban Search and Rescue Response system in 2016. Since the September 11 Terrorist Attacks, I led the charge for the Task Force to receive this critical federal designation through legislation and advocated on its behalf with Administration officials.

On September 11, 2001 NJ-TF1 was among the first search and rescue teams to reach Ground Zero. Prior to and since that fateful morning, the Task Force has served our state and nation with distinction, including providing lifesaving assistance to our state during Hurricane Sandy and multiple deployments to Texas and Florida last year to help those affected by the devastating hurricane season.

Funding for the award was provided in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Consolidated Appropriations bill, authored by the House Appropriations Committee and approved by Congress in March. In total, the legislation included $35.18 million for FEMA’s USR system.

The FY 2019 Department of Homeland Security funding bill, which was approved by the House Committee on Appropriations on July 25, provides $45.33 million for Urban Search and Rescue, a $10 million increase over FY 2018 funding directed to recapitalize critical equipment necessary to conduct life-saving search and rescue operations.


Critical Funding Flows to New Jersey to Help Reduce Sexual Violence

This week I was also advised of three important awards from the Department of Justice (DOJ), Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) to institutions in New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District.

Specifically, Jersey Battered Women’s Service (JBWS) received $499,818 through the OVW’s Improving the Criminal Justice Response Program to support the Morris Family Justice Center (MFJC). Located at the Morris County Court House, the Center provides the services a survivor of domestic violence, dating abuse and sexual assault needs in one place—counseling, protection, legal and immigration assistance, children’s services, and more.

Further, the OVW has awarded $299,999 to Caldwell University and $299,238 to William Paterson University through the Grants to Reduce Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking on Campus Program. This funding will support implementing comprehensive, coordinated responses to violent crimes on campus through partnerships with victim service providers and justice agencies.

The funding for these awards was provided in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which I authored and was approved by Congress in March. The FY 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill includes $493 million in funding for Violence Against Women Act programs which is $1 million above FY 2018 and an $8 million increase over the President’s budget request.  The FY 2019 CJS bill was approved by the House Appropriations Committee on May 17.


Worth a Read: Max Boot’s column in the Washington Post, “The Taliban doesn’t need peace. It’s winning.”

I was also able to listen on for his interviews on public radio about the importance of our nation’s relationship with our northern neighbor, Canada.


Salute: Senator John McCain

Over the past week and a half, from Arizona to our nation’s Capital, America has paid a touching and lasting tribute to the late Senator John McCain. Senator McCain was a fighter and a patriot, who stood for his nation and never compromised his beliefs. His lasting legacy has set the bar for public service and serves as an example for future generations of Americans.

I was honored to bid farewell to my friend and colleague as he “Lie in State” in the Capitol Rotunda and attend his funeral at Washington National Cathedral.

You can read the USA Today’s report, by Alex Horton, on Senator McCain’s final resting place at the U.S. Naval Academy here.