eNews May 23, 2008
Frelinghuysen Welcomes NASA Astronaut to 4 New Jersey Schools
Today, Rep. Frelinghuysen welcomed NASA Astronaut Kevin A. Ford to New Jersey. The two visited four local schools and approximately 1000 students. The visits emphasize the importance of math and science in education for students who aspire to be astronauts.
Rep. Frelinghuysen and Col. Ford visited Bragg School in Chester; Fernbrook Elementary in Randolph; Crim School in Bridgewater; and Gould Elementary in North Caldwell. Ford will also meet with members of Frelinghuysen's Congressional Youth Advisory Council.
This marks the sixth Astronaut Day hosted by Rep. Frelinghuysen. This years guest, Colonel Ford, is an Air Force pilot and Ph.D. He was chosen as a NASA astronaut in 2000.
Opposes Tax Increase
Throughout his career, Rep. Frelinghuysen has been a strong advocate of important federal tax deductions for New Jersey's families and businesses. He has been a steadfast supporter of the deduction for state and local taxes, the deduction for qualified tuition expenses and the research and development tax credit, to name a few. In addition, he is a cosponsor of legislation that extends various expiring tax credits for renewable fuels and provides new incentives to build energy efficient buildings.
However, Rep. Frelinghuysen was forced to vote against legislation this week, H.R. 6049, which would extend many of these credits. Why? Because H.R. 6049 contained tax increases of over $55 billion!
"Congress shouldn't be in the business of raising taxes, generally, and it certainly shouldn't be doing so to "pay for" extensions of current tax credits and tax deductions," said Frelinghuysen. "If the Majority in Congress continues down this path, they will be handing the American people an additional $3.5 trillion in tax increases in 2010 to simply maintain popular provisions like the full child tax credit; the marriage penalty and death tax repeal; lower rates on income, investments and pensions."
Frelinghuysen also criticized what was not included in H.R. 6049. "This bill also fails to patch the alternative minimum tax (AMT). New Jersey taxpayers already bear a heavy burden," said Frelinghuysen. "If the AMT is not fixed again, the AMT will ensnare thousands of additional New Jersey residents."
H.R. 6049 will now be considered in the Senate.
Votes Against Subsidies for Millionaire Farmers
On Thursday, Rep. Frelinghuysen voted against a bloated Farm bill. Calling it a "missed opportunity for reform," he opposed legislation that provides subsidies to farmers making up to $3 million annually.
Continuing his opposition to this legislation, Rep. Frelinghuysen voted this week to uphold the President's veto of H.R. 2419. However, the President's veto was overridden by the House of Representatives and awaits action in the Senate.
Specifically the Farm Bill:
Rejects all farmer "income tests" and continues to provide taxpayer-financed crop subsidies to millionaire farmers.
Eliminates key subsidy payment limits to wealthy farmers.
Continues direct payments regardless of crop price.
Creates an entirely new, permanent agriculture disaster aid pro¬gram.
Is a missed opportunity - The Farm bill fails to reform obsolete farm policy for the 21st century.
House Passes Bill to Build New Ballistics Lab at Picatinny Arsenal
This week the House of Representatives approved H.R. 5658, the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act. Among many other national projects, this legislation authorizes the planning, design, and construction of a new Ballistics Evaluation Facility (BEF) at Picatinny Arsenal. Rep. Frelinghuysen requested the funds for this important new facility.
"This is a critical military readiness priority for the Army," said Frelinghuysen. "Our goal is the construction of a one-of-a-kind testing facility that will help Picatinny's scientist and engineers produce cutting edge capabilities. In the process, we will cut the Arsenal's operational overhead and improve safety for Picatinny workers."
The BEF will provide new capabilities to the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines allowing the testing and preparation of new prototype weapons. Phase I of the project will cost $10.8 million.
Visits Regional Veterans Administration Offices
Rep. Frelinghuysen visited Veterans Administration (VA) regional offices in Newark, New Jersey. While there, he was briefed by Acting-Regional Administrator Duane Honeycutt on efforts to improve processing of benefit claims for veterans across northern New Jersey. Frelinghuysen pressed VA officials on continuing to improve service and efficiency.
"We owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women who have served in our military," said Frelinghuysen. "As a veteran myself, I understand the importance of providing necessary benefits to those who have served in uniform."
Rep. Frelinghuysen has co-sponsored the House version of Senator McCain's veterans' bill H.R. 5944, the Enhancement of Recruitment, Retention and Readjustment Through Education Act. The bill provides additional assistance to veterans by allowing them to transfer education benefits to family members.
For more information on services for veterans visit www.vba.va.gov/ro/east/newrk/