eNews - May 16, 2008
1. Close the "Enron" Loophole
2. Working to Increase Gasoline Supply
3. Frelinghuysen Opposes Bloated Farm Bill
4. Intellectual Property Bill Passes House
5. Frelinghuysen Hosts Seminar on Emergency Response
6. Armed Forces Day at Picatinny
7. Frelinghuysen Visits Local Schools
Close the "Enron" Loophole
In recent months, we have seen historical increases in the cost of energy and New Jersey residents are very concerned about the price of gasoline, diesel fuel and heating oil. In fact, Americans seem to be losing confidence in our energy markets. Many strongly suspect oil prices are being manipulated.
In April, Rep. Frelinghuysen introduced H.R. 5768, the Commodities Future Trading Commission (CFTC) Improvement Act. The legislation calls for federal regulation of electronic energy trades and addresses the so-called "Enron Loophole."
Electronic energy markets are currently exempt from the CFTC's oversight. Under the Congressman's proposal, electronic energy commodities will be treated the same way as other commodities. That means federal regulation and oversight. Eliminating this loophole increases transparency and accountability; and will help restore confidence in public energy markets.
Working to Increase Gasoline Supply
The House of Representatives Wednesday approved legislation (H.R. 6022) which temporarily stops filling the United States Strategic Petroleum Reserves. By doing so, more gasoline could be available to consumers resulting in lower costs. The Petroleum Reserve would begin purchasing petroleum again at the end of 2008.
"There is no "silver-bullet" solution to America's energy issues, but we need to work to increase the supply of gasoline in the system," said Frelinghuysen. "We must also put increased emphasis on the development of clean and renewable energy such as solar power; wind power; development of fuel cells, fusion technology, clean coal, and more nuclear power."
Frelinghuysen Opposes Bloated Farm Subsidies
Calling it a "missed opportunity for reform" Rep. Frelinghuysen this week voted against the Farm Bill approved by the House of Representatives.
"The House had a chance to do so much more with this bill but chose to continue subsidizing millionaire farmers," said Frelinghuysen. As a result, part-time farmers making up to $3 million annually are still eligible for government subsidies."
Specifically the Farm Bill:
Rejects all farmer "income tests" and continues to provide taxpayer-financed crop subsidies to millionaires 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.
The President is expected to veto H.R. 2419, the Farm Bill Extension Act, next week.
Intellectual Property Bill Passes House
Last week, the House of Representatives approved legislation (H.R. 4279) designed to improve federal efforts to halt piracy and counterfeiting of American-owned intellectual property, including scientific inventions, pharmaceuticals and artistic works. Among its provisions, the bill would provide the President with a new coordinator for intellectual property issues. The bill also would also increase penalties for violations and establish an Intellectual Property Enforcement Division at the Justice Department to pursue piracy and counterfeiting.
"Intellectual property is one of the key products that will determine how well American industry can compete and win in the global marketplace in years to come," said Frelinghuysen. "This effort is another step toward ensuring its protection and our competitive edge."
Frelinghuysen Hosts Seminar on Emergency Response
On Tuesday, Rep. Frelinghuysen hosted an emergency response and preparedness forum for state, county, and municipal representatives at the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy in Parsippany. Region II Director Steven Kempf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency was on hand along with representatives from the Small Business Administration and the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management to speak and answer questions about how local elected officials react to disasters and how the federal government can assist them.
"The relationship between federal, state, county, and municipal governments is vital to an effective emergency response," said Frelinghuysen. "Communication between these groups can have a significant effect on how an area reacts and even rebuilds. By working today, before an incident occurs, we can be confident that our efforts will be efficient, effective and make our communities proud."
The work done before an emergency, whether a flood, hurricane, public health crisis, or even a terrorist attack affects how well governments serve their residents.
Armed Forces Day at Picatinny
On Tuesday, the Congressman spoke at Picatinny Arsenal's Armed Services Day:
"Marking Armed Forces Day each and every year is important for many reasons, not the least of which is we must continue to remind the American people of the vital, valuable work that the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines do every minute of every day," said Frelinghuysen. "We offer a heartfelt thank you to each member of our Armed Forces and the civilians who work every day to support them. We must all pledge to do everything we can to spread the word about their bravery and courage in the fight for freedom around the world."
Frelinghuysen Visits Local Schools
Rep. Frelinghuysen visited this week with students in Rockaway, Harding Township and East Hanover.
"Each week, I visit with students to discuss the issues I deal with in Congress," said Frelinghuysen. "I always come away impressed with their knowledge of the issues and their interest in the system. It's a true testament to the great job done by Northern New Jersey schools, teachers, administrators, and parents. Their exceptional work is why Northern New Jersey boasts some of the best schools in the state, if not the country."
Frelinghuysen also greeted eighth graders from Byram Township Intermediate School, Copeland Township Middle School, and Harding Township Middle School during their visit and tour of the United States Capitol Building.