eNews - April 11, 2008
1. Frelinghuysen takes aim at oil trading abuse
2. Frelinghuysen Travels to Colombia, Stresses Importance of Free Trade Pact
3. Another week without a renewed FISA
4. Message to President Carter: Don't meet with Hamas leader
5. Frelinghuysen subcommittee hears from NOAA
6. Tax Rebate Deadline Approaches
7. Federal Law Enforcement Agency Expands New Jersey Presence
8. Frelinghuysen is speaker at Women's Health Fair and Summit
9. NASA Leader will land in New Jersey
10. Spread the eNews!
Frelinghuysen takes aim at oil trading abuse
In recent months, we have seen historical increases in the prices of gasoline and heating oil. "Americans seem to be losing confidence in our energy markets," said Frelinghuysen. "I have spoken with many local residents who are angry about the price of gasoline and heating oil prices. Many consumers strongly suspect prices are being manipulated."
To address this situation requires complex answers, but it is becoming clear that speculation in unregulated commodities markets are increasing energy prices. The agency responsible for regulating most commodities trading, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), does not have authority over certain electronic energy commodities markets.
As an important step toward correcting this situation, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen has introduced H.R. 5768, "The Commodities Futures Trading Commission Improvement Act" - legislation designed to increase transparency and accountability in commodities markets. "The Commodities Futures Trading Commission exists for a specific reason and the work they do is vital to the operations of our economy. However, it cannot accomplish its mission if there are markets that it cannot monitor."
Frelinghuysen's legislation focuses on this gap in the law and will ensure the solvency of our financial system and energy markets by:
Monitoring trading to prevent manipulation and price distortion;
Ensuring contracts are not susceptible to manipulation;
Limiting the size of traders' "positions" to prevent excessive speculation;
Reducing holdings of traders in violation of trading limits.
The legislation also addresses fraud and retail transactions in foreign exchange markets. It gives the CFTC broader authority to prosecute fraud in other commodities such as heating oil.
"Our goal is to restore public confidence in public energy markets by ensuring that they are fair, orderly and transparent," said Frelinghuysen. "Consumers need to know that oil prices reflect true supply and demand."
Frelinghuysen Travels to Colombia, Stresses Importance of Free Trade Pact
Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen returned late Sunday evening from Colombia even more convinced that we need to pass a Free Trade Agreement with that South American country. Frelinghuysen was part of a bipartisan Congressional delegation led by U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Susan Schwab that visited the country to gather facts about the pending trade agreement between the United States and Colombia.
Frelinghuysen and members of the delegation held meetings with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, the country's Attorney General, former guerilla combatants that have been demobilized, members of the business community, displaced workers, and leaders of labor unions who support the agreement, as well as labor leaders who oppose it.
"As New Jersey families struggle with rising prices and economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever to take action to grow our economy and create jobs for American workers," said Frelinghuysen. "Trade is absolutely essential to New Jersey's economy. New Jersey's exporters of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, fertilizers and agro-chemicals will benefit by the tariff reductions in the Colombia FTA. So will our producers of farm products such as soybeans, corn and fruit."
Beyond New Jersey, this FTA clearly helps our American competitiveness. Indeed, Congress has already voted to give Colombia a free trade agreement one way free trade. For 17 years, nearly all of their exports (especially petroleum, coffee and cut flowers) have entered the U.S. duty free, while American exporters to Colombia are paying hundreds of millions of dollars in duties each year. An FTA would eliminate virtually all duties on American exports to Colombia: two way free trade!
"This trip gave me a firsthand look at what's at stake in the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, and I am convinced that it deserves broad support and swift passage in Congress, said Frelinghuysen. "Colombia is a success story. They have made tremendous strides in the security of their nation and are key allies in the fight against narcotics trafficking and terrorism."
Frelinghuysen, Ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, also met with U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officials.
Another Week without a Renewed FISA
Another week. Another delay in passing a renewed Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
FISA expired in mid-February, leaving the United States with major gaps in its intelligence gathering capabilities.
"Delay is irresponsible. Every day that passes without Congressional action, we lose critical intelligence that help us track foreign terrorists quickly and effectively," said Rep. Frelinghuysen. "The fact that the leadership is thwarting the will of a bipartisan majority in both the House and the Senate is incredibly dangerous."
The FISA bill, which cleared the Senate 68-29 weeks ago and is supported by a bipartisan majority in the House and the attorney-generals of 25 states, would give U.S. intelligence officials all the tools they need to protect American interests from violent international extremists.
Message to President Carter: Don't meet with Hamas leader
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen this week signed a letter to Jimmy Carter urging the former President not to meet with Khalid Meshal, the leader of Hamas, an organization that is responsible for the killing of at least 26 Americans, including two New Jersey residents. Hamas is on both the United States' and European Union's official lists of "foreign terrorist organizations."
Carter is traveling to Syria next week. During that trip he is reportedly scheduled to meet with Meshal. Yesterday, a senior Hamas official confirmed reports of the meeting. The official said that Carter sent an envoy to Damascus requesting a meeting with Hamas leadership, including Meshal, and that Hamas "welcomed the request."
Meshal, who lives in Syria to avoid being arrested by the Israeli government, leads Hamas from his seat in Damascus, where he is a guest of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
The State Department had "counseled the former president about having such a meeting," said a State Department official. "U.S. policy is that Hamas is a terrorist organization; we don't believe it's in the interest of our policy or in the interest of peace to have such a meeting."
Federal Law Enforcement Agency Expands New Jersey Presence
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has opened a new Field Division in northern New Jersey. The new Newark Field Division will operate from law enforcement offices in West Paterson.
"New Jersey welcomes this new fulltime partner in the fight to keep our communities safe," said Frelinghuysen. "By teaming with our state's law enforcement community, U.S. Attorney, state police, sheriffs, local police and county prosecutors, I am confident that this new ATF resource will quickly make its mark."
The office will cover all of New Jersey and enhance ATF's ability to combat violent criminal gangs, share information and intelligence with its law enforcement partners while working through such ATF-led initiatives as their Violent Crime Impact Teams.
The Newark Field Division comprises nearly 40 special agents and other investigators, including certified fire investigators and explosives specialists. The Newark headquarters will supervise criminal enforcement offices in Camden, Trenton and Atlantic City.
For further information, visit www.atf.gov
Frelinghuysen subcommittee hears from NOAA
The Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science yesterday welcomed Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher, Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He testified in support of the agency's $4.1 billion 2009 budget request - an increase of 5.2%. Rep. Frelinghuysen emphasized NOAA's critical role in producing weather and water information and programs that protect and manage important coastal and ocean resources.
The agency includes the National Ocean Service, the National Weather Service, the National Environmental Satellite Date and Information Services, and National Marine Fisheries Service.
To learn more about NOAA, visit www.noaa.gov
Tax Rebate Deadline Approaches
Earlier this year, Congress passed and the President signed legislation which will provide rebates ranging from $300 to $1,200 to 3.8 million residents of New Jersey. The program is designed to spur economic growth in the face of a slowing economy.
First, though, you must file your 2007 tax return. The deadline to file is Tuesday, April 15!
The Internal Revenue Service reports that approximately 3.8 million residents of New Jersey may be eligible to get the rebates, starting around May.
For more information on the IRS program, go to:
or call the IRS:
Frelinghuysen is speaker at Women's Health Fair and Summit
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen will be the featured speaker at the HealthCare Institute of New Jersey's "Women's Health Summit" on Monday, April 14 at the Morris Museum in Morris Township.
The Summit will focus on the latest research available to reduce illnesses that largely strike women, with a specific emphasis on ovarian cancer. The summit will provide an opportunity for women to interact with physicians and educate themselves about lifestyle changes that promote wellness and prevent disease.
"The statistics on ovarian cancer are alarming," said Frelinghuysen. "But thanks to the hard work and terrific research being done by top-notch experts and doctors in the field, we can save more lives and better protect the health and well-being of countless women."
A health fair, including screenings, will begin at 8:30 a.m. Dr. Elise Kohn, Senior Investigator, Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) will present a keynote address. A distinguished panel of researchers, clinicians and educators will provide cutting edge information on ovarian cancer and other conditions. Participants include Dr. Roshini George, Hematology-Oncology Associates of Northern New Jersey, Anupama Nehra, Hematologist/Medical Oncologist Somerset Medical Center, Dr. Daniel Tobias, Women's Cancer Center at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Memorial Hospital and Overlook Hospital.
NASA Leader will land in New Jersey
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen has invited Michael Griffin, Administrator of the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA), to meet with representatives of New Jersey's active scientific community and with New Jersey educators, students, faculty and staff. The meeting will take place next Friday, April 18 at the County College of Morris in Randolph.
"Congress recognizes that a strengthened investment in science and technology can drive our nation's productivity," said Frelinghuysen. "Administrator Griffin and NASA are strong partners in this effort and I am pleased he will visit New Jersey to share his perspectives."